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Just the Way You Are (Bruno Mars song)

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"Just the Way You Are"
Bruno-mars-just-the-way-you-are.jpg
Single by Bruno Mars
from the album Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Released July 20, 2010
Format
Genre
Length 3:41
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"Billionaire"
(2010)
"Just the Way You Are"
(2010)
"Grenade"
(2010)
"Billionaire"
(2010)
"Just the Way You Are"
(2010)
"Grenade"
(2010)

"Just the Way You Are" is the debut solo single by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars. It is the lead single from his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010). The song was written by Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Khalil Walton and Needlz and produced by the former three, under their alias, The Smeezingtons along with Needlz. It was released in the United States to Contemporary hit radio on August 10, 2010. The track was released in the United Kingdom on September 19, 2010, as "Just the Way You Are (Amazing)". The song's lyrics compliment a woman's beauty.

The debut single received positive reviews from critics, who considered it a stand-out track on Doo-Wops & Hooligans and praised The Smeezington's production. It won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2011 ceremony. The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40 charts and charted in the top five in other countries. It was certified 9 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and 6 times by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Worldwide, it was the best selling digital single of 2011 with sales of 12.2 million copies. So far, it has sold over 13.7 million copies worldwide becoming one of the best selling digital singles of all time.

The music video, directed by Ethan Lader, was released on September 8, 2010 and features Peruvian born Australian actress Nathalie Kelley. The official remix features rapper Lupe Fiasco and is included on the deluxe edition of Doo-Wops & Hooligans.[1] Mars performed "Just The Way You Are" on The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour (2010–2012), on the Moonshine Jungle Tour (2013–2014) and on the 24K Magic World Tour (2017-2018). He also included it during his performance at the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. "Just the Way You Are" has been covered by various recording artists and it inspired Meghan Trainor's debut single "All About That Bass".[2]

Writing and production[edit]

Mars said of the song, "It took me months to come up with 'Just the Way You Are'... I wasn't thinking of anything deep or poetic. I was telling a story. Get ready to fall in love!"[3] He added, "I'm a big fan of songs like Joe Cocker's 'You Are So Beautiful' and Eric Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight' - songs that go straight to the point. You know, there's no mind-boggling lyrics or twists in the story - they just come directly from the heart. And to me 'Just The Way You Are' is one of those songs. There's nothing mind-blowing about it. I'm just telling a woman she looks beautiful the way she IS - and, let's be honest, what woman doesn't wanna hear those lyrics?!"[4] Mars' A&R was responsible for finding the original idea from producers/ songwriters Khalil Walton and Needlz. Mars originally sang the hook that Khalil and Needlz wrote for a feature on a Lupe Fiasco record. Needlz allowed Mars to use the idea for his album.[5][6] This was all facilitated by Aaron Bay Shuck, who told HitQuarters that as soon as "Just the Way You Are" was finished they knew they had the first single, saying:

"It had a massive chorus, an instantly memorable melody and lyric, and was a natural transition from the B.o.B and Travie McCoy songs ... [Also] it didn’t sound like anything else on the radio. It had everything we could want in a first single for Bruno."[5]

Ari Levine explains: "Needlz had a track with a melody idea by Khalil Walton that was presented to us by one of the A&R guys. Bruno and Phil came up with the chorus, and then Needlz sent us the files and we replaced a bunch of sounds with our sounds and I programmed drums in the MPC, and we wrote the rest of the song. I never met Needlz or Walton".[6] The song was supposed to be for Lupe Fiasco but at this point Bruno decided to keep it.[7]

"Just the Way You Are" was co-written by Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Khalil Walton and Needlz, while production was handled by the former three production-team, The Smeezingtons. It was Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios in Hollywood by Manny Marroquin, while Christian Plata and Erik Madrid served as the assistant mixing.[8] Ari Levine, Needlz, and Bruno Mars played all the instruments on the track and recorded them. Ari was also responsible for engineering the song at Levcon Studios in California.[8] Stephen Marcussen mastered the song at Marcussen Mastering in California.[8]

Release[edit]

"Just The Way You Are" was released as the lead single from Doo-Wops & Hooligans.[9] Elektra Records serviced the song to download in the United States on July 20, 2010.[9] It was released in the United States to Contemporary hit radio on August 10, 2010 by Elktra and Atlatic Records.[10] On September 19, 2010, the song was sent to the United Kingdom to be released, under the name, Just the Way You Are (Amazing), on Mainstream Radio.[11][12] On November 2, seven remixes were released as a purchasable download in US.[13] It was released as a CD single in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, on November 12. The single contains the album version of the song and the remix by Skrillex Batboi.[14] On the same date, another CD Single was released in Netherlands, only featuring the album version of the single.[14] The track was released on September 27, 2010 in the United Kingdom via digital download.[15] The single ended up by being released worldwide on November 25, 2010.[16] On December 2, 2010, The Remixes - 12" Maxi was released in the UK and Denmark to promote the single and album.[17]

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

"Just The Way You Are" is a pop and R&B song[18][19] with an instrumentation that features piano,[20] keyboard sounds[18] and breakbeat.[21] The instruments are arranged into what critics described as a "nice smooth ballad with vocals".[18] Tim Byron of The Vine said "the steeply rising melody at the start of the chorus introduces a little tension before defusing it with the, catchy tag of the chorus, which is simple and effective as a hook".[22] The Guardian music reviewer, Paul Lester, describes the song as "fairly standard R&B pop, his vocal a breezy falsetto as characterless."[19]

The song is in the key of F Major and has a sequence of F-D-Minor-B-Flat-F.[20] Mars' vocal range spans from F3 to C5.[20] Billboard critic Megan Vick called "Just The Way You Are" "a feel-good jam, in which Mars' is able to take "to the next level" is dreamy soprano with a "breezy piano and vaguely hip-hop breakbeat"".[21] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly labeled the song "sweetly smitten ballad".[23] Nick Levin from Digital Spy describe it as a "huge-hearted urbany piano ballad with a similar instant classic feel to "Empire State of Mind"".[15] From The Guardian, Paul Lester says the lyrics are "about a girl Mars could "kiss all day"".[19] The song has been compared to a "U2 production" by Jon Caramanica of The New York Times[24] and by Andy Gill adding that he felt a "groove through R&B territory".[25] Tim Sendra of AllMusic called the debut single "lushly romantic".[26] Scott Kara for the New Zealand Herald felt the song was a "ballad boogie".[27]

Lyrically, the song is about Mars professing "his love for a beautiful girl who occupies his dreams". Megan Vick for Billboard carries on with her explanation "Mars professes his love..."When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while/ 'Cause girl you're amazing, just the way you are". She concludes, "Mars' lyrics aim to make female listeners feel nothing short of perfect in their own skin".[21] Tim Byron of The Vine said the song is "effective – the repeated lines at the start of the verses are catchy".[22] Consequence of Sound's Kevin Barber described the song "Mars sticks to the song’s name and insists that he wouldn’t want to change anything about his particular gal. You believe him, too. With an undeniably catchy chorus".[28]

Reception and accolades[edit]

The song has received positive reviews by music critics. Digital Spy's Nick Levine gave the song four out of five stars and described it as a "huge-hearted urbany piano ballad" and compared it to "Empire State of Mind" by Alicia Keys with a similar sound as the Keys song.[15] In her review for Billboard, Megan Vick wrote: "Over a breezy piano and vaguely hip-hop breakbeat, Mars professes his love for a beautiful girl who occupies his dreams [...] Mars pens lyrics that aim to make female listeners feel nothing short of perfect in their own skin. With its steady, danceable pulse and singalong chorus, Mars has created a feel-good jam that should establish him as a solo contender in his own right."[21] Nima Baniamer from Contactmusic.com felt that "there is nothing about the single that makes Bruno Mars stand out from all the other RnB artists dominating the charts at the moment", and said, "The song never builds to any climax and it simply falls a bit flat, coming across quite corny and cheesy."[29]

The song was nominated for the 2010 The Record of the Year ceremony.[30] On February 13, 2011, the song won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The single was nominated for several awards at 2011 Billboard Music Awards, but it ended up by winning only the category Top Radio Song.[31] It was nominated for Choice Music: Love Song at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards.[32] In the same year, the single won Most Performed Song at ASCAP Pop Music Awards.[33] In 2012, at the same award ceremony, it won, again, Most Performed Song and also Song of the Year.[34] At the RTHK International Pop Poll Awards the song won "Top 10 Gold International Gold Songs".[35]

"Just the Way You Are" has sold 13.7 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time. In 2013, as a celebration of the chart's 55th Anniversary, Billboard counted down the 100 biggest Hot 100 hits ever, the song was ranked at 74.[36] The song is also one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time placed at number 74 with sales around 1.17 million.[37]

Chart performance[edit]

The song reached the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated October 2, 2010, ending the two-week reign of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream".[38] The song spent a total of 48 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting on August 7, 2010 and leaving the chart on July 2, 2011. By the end of December 2010, the song had sold over 3,280,000 digital copies in the US alone;[39] and as of October 2015, it has sold 6.7 million downloads domestically.[40] The song was certified nine times platinum by the RIAA. It holds the record of the longest-reigning debut format on the Adult Contemporary, having spent 20 weeks atop.[41] It is featured on the Greatest of All Time Hot 100 at number 79.[42] The song jumped from 7 to 1 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart dated October 9, 2010.

On September 26, 2010, it became the singer's second number-one single in the United Kingdom,[12] where it hit the number-one spot again on October 24, 2010 [43] from sales of 116,000 copies[43] becoming the first song ever to have left the top three before rebounding to the top spot. It sold 766,000 copies during 2010, becoming the third biggest seller of the year.[44] On April 9, 2013 it was revealed that the song is the ninth most downloaded song of all time in the United Kingdom.[45] On 2 August 2011 "Just The Way You Are" became the 108th million-selling single in the UK, it took 43 weeks to reach there.[46] In the United Kingdom and according to the Official Charts Company, the single has reached a total of 1,57 million combined sales (1.33 million purchases and 244,72 streaming equivalent sales), as of September 2017.[47] The same chart company ranked the song as the 75th biggest selling single of all-time in UK.[47] It was certified two times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[48]

On October 12, 2010, Bruno Mars got his third number one single in the Dutch Top 40, after "Nothin' On You" and "Billionaire", having spent 11 weeks at number one in Netherlands.[49] The song also reached number one in Australia and certified six times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[50][51] The single debuted at number 31 in New Zealand on August 2, 2010. The song was number 1 for two weeks. The single was on the chart for 32 weeks.[52]

It debuted at number 8 on the Italian Singles Chart on November 4, 2010. The song ended up by peaking at number five, and it stayed on the chart for 1 week.[53] It was less successful on the French Singles Chart, where it peaked at number 33 and stayed on the chart for 28 weeks.[54] "Just The Way You Are" also peaked at number three in Switzerland,[55] at number one in the Republic of Ireland[56] and in the Netherlands,[57] at number four in Belgium (Flanders),[58] and at number 2 in Germany and Sweden.[59][60] It reached number six at Denmark.[17] "Just the Way You Are" was the best selling digital single of 2011, selling more than 12.5 million copies globally throughout that year.[61] As of January 2016, the song has sold 13.7 million digital downloads.[61][62]

Music video[edit]

Development and synopsis[edit]

Bruno Mars arranging himself in a cassette tape in the shape of him playing the piano, in the music video.

The corresponding music video was directed by Ethan Lander, shot in September 2010 in the downtown of Los Angeles and released on September 8, 2010.[63][9][64] Cameron Duddy was able to shot the behind-the-scenes in exchange for his jean jacket, which Mars used during the music video.[65] The video features Peruvian-Australian actress Nathalie Kelley. Lander considers Bruno Mars a star. He adds "The charisma that he has, you can’t teach.” Finishing with "singer even manages to be suave in his mugshot, which is no small feat!"[66] He sees the video as a collaboration, the video director came up with the vision and Mars added his vision and so on. The video is a mixture of live action and stopped animation and through the animation Bruno shows his girlfriend how beautiful she is. He takes a cassette tape and starts creating images out of the tape and they start to get a life of their own.[63]

The video begins with Kelley listening to "Just the Way You Are" on her Walkman as Mars walks in. Mars stops the tape player, removes the cassette tape and begins singing his song.[67] As the instrumental portion of the song begins, Mars pulls the media out of the cassette tape and arranges the media into letters forming his name followed by the song title. As the song continues, he forms a picture of a drum, again on the table, using the tape media. Additional images of similar construction follow throughout the video including a portrait of Mars as well as one of Kelley blinking her eyes and smiling as Mars continues singing. Most of the images shown are animated, including a bell which Mars rings with his fingers in synchronization with the chimes near the end of the song. Lastly, Mars finishes the song while singing and playing an upright piano while Kelley watches and smiles. The video was inspired by the artwork of Erika Iris Simmons.[1]

Reception[edit]

It has received strong airplay on VH1 Europe, reaching #1 on the VH1 Pop Chart.[68] At the 2011 MTV Video Music Aid Japan the music video won Best Male Video.[69] In 2011, the video also received 3 nominations at the MuchMusic Video Awards.[70] It won Favorite International Video at the MYX Music Awards.[71] During the Channel [V] Thailand Music Video Awards received the award for Popular International Music Video.[72] As of October 2017, the music video has received over 1.0 billion views on YouTube.

Live performances[edit]

Bruno Mars performed the song at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on August 25, 2010, with him and his four-piece band dressed in blue tuxedos and black skinny ties. John Macdonald for Spin said "Despite a couple pitch problems here and there, Mars proved to be nearly as good a performer as he is a songwriter".[73] Mars performed the song on Saturday Night Live on October 9, 2010.[74] The song was performed at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, on October 14, 2010.[75] A soulful arrangement of the song was sung for a Billboard Tastemakers video session, on October 22, 2010.[76] An acoustic version of the song was performed at Grammy Nominations concert in 2010 for the 53rd Grammy Awards.[77] Mars also performed it at the NBA All-Star Tip Off Pre-Show in February 2011.[78] The song was also performed on NBC's Today Show on June 24, 2011.[79] A live performance was also done on the French X Factor during the finale of the second season.[80] Carolina Frost for the Huffington Post said that Mars at the 2012 Brit Awards "took his poptastic song Just the Way You Are, and gave it a fresh jazzy arrangement." While Tweeter David Quantick summed up his opinion, asking if "someone came as a spare Osmond". Others praised Mars' vocality and confidence with his soulful rendition.[81] It was the twelfth song of his debut worldwide tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour[82] and was fourteenth on the set list of his second worldwide tour, The Moonshine Jungle Tour (2013).[83] The single was performed as the last song in his set list for his performance at Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show as a Tribute to the United States Armed Forces.[84] On his third worldwide tour, the 24K Magic World Tour (2017-2018), "Just the Way You Are" was the fourteenth or fifteenth track of the setlist.[85][86]

Cover versions and usage on other media[edit]

"Just the Way You Are" was covered by Nathan Sykes from The Wanted, The Saturdays at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on October 29, 2010. It was performed by Cory Monteith for the American TV show Glee on episode "Furt", which aired on November 22, 2010.[87] San Diego-based formed band, Pierce the Veil covered the track for the compilation album Punk Goes Pop 4, which was released on November 21, 2011.[88]

Daniel Evans, a finalist on The X Factor (UK), included his version of the song on his album Wicked Game, released on December 2, 2013. The album contains covers from various artists.[89] Matt Cardle, the winner of the seventh series of British TV talent contest The X Factor, performed "Just the Way You Are" in week 2 of the live shows and later recorded his own version of the song as a B-side for his debut single "When We Collide".

In 2012, Dominican musician Karlos Rosé covered the song in bachata as his debut single which peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart and number one on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart in the United States.[90] The music video for his cover was filmed in New York City and directed by Robert Kruz.[91] The song is featured in the movie Pitch Perfect (2012).[92]

Track listing[edit]

The song was first made available to purchase online on July 20, 2010, in the US.[93] Three months later, a promo CD single containing the album version was available for purchase.[17] In Germany a CD single was available for purchase on September 22, 2010, that included the Skrillex Batboi Remix along with the original version of the song.[14] On November 12, 2010, a digital version that includes the version of the official remix of "Just The Way You Are" featuring Fiasco and the original version of the single was made available in UK and in Denmark.[17] A deluxe edition which includes the remix and the music video was released on November 25, 2010, digitally worldwide.[16] On November 2, 2011, an EP that includes several remixes was released worldwide. Skrillex, Simon Steur and the Manufactured Superstars were among the names to remix the original version in to electronic dance music versions.[13] A 12-inch Maxi CD that included the original version of the song and seven new remixes was released in UK and Denmark on December 2, 2010.[17] In US, a 12-inch Maxi CD was released including a remix of "Billionaire" and two new tracks "Voices in My Head" and "Dancing in the Mirror".[94]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Mixing and mastering

  • Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios, Hollywood, California; mastered at Marcussen Mastering, Hollywood, California; engineered at Levcon Studios, Los Angeles, California.

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Elektra Records[8]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[51] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[149] Platinum 30,000*
Belgium (BEA)[150] Platinum 30,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[151] 6× Platinum 480,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[152] Platinum 60,000^
Germany (BVMI)[153] Platinum 400,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[154] Platinum 15,000^
Italy (FIMI)[155] Platinum 50,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[156] Gold 100,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[157] Platinum 60,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[158] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[159] Gold 20,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[48] Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[160] 2× Platinum 1,570,000[47]^
United States (RIAA)[161] 9× Platinum 9,000,000double-dagger
Streaming
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[162] Platinum 900,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label Ref.
United States July 20, 2010 Digital download Elektra Records [9]
August 10, 2010 Contemporary
[10]
United Kingdom September 19, 2010 Mainstream radio Elektra Records [11]
Unknown September 20, 2010 CD single Warner Music Group [17]
United Kingdom September 27, 2010 Digital download Unknown´ [15]
United States November 2, 2010 Warner Music Group [13]
Germany November 12, 2010 CD single Elektra Records [14]
Austria
Switzerland
Netherlands [14]
Worldwide November 25, 2010 Digital download [16]
United Kingdom, Denmark December 2, 2010 12" vinyl Paragon Records [17]
United States December 10, 2010 12-inch single Atlantic Records [94]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]