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Single sensation: Bruno Mars spends more than 3 years topping the charts



It didn’t take long for Bruno Mars to scale to the top of the pop mountain: His first single, “Nothin’ on You” — a collaboration with rapper B.o.B — skyrocketed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

That was in 2010. Since then, Mars has reached the summit four other times, and has amassed a total of 11 Top 10 singles.

With the 27-year-old Hawaiian pop superstar bringing his Moonshine Jungle tour to The Palace Thursday — his first Michigan concert — here’s a look at his history in singles to date.


“Nothin’ on You” (Released Feb. 2010): B.o.B made a big splash with his debut single, but it was Mars’ buttery smooth chorus that sent this into the stratosphere. It was instantly clear that a new star was born.

“Billionaire” (Released March 2010): Mars’ chorus on Travie McCoy’s single nailed the pie-in-the-sky aspirations of millennials, who aim to be rich superstars even if they’re not sure how they’re going to get there. Also, a strategically placed curse word gave Mars an edge and helped scuff up his perfect pop sheen.

“Just the Way You Are” (Released July 2010): This teenage love song pays tribute to its subject’s eyes, hair, face, smile, lips, laugh — pretty much everything needed to tell your secret crush exactly how you really feel.

“Grenade” (Released Sept. 2010): The one where the Grammys came calling. The urgent “Grenade” was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year — it lost both awards to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” — and its video showed Mars hauling a piano uphill to show how far he’d go to prove his love.

“The Lazy Song” (Released Feb. 2011): A silly kiss-off with a quirky video and a whistle-along chorus, “The Lazy Song” feels more like a Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson song than a Bruno Mars composition. Dumb fun at best.

“Marry You” (Released Aug. 2011): Marriage isn’t a hallowed institution, it’s something to do after a wild night on the town in this fluffy, romantic ode to spontaneity and irresponsibility in the name of passion.

“Lighters” (Released July 2011): Eminem and Royce da 5’9” ’s Bad Meets Evil project was a dark and dense affair, but this track was like a beam of sunlight through the clouds, with Mars hitting an emotional high with his soaring pop chorus.

“Mirror” (Released Sept. 2011): Mars teamed up with Lil Wayne for this “Carter IV” track, Wayne’s own take on “Man in the Mirror.” The murky production and hackneyed premise underscore one of Mars’ weakest choruses; it’s a blemish on Mars’ otherwise golden path.

“It Will Rain” (Released Sept. 2011): This uptempo ballad was pulled from the soundtrack to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” but its lovesick lyrics (“There’ll be no sunlight if I lose you, baby”) perfectly match the puppy love tone of Stephenie Meyer’s books.

“Young, Wild & Free” (Released Oct. 2011): Mars and his production partners the Smeezingtons elevate Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s carefree ode to substance abuse into a declaration of freedom that sounds as innocent and laid back as a Sunday afternoon in the park.

“Locked Out of Heaven” (Released Oct. 2012): The first single from Mars’ second album found him pulling in influence from the Police, of all places, but that’s just a jumping off point for a song that rockets into outer space with its stratospheric chorus.

“When I Was Your Man” (Released Jan. 2013): A sparse piano ballad that finds Mars looking back with remorse on a botched relationship and accepting the blame for its failure. It’s a middle school version of an Adele ballad, but Mars carries the emotional weight of the song with his most assured vocal performance to date.

“Treasure” (Released June 2013): Mars’ current single surfs the wave of retro disco that has been riding the charts thanks to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Like those songs, it sounds good on the radio but even better on a dancefloor.
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