Bruno Mars, until recently one of R&B's backroom boys, is currently the hottest thing in pop, with "Grenade" furnishing his second UK chart-topper.
Boasting the sleek pop-soul lines of Michael Jackson, it depicts a different side to last year's "Just the Way You Are", which cleverly routed a U2-style cyclical groove through R&B territory. Both are included on an album that seeks too hard to display Mars' multifaceted talents: both the bubblebath soul ballad "Our First Time" and laidback acoustic groove "The Lazy Song" are given a flimsy reggae-lite gloss, while "Marry You" is overly ingratiating. But his delivery on "Talking to the Moon" is impressive, and the presence of both Cee Lo and B.o.B on "The Other Side" helps show Mars to best effect, with a blend of cool harmonies and daring R&B pop.
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