Embracing change and doing it with a no nonsense nine track project, 24K Magic is simplistically spectacular
Will Lavin

10:20 17th November 2016

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Bruno Mars’ new album is everything fans and critics hoped it would be. It’s funky, ferocious, soulful, sexy, romantic, and most of all it’s a bold switch up from the norm that hears the pint sized singer bypass the popular trap drum fad in favour of a project crafted entirely from the soul.

24K Magic is a story made up of three chapters. It’s a party starter, a dance break, and a slow jamz tape all rolled into one. After the success of ‘Uptown Funk’, Mars has now essentially made an album that feels like it was conceived in the same era as the one his Mark Ronson collaboration was inspired by. With 80s funk the main dish on the menu - very evident on tracks like ‘Chunky’ and the album’s lead single ‘24K Magic’ - listeners are treated to what can be best described as a Cameo, Brick, and The Commodores joint album produced by Roger Troutman, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Teddy Riley.

Not afraid to dip into his influences and rewind to a time when music had soul and purpose, whether he’s mixing James Brown and Mystikal on ‘Perm’ - a track that borrows the intro to iconic hip-hop record ‘The Show’ by Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick - revisiting the new jack swing era on the ‘Poison’-esque ‘Finesse’, or tapping into a blend of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Boyz II Men on the bedroom cut ‘Versace on the Floor’, Mars is returning to the classics and yet somehow they sound as fresh as they did first time around.

Drawing a line in the sand in terms of the direction in which he wants to take music, Mars is using his mammoth platform to promote a fun-loving and feel-good brand of music that not only gets asses out of seats and on to the dance floor but it also offers something deeper than that. Bruno Mars’ music allows fans of R&B to feel like they can once again realistically connect to the genre.

R&B as of late has moved in a direction where unless a record features lyrics about bitches, cars and clothes and has a trap-inspired drum loop it’s not considered cool. But who needs cool when you can have songs that make you want to fall in love again, or make you want to enjoy the finer things in life without them costing you an arm and a leg - Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson said it best when they said that the best things in life are free. 24K Magic offers those things and more.

‘Calling All My Lovelies’ explores a love tug of war that a select few men can relate to - those lucky enough to be good looking, slick and successful - where Mars reels off all the women he can turn to if the girl of his dreams continues to play hard to get. A low tempo electro love song that sounds like something Prince might have recorded, the best part comes when Mars calls Halle Berry’s phone and gets no further than her answer phone. Even superstars get curved from time to time.

Embracing change and doing it so simply with a no nonsense nine track project, when they say less is more they’re talking about Bruno Mars’ new album. A solid example of what good songwriting sounds like, 24K Magic is simplistically spectacular. It ticks all of the boxes and will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of artists to challenge themselves and not be so afraid to go with their gut and do what they love instead of what everyone else is doing. Album of the year? It’s definitely up there.

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Photo: Press