When Bruno Mars releases his first solo single in four years, that is not something you let pass by unnoticed. That is why I asked my beloved panel for their honest opinions on ’24K Magic’, Bruno’s new track. Expectations were high after the worldwide success of his Mark Ronson collaboration ‘Uptown Funk’, but I can already tell you, after their mixed reaction to Gaga’s ‘Perfect Illusion’ they have sharpened their knives even further this time. While A Bit of Pop Music’s review described the song as ‘exquisitely produced’, but ‘the chorus needing more of a moment’, the panel is less optimistic about him reviving the days of disco and funk…
Tim (26), The Netherlands
“To be honest, I think of all comebacks this year I most looked forward to Bruno Mars’ one. Why? Because I think his first album was good, his second one was great and he might have what it takes to become the world’s most praised musical hero. Funny enough, while anticipating his new song ‘24K Magic’ I realized that what ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ was for Mars, should have been what ‘Perfect Illusion’ was for Lady Gaga – a Mark Ronson-produced gem that makes you go: ‘Hey, that sounds different, like a throwback, but also like something completely new, and there’s a lot of guitars in it too!’. That being said: ’24K Magic’ does not even come close to ‘Locked Out of Heaven’. I dare even say that it doesn’t come close to ‘Perfect Illusion’, although that might be a case of my personal preference of rock music over funk music. And funk is exactly what ‘24K Magic’ channels. A bit too much, if you ask me: it sounds like a huge rip-off of ‘Uptown Funk’ (which I think was brilliant, before it got played to death by radio stations). Bruno throws a bit of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Downtown’ in there, a little bit of Snoop Dogg’s ‘Signs’ and a tiny bit of Pharrell’s falsetto voice. But then… all just a bit more mediocre. I like the way Bruno’s voice sounds on here and actually I’m pretty sure this song will be a big hit if radio stations pick it up like they did with ‘Uptown Funk’, but I’m disappointed with how unoriginal the song is. Bruno decided to play it safe and it seems, giving the theme of the song and its video, that he’s started to believe his own hype a bit too much. I guess I’ll just go listen to ‘Gorilla’ or ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ one more time.”
Marjolein (21), The Netherlands
“My feet start to swing immediately when I play the new Bruno Mars single for the first time. Just like ‘Uptown Funk’, the song is very danceable and happy. It took a long time for Bruno to bring some new solo music, but he is back in the game. The chorus will stick in your head and the very special production sells the track very well. Maybe the lyrics could have been a bit more interesting, but I doubt people will care about that, when they hear it on the radio. Hopefully the radio stations will not play ’24K Magic’ that much like his earlier songs. I have faith this track lasts longer than some of his earlier work.”
Zuheir (25), Malaysia
“The year 2015 seemed to reap a lot of profit from the reemergence of retro-funk music such as ‘Downtown’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s ‘Uptown Funk’. ‘Uptown Funk’ was a tremendous success for Mars which is why understandably, he decided to stick with the same genre for ’24K Magic’. The risk however is that because he produces similar songs as consecutive singles, fans then begin to compare the two songs, and clearly ’24K Magic’ is not as exciting or fresh as ‘Uptown Funk’. In this case ’24K Magic’ sounds more like scratched out ideas from ‘Uptown Funk’ that were gathered to form another potential hit topper, one which I doubt it will. Bruno Mars should stop experimenting with disco music and go back to doing his usual ballad. At least for now.”
Gus (24), Brazil
“Bruno Mars? Oh well, personally I’m not a huge fan of his vocal style, yet if it is well produced, he can do fun pop music like for example the song ‘Nothin’ On You’. That said, what the actually f*** has he done in his last single? Well let’s start by the cover, he looks like your 12 year old cousin posing for a mock picture to post on facebook. Now musically, ’24k Magic’ sounds like an auto-tune salad mixed with some random “thug life” innuendos in the midst of a Michael jackson identity disorder fever. “I’m a dangerous man, put some money in my pocket”… “bad bitches and their ugly ass friends”, “hashtag blessed” Sorry Mars, but sexism stopped being cool right back in the sixties. We don’t need more pop music disrespecting women throwing lines like that randomly. All in all, I’d say it is a miss, Snoopy dog school of shame level, In fact a pack of potato chips can be more ‘gangstah’ than Bruno’s ’24K Magic’.”
Jarrod (24), New Zealand
“The song starts off with an acappella intro from T-Pain (that was a joke, just like this song but we’ll get there). The beat kicks in and we’ve got ‘Uptown Funk”s boring brother Bland. I feel like he tried to go the Beyoncé route lyrically by having lines that he’d hope would stick around on to be catch phrases but came up short, no pun intended. The beat is reminiscent to “Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club which has been sampled by a ton of artists including Mariah Carey in her hit ‘Fantasy’. This song is a disappointment considering what Bruno is capable of releasing, but at the same time it’s expected. Bruno is very talented but can’t seem to knock his cornball aesthetic of “fuckboy lite who’s just trying to have fun with his dorky friends on Friday night”. Is Bruno a big enough star to get his lead single off his third studio album played on top 40 radio every hour like Justin Timberlake did with the just as average ‘Suit & Tie’?”
Turns out A Bit of Pop Music’s Fan Panel is not a big fan of this comeback single by Mr. Mars! Let us wait and see if his upcoming third album, also called 24K Magic has to offer something more to our liking!
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