First Hit #1: December 22, 2012
Bruno Mars’ career began writing songs for other people, and Locked Out of Heaven sounds like a song for someone else. Specifically, it sounds like it was written for Sting, possibly for a reunion of the Police. This isn’t that there’s anything wrong with being influenced by an earlier artist, especially one that’s influential and had a distinctive sound, but I had to double check the writing credits to ensure it wasn’t a cover and wasn’t initially intended for Sting in any capacity. In the case of Mars’ overall career, since he is a songwriter it’s actually an asset that he can successfully mimic other artists in musical style and presentation, and this would be an alright song as new material for a Sting album – it would certainly be the most energetic and exciting thing he has released in years. But as a Bruno Mars song, his own identity is completely lost in the song, and while it’s not entirely necessary that an artist has a complete identity, it’s odd that one who writes most of his own material is less identifiable than many who don’t. Were I hearing this on the radio instead of on a program that lists artist names, I probably wouldn’t know who it actually was.