The singer professionally known as Bruno Mars was born Peter Gene Hernandez, to a Puerto Rican father and a Filipino mother in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mars, who got his name by looking like the wrestler Bruno Sammartino and Mars from claiming his musical skills are out of this world, got his start by singing as an Elvis impersonator at just four years old. Since then, he moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school and hustled his way to the top. It took a few years for him to become the superstar he is today, known for his funk and disco influences on breakout hits like “Uptown Funk” and “Locked Out of Heaven.” Now that he is a superstar, there is no turning back for him.
Below is a list of Bruno Mars’ best songs ranked from best to worst.
1. “Uptown Funk”
This song is technically Mark Ronson’s song and has Bruno as a feature. However, when you are just the producer and Bruno is doing all of the singing and captivating dancing, it becomes his song. “Uptown Funk” made history tying the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling” for being the only songs holding the number 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 list for 14 weeks. Uptown Funk is featured on Mark Ronson’s fourth album, Uptown Special. Ronson has been a frequent collaborator with Bruno Mars as he has worked on his hits “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Moonshine” and “Gorilla.”
“Uptown Funk” has accumulated over 2.3 billion views on YouTube. The success of the song has been met with some controversy. A handful of singers have come forward claiming that “Uptown Funk” is a direct rip off of their songs and have sued for royalties. Some of these singers include Trinidad James who felt the “don’t believe me just watch!” line was stolen from his song “All Gold Everything.” James ended up getting writing credit. Other singers like Angie Stone who claims the song is similar to her hit “Funk You Up.” She has yet to reach an agreement.
Learn more about “Uptown Funk” here.
2. “The Lazy Song”
“The Lazy Song” was Bruno Mar’s first viral hit. The song which now has over 1 billion views on YouTube reached its peak on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at number four. Despite not reaching the number one spot, the song has been a staple on radio airwaves and the video which features dance group the “Poreotics” dancing with Mars in gorilla masks is a classic. “The Lazy Song” was one of the largest selling singles in 2011 with sales reaching about 6.5 million in digital sales.
“The Lazy Song” is high on this list due to its undeniable catchiness. The song is relatable to everyone since we all have all lazy days. The hook of “today I don’t feel like doing anything/I just wanna lay in my bed/Don’t feel like picking up the phone/So leave a message at the tone/Cause today I don’t feel like doing anything/Nothing at all” is the perfect soundtrack when we are just in a lazy mood. The song has reggae inspiration with smooth drums and guitars which add to the laid back vibe.
Learn more about the “Lazy Song” here.
3. “It Will Rain”
“It Will Rain” is a song that was featured on the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. “It Will Rain” is a song infused by pop, pop-soul and soft rock elements. Mars is singing agony about how his life will be filled with rain if she walks out of his life. During the time of the release in 2011, Mars was building his name as a “crooner.” Every time you hear the song you feel like the man with the suit and slick hair is singing directly to you.
“It Will Rain” has peaked at number 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The music video chronicles the stages of a breakup. In an interview with Billboard, Bruno Mars said that the song and video are inspired by the love story on Twilight characters Edward and Bella. Mars goes on to say, “”the ‘Twilight’ movies for me (are) a love story. But it’s a dark love story”, therefore the track is “the darker side of love.”
Learn more about “It Will Rain” here.
4. “Locked Out of Heaven”
“Locked Out of Heaven” is the lead single from Bruno Mars’ second album, Unorthodox Jukebox. The song was written by The Smeezingtons which is a small writing group consisting of Mars’ longtime friends and collaborators Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine. The song is executive produced by Mark Ronson who also produced their chart-topping hit, “Uptown Funk.” “Locked Out of Heaven” is a song where Bruno was able to show off his funk, reggae and rock influence. “Locked Out of Heaven” has nothing to do with religion but rather is a metaphor for the feeling of wanting sex with someone you want and knowing you can’t have it.
“Locked Out of Heaven” was a break-out hit for a relatively new Mars. The song spent six weeks at number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It also garnered heavy airplay, went 6x platinum and received critical acclaim. “Locked Out of Heaven” which Bruno states was heavily inspired by The Police was his first song played when performing during the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. It was the perfect song to get the party started, similar to the way he did in his music video for the song.
Learn more about “Locked Out of Heaven” here.
“Treasure” was the third single off of Bruno Mars’ sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox. The song was written and produced by Mars’ writing and production trio “The Smeezingtons.” The song is almost 3 minutes of funk and disco infused fun. The hook is the perfect compliment to anyone singing or dancing to the song, “Treasure, that is what you are/ Honey you’re my golden star/ You know you can make my wish come true/ If you let me treasure you/If you let me treasure you.” The music video matches the disco vibe as it’s Mars and his bandmates dancing under strobe lights and a disco ball hoping to serenade a female.
“Treasure” went on to be three-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Similar to some of Bruno Mar’s other songs, “Treasure” was met with some controversy when it was released. Breakbot came out and claimed that “Treasure” is a rip-off of “Baby I’m Yours.” Bruno Mars’ producing partner Philip Lawerence came forward and said that Breakbot’s hit was an inspiration but definitely not a ripoff.
Learn more about “Treasure” here.
6. “When I Was Your Man”
“When I Was Your Man” was the second lead single off of Bruno Mar’s sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox. Bruno Mars is excellent at funk songs but he conquers ballads just as well. “ When I Was Your Man” is a piano ballad about the heartbreak Bruno is facing for letting his girlfriend slip away. On the track he reminisces on all of the things he could have done to keep her in his life, “I should’ve bought you flowers/And held your hand/ Should’ve gave you all my hours/ When I had the chance/Take you to every party/Cause all you wanted to do was dance
Now my baby is dancing/But she’s dancing with another man.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mars stated that “When I Was Your Man” is about a rough patch in his seven-year relationship with model and actress Jessica Caban. The song peaked at the number 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 and earned him a grammy nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. The music video is simple, with Mars singing in a suit at the piano with a class of liquor on top. You can just feel his pain, with lyrics like “now I’ll never get to clean up the mess I made/It haunts me everything I close my eyes,” how could you not?
Learn more about “When I Was Your Man” here.
“Grenade” is the second single released from Bruno Mars debut album titled Doo-Wops & Hooligans. The song is a ballad infused with rock and pop elements written by The Smeezingtons. “Grenade” has all the workings of being the perfect Bruno Mars ballad. The song is about an unrequited love, Mars has lyrics saying all of the things he’s willing to do for the girl such as catching a grenade and throwing his hand on a blade but she wouldn’t do the same. “Grenade” has received critical acclaim for its raw emotion and stood at number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks. “Grenade” was also certified seven times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The music video for “Grenade” features Bruno dragging a piano throughout Los Angeles to find the girl he loves. The video perfectly matches the emotion of the song as you see Mars looking visibly tired and distraught on his quest. Upon finding the girl he is singing about he sees her with another man. With lyrics about all the various things he’s willing to do to keep her, he has finally had enough and the video ends with Mars’ on the train tracks with an upcoming train. The song and video combined make the perfect heartbreak anthem.
Learn more about “Grenade” here.
8. “Just the Way You Are”
“Just the Way You Are” is the lead single from Bruno Mars’ debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. Released in 2010, the song immediately received praise from critics and fans. “Just the Way You Are” won the grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2011. The song peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart where it spent four weeks on top. “Just the Way You Are” is certified nine times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
“Just the Way You Are” is a sweet ode to how people should accept all of their imperfections. The lyrics are full of compliments, “ When I see your face/There’s not a thing that I would change/ ‘Cause you’re amazing/Just the way you are.” In an interview with The Guardian, pop star Meghan Trainor admitted that “Just the Way You Are” was the inspiration for her breakout hit “All About The Bass.” Which is all about curvaceous women accepting themselves.
Learn more about “Just the Way You Are” here.
9. “That’s What I like”
“That’s What I Like” is Bruno Mars’ third single off of his third album, 24k Magic. The songs off of Mars’ third album took more time to gain steam than his previous ones but once Bruno performed “That’s What I like” at the 59th annual Grammy Awards it took off. The song which originally debuted at number 79 on Billboard’s Hot 100 shot up to number 6. Mars’ and his band are always able to use their live performances to make their songs come to life. “That’s What I Like” has peaked at number 2 on the charts thanks to its old school R&B and hip hop influence. The song sounds like something R.Kelly would make except with New Jack Swing incorporated.
The music video for “That’s What I Like” has helped propel the success of the song. The music video features Bruno Mars’ signature dance moves in a way that looks like a bunch of gifs or something from the musical.ly app. The video is perfect for getting the attention of the younger generation that loves social media.
Learn more about “That’s What I Like” here.
10. “24K Magic”
“24K Magic” was the lead-off single from Bruno Mars’ third album, 24K Magic. The song gave fans a little bit of a shock when releasing it after a four-year hiatus. “24K magic” is different from all of the other songs in Mars’ catalog because it’s a very synth-heavy modern disco record. In an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, Mars addresses how he’s aiming for a different sound with this song by saying, “It’s what we want to bring to the table musically. You hear these ’90s influences on the whole album, really, but ’24K Magic’ is because of West Coast hip-hop: Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Suga Free…it was at a time when it was okay to party, to be flashy, to get on the dance floor.”
“24K Magic” is a different twist for Bruno Mars but it’s still in his catchy element and makes you want to dance every time you hear it. The song debuted at number 5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and peaked at number 1. The music video matches the fun of the record by showing Mars’ and his friends hardcore partying in Vegas with private jets and beautiful women.
Learn more about “24K Magic” here.