Bruno Mars debuted "Locked Out of Heaven," the first single from his upcoming sophomore album "Unorthodox Jukebox," last night (Oct. 1) on a live YouTube chat with fans.
The song gives off a retro vibe, straying away from past pop-heavy hits "Grenade" and "Just the Way You Are." The track's love song chorus, however, still offers the smooth, catchy music fans have come to expect from the 26-year-old musician, with lyrics like, "You make feel like I've been locked out of heaven for too long / Can I just stay here, spend the rest of my days here?"
Later this month, Mars will host and perform on the Oct. 20 episode of "Saturday Night Live," where he will sing "Locked Out of Heaven" for the first time live on TV. He follows musical guests Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons, Muse and Passion Pit, all of whom are set to appear on the NBC show this season.
In his Billboard cover story, Mars said that "Unorthodox Jukebox," the Dec. 11 follow-up to 2010's "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," will be a departure from what he's done before, and said that his label -- Atlantic Records -- could "hear the evolvement." He had more time to complete this album, unlike "Doo-Wops," which was rushed out in an effort to capitalize on the success of his hit features, on B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire."
"This is me going into the studio and recording and writing whatever I want," he said of the 10-song set. "This album represents my freedom."
When "Doo-Wops" came out, Mars had been busy writing pop and radio-friendly songs for other artists. "It was a different mind-set," he explained. "Maybe that trickled off into my stuff and I didn't really have a chance to custom-make the sounds and sonics that I wanted to do. On this one, you're going to feel a little more me and what I stand for."
"Locked Out of Heaven," produced by Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, and the Smeezingtons (Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine), is already available on iTunes.
Additional reporting by Mitchell Peters.