Pop star Bruno Mars has enjoyed mainstream success with smash hits like ‘Uptown Funk’ which radio stations could not stop playing last year, so it’s refreshing that the singer has gone even more experimental with his latest project.
Throwback To The 80s
‘24k Magic’ (pronounced twenty-four karat magic) is a funk inspired project which is a tasteful throwback to the 80’s. The third studio album by the Hawaiian multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter will be accompanied by a world tour which reportedly sold one million tickets in just an hour.
Mars is clearly one of the most talented artists in the industry but he explains that he didn’t have as much confidence as you’d expect coming back to the studio after the success of ‘Uptown Funk’: ‘Coming off the biggest song of my career, it was super-daunting to come in here.’ However, Bruno Mars was able to produce a fantastic album with help from some of Hip Hop and RnB heavyweights such as the legendary Babyface, Teddy Riley, Missy Elliot and Bobby Brown which are all notable influences. You certainly get the feel that he is channelling RnB royalty on the album with a cadence reminiscent of ‘Off The Wall’ Michael Jackson on the track ‘Too Good To Say Goodbye.’
Most of the songs on the record are neck snappers. Heavy drums with a fast pace disco vibe. Standout single ‘24k Magic’ is already getting a lot of radio play and has over 120 million streams on Spotify. The clever use of the talk box at the start of the track will be appreciated by 80’s music fans – pioneer Roger Troutman of the Funk group Zapp popularised its use in the song ‘Computer Love.’ Four tracks on the album were produced by RnB/ Hip Hop Dance production team ‘The Stereotypes’ who have produced for the likes of Usher, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown.
Another standout track is ‘Chunky’ which Mars recently performed on Saturday Night Live and is certainly one for the ladies. The smooth track channels Teddy Riley and is an ode to smooth RnB. ‘Finesse’ is also another upbeat number on the album, inspired by the Bobby Brown sound with its heavy drums. The general theme of this project is disco party and its hard to keep your head still when you listen to this nostalgic project. The album features no other singers but actress Haile Berry is listed as a feature since she leaves a sultry vocal sample on the smooth number: ‘Calling All My Lovelies.’
Bruno Mars certainly took a gamble with this funky album. The project sounds a lot different to any other contemporary project out there. It received decent critical reception but it’s clear that the singer did this album for himself. An example of experimental artistry, Bruno Mars pays tribute to the stars which inspired him to get into music growing up such as the likes of Michael Jackson, BabyFace and Teddy Riley. While this record may not be for everyone, his true fans will love his turn in direction which was sparked by the success of ‘Uptown Funk’ and has been cemented by this album.