ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT MUSIC Pop & Hiss

First listen: Bruno Mars turns up the heat with 'Young Girls'

On "Saturday Night Live" last month, Bruno Mars followed his performance of "Locked Out of Heaven" -- the delightfully Police-ish lead track from next month's "Unorthodox Jukebox" -- with a slow-and-low piano-ballad take on the album's second single, "Young Girls." It was pretty but a bit slight, not unlike the singer's 2010 smash, "Just the Way You Are" (which nonetheless topped the Hot 100 and sold over 5 million copies in the United States alone).

Posted on YouTube on Tuesday, the studio version of "Young Girls" remedies that flavor deficiency with pounding drums, fuzzy synth textures and a soaring vocal performance full of the passion Mars has sometimes sacrificed in the name of polish. If this former child actor has always struck you as something of a show-business android, this moody midtempo jam might be the song to change your mind.

"All you young, wild girls / You make a mess of me," Mars sings in the chorus, after admitting to spending all his cash on a "big old fancy car for these bright-eyed honeys." Later he insists he still dreams of "a simple life / Boy meets girl, makes her his wife," then reveals the sad truth about the pop star's solitary existence: "But love don't exist when you live like this, that much I know."

Mo money, mo problems, as a wise man once said. Listen to "Young Girls" below.

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