In 2013 Bruno Mars was the music equivalent of cat videos on YouTube, jeans Friday at the office, and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler taking over the world: Everyone loved him and there’s no sign of it coming to an end. We dig Bruno Mars, and that’s just science. Well, at least according to Billboard who dubbed the Hawaiian crooner and only-dude-who-can-rock-a-fedora-without-being-my-worst-nightmare as their 2013 Artist of the Year. And well, kudos my good man.
Mars is the first male artist since 2008 to nab the spot (that year it was CHRIS BROWN. Barf.) He is arriving after Lady Gaga (2009), Taylor Swift (2010), and Adele (2011 and 2012), and those are some big vocal shoes to fill. But, hey, if there was ever a fella to follow-up after these powerhouse pop women, it’s Mars.
Unlike the gross and inexplicable success of one Chris Brown, Bruno Mars relies on a wholly different approach to his success: Sexiness that is sensitive, fun, and mutually for a woman’s pleasure. Except for “Gorilla,” which was just a poorly executed, albeit too aggressive, wannabe-Prince-esque-smoosh-fest. Bruno Mars is in a way, the James Deen of sexy pop music: he’s there for you, ladies. And oh, he praises you too.
Let’s take a look at Mars’ success over 2013. His aptly named album "Unorthodox Jukebox" debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and stayed in the top 20 for every single week through Sept. 14. Oh yeah, yeah. Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah. OHHHH AHHH. The album was critically well-received and it seemed to turn everyone with access to a radio or computer into a newfound Bruno Mars fan. (Admit it, it’s catchy and you LOVE it.) Bruno Mars was the not-so-guilty guilty pleasure of 2013.
And now let’s look at his three biggest singles of the year. No one was in a rage about how Mars cooed, “Open up your gates 'cause I can't wait to see the light” in "Locked Out of Heaven,” or “Baby squirrel, you’s a sexy motherfucker” in "Treasure.
He was not equated to Robin Thicke and the rapey monstrosity that was “Blurred Lines.” Though sexually-charged, Mars still redeemed himself in such lyrical ways as, “My pride, my ego, my needs, and my selfish ways/Caused a good strong woman like you to walk out my life” in "When I Was Your Man." Ah, see that’s where it is.
If Billboard’s last few years tell us anything about their top artists, it’s that, after someone like Voldebrown, the world needed Gaga, Swift, and Adele to make up for such a, excuse my inability to find a better word, total shit bag. And the man to follow? Bruno Mars. An artist who released an album with sounds and grooves that spanned decades and genres, with a message that was more along the lines of “Sex is fun! Let’s all have a great time here!” and was still squeaky-clean enough to have massive appeal.
And since a bit of a bad boy streak and drug charges a few years ago, Mars has kept a low tabloid profile. Were we all too distracted by the dance moves and charming videos? Probably. He’s a mainstream enigma, and we’re all dancing along.
Oh and when Bruno Mars found out he was nominated for a bevy of Grammys this year his response was, "It's nice to get dressed up and take your lady out." Try wrapping your brain around that, and this: