Grenade by the butterfly.jpg

No Title
March 27th, 2011
Running Time
Previous review
Next review

Todd plays "Grenade" on his piano.

A pop song review

Todd: 'kay, I've been doing this show for more than a year now, and over the course of that time, there's become a certain...type of song that I generally choose to review. So when I pick a song, you kinda know what to expect: [Montage begins with "Whip My Hair"] obnoxious musical gimmicks, ["The Time (Dirty Bit)"] lousy production, ["Like a G6"] poorly thought-out metaphors, ["OMG"] painful forced rhymes, ["Deuces"] uncomfortable misogyny, ["BedRock"] bad pickup lines, ["Hey, Soul Sister"] annoying vocals, etc. And yet, just about none of these things are crimes of which you could accuse today's artist [Movie poster of Bruno] Bruno... [picture of Bruno Mars] Mars. He's a new name, but he's already had a handful of hits since being introduced to the world last year...

Todd (VO): [Clip from...] ...on B.o.B's "Nothin' on You," one of my new favorite songs. Now he had two other hits afterwards, [clips of...] "Billionaire" and "Just the Way You Are"—neither of which knocked me out, but nevertheless gave the impression that he's enormously talented, not only as a performer, but as a songwriter, instrumentalist and producer. Furthermore, his approach is old-school, meaning he doesn't do a lot of the things that make modern pop music awful. But despite that, he never comes off as a throwback or an anachronism. In fact, it's hard to imagine an era in which he couldn't have found a way to become successful. Quite frankly, I think he's one of the leading new talents of the current pop scene.

Todd: [sigh] And yet, here I am, reviewing his to-date biggest hit single, "Grenade," which climbed to #1 and has held in the Top 10 since the beginning of the year. Why am I doing this? I don't know what to tell you. He had me, and then he lost me. I wanna like the guy, I do like the guy, but...I don't know. This song just...bothers me.

Video for "Grenade"

Todd (VO): Which it shouldn't because, at its base level, it's just a song about a guy who feels neglected by his girl. Now we've all felt unappreciated at some point, right? I know I have.

Todd (at computer): Well?

PushingUpRoses: Well, what?

Todd: Aren't you...aren't you gonna thank me for promoting your last video?

PushingUpRoses: You posted a link on your blog that said: [still shot of video reading...] "Ha ha. Worst video ever."

Todd: You're welcome!

Todd (VO): So, what's...what's the problem? Part of it is with Bruno Mars and the kind of performer he is. Simply put, subtlety is...not his thing.

Todd: The man has the power and the range to imbue every song with the passion and immediacy and emotional intensity of a man being repeatedly kicked in the balls. [Clips of Bruno Mars videos where he sings in a pained high pitch] So when he writes a love song, it works because he genuinely acts like it's the greatest love story ever written. But when he feels taken advantage of, she's [sobbing loudly] the worst bitch who ever lived in the universe!!!

Bruno: Mad woman, bad woman
That's just what you are

Todd (VO): And when he says he's devoted, he's gotta express it by committing all sorts of suicidally stupid acts in increasingly cartoony ways.

Bruno: I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya

Todd (VO): He'd get blown up for ya, he'd get run over for ya, he'd get shot in the head for ya.

Bruno: You know I'd do anything for ya

Todd: Okay, it all past me again. What's the situation here?

Bruno: If my body was on fire
You would watch me burn down in flames
...what you don't understand
Is I'd catch a grenade for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya

Todd: Why?

Todd (VO): No, I mean that. Why?! I mean, what's so great about her? I mean, let's run down the list here.

Bruno: Black, black, black and blue
Beat me 'til I'm numb
Bullet list starts with...(abusive)
Tell the devil I said "Hey" when you get back to where you're from (demonic)
Mad woman (insane), bad woman (evil)
That's just what you are
Yeah, you smile in my face (deceitful) then rip the brakes out my car (bad at auto repair)

Todd: Yep, she sounds like a keeper. Why are you this devoted to her? Matter of fact, let's alternate between the chorus and the verses so I can show you what this song sounds like in my head.

Bruno: You know I'd do anything for ya
[cut to] Mad woman, bad woman, that's just what you are
[cut to] But, darling, I'd still catch a grenade for ya
[cut to] You said you loved me, you're a liar
Cause you never ever ever...
Performances of...
Minnie Ripperton: And everything that I do
Is out of loving you....

Todd: see the problem, right?

Bruno: I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya

Todd (VO): Okay, here's one other thing. For the first five months of hearing this song, I thought it was "throw my head on a plate." You know like "serve my head on a platter." I understand that, kinda. But according to all the lyrics sites I've consulted, the line is actually "throw my hand on a blade."

Bruno: Throw my hand on a blade for ya

Todd (VO): "Throw my..." that can't be right, can it? No, I...I just don't get that at all. That's not, like, an expression or a thing people do or anything. Don't you generally do it the other way around? How does that even work?

Todd: [sobbing] I'll show you how much I love you. I'm gonna throw my hand on a blade. [Tries to position his machete to receive his hand] Just hold it. I'm totally gonna do it. You love me now, right?

Todd (VO): Okay, now there's the other thing. I mean, yeah, I know he doesn't actually think that she's totally evil, he's just guilt-tripping her into giving him more attention. Does he actually expect that to work? You wanted her to love you more, so you talk about catching a grenade for her. Yeah. I hate to say it, but so what? Giving your life for someone is romantic in, like, an abstract sense, but no girl wants a guy to actually do that in reality, and they certainly don't want a guy to be constantly talking about it.

Todd: You know, I wasn't really sure how I felt about him, then he told me he'd get hit by a train, and the thought of his bloody, battered corpse smeared all over the tracks...oh, God, my heart just melted.

Todd (VO): I mean, that's why you don't see him actually blowing himself up in the video—because it'd look ridiculous. All he's doing is pulling a piano. See, that's a much better thing to do. I'd pull a piano for you. Now there's a song.

Todd: You ever try and move one of these things? They're heavy. Who wouldn't be touched by a gesture like that. [Long pause] Well, I think it'd be romantic.

Todd (VO): So yeah, his claims of sacrifice are more than a little overheated and ludicrous, but he really doesn't help his case when he starts...

Todd: Well, let's say that his demands are a little...high?

Bruno: To give me all your love is all I ever asked

Todd: [sobbing] All I want is for you to spend every waking moment thinking of me and worshiping the ground I walk on! Is that so much to ask, you heartless, soul-eating harpy?!

Todd (VO): Oh, that's not all he wants from her. What does he really want?

Bruno: ...straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby
But you won't do the same

Todd: [taken aback] Holy shit, dude.

Bruno: But you won't do the same

Todd (VO): Okay, this is where the song officially takes a turn for the WTF for me. I mean...whoa-ho-ho, mammy. Whoa. Let's back this one up. I mean, there's getting emotional and then there's [Photo from Thelma & Louise showing...] driving off the insanity cliffs, and that's where we're at right now. Offering to give your life for someone, that's nice; but...

Todd: ...demanding someone else die for you too? this what you really want? You need someone to take a bullet for you? Are you sure a girlfriend is even what you're looking for? I think what you're looking for is [shot from Metalocalypse featuring Nathan Explosion and...] a double, [Photo of Bruno] yeah, I don't know if you're gonna be able to find one of those either. [Picture of...] Janelle Monae, maybe? It's a thought.

Bruno: I'd jump in front of a train for ya

Todd (VO): Every time I hear it, the more and more...unhinged it sounds. I mean, it's not hard to imagine this happening in a secluded cabin where she's handcuffed to a post. And when he says he'd go through all this pain, he's demonstrating it by cutting into his own arm.

Todd: I'm not the only one that hears this, right? I mean, maybe that's a little extreme, but what it reminds me of most is this guy I knew named DL, who got really upset that a girl wasn't paying enough attention, so he started crying and smashing beer bottles over his head. Yeah, he's not allowed back in here. Ugh, and the blood.

Todd (VO): Like I said, we all feel neglected sometimes, but this song is so obnoxious and mean that I can't put myself in this position. I mean, I can't...I don't get it.

Todd: Well, I do get it. I don't like it. I can't groove with this when my sympathies are entirely with the other person this guy is singing at. Well, you remember...

Video for...

Todd (VO): Alanis Morissette and "You Oughta Know," right? The one where she starts ranting over the phone at a guy who dumped her. I never liked that song. And I know a lot of people did. Maybe you thought she was justified, and maybe you thought the idea of it all was awesome. I ask you this—did any of you think, "gosh, what a sweet young thing. I bet Dave Coulier's really kicking himself for letting that one get away."

Todd: No, he probably doesn't regret a thing, and I always felt he made the right decision too. So I always felt more for him, and that's how I feel about this, and for that reason, I find this song pretty difficult to try and sing along with. Well, difficult for more reasons than the obvious, I mean.

[Rear view of Todd at his piano, playing the song and trying to sing it in a strained voice]
I'd catch a grenade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya

Yeah, it's's a little out of my range.

Todd (VO): The psychology of this song is just so painfully high-school. It's nothing but wild accusations and overly dramatic metaphors. If he'd been a little more specific about what she'd done to him, I'd maybe have more patience for him. I mean, why are we supposed to believe that she's as bad as he says she is?

Bruno: Should've known you was trouble
From the first kiss
Had your eyes wide open
Why were they open?

Todd: [stuffy British accent] My word, Holmes. You've cracked the case.

Todd (VO): It's the piece of evidence that makes it all come together. Why were her eyes open...

Todd: ...unless she were the vilest of harlots? Clearly, this is all the proof we need that this woman is the most evil woman... [normal voice] what the hell are you talking about, Bruno?! And wait a minute!

Todd (VO): How would you know her eyes were open if your eyes weren't open, you idiot?! God, he's like a little kid.

Todd: Mommy, Billy had his eyes open when we were saying grace. This song is so stupidly melodramatic right down to the little "ooh" at the end of the line.

Bruno: Why were they open? (Ooh)

Todd (VO): Her eyes were open! Ooh! Oh, my God! And furthermore, I just don't believe the guy means what he says. He loved her so much he'd jump in front of a train? Bullshit. He doesn't even love her enough not to call her a crazy demon murderess to her face.

Todd: I could maybe deal with this if it were just sad and dark and quiet, but it's so over-the-top and whiny in all the wrong ways.

Brief clip of Simple Plan - "Untitled"

Todd (VO): Simple Plan probably listened to this and giggled themselves about how emo this guy this.

Todd: I just don't have the patience for this narrator and his ridiculous death wish fetish. Matter of fact, I don't even know why he's complaining that she abuses him when that's clearly what he wants.

Bruno: Beat me 'til I'm numb

Todd (VO): Oh, my God, yeah, beat me 'til I'm numb. Oh more, more please.

Bruno: Ooh, you'd never do the same
Oh, no no no

Todd: It's a bad song. But like I said, the guy strikes me as very talented and I've certainly covered worse songs on here. I just don't think Bruno Mars thought through the implications of this song very well. I'm sure this is just a temporary bump in what's going to be a very respectable career. His next song will probably be a lot better. Matter of fact, I think he's already released the next single. Let's listen to that.

Video for "The Lazy Song"  (studio session)
Bruno: Today I don't feel like doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed

Todd (VO): This is... wait a minute.

Todd: This is a "white guy with acoustic guitar" song!

Bruno: ...lounging on the couch, just chillin' in my Snuggie

Todd (VO): Oh no. Oh, hell no, Bro-no Mars. I've had enough Jason Mraz in my lifetime, thank you. We're not doing this.

Todd: Oh, you'd catch a grenade for me, huh? [Pulls out a grenade] Prove it! [Pulls out the pin, drops it, and runs off] Cover!

Bruno: Today I don’t feel like doing anything
I just...
[Atomic bomb explosion]

Closing tag song: Prince - "I Would Die 4 U"

"Grenade" is owned by Elektra Records
This video is owned by me

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.