Album reviews: Bruno Mars, Roxette and more

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Old 21-Apr-2011
Album reviews: Bruno Mars, Roxette and more

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Bruno Mars: Doo-wops & Hooligans

The incredibly gifted Bruno Mars never fails to amaze us. It was B.O.B's mega hit Nothin' on You that skyrocketed the Hawaiian newcomer to stardom thanks to the catchy hook he sung on the hit track, and B.O.B returns the favour, appearing alongside Cee Lo Green on The Other Side.

On Doo-Wops and Hooligans, Mars displays a powerful vocal range, strong songwriting skills and versatility as a musician (he plays most of the instruments himself). Listen to Grenade to understand what we're talking about, it's a standout track. Overall, you get 12 engaging songs for all occasions. Marry You is a tad mushy, but it should go down very well with loved-up ladies, and we definitely rate Runaway Baby too.

Thirty Seconds to Mars: This is War

In all honesty, I only paid attention to this band because of its super-good looking frontman - Hollywood actor Jared Leto. Now the boys have me hooked! 30 Seconds to Mars' 2005 album A Beautiful Lie produced some great songs that made fans look beyond Leto, and as their recent Abu Dhabi concert showed, these guys can rock. Their latest album, four years in the making, is epic. Kicking off with Escape, with its minimal vocals and maximum drums, it peaks with Leto's piercing shrieks on Kings and Queens and the titular track This is War. Also keep an ear out for the Kanye West-featuring Hurricane.

Various artists: Songs for Japan

Created to raise money for those affected by the recent devastating earthquake in Japan, this compilation brings together 30 big names from the music industry. The collection boasts 38 chart-toppers and classic tracks. Featuring an impressive line-up, including John Lennon's Imagine, Lady Gaga's Born This Way, Katy Perry's Firework and Kings of Leon's Use Somebody, as well as offerings from Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Sting, Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj and Bruce Springsteen. All proceeds from the benefit album will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Roxette: Charm School

We can hardly believe Roxette are back! They've been missing from our lives for most of the past decade, and 2011 sees the long-awaited return of the Swedish duo, who helped define the 1990s musical landscape with their Pretty Woman-featured It Must Have Been Love, as well as Sleeping in My Car and She's Got the Look. Charm School is loaded with lively, hook-laden songs that can only be called complete belters. From the opening track Way Out - that sounds very similar to Joan Jett's I Love Rock ‘n' Roll - this album consummately brought back a lot of musical memories... in a good way.

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