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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bruno Mars - Blowing Up The Charts With A Grenade!

This is the Sunday Jukebox for Sunday, January 26, 2014.  But I wouldn't exactly call this any ordinary Sunday Jukebox entry.

Today just also happens to be the day in which the best musical recordings of the last twelve months are celebrated in the awards show known as The Grammy Awards.

And, as long as I've been alive, I remember always being excited about the Grammy Awards.  Even though I more or less have quit listening to the Top 40 charts, I still get excited about the Grammy Awards.  As someone who has always loved everything to do with music, I find myself tuning in year after year regardless of whether I enjoy the musical artists or not.

In fact, with the exception of one particular year, I've seen ever single Grammy Award ceremony since at least the mid-1980s.  I'll get to the one awards ceremony that I missed out on in a little while from now.  It's all part of the song choice that I've made for this week.

(As you know, I'm doing the Sunday Jukebox a little bit differently this year, as I'll be selecting only the songs that reached the top of the Billboard charts.)

Anyway, I've been watching the Grammy Awards for many years now, and some ceremonies have been better than others.  I seem to recall 2012 being the last year in which I was really engaged with the entire ceremony and was thrilled for all of the winners.  Though, I do admit that last year was all right as well.  I almost lost interest in the awards in the mid-2000s because that was right around the time that I found myself completely disgusted with the artists that I didn't care if any of them won, but I stuck with them, and I think that they might just be making a bit of a turnaround.

Certainly, 2014 is looking like one of those memorable years.  Just recently, I was stocking the compact disc section (yes, we still do sell CD's), and the 2014 Grammy Award compilation was one of those albums released.  Apparently, Katy Perry, Robin Thicke, P!nk, Lorde, Macklemore & Lewis, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Kacey Musgraves, and Ed Sheeran are just a few of the nominees that are hoping to take home the Grammy Award in their respected categories.  Some of the artists I love, some not so much, and a couple I haven't even heard of, but at the very least the list of nominees is quite eclectic and it looks as if the race could be quite close in a couple of instances.

Oh, and there's also one more nominee that we have to add.  And, you know what, this nominee is looking as if 2014 is going to be one banner year.  Not only has he been nominated for several awards at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, but just one week from today, he'll be entertaining audiences as this year's halftime performer at the Super Bowl!  Believe me, that is one honour that only a select few ever get to experience.

But somehow, I think Bruno Mars is up to the challenge.  And, somehow, I think that he'll rock that show.  And besides, reportedly, The Red Hot Chili Peppers will be making an appearance as well.  Hmmm...if I didn't work on Super Bowl Sunday, I'd probably tune in to watch it, even though I despise football.

I just hope that somehow, Bruno Mars takes home at least one trophy tonight.  I have to admit that I do like his music, and many of his songs are of the "get up off of your feet and move around" type.  I'd rather listen to songs that make me happy and energetic, rather than depressing ballads that make you want to collapse in the middle of a cold shower in tears (though I imagine that Bruno Mars himself has released at least one or two of those kinds of songs too).  And, I have to admit that "Locked Out of Heaven" is one of those songs that I could listen to more than once or twice.

But you know what's funny?  Out of all of the many Grammy Award nominations that Bruno Mars has received over the course of the last four years (including a songwriting nomination for Cee-Lo Green's "F@#$ You"), he's only managed to win one.  Now, granted, one award is better than nothing, but I think that he should win at least one for his "Unorthodox Jukebox" album, because it's an album of hodge-podge that blends together into a modern day classic (well, in my humble opinion, anyway).

In fact, I chose today's song of discussion because it was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2012, and lost all three to Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" (which too was a fantastic song).  But it was also the #1 song during the one year in which I was forced to miss the Grammy Awards for unforeseen reasons.

You see, the song actually spent four weeks at the top of the charts, but it wasn't consecutive weeks.  It first topped the charts on January 8, 2011 before being knocked off one week later by Katy Perry's "Firework".  Then on January 22, it spent another week on the charts before once again being dethroned by Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me".  Then on February 5, the song once again made it to the top of the charts, and stayed there until February 19, when Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" hit the #1 spot.

I'm sure you get where this is going.  February 2011 was the month in which I had that pesky infected gall bladder removed and I had to spend two weeks in the hospital.  And on that year, the Grammy Awards were held February 13, 2011...the day after my surgery.  And since I was looped up on painkillers and couldn't walk two steps without feeling weak and nauseous, I was in no condition to watch any sort of awards show.

And, considering that this song was at the top of the charts during February 2011, and given that Bruno Mars won his one and only Grammy Award on the day after my surgery...and given that the song in which he was nominated for a slew of Grammy Awards for 2012 and lost every single one for the song that was #1 during what was easily one of the hardest things I've ever gone could I not pick this song for today's subject.

Here's the song for today, which topped the charts on this date three years ago.

ARTIST:  Bruno Mars
SONG:  Grenade
ALBUM:  Doo-Wops and Hooligans
DATE RELEASED:  September 28, 2010

And, just on a side note, the pains that you get before you undergo gall bladder surgery...they feel exactly like someone is detonating a grenade right inside your body.  Take my word on that one.

Anyway, let's talk about "Grenade".  It was Bruno Mars' second ever single release behind the 2010 single "Just The Way You Are" (which also topped the charts later that year), and it is a song that is all about the subject of heartbreak.  And if you watched the video above, it is both beautiful and disturbing all at the same time.  And yet, it's something that I myself can relate to.

Well, aside from standing in the middle of a train track with a piano chained to me, hoping that the 10:48 express train from Toronto to Montreal smashes right into me.  While I have hit rock bottom before on an emotional level, I'm happy to report that I would never go to such extremes in my own personal life at this particular time.

Still, you gotta feel for the guy in the video played by Bruno Mars.  I'm sure that most of us out there have fallen hard for someone and have done everything in our power to get them to fall in love with you without coming across as an obsessed stalker type.  I seem to recall many of the feelings that I had for other girls who might have been in my class, or who I got to know over the years went either unnoticed or ignored...mainly because I lacked (and still lack) the courage to admit to someone how I really feel towards them.  I guess it could be considered a fear of rejection, or feelings of inadequacy on my part...or I could just be rambling in an effort to add more words to this blog piece, so how about I shut my yap and get to the point!

Anyway, as I was saying, we've all been there.  We've all fallen in love with someone who is unattainable, or we've fallen in love with someone who has fallen out of love with us and fallen into love with someone else.  It's a really horrible feeling to have, and I hope that for those of you who have found your true loves out there in this world that you didn't have to feel that pain of heartbreak too much in your path to happiness.  Well, that's the general idea behind the meaning of the song, "Grenade".  Bruno Mars himself has stated that "Grenade" represents the side of love that most people hope to never experience...the side of love in which the affection is clearly one-sided.

I suppose in one manner, the fact that Bruno is chained to a piano and dragging it down the streets through dangerous neighbourhoods is largely symbolic.  It demonstrates the challenges that someone might have to face when trying to keep a relationship going.  It also shows all of us just how much work Bruno was putting in the relationship and also what he would endure to make sure that he could prove his love for her.  He'd take a grenade for her, lay down his life for her, even stand in front of a train for her!  Not a lot of people I know would actually even make those promises, let alone DO them.

And certainly he goes through his struggles along the way, much like we all do when we're trying to impress those we love.  He encounters a pitbull, a homeless man, and a gang of thugs who all try to stop him from reaching his destination, but do you think any of that will stop him from pulling his piano to his woman's back door so he can serenade her with love, affection, and tenderness?  Why, the fact that he drops his photo of the woman he loves on the ground, and almost gets into the fight with the leader of the gang just proves that he literally will risk his life to be with the one he loves.

And then he arrives at the girl's place of residence, getting ready to sing his little heart out...only to find her getting frisky with someone else that is NOT Bruno.  And, from there, we see a dejected and rejected Bruno Mars decide that if he can't have the girl, then he will have nobody, and we are left with the rather open-ended conclusion of the video which has all of us wondering...did he survive?  Did he die?  Did he sacrifice the piano instead of himself?  Because of the deliberately ambiguous ending, we may never really know.

But the one thing that we do know is that it became what could be considered Bruno Mars' real breakthrough single.  Though, I suppose I do have one final thought.  I honestly don't know if the same actress who played Bruno's girlfriend in "Grenade" was the same one who played his girlfriend in "Just The Way You Are" (I don't believe it is, but I could be wrong), but if the two girls are one in the same...because "Just The Way You Are" was released before "Grenade", then I would think that Bruno would be better off leaving her and going after someone else who WOULD care about him and who would be proud that he would take a grenade for them.

And just one final note before we end this piece off.  Bruno Mars performed this song at the 2011 Grammy Awards (the only Grammy show I missed), and while it's not quite known if he will sing this song at the Super Bowl this year, I imagine that if he does, he might want to wear a hard hat.  Apparently, whenever Bruno sings this song, people in the audience have taken to throwing dummy grenades on stage as he sings it...which I would imagine would be painful if one ever hit him!

Let's hope that nobody throws things at Bruno on stage both at the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl.

In conclusion, I thought I'd play another Bruno Mars song to get everyone in a dancing mood!  Here's "Treasure", a top 10 hit from 2013!

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