Ever since Bruno Mars premiered his brand-new single “Locked Out of Heaven,” critics have been quick to point out its similarities to previous hits by the Police, most notably “Message in a Bottle” or “Roxanne.” And despite what you might think, Mars has no problem whatsoever with those comparisons.
“Hell yeah! You try to write a Police song!” he laughed. “I grew up listening to the Police, I grew up performing in bars, singing Police songs. … I remember performing a song like ’Roxanne,’ and you play those first couple of chords, and you hit that first note, and you watch the whole bar ignite. And as an artist, as a songwriter, it’s like ’Man, I want to write a song that makes people’s eyes explode the first chord!’ ”
And while he’s not denying the similarities (or, really, softening his stance on critics — “Oh, I love them,” he deadpanned), Mars said he never set out to write a spiritual sequel to “Roxanne.” Rather, “Heaven” came to him out of the blue, one night during the six-month studio sessions that led to his upcoming Unorthodox Jukebox album.
“I don’t think it initially tried to sound like anybody else, but I picked up the guitar and just started playing [the song’s opening chords],” he explained. “That’s how it normally works; I’ll pick up a guitar and I’ll start humming a melody, and I started singing that, and I was up there in Sting-ville, in that register, so that’s what you get … I tend to listen to a lot of guys with higher registers — Sting being one of them, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder — because I’ve got a high voice.”
Then again, he’s not going to be complaining if folks keep comparing “Locked Out of Heaven” to the Police’s classics. Writing a massive hit is the goal, after all.
“I’ve been playing those songs for years, [and] as an artist, as a songwriter, your goal is to always have one of those songs that, from the very first chord, it does something to the body,” he smiled. “You know, ’Billie Jean,’ Michael Jackson. As soon as that drum pattern comes on in the club, everybody starts Moonwalking … that is the producer’s dream, to create or compose something like that.”
Does “Locked Out of Heaven” remind you of the Police? Let us know in the comments below!