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Bruno Mars - 'Grenade'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:51 UK time, Thursday, 6 January 2011

Bruno Mars

Mashup fans, I've a job for you. Someone needs to put the "na na nah" refrain from Kylie Minogue's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' under the verses to this song. It would please me, it works musically (same chords, y'see), and best of all, it would actually give the lyrics a bit of balance.

Here's Bruno tearing his heart out, dropping that cocky ladies-man thing which over-sweetened 'Just The Way You Are' and pleading with his girl not to dismiss the depth of his feelings.

Of course, it's still the same basic message, isn't it? Both songs want to impress upon someone the desperate passion that Bruno feels towards them. And why not? People love to hear that stuff and Bruno's a very giving man.

First he bestows upon his victim chosen one the gift of compliments. He thinks you're amazing, you shouldn't put yourself down so much, you're perfect just the way you are, just to be around you is to know that life can hold no greater thrill, and this is something he will always feel, even when you're old and saggy. After all, he'll be old and saggy too.

(Here's the video. That is NO WAY to deliver a piano.)

Sadly, over the course of the relationship, all of that positive energy, that giving, starts to curdle. A little voice at the back of his head is noticing that while he is very quick with the compliments, you tend to just beam, blush, and change the subject. Oh you always look happy to see him, that's very clear, but not quite as happy as he is to see you.

Over time, this voice has gone from a disgruntled whisper to a full scream at the back of his mind. He's still very generous, still keen to let you know that he adores you, but somehow he has started to obsess over the fact that it's not really in your nature to say extravagent things back. Why can't you do it? Why can't you tell him that HE is amazing just the way he is? What's stopping you?

Oh no...it can't be...it's because you don't love him as much as he loves you, isn't it? It turns out you have one tiny imperfection after all. Your heart is defective. It looks roomy enough, but there's not quite enough space to fit Bruno in, in the way that he has filled his heart with you. He knows it, you know it. It's bad news all round.

Suddenly, the compliments are starting to become more barbed, more desperate. You're not perfect and amazing any more, you're the person he would catch a grenade for, and it is plain as the nose on your pretty face that YOU WOULD NOT DO LIKEWISE. If someone tossed a grenade towards Bruno, you would duck under a table.

Never mind that a) this is perfectly rational behaviour and b) it might be a blessed relief to let him catch the grenade, what with all the shouting, the simple fact of the matter is that Bruno has given you everything, and all you can offer in return is your ridiculous claim to be amazing and perfect just the way you are. What rot. Whoever filled your head with such nonsense? HONESTLY!

So you can see how it would be nice to have an answering female voice, within all of this bitter breast-beating and finger-pointing, especially one singing "na na nah, na nah nu-nah nah." Just seems fairer...

Incidentally, I maintain that there's a mashup to be made of the original theme to the legendary kids' TV show Grange Hill and Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing In The Name Of'. And one day I shall bother to prove this. What a day that will be, eh?

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Radiopopaction says: "One of the best songs i've heard in a very long time!"

Planet Ill says: "Mars finds himself in an easy vocal range that allows him belt out his melancholy in a beautifully soulful way."


  • Comment number 1.

    GRENADE, Fraser. There's only ONE GRENADE.

    5 stars.

  • Comment number 2.

    After the over sentemental self agrandising tripe that was just they way you are (what annoying needy a over hyped song) hes back with grenade (insert an s if you will :P) this is good song catchy not that original does wat it says on the tin and its already a us chart topper so ill be intrested if its repeated here too.

  • Comment number 3.

    5 STARS. 5 STARS!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    I don't know what it is about it. I just don't think its amazing. I do like it, just it isn't as good as Just The Way You Are.

    3 STARS.

  • Comment number 5.


    Okay, Jamstah, bring it onnnn! Care to elaborate on your point? (It'll be just like the good ol' days!).

    Personally I love the darker, more melacholy tone of the entire song; it's bitterrsweet lyrics of a failed, unrequited love spare no tricks as Bruno's once sweetly ringing voice now howls as he views his beloved through the window of a teary eye. I love how the drama and angst is turned up to an eleven for the middle eight, and how Bruno then continues with nothing but desperation as his throat reluctantly hits sky-scraping notes until the end.

    It's much more appealing than 'Just The Way You are' in my opinion - oh, don't get me wrong, 'Just The Way You Are' was good while it lasted, but it's overly sugary message got old very quickly, and wore off the more it got played. 'Grenade' however calls on the much deeper emotions of despondency, dejection, and despair.

    It's married perfectly with an outstanding video - the metaphorical piano being the load that he carried for his beloved, and proves his dedication to her by hauling it through town, neglecting the rest of the world as he pulls the load, determined to show this girl his feelings for her, only to find that she's found someone else in his absense. The video then takes a very macabre turn as Bruno places himself on a train-crossing before the screen goes black.

    I just think it's genius - both song and video, which both succeed at presenting something far more original than a lot of recent musical/visual outputs from some higher earning artists.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree, it definitely has a more darker tone, but to me it makes the song feel a bit sad, if you know what I mean. A bit desperate. Just The Way You Are is a brilliant tune, so don't be horrible about it please:). The happier tone just makes me happier inside, and the lyrics all about how good his girlfriend is, it's nice to see that he has someone to love I guess. Grenade is good, just a bit too melancholic for me, that's all.

  • Comment number 7.

    It's definitley more instant than 'Just The Way You Are'
    The lyrics are poignant and just fantastic in general again miles better than the cheese-fest that was JTWYA.
    I just hope it doesn't get massively over-played, as JTWYA got huuugely irritating after a couple of weeks of constant airplay.

    5 Stars

  • Comment number 8.

    I do love this song. The chorus chords in particular are instantly gripping. It's good that he's followed up his remarkably positive debut solo single with something the opposite end of the scale in that sense. But there's just something about it that I'm unsure of, and in my opinion stops this song from being a really 'great' song. I just think it tries a bit too hard to be over-dramatic, and some of the lyrics are a tad cliché as a result. Apart from that it's all good, and should get Bruno Mars a 2nd successive uk no.1.


  • Comment number 9.

    This song is just the ultimate definition of 'short term pleasure' for me. LOVED it at first but having listened to it a few times I can now say I have gone off it. I do appreciate that he is trying to show he is not one dimensional but the lyrics are just to cliche for me and his as for his voice.... well I think oddones use of the term 'howling' is very adaquete. But I do have to give him credit for chorus chords, as 'kutox' said, they are instantly gripping. Perfect use of triad chords with seamless use of minor chords and just PERFECT use of dissonce chords to add sense of drama, desperation and sadness. He is actually a very talented artist. Now if he can just avoid those cliched lyrics he would be set!!!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    I have a feeling this is wearing off now... Oh dear indeed... I'll let you know when finally becomes demoted to 4 STARS.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well now you've seen the light OddOne.

  • Comment number 12.

    Have to say I prefer JTWYA as well. Grenade is a decent song but the chorus doesn't manage to explode in the same way that JTWYA does, the verses do a great job of building up to the chorus but when it comes it feels underwhelming. Also the lyrics are as cheesy as usual just without the niave sweetness we had before, something about the chorus feels really clunky to me.

    3 STARS

  • Comment number 13.

    Song has already built a commanding lead on iTunes

  • Comment number 14.

    not suprising really :(

  • Comment number 15.

    Anything to keep Jessie J from claiming #1.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree with Jamstah entirely :)
    It just isn't that 'hook'-y. Know what I mean?

  • Comment number 17.

    I do know what you mean, as it has now officially been downgraded to a 4 STAR song.

    HOWEVER... 'The Other Side' is where it's at now.

  • Comment number 18.

    I wouldn't mind Jessie J being number 1 to be honest...
    I think it's growing on me.

    Oh yeah, by the way it's No. 5 in the Official Chart :)

  • Comment number 19.


    Boring, uninspired, insipid, drivel.

  • Comment number 20.

    Never thought I'd see a username like that write a post like that!

    Care to elaborate? Hardly "uninspired" - he's inspired by a real life dilemma about a love unrequited? That's not uninspired at all.

    Start learning the definitions of pejoratives before you start to throw them at any song you don't take a particular fancy to.

    And welcome by the way! We're usually really nice but I'm very opinionated.... :L:L

  • Comment number 21.


    QueenChav, you really do not like Bruno Mars do you? :L

  • Comment number 22.

    Oooooh, tension.

    Personally, i don't like this song. It's just boring..

    But, there you go.

  • Comment number 23.

    I agree Nat. Boring, old, generic pop.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well. a few weeks ago , I did say it would get to number 1 . . .


  • Comment number 26.

    Maybe QueenChav was saying the music is uninspired - it does sound very samey... like I have heard it before.

  • Comment number 27.

    'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' rings a bell...

  • Comment number 28.

    ^ As Fraser's review says :D

  • Comment number 29.

    Oh... maybe that's where I read it! I sure a gunna miss the big guy!


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