Wednesday, July 30, 2014         


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Mars shows talent, range on debut album

By Sandy Cohen
Associated Press


The release of Bruno Mars' debut album finds the singer-songwriter-producer in the spotlight for both good and bad.

He's already scored hits co-writing and producing Flo Rida's "Right Round," B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" and "Billionaire" with Travie McCoy, and has a No. 1 song on his own with "Just the Way You Are."

Mars also faces a felony drug charge after he was allegedly found in possession of cocaine in a Las Vegas bathroom recently.

The drug charge has temporarily overshadowed his musical success, but his album, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," should put the focus back on his sweet songs.

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» Past influences never far from Hawaii native Mars
The 24-year-old shows his range, promise, tastes and talents on the record. Working with his writing-producing team known collectively as the Smeezingtons, Mars (born Peter Hernandez in Hawaii) offers up a little reggae, a little rock and lots of catchy pop hooks.

Most of all, he's romantic, singing about love, devotion and the perfect girl on most of the album's tracks. He's sexy with it like D'Angelo on the reggae-tinged "Our First Time," sweet on "Just the Way You Are" and the equally poppy "Marry You," and sassy on the groovy, guitar-heavy "Runaway Baby."

He's also clever and silly, singing about "chillin' in my Snuggie" on "The Lazy Song."

Damian Marley joins in on the drinking song "Liquor Store Blues," and Mars brings his falsetto to a rocking reunion with B.o.B and Cee Lo Green (Mars co-wrote and produced Green's new expletive-titled single) on "The Other Side."

Check this track out: Get happy listening to Mars' uplifting acoustic ode to friendship, "Count on Me."

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