24K Magic in My Earbuds

     I've been long anticipating for Bruno Mars to release a new album. My love for Bruno Mars' talent and energy is incomprehensible. The first time I heard his music, I was mentally taken to paradise! There's just something about him that speaks to your soul in ways that make you scream for joy from the inside, like no one else can. You can hate or love him all you want to, but he blows most current mainstream musicians out of their own element. Regardless of whom you think he's ripped off or sounds like, that man can hold his own in the industry. He takes the listener to a happy place that makes them feel sexy and free to explore their inner beauty and spiritual drive without sounding desperate for "a good time". I can get with a vibe that puts you in a sexy mood, as opposed to one that makes your skin crawl when you hear the first line of a track by many of the more popular musical artists that appear in the Top 40 playlists nowadays.

     "24K Magic" was released on November 18, 2016. The album features nine tracks, including Bruno Mars' newest single "24K Magic". I, typically, listen to hard rock, metal, and punk music. Bruno Mars is one of those musical artists that I will stray from that preference for because I like old school R&B and chart topping artists that came from the 1950's and up until the turn of the century or artists that sound like they did. From beginning to end, this album had me wanting to get up out of my chair and dance. Bruno Mars has that old school Motown vibe that reminds you of when artists like Marvin Gaye and James Brown were at the top of the music charts, swooning ladies across the world, mixed with elements of Michael Jackson and The Police while staying true to the modern music listening audience. He does this without coming across as insensitive or degrading to women. This album definitely utilized that compositional mix, as all of Bruno Mars' albums have done. "Finesse" was a bit different from what he normally writes because it had a solid New Edition listening experience. New Edition was one of the first 80's musical groups I was ever exposed to, and I love what they did during their time as an active musical group. I love that Bruno Mars and his band channeled some of New Edition's vibe on the new album.

     “24K Magic”, the first hit single off of the album, seems like the perfect summer anthem. Followed up by a music video where Bruno Mars and his band hit up the Las Vegas strip, prior to the album’s release, says just that. Who doesn’t want to spend their summer in Vegas? I’m sure there are a few people, but that’s beside the point. “Chunky” is where the album starts to show a lot of influence from 80’s and 90’s R&B. I don’t see that as a bad thing. Take me back to the days where I could have been perfectly fine with bedroom tunes that were upbeat and fun. “Perm” reminded me a lot of when James Brown was taking Soul to a whole different level. Bruno Mars definitely knows how to revive James Brown without actually reviving James Brown. The insane amount of talent that it takes to channel James Brown is hard enough to come by, but Bruno Mars has it and shows it very well. “That’s What I Like” is like a brief fast forward to the late 90’s/early 2000’s Destiny’s Child mixed with mid 2000’s R&B.

     “Versace on the Floor” is the album’s big bedroom tune. While it very much makes you want to have some fun with your significant other, the song has a very strong reminder of why Bruno Mars is not just another musician trying to make easy money off of the female listening audience. He hints in the song that he doesn’t care what designer made your outfit and only wants to be intimate with you. Then, “Straight Up & Down” comes on and makes you forget that you just heard “Versace on the Floor” because he becomes more blunt about what he wants from you. Then the album strays even further from that sexy bedroom vibe by introducing us to “Calling All My Lovelies”. The first thought that ran across my mind was that if you didn’t know any better you would think you just tuned into a Lonely Island song. Mind you, I don’t have anything against Lonely Island. In fact, Bruno Mars taking a cue from Andy Samberg’s book is the good kind of amusing. I got a good chuckle out of the resemblance, but “Calling All My Lovelies” is still a fun song. Granted, it’s a song about moving on if your girl isn’t willing to stay committed to you, but when you add a voice mailbox greeting by a woman who introduces herself as Halle Berry you can’t help but get a good laugh and appreciate the humor in it. “Too Good to Say Goodbye” rounds out the album by being a sobering reminder to anyone that has taken their significant other for granted that a person will only deal with so much before they start pulling away from you more and more over time and you may not always have enough time to change your ways before that person walks away for good. You hold on to that hope that it’s not the end of what was meant to be a beautiful thing.

     Overall, “24K Magic” is somewhat of a different creative venture for Bruno Mars, but is still unmistakably Bruno Mars. You’ve got a little bit of every decade and a whole lot of sex appeal splashed with a party vibe. I’ve had a little bit of a hard time warming up to a couple of the songs, but they’re growing on me the more I listen to them. The long wait for new music from Bruno Mars was well worth it. The album is definitely magical in its own way, and that’s how I like my Bruno Mars albums.