The real shame about Bruno Mars’ sophomore album Unorthodox Jukebox is that it came out so late last year. By the time it hit market on December 6, we’d already nailed down our 50 Best Albums of the 2012 list, and were it not too late, this writer would’ve made a real case for the LP’s inclusion there. (Christopher R. Weingarten would’ve had my back, too.) On every subsequent listen, from the libidinous pounding under “Young Girls” to the Sam Cooke-biting closer “If I Knew,” Unorthodox Jukebox’s retro-pop patina only wears better.
That was just a long way into introducing Mars’ latest video, for “When I Was Your Man.” A plaintive and pretty piano ballad already, the song’s visual takes an equally spare but stylized approach. Playing the role of lonely balladeer on a ’70s-era variety show (Exhibit A: afro), Mars sits at the piano as the camera does that thing where more translucent shots are layered over the original shot, then slowly dissolve in and out (i.e., Exhibit B). Watch it up above, then make sure to revisit all of UJ for the first, second, or third time.