Bruno Mars transports late '80s and early '90s R&B and pop into music's modern age on his third studio album, 24K Magic.
After a much anticipated release date, fans are finally met with classic sounds and familiar melodic structures that take them back the R&B they fell in love with, you know, the days when when Shai and New Edition and Soul 4 Real just made you feel good inside? Technically innovative and sonically soothing to the soul, Mars' new album is a nostalgic project that just might serve as the foundation for a new era in R&B.
With this project, fans are ingratiated with a funkier, even more upbeat Mars. Bruno 2.0 first surfaced in 2014 when he released his Mark Ronson collaboration, "Uptown Funk," and now he's back and swaggier than ever. But that dosen't mean his soul, disco and pop influences have been forgotten. In fact, you can hear elements of James Brown's unique sound in a song like "Perm."
As the album serves as a testament to the Hawaiian-born singer's growth from 2010's Doo-Wops & Hooligans to now, listen to our five favorite tracks from 24K Magic.
Led by a beat that's similar in sound to a classic BBD track followed by something reminiscent of New Edition, "Finesse" represents the word by definition.
Immediately transporting listeners to a throwback dance party hosted by a series of '90s R&B boy groups, Bruno Mars pushes his talents to the limits as he recycles a various nostalgic sound bites and works to remix and recreate a very specific genre of music. As his voice bellows on, singing, "We out here trippin' in finesse, it don't make no sense / We out here trippin' in finesse, you know it, you know it," fans can't help but feel moved to get up and dance.
Like many male R&B/soul singers of the '90s, Mars can take sexually explicit lyrics and turn them into something light and enjoyable instead of something overly graphic and too in-your-face - like many songs out today.
"Now slow it down for me baby / Cause I love the way it feels when we grind / I can make sh-t so magnetic on the floor / Nothing can stop us tonight / When I'm walking with you/I watch the whole world change."
Blame it on his confidence, but Mars scored a hit!
What better way to talk about your affection for beautiful, voluptuous women than by making a song about it? And making it well. On a mission for a girl who's chunky with some "big ol' hoops," Mars engages a Casio Keyboard to create the ultimate song for the summer. Although the season has passed, it doesn't mean fans can't pretend to indulge in libations and pretend the barbecue is smoking while the music is bumping. As for Bruno, he just wants someone who will "squeeze all of that in my coup."
"24K Magic" is a continuation of the Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson hit "Uptown Funk" in 2014. Categorized as a retro funk song coupled with disco and R&B, the 31-year-old singer's kick-off single pushes people to "keep up," instead of complaining and always not having something. And, it retrospectively encourages financial independence, something millions of people need. "I'm a dangerous man with some money in my pocket," Mars sings on the downright funky track.
"Calling All My Lovelies"
"Calling All My Lovelies" is a classic tale about a man and his oh-so treasured little black book. Stimulated by the fact that Halle Berry won't pick up Bruno's repeated calls, the four-minute tune highlights Mars' vocal range as he runs through Alicia, Aiesha and all the "ieshas" as he wants for the one he really wants. "Too fly to be on standby," Bruno summons every reason he can for why Ms. Berry should just pick up the phone. "Sending me straight to voicemail / Shawty what the hell / Oh you ought to be ashamed for playing these childish games / I don't get down like that / Tell me where you at, hit me back," he sings.
Surely inspired by Shai's "Baby I'm Yours," the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter motivates listeners to get their two-step on while he sings, "Straight Up & Down." Similar to the majority of the songs on the album, this ditty illustrates the advanced stages of young love by alluding to night of sexual activity sure to be "fun!" Mars delivers a clever song with a classic R&B-tinged to it that can never go wrong.
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