Instead of going for anything high-concept, Mars opted for lo-fi, matching the song’s vibe. He dropped the video on Tuesday, and it features very little more than the singer sitting behind the piano, drink placed right on top. It’s filmed to look like a performance for some ’70s TV program, with the camera occasionally panning away to the crew and the figment of a woman. It was co-directed with Cameron Duddy, who also worked with Mars on “Locked Out of Heaven” and “The Lazy Song.”
MTV News spoke to Mars back in December about the slow jam, which he says was inspired by some real-life heartbreak. “No, I can’t fake it,” he said. “I’ve tried and those songs have been thrown away. This song is about a special woman that I let slip away at one time. It’s a happy ending though … I put everything I got into that one.”
Mars said that while much of Unorthodox Jukebox casts his passions in a more sexual way, he was originally wary to include a ballad, afraid he’d always just be known as a “crooner.” But, “When I Was Your Man” just felt right.
“You know it’s one of those things where even girls can relate to this song. That’s how it works. Everyone makes mistakes,” he said. “And I remember writing that and it’s the simple things, the little things. Like, I should have bought you flowers; I should have just let you know when I had the chance. And that was probably the most difficult song to write just because you know I’m so naked on that song, out of all the sexual songs I’m singing about, that’s the one I’m most vulnerable. And I think a piano and a vocal is the most purest form of music.”
This is a busy week for Mars. He’s set to take the stage with Rihanna and Sting at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. LL Cool J will host and other performers include Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, Fun., Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran with Elton John, Jack White, the Black Keys, Lumineers, Mumford & Sons and Carrie Underwood.
Tell us what you think of Bruno’s new video in the comments!