I was so happy to hear that we would be getting a new album from Bruno before the end of the year. 'Locked Out of Heaven' really set the scene for the kind of direction that Bruno would be taking. And the album does not dissapoint. Here are my thoughts on each of the tracks.
YOUNG GIRLS: Bruno uses the base of his debut album to open this effort, playing on the strengths of his past hits, 'Grenade' and 'It Will Rain'. Add a double bass and a strong vocal harmony arrangement to the recipe, and you've got yourself the perfect opening track. (5/5) LOCKED OUT OF HEAVEN: Bruno uses his inspiration from artists such as The Police and Sting to create a thumping, modern yet vintage opening single from this collection. The wide range of instruments used on the track to create a catchy jazz-influenced backing track cements this as the album's strongest track. (5/5) GORILLA: What stars off as a dark, mysterious drum-lathen electro romp turns into a piano and guitar led anthem for the items, with some subtle uses of 'oooh ooohs' to create the dramatic stadium effect. As they say, there are two sides to every perfect story. (5/5) TREASURE: Laden with pumping '80s synths and sound effects, Bruno manages to blend two of the finest eras of music together to produce something that sounds like it was made thirty years ago, but yet only came out of a studio this year. (5/5) MOONSHINE: A soothing piano riff infused with the sound of a pumping electric drum beat makes this one of the catchiest and funkiest tracks on the album, and one that cries out to become a future single. (5/5)
WHEN I WAS YOUR MAN: Bruno slows proceedings down a little for this piano-led power ballad. A simple, stripped back vocal and instrumental performance show a strong ability for versatility, and a softer side of an otherwise strong artist. (5/5) NATALIE: Take the instrumental from 'Grenade', tone it up, add a pulsating clapping rhythm, twist the vocals a little, and you'll find yourself with this latest offering. Despite leaning heavily on 'Grenade', the track is one of the most pleasing tracks on the record, offering both suttlety and mainstream interest. (5/5) SHOW ME: Bruno looks to his roots for his next reggae-infused effort, which takes inspiration from the likes of Bob Marley. Personally, i think it's a little thin on the ground compared to the other tracks on the album, but certainly not a poor effort. (4/5) MONEY MAKES HER SMILE: A vocal choir introduction, followed with a thumping electronic bass riff sets the scene for this uplifting stadium anthem. The addition of a rap-style chant to the chorus lets it down a little, but it definitely still holds enough dignity to not be dismissed. (4/5) IF I KNEW: For the final effort of the album, we are once again thrown back into the 1980's, with a powerful soul-infused rock anthem. Standing alone, you could class it as the perfect track. But against the backdrop of the already perfect album, it finds itself lost in amongst tracks which are slightly more memorable. (4/5)
So, in conclusion, i think that two years in the studio has really helped Bruno create one of the finest albums to be released this year. The only reason i gave the last three tracks only four stars is not because they are bad, but because the first seven are of such high quality, that they are very hard to live up to. Taking elements of the entire musical spectrum, blending them into just ten tracks, and mixing them with a fine voice leaves the final result a piece of pure musical perfection.