Album Review: #15: Bruno Mars - 24K Magic
by Sarah Muhammad
It does not seem like it’s been an entire four years have passed since we last heard anything from pop sensation Bruno Mars (Unorthodox Jukebox in 2012). Perhaps this may be because he was holding us over with a remarkable feature on the multi-platinum awarding winning record “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson in 2014. Nevertheless, the jazzy soul singer has returned with the cozy feel good album titled “24K Magic”. The release of the album’s title track hit the scene only two months ago and the buzz has not died down since. Like most of Mars’ catalog, this album is comprised of mostly R&B, funk, and post-disco sounds as well as hip tempo dance beats that undeniably provoke the listener to literally get out of their seat and dance, or at least groove quietly in it. Though the album is markedly short with only nine tracks, it seems like the appropriate length for such a project, so as not to drag and overwhelm the listener, but also leaves them wishing for more. One of the best tracks on the album “That’s What I Like” feature a bouncy R&B beat that makes you bob your head without shame. The song holds a level of opulence and party appeal that is indulgent in nature, with lyrics such as “Gold jewelry shining so bright/Strawberry champagne on ice...Sex by the fire at night/Silk sheets and diamonds all white”. With this track alone, the album quickly became one of my favorites with exceptional replay value and timeless feel. Another breakout song is a down-tempo love ballad “Versace on the Floor”, where Mars serenades his lover into temptation for an evening of romance, hence the mention of the Italian luxury brand Versace. Mar’s sings “Let's just kiss 'til we're naked, baby” adding to the subtle seductiveness of the song, without ever directly mentioning sex, a mark of excellent rhetorical skill. The best vocal performance is delivered on the song “Calling All My Lovelies”, where Mars displays his wide range and impeccable use of falsetto. The 80’s-style R&B production on this song is also noted to be one of the best on the album, with the credit going to production team Shampoo Press & Curl for the entire album. Some of the more up-tempo dance tracks include party anthems “Chunky” and “Perm”, which highlight a more playful and funky feel to the album. Overall, Mar’s nails a success with this album in a time where the predominant feel of the country is filled with disappointment and angst, reminding us that it is still ok to get up and have a good time.
Best Tracks: “That’s What I Like”/”Calling All My Lovelies”
Best Production: “24K Magic”/”Calling All My Lovelies”