Bruno Mars delivered a sultry, Eighties-tinged version of Adele’s “All I Ask” during his set for BBC 1 Live Lounge on Wednesday. After introducing the track, which he co-wrote with Adele for her 25 LP, Mars launched into his dramatic take, filled with melismatic vocal swoops, finger snaps and twinkling keyboard tones. Backing band the Hooligans added a smooth-R&B rhythm section at the climax, which found the singer stretching into his falsetto.
Mars noted that “All I Ask” “means a lot to [him],” and he expanded on that sentiment during his wide-ranging Rolling Stone cover story, explaining how he and Adele achieved their creative vision. “We were aiming for that big, diva, ballad thing – that’s what I envisioned,” Mars said, noting the two superstars did argue over the lyric “Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do.”
“‘Lovers’? I don’t know if anybody really says ‘lovers,'” he continued. “‘Yeah, we’re lovers.’ ‘This is my lover.’ I was like, ‘Should we rethink that?’ But [Adele] was so gangster about it. She was like, ‘Nope. That’s what it has to be.’ And she was right.”
“It’s this grand word that makes the song bigger because no one says it,” he added. “Because nobody talks like that, it pops out. It’s not ‘what boyfriends-and-girlfriends do’ – it’s this over-the-top ‘lovers.’ Sometimes I play it on the piano, and I look forward to singing that part. It’s fucking perfect … Don’t try to be cool. Let it be what it wants to be.”
In October, Mars announced his long-awaited third LP, 24K Magic, and issued its funky title track. The album, which follows 2012’s Unorthodox Jukebox and “Uptown Funk,” his smash 2014 hit with Mark Ronson, is out November 18th.