Released: November 18, 2016
On Doo-Wop & Hooligans, you could easily see that Bruno Mars was striving for that slick, cool 80s vibe that has now become resurrected slightly inside the 2010s era; however, it ended up being a portion to a somewhat catchy and groovy collection of pop-influenced bangers. He explored a little more 80s and 90s flavor with Unorthodox Jukebox, which was fairly more experimental and ambitious, but still didn’t execute the substance he was wanting to accomplish. So after some personal inflictions and a momentary hiatus, Mr. Mars is back on track with his most successful offering yet, 24k Magic.
And by the looks of it, 24k Magic is what he’s been dying to mould; a sophisticated mix of slick 70s, 80s and 90s R&B-filled tracks that spunk up a bit of classic funk, disco and the signature operation of synths. The songwriting, of course, are basically another expansion from his first two onto here; love, living luxurious, and a lot of sex. Its quintessential Bruno Mars, even at times it comes off vain or slightly “been there done that”. Collectively, it’s all represented on the lead title track, which is one of the year’s greatest pop moments; it’s infectious, extremely dashing and another banger out of the box for Mr. Mars. “Chunky” is just as infectious as the title track, but offers something a lot funkier and downtempo, with a bit of tongue-and-cheek lyrics.
Through the record, the singer brings out a full-fire of energy, including the 60s funk-anthem “Perm”, the pop frills and twists on “Finesse” and the Lionel Richie-esque ballad “Versace on the Floor” (the title? No, I don’t know either…). The other half is a course of familiar 90s-influenced ballad moments, such as the sex anthem “Straight Up & Down”, a more 90s classic take of R&B on the bouncy “That’s What I Like” and the slow-jam “Calling All My Lovelies”. The album’s closing moment, “Too Good to Say Goodbye”, literally sounds like a theme tune from some 90s teen flick that shimmers some tender and charming vocals by Bruno.
Of course, the substance present on 24k Magic is typical for the artist, but to an extent, it really further pushes his sound and appeal a lot more. But at times, how he addresses this style can somewhat be a little too stuck up in the clouds with sex, money and fame (or just up himself?), especially with the lyrics on most of the uptempo numbers (and of course “Straight Up & Down”). It’s been stretched since his debut record back in 2010, to say the least. I also noticed that majority of the sound relies on the influence of his banging hit “Uptown Funk”, a duet with British producer Mark Ronson, which can make the record sound a bit obvious when you place them next to each other. But in saying that, he sells it quite well. So, win v win for all?
But whether it’s got to do with the fluffed-up lyrics or slicked-out vibe, Bruno knows his market quite well, and with 24k Magic, he sells it effortlessly. The sound has come a long way since his Doo-Wop & Hooligans days, gaining a lot more influence and specialties to guarantee a success with the record, and with hits like the title track, “Finesse” and “Chunky” on the album, 24k Magic is bound to be more than what you bargain for. In fact, to say the least, it’s definitely Bruno’s best work and his most collective piece yet.
Track list (Bold means the best tracks)
- 24k Magic ~Liam’s favorite~
- That’s What I Like
- Versace on the Floor
- Straight Up & Down
- Calling All My Lovelies
- Too Good to Say Goodbye