Best Underrated Songs of Bruno Mars to listen, if you want some great music in your life
Bruno Mars has a huge catalogue of music but there are some underrated gems which many people might not be aware of. These songs might not be very popular but they are as good as his other songs, some even better.
By Aashish Pradhan
11 January 2022
If being mainstream and still making splendid music is an art, then Bruno Mars is certainly the Picasso of it. An amazing singer and an absolute terrific performer, Peter Hernandez aka Bruno Mars is performing on stage since he was just 4 years old. Bruno used to perform and impersonate Elvis Presley with his father’s band in his childhood. And now, after nearly 30 years, he is still performing on the stage but with confidence and style so high that it doesn’t fail to make the audience groove.
Bruno has had written and produced many songs. From his earlier collaborations to the 3 albums and a collaborative album “An Evening with Silk Sonic” with Anderson .Paak, Mars has proved that he is one of a kind in this generation. I’ll go as far as to say this Bruno Mars is going to be one of the few Pop Icons of this era. Each and every song of his is just straight up amazing. From his popular songs (like Uptown Funk, 24k Magic and Grenade) to his underrated songs (which I’ll discuss in a few moments), each song is unique in its own way.
Bruno is one of the few artists whose song’s theme, lyrics and beats perfectly align with each other. Like, “24K Magic” will make you groove; “Gorilla” and “Versace on the Floor” will give you those passionate vibes and, “When I was your man” and “Too Good to say Goodbye” will never fail to convey those heartbreak emotions. You catch the gist, right?
But from Bruno’s huge catalogue of music, there are some underrated gems which many people might not be aware of. These songs might not be very popular but they are as good as his other songs, some even better. Singers like Bruno Mars give their best to each and every song they make, so as fans it would be a shame for us to not check their underrated songs.
So, Skate to me baby. Slide your way on over, so that we can discuss some of the best underrated songs of Bruno Mars.
Young Girls (Unorthodox Jukebox)
Starting the list with one of my personal favourite songs of Bruno Mars, Young Girls of Unorthodox Jukebox album. A sort of confession, Bruno here talks about getting loose in the city, spending money on young wild girls, knowing this isn’t real life but still coming back to them. It’s like the age when you are young and seek out girls, spend time and money on them, all these steer you wrong but you still keep going on.
Young Girls is a pop song at its best, which tests Bruno’s vocals a lot. The time chorus hits, it might give you a sort of adrenaline rush. The chorus is high on energy and easily gets stuck in the head. What I love about this song is the feeling it tries to give, the self-destructive and self-realisation lyrics with unmatchable beats (produced by a combination of piano, drums and synths) mixed with Bruno’s fading vocals on background is such a treat to hear.
Oh, I still dream of a simple life
Boy meets girl, makes her his wife
But love don't exist when you live like this
That much I know, yes I know
Our First Time (Doo-Wops & Hooligans)
No matter what, every album of Bruno Mars contains (will contain), what people like to call as “Bedroom Songs”. ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ has Gorilla and ‘24K Magic’ has Versace on the floor but the album which started this all, ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’ contains a wonderful yet seductive song “Our First Time”.
As the name suggests, this song is really about THE first time. Bruno here describes the hesitance he and his girl are facing, just staring at each other, waiting for one another to make the first move and having that spark of desire to go all the way. Bruno Mars has this charisma in his voice and here, he uses that to such extent that one could really feel the passion in the song. In addition to that, the tempting chorus and the playful lyrics, both add a layer to this song which makes it much more captivating. So, if you want a song for YOUR first time (which I know wouldn’t come sooner, jk), you know what to play.
Treat you like a princess
Ooh, girl, you're so delicious
Like ice cream on a sunny day
Gonna eat you before you melt away
Calling all my Lovelies (24K Magic)
Honestly, after listening this song for the first time, I didn’t find it much amusing but now it’s one of my favourites from 24k Magic album. This song is quite different from other songs as generally, you see Bruno taking the lead and background vocals joining later (mostly) during chorus. But here, Bruno lets his crewmates, the supporting vocals, shine, and boy do they rock. Bruno then joins during the Chorus and energies the whole song.
Look, I admire Philip Lawrence as much as Bruno Mars, and in this song Philip just rules, this is evident both in the studio version as well as during live performance. I love when artists try unusual ways, something out of the box, no matter how miniscule it is, and with this song Bruno hits the ball out of the park. With catchy beats, wonderful harmonies and Bruno’s amazing vocals in chorus, Calling all my Lovelies is THE best R&B song of the album.
This song also features the actress, Halle Berry who apparently was the inspiration behind “Locked out of the Heaven”.
I got too many girls on hold for you to be so bold
Too many on my team for you to act so mean
You say you wanna go and have fun, well you ain't the only one
If I ring, don't let it ring too long or I'm gone
Show Me (Unorthodox Jukebox)
Very few artists can crack the reggae vibe and Bruno Mars is one of them. Bruno’s Hawaiian ancestry really benefits this song. Just imagine playing this song in a summer morning, roaming around the beach with no worries and that’s exactly the vibe it’s trying to give.
This reggae infused pop song is about, guess what, yes, making love (like most of Bruno’s song) but yet it feels different, thanks to its Caribbean beats. Mars has had few reggae songs up his sleeves like “Liquor Store Blues” and “The Lazy Song” but this song “Show Me” appeals to me the most. It’s just a simple, relaxing song with no high vocals or explosive chorus involved and that’s what makes this song so great.
No, I won't think you're easy, no, I won't think you're fast
Your eyes say, "Oh, please me," but your lips scared to ask
No need to fight it, when you know it feels right
You say you're a woman who knows what she likes
Perm (24K Magic)
The 24k Magic album is filled with what I like to call as “Concert Songs”, the songs which when played in concerts are guaranteed to give people a great time. But this song, ‘Perm’ ranks right at the top in my list of concert songs. Why, you ask? Because why not? It’s got insane background beats, irresistible horns, funny flirty lyrics and the funk vibe. Perm is also one of the best Bruno Mars’ dance songs.
This song is obviously inspired by 80s/90s funk music and it sounds so great in live (check out this live version on YouTube and let me warn you, you won’t be able to stop listening it). Nevertheless, this party song perfectly represents Bruno and his crew’s music producing capabilities. The interweaving of Bruno’s voice with backing vocals is one of the highlights of this song and the catchy lyrics and beats never fail to make me wanna dance.
It's my birthday, (No it's not)
But I still look good though, (Hot comb hot)
I bet you want an autograph, (For you and your friends)
Gotta do it in the penthouse, That's where I keep my pen
Somewhere in Brooklyn (Doo-Wops & Hooligans)
The first time I heard this song, I was mesmerized. Unlike his other songs, Bruno here tries to convey a story. He talks about, how he found the perfect girl at the train stop but destiny had different plans. She was listening to hip-hop and they started a conversation. There was an instant connection between then but then her train arrived and she left. The train’s next station was Brooklyn, and he searched for her in the city but still he failed. Now he is not sure and wonders that will they ever meet again? And this right here, is just beautiful.
This song is one of Bruno Mars’ lesser known songs. So, if you found it, give yourself a pat on the back, you just listened to a gem. Dedicated to his father, this song is one of the simplest songs in Bruno’s discography. It has the kind of a nostalgia vibe absent in many modern songs, which is definitely Bruno Mars’ forte. This is a kind of song which you can listen to in a coffee shop while it’s raining, no heavy production just simple, beautiful lyrics and relaxing beats. This also might become one of Bruno Mars’ best love songs but more like a song about love.
On the street kickin' rocks, Circlin' the same block
Greenpoint to Flatbush, Checkin' every corner shop
Tappin' people's shoulders, Askin' if they know her
Every day’s the same, It's back to the train
Moonshine (Unorthodox Jukebox)
I always admire songs with ambiguity and wordplay. Like, the moment I heard and understood the wordplay in “Diane Young”, I knew Vampire Weekend is going to be one of my favourite bands. It was just so witty. And Bruno Mars does a same kind of job with Moonshine.
On the surface, Moonshine seems to depict Bruno’s relationship and experiences with a woman but digging a bit deeper, you’ll discover the dual meaning of this song. Moonshine is the type of a liquor and this song also describes his addiction and dependency on that liquor. I’m a sucker for drums and the drums in this song are just insane. They are fairly audible and perfectly sync with the vocals.
This pop R&B song was played as an opening act on Bruno’s 3rd ever concert tour “The Moonshine Jungle Tour” and just like every other song, it sounds even more great in live.
I was with you last night, but it feels like it's been so long
And everybody that's around
They notice that I'm not myself when you're gone
It's good to see you again, Good to see you again
Too Good to Say Goodbye (24K Magic)
Bruno Mars likes to end his albums (except Doo-Wops & Hooligans) through a heartbreak song and 24k Magic is no different. Too Good to Say Goodbye, the final track of 24k Magic, lies in the same spectrum as of “When I was your Man”. Both the songs deal with regret, regret of letting the girl of your dreams get away from you.
‘Too Good to Say Goodbye’ is not a piano ballad like ‘When I was your Man’, it does involve drums, horns and harmonies but this thing only makes the song better. The song starts with a beautiful piano line-up and then the drums & Bruno’s powerful vocals get involved which amplify it to a whole new level. The 24k Magic album was a step up for Bruno, you can clearly see the inclusion of energetic beats and heavy productions in most of the songs and to have such a powerful R&B ballad in the midst of these songs is truly incredible.
So tell me, why, why can't we try and start again?
This can't be how our story ends
You're more than my girl, you're my best friend
Tell me you remember when
I was your man and you were my girl
It was you and me against the world
Natalie (Unorthodox Jukebox)
Bruno Mars has written songs about love, heartbreak, partying, regret but let me present you something different, a song about revenge, Natalie. No, here Natalie Portman doesn’t rap about a day in her life but rather in this song, a gold digger named Natalie ran away with all the money of Bruno Mars and now he is willing to do anything to get a revenge against her.
With vengeful lyrics and beats made up using handclaps, drums, guitars and backing bass, this song does sound amazing but takes a rather graphic dig at Natalie. You can literally hear the anger of protagonist (Bruno) in this song.
While preparing this list, I was confused between ‘Natalie’ and ‘Runaway Baby’ as to which song to include in this list. I love both these songs and they are the ones that’ll ever come close to feature Bruno’s rap. Technically, he isn’t rapping but the words are a bit fast-paced so yeah, they are somewhat close to rap. So, if you hadn’t already checked out ‘Runaway Baby’, go hear it now.
I'll spend a life time in jail (Yeah, that's what I'll do)
I'll be smiling in my cell (Yeah, thinking 'bout you)
Can't nobody save you now
Sure there ain't no use in trying
Once I get my hands on you, I'ma ooh
‘If I Knew’ & ‘Old & Crazy’ (both from Unorthodox Jukebox)
There’s no denying the fact that Bruno Mars’ songs have that nostalgia/throwback factor in them. But if I were to choose such songs that just take you to the 80s/90s era, then it would have to be these 2 songs, ‘If I Knew’ and ‘Old & Crazy’.
Despite having a short length of 2:12 minutes, If I Knew hits like no other song. Bruno starts this song right off the bat, there are even no gaps between the verses and it works wonders. In this soulful ballad, Mars regrets cheating on the girl he loves the most. He wishes they were seventeen so that he can redo the relationship and give her all the innocence and love that she gives to him. I know Bruno has other songs based on this regret theme but give this song a listen, it might become your favourite.
Old & Crazy is a bonus track, only available on Unorthodox Jukebox Deluxe Edition, and features American bassist and singer, Esperanza Spalding making it the only song from Bruno’s album discography to feature a female singer. With this song, Bruno Mars goes all the way, the retro, old school vibe is just impeccable. The piano, the jazz horns and the whistle after the first verse makes this song even more of a banger.
Look, I admire and love both these songs and it was very difficult to choose only one song for this list. So, I listed both of them. I got to complete this list and you got another song to listen to, it’s a win-win situation for everybody.
Favourite Lyrics (If I Knew):
Baby, I, I wish we were seventeen
So I could give you all the innocence
That you give to me, No, I wouldn't have done
All the things that I've done
If I knew one day you'd come
If I knew one day you'd come
So, this is the end of this list and these were some of the best underrated songs of Bruno Mars but there are still 4-5 more songs, which I’ll mention in some other article. Bruno is one of those artists whose entire discography is just gold. You can pick up a random song from his albums and it is guaranteed that the song would be a banger.
So, thank you for reading this article. I hope you have a good time jamming to these amazing songs. And let me know your opinions in the comment box down below.
If you want a Spotify playlist of the songs mentioned here, then don’t worry, I got you. Just click on the link/text below: