Sunday, March 3, 2013

Locked Out of Heaven

Locked Out of Heaven

    (by:Bruno Mars)

"Locked Out of Heaven"
Single by Bruno Mars
from the album Unorthodox Jukebox
Released October 1, 2012
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2012
Genre New Wave, funk, reggae rock
Length 3:53
4:16 (remix with Travie McCoy)
Label Atlantic, Elektra
Writer(s) Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine
Producer The Smeezingtons, Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"Locked Out of Heaven"
"When I Was Your Man"
Music video
"Locked Out of Heaven" on YouTube

"Locked Out of Heaven" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars from his second studio album, Unorthodox Jukebox (2012). It was released as the lead single from the album on October 1, 2012. The song was written by Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine, and produced by Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie and The Smeezingtons. Mars visited Crossley Heath to record and produce the song and found a lot of help especially from singers Charlie Brooks, Chrissie Brooks and Rishi Bhuskute.
"Locked Out of Heaven" is a New Wave, funk and reggae rock song about the rapturous feelings brought about by a relationship infused with positive emotion as well as good sex. Several music critics noted that the song is influenced by a number of bands, with The Police being most cited. Mars admitted that he was influenced by the band to write the song.
It received generally positive response from most music critics; his vocals were praised, being called "smooth" and "sweet," while its sound was lauded, with the song being called "interesting" and a "musical evolution". The song was a commercial success, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks and the Canadian Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks, while also charting inside the top-ten in 20 countries.


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Composition and influences
  • 3 Critical reception
  • 4 Chart performance
  • 5 Music video
  • 6 Track listing
  • 7 Live performances
    • 7.1 Cover versions
  • 8 Charts and certifications
    • 8.1 Weekly charts
    • 8.2 Certifications
    • 8.3 Year-end charts
  • 9 Release history
  • 10 References


After his smash 2010 debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, which produced two Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles, "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade," and was certified double-platinum by RIAA,[1] Mars revealed he wanted to create something unexpected with its follow-up.[2] "This is me going into the studio and recording and writing whatever I want," Mars says confidently. "This album represents my freedom."[1] It was during his last two years of worldwide concerts and TV shows that Mars realized his second album needed to reflect his raucously energetic stage show. To achieve a fuller sound on the new release, he recruited some of his favorite producers, including Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, Diplo and the Supa Dups. The Smeezingtons, who co-wrote and co-produced all of the tracks, also serve as the album's executive producers.[3] "Locked Out of Heaven" was unveiled digitally and on radio on October 1, 2012, and became available for purchase the following day.[1]

Composition and influences

"Locked Out of Heaven" was written by Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, while production was handled by the latter three production-team The Smeezingtons, Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie.[4] It was written in the key of D minor, with Mars's vocals range from the low note of A3 the high note of C5.[5] The song finds Mars singing of a relationship that is so good the narrator feels like he was "locked out of heaven" before he met his lover.[6] "You make me feel like I've been locked out of heaven for too long/ Can I just stay here, spend the rest of my days here?" he sings.[7] During his Google Hangout on the day of the song's release, Mars was asked by a fan to name his favorite lyrics from the track. Mars picked the phrase "But swimming in your water is something spiritual," and later said that the single's exploration of feeling and being in love fits into the "sensual, sensual and sensual" theme of the album.[7][8]
"Hell yeah! You try to write a Police song!. I grew up listening to The Police, I grew up performing in bars, singing Police songs ... I remember performing a song like "Roxanne", and you play those first couple of chords, and you hit that first note, and you watch the whole bar ignite. And as an artist, as a songwriter, it's like 'Man, I want to write a song that makes people's eyes explode the first chord!'."
—Mars talking about The Police influence on the track.[9]
It has been described as having strong influences of New Wave, funk and reggae rock.[10][11][12][13][14] Andrew Unterberger of Pop Dust perceived that "the choppy guitar and bass combo that hits halfway in between The Romantics’ "Talking in Your Sleep" and The Police’s "Roxanne"."[12] Tim Sendra of Allmusic described the song as "a breezy mashup of 'Beat It', The Police, and Dire Straits."[15] Bill Lamb of opined that it "sounds like the Police's classic 'Message In a Bottle' had a head-on collision with the band Maroon 5."[6] For Paul MacInnes of The Guardian called it "a brazen – but successful – welding of Dire Straits' 'Sultans of Swing' and 'Can't Stand Losing You', also by the Police."[16] Carl Williott of Idolator found out that "the angular guitars and Mars’ Sting-like staccato delivery are heavily indebted to The Police," also seeing "hints of Foster the People on the omnipresent 'eh-eh-eh-eh-ooo' punctuating the beat."[17] Melinda Newman of HitFix commented that the song has a "Police/‘80s rock skipping beat plus a touch of The Romantics' 'What I Like About You.'"[18] Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times expressed, "think the Police (circa Ghost in the Machine) infiltrating the Human League."[19] Jon Caramanica of New York Times simply called it "a vivid carbon copy of Zenyatta Mondatta-era Police."[20]
Though critics have pointed out the song's similarities to some of the hits by the Police, Mars told MTV News he did not set out to write anything inspired by the Sting-fronted band. Instead, it came to him out of the blue, one night during his studio sessions prior to recording the Unorthodox Jukebox album. "I don't think it initially tried to sound like anybody else, but I picked up the guitar and just started playing [the song's opening chords]," Mars explained. "That's how it normally works; I'll pick up a guitar and I'll start humming a melody, and I started singing that, and I was up there in Sting-ville, in that register, so that's what you get..."He performed the song live with Sting himself during the 2013 Grammys. [9]

Critical reception

The majority of music critics noted similarities between "Locked Out of Heaven" to a handful of tracks by the English rock band The Police (pictured). Later, Mars admitted that the song was inspired by the band.
The song has received acclaim from most music critics. Bill Lamb of was positive, giving the song a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, praising "Bruno Mars' sweet, gliding vocals," the "strong relationship-centered lyrics" and the "unique uptempo arrangement."[6] He also wrote that "It is pleasing to hear a strong mainstream pop song so uptempo without relying on ubiquitous dance club beats. This is a solid return for Bruno Mars."[6] Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone gave the song 3.5 out of 5 stars, writing that "The song is about unbridled passion, but as usual with Mars, the aesthetic is tidy and impeccable, pop songcraft polished to a high-gloss gleam: jittery Police-esque rock-reggae verses that erupt, amid thunder-boom synths, into a steamrolling four-on-the-floor chorus."[21] Andrew Unterberger of PopCrush also gave the song a rating of 3.5 out of 5, calling the song "raunchy yet subtle" and praising the song for being "classy enough not to get graphic or vulgar", and also praising Mars' vocals on the track, calling them "smooth".[22] Andrew Unterberger of PopDust also gave a positive review, giving the song a rating of 4.5 out of 5, calling the song "hyper-energetic, funky, [and] slightly retro", however he said that it was the "tiniest bit disappointing" that more was not added to the song's chorus. Nonetheless, Unterberger called the song one of "the most fun, dynamic, and exciting songs" of 2012.[12] Carl Williott of Idolator also gave the song a positive review, writing that it "shows an interesting musical evolution," and called the song "interesting" and evolutionary for Mars.[17] Neon Limelight also praised the song, calling it "irresistible" and "funky".[23]
Ryan Reed of Paste Magazine called it "a driving pop anthem that moves from a punchy, 'Roxanne'-esque new-wave groove to a soulful, synth-driven chorus."[24] Matt Cibula of PopMatters further explained the track, writing, "It starts out like an early Police single, with some straight-up Reggatta de Blanc syncopation and a shockingly good Sting vocal impression. But the chorus opens up to turn into something less Police-y and more, dare I say it, Bruno Mars-y."[25] Kitty Empire of The Observer wrote that the song "channels the Police, but its 21st-century builds owe as much to rave-pop as they do to producer Mark Ronson. It's an ill-omened meeting that somehow gels."[26] Jason Lipshut of Billboard gave a very positive review, stating that "'Locked out of Heaven' is Mars' best solo single to date, with the singer-songwriter yelping about fornication as a tossed salad of chopped guitars and vocal exclamations buttress his sumptuous leading-man act. Sometimes, the perfect lead single is hard to find; other times, it walks right up to you and delivers a big, cozy hug."[27] Melinda Newman of HitFix praised "Mars' singing and the catchy little background vocals," which according to her, "keep the song moving downstream at a rapid pace." She also noted that "Even clumsy lyrics like 'your sex takes me to paradise' can’t diminish that joy that the beats and melody bring."[18]

Chart performance

"Locked Out of Heaven" debuted at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 92,000 downloads sold, which led the song to soar onto Hot Digital Songs chart, at number 11, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The song also debuted on the Hot 100 Airplay at number 54 with 23 million all-format audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS.[28] On the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart, the song debuted at number 26, with "Greatest Gainer" honors, being his eighth top 10 single; its career-opening streak is the longest among men in the chart's 20-year history.[29] The song also debuted on the Adult Pop Songs chart at number 26, marking the highest entrance by a solo male unaccompanied by another artist since Rob Thomas bowed at number 20 with "Lonely No More", on the week of February 19, 2005.[28] After climbing to number 33, the song leap to number 15, in its third week, becoming the top "Digital Greatest Gainer," with 106,000 downloads sold,[29] after his well-received appearance as host and musical guest on NBC's "Saturday Night Live".[29] In its fourth week, "Locked Out of Heaven" climbed from number 15 to 7, with the Hot 100's top "Digital Greatest Gainer" award for a second week, also becoming his ninth Hot 100 top 10, only in 2 years.[30] After climbing the charts for two weeks, the song leaped to number four, becoming his eighth top five Hot 100 hit. That same week, the song jumped to number 7 on the Radio Songs chart, marking his ninth consecutive career-opening top 10, extending his record among men.[31] The following week, the song passed a million downloads sold.[32]
Later, after a tight race with Rihanna to top the charts, the song ascended to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Mars' fourth Hot 100 topper since his arrival in 2010, becoming the fastest collection of a male artist's first four number-ones in 48 years.[33] The song remained at the top for a second week, with Mars becoming one of nine male soloists in the Hot 100's 54-year history to tally at least two weeks on top with each of his first four leaders.[34] "Locked Out of Heaven" spent a third week atop the Billboard chart, also topping the Radio Songs chart for the first time and continuing to lead Digital and On-Demand Songs, becoming the first song to top all four tallies simultaneously.[35] It subsequently spent a fourth week at the top, selling 497,000 downloads, Mars' second highest frame. The song spent a fifth week at the top, becoming the longest-reigning of Mars' four number-one singles (surpassing Just the Way You are and Grenade, who stayed fourth weeks each). It then spent a sixth week atop the Hot 100.[36] As of the week ending February 3, 2012, the song has sold over 3 million copies in the United States.[37]
In Australasia, the song was a success. In Australia, it debuted at number 21, on the ARIA Charts week of October 21, 2012. Later, it fell to number 21 the following week. In its third week, the song climbed to number 10, while on November 11, 2012, the song peaked at number 4, for two consecutive weeks. After falling for four weeks, the song climbed again to number 5, remaining for two weeks.[38] In New Zealand, the song started at number 23, on October 15, 2012. In its fifth week, the song jumped to number 8, remaining for two weeks, before climbing to number 6.[39] After falling for two weeks, the song climbed again to number 8, while on December 24, 2012, it peaked at number 4.[39]
In the UK, the song debuted at number 2, on the week ending December 24, 2012.[40] In Spain, the song debuted at number 35, on October 7, 2012.[41] After leaving the charts for two weeks, it re-entered at number 40. The song kept fluctuating on the chart for the next six weeks, until it peaked at number 6.[41] The song sold 421,000 copies in the UK in 2012, the 33th best-selling single of the year.[42] In France, the song debuted at number 85 on the SNEP chart.[43] After eight weeks, it peaked at number 6, remaining at the position for three consecutive weeks.[43] In Austria, it debuted at number 28 on the Ö3 Austria Top 40, on October 19, 2012. It peaked at number 5, on November 9, 2012.[44]

Music video

A music video for the song was directed by Cameron Duddy and Bruno Mars, and was released on October 15, 2012.[45] The concept of the video is about Mars having a good time with his friends doing things like smoking, drinking beer and playing games. He is also seen singing the song with his band at a club. The video has a vintage style, like those of VHS tapes.[45] Mars explained to MTV News, "The concept is just old-fashioned fun. No story line, it’s not me singing to a girl, you get a good sense of what you’re going to get live... It’s very VHS-y. I love that man, it takes me back to my childhood, when the tracking is off and the color is off, there’s a beauty in that. You’d have to stand by the TV with, like, aluminum foil all over you."[7]
Hugh McIntire of Billboard explained the video, writing, "Everything about 'Locked Out Of Heaven' -- whether it be the video or the track itself - is retro. While the song references the early discography of The Police, the video takes us back a little bit further. From the style of their dress and the wonky-TV effects on the video, one might guess that Bruno and his friends are partying in the '70s. Only the Akai MPC sampler being played by a band member reminds the viewer that this video is, in fact, modern."[46]

Track listing

Digital download
No. Title Length
1. "Locked Out of Heaven"   3:53
Locked Out of Heaven (Remixes)
No. Title Length
1. "Locked Out of Heaven" (Cazzette's Answering Machine Mix) 3:30
2. "Locked Out of Heaven" (Sultan & Ned Shepherd Remix) 3:59
3. "Locked Out of Heaven" (The M Machine Remix) 4:02
4. "Locked Out of Heaven" (Paul Oakenfold Remix) 5:17

Live performances

Bruno Mars performed the song live for the first time on Saturday Night Live on October 20, 2012. His performance was well received by critics. Rolling Stone magazine wrote, "With a little oomph, a whole lotta shimmy-shimmy-ya and a few hip swivels, Bruno's ska-bop jam was given new life. It all seems so effortless; so cool and fresh; pop performances don't often fall ahead of the curve, but this one does."[47] Sam Lansky of Idolator praised the performance, writing that "Mars turned it out on the show, with an energetic rendition of 'Locked Out of Heaven' backed by a fleet of impeccably choreographed dancers."[48] On December 4, Mars performed on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, aired on CBS. His performance happened during the Calendar Girls.[49] On December 13, he performed it live on the FOX reality television singing competition, The X Factor.[50] Mars also performed the song with Sting at 2013 Grammy Awards, joined later by Rihanna, Ziggy Marley and Damian Marley to pay tribute to reggae legend Bob Marley.

Cover versions

British quartet Bastille covered "Locked Out of Heaven" for BBC Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox in the Live Lounge on January 21, 2013. The band's version saw a mash-up between the track and Rihanna's "Diamonds"; also incorporating "Niggas in Paris" by Jay-Z and Kanye West and "Angels" by The xx.[51] The New Directions choir group covered the song in the Sadie Hawkins episode of Glee.[52] On 22 February 2013, Alex Rudiart sings "Locked Out of Heaven" during the first gala show of the first season of X Factor Indonesia.

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (2012–13) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[38] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[44] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[53] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 40 Wallonia)[54] 3
Brazil (Hot 100 Airplay)[55] 54
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[56] 1
Colombia (National-Report)[57] 16
Czech Republic (IFPI)[58] 5
Denmark (Tracklisten)[59] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[60] 11
France (SNEP)[43] 3
Germany (Media Control AG)[61] 7
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[62] 1
Hungary (Single Top 10)[63] 8
Ireland (IRMA)[64] 4
Israel (Media Forest)[65] 2
Italy (FIMI)[66] 3
Japan (Billboard Japan Hot 100)[67] 10
Mexico (Airplay)[68] 1
Mexico (Monitor Latino)[69] 6
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[70] 5
New Zealand (RIANZ)[39] 4
Norway (VG-lista)[71] 7
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 5)[72] 1
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[73] 42
Slovakia (IFPI)[74] 1
South Korea (Gaon International Chart)[75] 3
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[41] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[76] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[77] 8
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[78] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[79] 1
US Pop Songs (Billboard)[80] 1
US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard)[81] 15
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[82] 19
US Adult Contemporary[83] 12
US Adult Pop Songs (Billboard)[84] 2
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[85] 12
Venezuela Top 100 (Record Report)[86] 63
Venezuela Pop Rock (Record Report)[87] 1


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[88] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^
Australia (ARIA)[89] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Belgium (BEA)[90] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[91] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[92] Gold 15,000^
Italy (FIMI)[93] Platinum 30,000*
New Zealand (RIANZ)[94] Platinum 15,000*
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Year-end charts

Chart (2012) Position
Belgium (Wallonia)[95] 73
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[96] 49
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 33

Release history

Country Date Format Label
United States[97] October 1, 2012 Mainstream radio, digital download Elektra, Atlantic, WMG
Poland[98] November 5, 2012 CD single
United Kingdom[99] November 11, 2012 Digital download
Germany[100] October 3, 2012
Japan[101] November 21, 2012 CD single


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