Multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer/
Although aware of the successes of his previous albums, Mars wasn’t under any less pressure to drop his new album and surpass what some may consider his unsurpassable success. Quite frankly, I’d feel the same too about having to recreate a classic, but when you’ve got that ’24K magic’ it fuels all your urges and doesn’t disappoint.
The album’s lead single ’24K Magic’ is funk at its purest and unashamedly basking in the liveliness of disco. Bruno’s rapturous and slick presentation backed up with an infectious sing-along chorus, complements his honeyed pretensions. Dance breakouts give it that edge to show off in the club – and it’s for the dancers and breakers in all of us.
But it’s not just about the dance, Mars is going for all types of feels on this album. ‘Chunky’ is his ode to the women holding their own and it’s automatically unrepentant in its reverence for the voluptuous confident independent ones in particular. “She gotta have her own money / Shout out to the girls that pay their rent on time.”
Retro is always in fashion on Mars’ music, and ‘Perm’, thunderbolts back to the ’60s, (the era of tumultuous public unrest) paying homage to the late great James Brown. Almost a futuristic cut if he were to do one – it’s bound with contagious horns and distinguishing drums and whistle blows. Mars generates an ample amount of energy and personality into the production, delivery and content and if you’re unsure –“Throw some perm on your attitude, you gotta relax”and “activate your sex”
An ’80s R&B ballad expansion is all in his repertoire, and ‘That’s What I Like’ asserts the R. Kelly 12 Play–era alongside ‘Versace on the Floor’ – a more familiar offering that is basically indicative of that Marvin Gaye ‘Sexual Healing’ signature. Boasting in exhilarated synths and sharp piano stabs and strings, Bruno Mars exemplifies his artistry and sheer musicality, able to time travel successfully amid sounds as if he were a shape shifter.
Time traveling into the ’90’s, ‘Straight Up And Down’ cuts a mid-tempo slow jam, just like back when Usher took it down ‘Nice & Slow’. It comes across as Mars attempting to duplicate high school dance memories – but why not after all – as Mars told Rolling Stone in a recent interview. “Slow-dancing at the Valentine’s Day banquet with the girl you have a crush on, and the DJ spins ‘Before I Let You Go,’ by Blackstreet. And the shit is magical, and you think about it for the next eight months.”
Dripping in 3am-booty-call fever, ‘Calling All My Lovelies’ cross sections Jodeci’s seemingly innocent and suggestive pillow talk production while showing off a witty player-like humour “I got Alicia waitin’, Aisha waitin’/ All the eesha’s waitin’ on me.” A thirsty call to Halle Berry, unfortunately doesn’t materialise in an answer from her but Mars is forever zealous and eager to satisfy his listeners, whipping up a vibe that can only be described as Magic.
But for me, the epitome of enthralling confidence and audaciousness in your swag comes with ‘Finesse’, – and it combats a one-two punch worthy of Mohammed Ali. “I am dripping in finesse, it don’t make no sense, you know, it you know it” is my exact feeling when I walk into work every morning – with a snapping drum-machine production that adapts Bobby Brown’s ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ post- Bel Biv Devo solo career.
On the closing ‘Too Good To Say Goodbye’ Mars showcases perfection and unwavering strong vocals emotive of his plea for a significant other to not give up on their relationship –“You’re more than my girl, you’re my befriend”
That’s where the magic lies, in Mars’ unfaltering swag and gleaming sound that shares a lush experience igniting vintage R&B sounds from back in the day into 2016. The greater part of the album is far beyond any “tributes” album, paying homage to the New Jack Swing era, or R&B pop mega stars like Bobby Brown or Boyz II Men’s ‘Cooleyhighharmony’ that conquered popular music in the 80’s/90’s. Mars creates compelling arrangements throughout that not only have you reminiscing but are excellently saturated in explosions of melodious harmonies – Bruno Mars, is the nostalgia curator.
’24K Magic’ is tight, compact and yet brimming with energy in just over 9 songs, running just over 33 minutes long, proving sometimes you don’t need to pack an album to pack a punch. A strong composition etched in classic R&B inclinations, this keeps Bruno Mars firmly at front and centre; a concept performance album that is sure to validate the singers showmanship.
The aesthetics of the album complement its optics giving a retro and youthful attraction, yet it’s socially inclined for ’24K Magic’ to flourish in the colloquial language facsimile of the nineties. Permeating throughout the album with a modern swag experience, the music coupled with Mars’ persona, is more than just a throwback soundtrack to the 80’s/90’s – it’s pure magic.