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“24K Magic” revives 90’s retro funk-pop

7.9

Passionate talkbox vocals, evocative jazz beats and retro energy accentuate “24K Magic,” the diverse and widely anticipated third studio album by Bruno Mars. The album showcases Mars’ remarkable methods for keeping a fresh sound through experimentation while also taking inspiration from older R&B groups such as Boyz II Men.

It is an uncommon feat to so perfectly emulate the distinct music forms that have emerged from past generations into a current hit song. However, in a style entirely unique to Mars, he manages to integrate rhythms that were popular decades ago with today’s widespread appeal in technology-based synth-pop.

The title track of the same name is a perfect example of Mars’ aptitude for manipulating music from different periods of time into a single, streamlined hit. After all, music represents a lifestyle, and this song embodies its transformation nicely. He starts it off with an auto-tuned crooning, which morphs into an enthusiastic chant and fast-paced ‘80s disco beats that follow. It can evoke nostalgia in some listeners, but the high energy and intertwining of Uptown Funk-style vocals create a unique piece that appeals to many different audiences.

Further into the album, Mars introduces a slower, but nonetheless exuberant vibe in “Versace On The Floor.” While the lyrics are rather generic for a feel-good pop song, it showcases a distinct vulnerability and mellow tone that is entirely new in the complex and bold world of Mars. Yet, the lyrics are satisfactory at best and fail to distinguish themselves from many other love songs.

Continuing the affectionate narrative of the earlier songs, the penultimate track titled “Finesse” details the intimacy of Mars and an unnamed lover. It is accompanied with an endearing drum beat that adds an authentic feel contrary to the more auto-tuned and electronic songs.

With “24K Magic,” Mars further pushes the boundaries of artistry in music and popular culture through a composition that is both an exhilarating new experience and a comforting homage to retro anthems. Altogether, it is brilliantly produced and boasts a variety of different styles. Instead of focusing too much on the lyrics, more emphasis is placed on the background music and beats, which in itself is unique. Although it may not appeal to everyone, this album is unarguably one that displays true creativity.

By Ashley Liang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Idolator

The Breakdown


Mood
8.5
Sound
9
Beats
8.5
Lyrics
6.5
Voice
7


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