Pop Perspective: Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” Rated & Reviewed

Mike Wass | October 7, 2016 4:15 pm
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At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much. So, in the spirit of debate (and online drama), we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. In a nutshell, our editors dissect a particularly noteworthy pop-event, and give it a rating out of 10.

That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest track to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is the first taste of Bruno Mars’ third LP, “24K Magic.” Is it a another “Uptown Funk” or has the crooner missed the mark? Read our thoughts below.

Robbie Daw — 5/10

If Bruno Mars is good at one thing, it’s hitting the nostalgia sweet spot with his pop grooves. He previously mined The Police’s soundscape for 2012 hit “Locked Out Of Heaven,” and later followed that up with the disco-tinged “Treasure” and the ’70s soul-leaning collosus known as “Uptown Funk,” with Mark Ronson.

Now Mars is back with “24K Magic,” an ’80s R&B throwback that picks up where “Uptown Funk” left off and, to be quite honest, doesn’t really move the needle of pop evolution forward — rather, it simply keeps the party going.

Rachel Sonis — 6.5/10

Bruno Mars is riding the “Uptown Funk” wave to the very end, isn’t he? I’m not mad about it, though. This track is glossy, lavish and teeming with old school Neptunes vibes. Ok, yeah, so maybe it doesn’t reinvent the wheel as far as pop music goes, but does every song need to? Sometimes it’s all just for fun.

Carl Williott — 9/10

The career 180 Bruno Mars pulled off is incredible. He was destined to be a titan of parent-friendly pop, then suddenly he drops “Locked Out Of Heaven” and becomes a cool kid. And he only keeps getting cooler, but he’s doing it by making music that sounds like our parents’ music. That’s a strange trajectory!

This new one continues the path. It feels like something off those Pure Funk compilations, and I love it. It sounds like West Coast G-funk, and I love it. It feels like Midnight Star, and I love it. It’s not challenging, it doesn’t advance pop in any way. But it’s unrepentant party music, at a time when there’s a shortage of the stuff.

Mike Wass — 8/10

Basically what Carl said. Since bursting on to the scene as the voice of B.o.B’s “Nothin’ On You” in early 2010, Bruno has proven to be one of the most versatile artists in popular music — churning out saccharine wedding ballads (“Just The Way You Are” and “Count On Me”) and gritty, emotional anthems (“Grenade” and “When I Was Your Man”), before reinventing himself as the king of retro-cool on ’70s-tastic bops, “Treasure” and “Uptown Funk.”

In many ways, “24K Magic” picks up where they left off. But it’s unfair to suggest this is a case of pop recycling. Bruno’s latest throws R&B influences from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s into a blender and comes up with a nuclear-power party anthem that is destined to be on high rotation wherever there’s a dance-floor for years to come. Bring on the album.


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