Bruno Mars kicked off his two-night stint as musical guest for the new-to-11:30 Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night (January 10) with a gentlemanly and assertive performance of his lovesick ballad “When I Was Your Man” from SPIN’s Top 5 Best Pop Album of 2012, Unorthodox Jukebox. Drenched in mournful piano, the neo-soul pop star’s voice swells and contracts with every new regret and heartbroken epiphany. “Too young, too dumb to realize that I should’ve bought you flowers and held your hand / Should’ve gave you all my hours when I had the chance,” Mars lushly parcels out. “Now my baby’s dancing, but she’s dancing with another man,” he sings.
By the sure-footed ballad’s end, Mars’ grief morphs into sincere well-wishing: “I hope he holds your hand / Do all the things I should’ve done when I was your man.” Mars might still be locked out of heaven, but it sounds like he’s getting closer to the angels.