Bruno Mars has been one of the biggest names in pop since his debut album dropped in 2010. Consistently putting out international hits, he produces tracks with an old-school vibe that many of us can’t help but enjoy and feel a bit of nostalgia for, even if they just came out. In this article, we’ll go over the 21 best songs ever released by Bruno Mars.
1. Uptown Funk
Uptown Funk is pretty easily one of Mars’ most successful songs, but that doesn’t mean there was no controversy around it. The track itself came from a jam session between Mark Ronson and Mars, eventually appearing as the lead single from Ronson’s fourth studio album. Arguments over the copyrights for the song arose, leading to the songwriting credits being amended after release.
The 80s-inspired funk-pop track was a massive hit, rising to the top of the charts in 19 countries and breaking the Top 10 of another 15. It even went on to win Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
2. Just the Way You Are
When Mars first hit the music scene it was immediately apparent that he was going to be a star. Just The Way You Are was that debut song that put him on the map, and despite mixed critical responses, became incredibly successful. The track won Best Male Pop Vocal performance at the Grammy Awards and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts before eventually being certified 13 times platinum by the RIAA.
As a single, it is one of the best-selling singles of all time, reaching more than 12 million sales in 2011 alone and becoming the best-selling song of the year.
3. Locked Out Of Heaven
Mars kept the hits coming with his second studio album Unorthodox Jukebox in 2012. Locked Out Of Heaven served as the lead single for the album and eloquently mixed reggae, rock, new wave, and funk together. It ended up breaking into the Top 10 in more than 20 countries internationally, topping the charts in the US and holding the spot for six weeks, becoming his fourth number-one single on this side of the Atlantic.
While it didn’t win any Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Record and Song of the Year, and Best Remixed Recording, Non-classical.
4. 24K Magic
The track 24K Magic was the lead single for Mars’ album of the same name and a song fans could get their hands on early if they preordered the album. Like much of his third album, it was heavily influenced by 90s hip hop, but never let go of the funk and disco elements he loves to include in his work. Some may have criticized it as too similar to Uptown Funk but that didn’t stop it from being a massive commercial success.
It peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and was eventually certified five times platinum by the RIAA. Like many of his songs, it received numerous award nominations, but this time he took home Record of the Year at the 2018 Grammy Awards Ceremony.
5. When I Was Your Man
Another entry from Unorthodox Jukebox and the third promotional single to be released from the album, When I Was Your Man hit mainstream radio at the beginning of 2013. A departure from the pop-funk-inspired songs that landed the number-one spot on the charts, it was a heart-wrenching piano ballad about losing the one you love that even wished her well with her next partner.
It topped the Billboard Hot 100 and went 11 times platinum in the US while becoming yet another international hit for him. In 2013 alone, the single sold over eight million copies, ranking as the eighth best-selling digital single of the year.
6. Nothin’ On You
Nothin’ On You saw Mars team up with B.o.B to produce the lead debut single for the latter artist, a massive 2009-2010 hit single. It’s a favorite among flatterers out there, a fairly pretty song that compliments a woman by telling her how unique she is and aims to win her heart.
It was nominated for three awards at the Grammys, including Record of the Year. Both artists promoted the heck out of it, seeing the track top the charts in the US and eventually go on to be certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
7. The Lazy Song
The Lazy Song has a goofy, funny, carefree vibe to it that appealed to so many people worldwide that it became an instant hit. It’s the quintessential Bruno Mars sound with some of the most clever lyrics in his catalog. It was one of the best-selling singles of 2011, racking up over six million sales, and ended up certified as seven times platinum in the US. On the charts, it made most country’s top five, coming in at number four in the US on the Billboard Hot 100.
Mars’ debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans had quite a few songs that ended up helping him become a major star, and Grenade was one of those big ones. The narrator loves his woman so much, he would do absolutely anything for her, including jumping on a grenade or diving in front of a moving train.
It was a standout track alongside the myriad of good ones on the album, giving him his third number-one single on the Hot 100 and ranking as the second best-selling digital single of 2011 at over 10 million sales. I will also insert here: the pop-punk remix version from Memphis May Fire slaps.
Treasure was the third single to be released from Unorthodox Jukebox in 2013 and wound up being Mars’ seventh Top 10 hit in the US. In fact, it was Top 10 in nine different countries and has been compared to Michael Jackson’s music. In the US, the song was certified five times platinum by the RIAA and it appeared in his setlist for the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show.
10. That’s What I Like
The second single to come from 24K Magic was That’s What I Like, a soul, hip hop, and funk-infused single that discusses not only love but the extravagant lifestyle of the rich and famous. It was one of the best-selling singles of 2017, reaching almost 10 million sales that year, and was a worldwide hit. It took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Rhythmic, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and Mainstream Top 40 charts. A ridiculously impressive feat, even for someone like Mars.
11. Marry You
Marry You might not have been released as a single in the US, but that in no way dims how bright the song shines. Focusing on a spontaneous and all-too-fast marriage, it harkens back to the style of pop tracks coming out in the 60s. Even without being released as a single in the US, it broke onto the Hot 100 where it peaked at number 85 while breaking the top 15 in most international markets.
12. Leave The Door Open
Mars teamed up with Anderson .Paak to form the duo Silk Sonic, with the pair releasing their debut album in 2021. Leave The Door Open was easily one of the best tracks on the album, full of funny lyrics and puns with a fairly direct bedroom proposal contained in it. In the US, it ended up topping both the Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs before eventually being certified double platinum by the RIAA.
13. It Will Rain
Mars was tasked with creating part of the soundtrack for the film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and came up with It Will Rain. A great song as a standalone piece, it served as the lead single for the soundtrack album that told the story of an agonizing heartbreak and the stages the narrator goes through during it.
In terms of chart success, it reached number three on the Hot 100, number one on the Mainstream Top 40, and was certified five times platinum by the RIAA.
14. Finesse (remix)
Finesse took on an old-school hip-hop vibe that impressed critics and fans alike. Originally slated for his 24K Magic album, the song received an official remix release that featured Cardi B for its fifth and final single. It reached number three on the Hot 100, but took over the other charts, peaking at the top spot of the Rhythmic, Dance Club, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and Mainstream Top 40 charts.
15. Versace On The Floor
Versace On The Floor was the only promotional single released for 24K Magic, and it ended up as the third single released from the album. It was reminiscent of old slow jams, finding remixes and airplay a-plenty. In the US, it peaked at number 33 on the Hot 100 but also broke into the Top 40 in numerous countries worldwide.
Billionaire was a massive hit for Travie McCoy, serving as the big release from his debut album. It was a heavy lean into the style of reggae that Sublime and Jason Mraz played, which most people liked, but the songwriting was underwhelming for critics.
It was a catchy song that you could hardly get away from in the US, I know that much. In the end, it made it to number four on the Hot 100 and was an international hit, the first for Travie McCoy and an extra notch in the belt for Mars.
17. Runaway Baby
Runaway Baby got mixed reviews, not for its quality but for the controversy surrounding the lyrics that described a man who would break any woman’s heart without any remorse. It was based on funk, pop rock, and soul but featured clever uses of sirens, finger snaps, and a raspy-sounding guitar, giving it an overall unique sound. In the US, it peaked at number 50 on the Hot 100, but it made it to number five on the UK Hip-Hop/R&B chart and into the top 20 of the UK Singles.
18. Young, Wild and Free
This song was a massive summer anthem in 2012 and one of the best songs released in 2011—in my humble opinion. It would be higher on this list if Mars had a larger part in all honesty, but it was more of a Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa song than his.
The track was the lead single for the soundtrack of Mac And Devin Go To High School but became a sensation shortly after being released. It wound up peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the Hot Rap Songs chart, finding tons of radio airplay after release.
Gorilla was another Bruno Mars song that drew rave reviews for its music but was criticized for being a bit more explicit lyrically than some would like. Drawing on 80s arena rock, it saw several remixes and uploads that pushed it up the charts and made it a viral internet hit. It reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number nine on the Rhythmic charts and did exceptionally well internationally when it broke the top 20 of numerous country’s charts.
20. Young Girls
When Young Girls released it drew comparisons to Mars’ It Will Rain, a mid-tempo ballad that brought quite a bit of criticism for the singer detailing his struggle for loving young females.
It was even canceled as the second single for his album at one point, though it charted fairly well before being taken down. It reached number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 but was a Top 10 hit in Canada and South Korea.
21. Wake Up In The Sky
Wake Up In The Sky was one of the first times we saw Mars jump on something with a trap beat and it delivered. A massively catchy song, it ended up reaching number 11 on the Hot 100 and went on to be certified five times platinum by the RIAA.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
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