I’m sorry that it’s taken so long…from the moment I listened to this album from start to finish as it was intended to be heard I’ve wanted to share it with the world. Every time I’ve heard a song in the last month or so I’ve kept saying to myself, I need to let those people know. Who are those people? Those people are the ones that I’ve been speaking to about music over the last year or so who tell me that they really struggle with new music and that they just love the old school hits?
And for someone who loves exploring new music, creating new soundtracks for new experiences in my life I’ve been trying to analyse why this must be. The obvious answer is that some music is just really good and withstands the test of time, the hits, the classics will always be… generation after generation we’ll look back at those songs that just move us or get us toe-tapping every time we hear them. But if you scratch a layer lower I figured out it’s about identity… it’s about the time when we were figuring out who we were either in our teens or through university and as we went through those trying times these songs which connected to us and got us through those times, or helped us connect with someone else or as in most cases became anthems for those epic nights, it’s understandable why you don’t want to let go of them… and I’m not asking you to let go, I just needed you to hear this album because it’s got everything that you need from nostalgia of the 80s/90s across soul funk and r&b, it’s timeless and it crosses decades of music.
Those that know me, know how much of a huge Bruno Mars fan I am and a recent book I’m reading (Steal Like An Artist) encourages one to share and promote the things you love to help others experience what you feel. If you’ve never heard a Bruno Mars song then I don’t know where you’ve been, but this album doesn’t work in isolation…you need to understand the many faces of Bruno Mars to understand this album. Up until now he’s got the love covered – Just The Way You Are, Talking To The Moon & Count On Me, Locked Out of Heaven are some of the most solid love hits across the last 4 albums, he’s got the sex covered with Gorilla, Uptown Funk and the many naughty lines in his songs, he has this cool yet bonkers sense of humour that comes across in Lazy Song, Runaway Baby and he can cut into your broken heart with When I was Your Man, Liquor Store Blues, If I knew and Grenade. He does all of this with the most incredible vocals and production. Watching over the years you can see how he understands every note with the expertise of people like Rahat Ali Khan.
This hit maker has created an album with the best of all of the above…9 solid songs, no mid album songs that go to waste, 33 minutes with no collaborations, no features just Bruno and the production on Shampoo, Press & Curl (not The Smeezingtons this time) and Bruno vocally at the top and bottom (using his whole vocal ability) of his game.
When you think about the purpose of an album and the ability to take the listener on a journey this album epitomises how to get through the most amount of emotions in the least amount of track. 24k Magic is the party piece. Slated for it’s lack of hook, is why I think many may have left this album early thinking it’s not going to be a Bruno Mars special. And in all honesty it took me a few listens to get my head around it.
From 24k Magic to Chunky is the most random leap but shows the confidence and almost arrogance of Mars that he doesn’t need an album that all sounds the same so that fans recognise his ‘sound’ and injects humour into the album.
My favourite track on the album is the tribute to James Brown, Perm. It’s with this song that you realise how talented this little guy really is and how versatile he can be. Re-working funk for a new generation and taking everyone else back to those funky times all at the same time makes him an artist for many generations.
That’s What I Like, Versace On The Floor, Straight Up and Down are the slow jams, the club vibes and the baby making songs on this album. You can hear so many R&B artists from Marvin Gaye through to Usher, R Kelly, Silk, LL Cool J, all delivered by one guy.
Finesse starts with the rat-a-tat-tat ‘Poison’ esq snares that transform you to another time. I listened back to Mowtownphilly – Boyz II Men and the whole of that album sits in this one song, with a splash of Dru Hill. The chorus hook is one that will live with you through the day – I’m warning you.
And just when you think you’ve gone a whole album without the heartbreak song you get Time To Say Goodbye which speaks to a broken hearted man we’ve heard so many times from Mars with the harmonies that encapsulate all of the Jackson 5.
If you get the chance to listen to this 33 mins uninterrupted I would encourage you to do it.. you will find something soul moving somewhere in there, you’ll find something that takes you to a time and remind you of who you are, who you wanted to be and remind you that even though it’s easy to hold on to THAT you, you can make a new you and have the music to support it.
I’m so excited to be seeing Bruno Mars for the 3rd time this April to hear this album live alongside some of his other classics (If you can still get tickets try! If you wonder how people get tickets in the craziness that is buying concert tickets, sign up to the newsletters of the artists that you love and you’ll get pre-sales notifications which will give you the option to buy tickets a few days before everyone else)
For those that need reminding how incredible this guy is I’ve put links to a couple of live lounges that show off how amazing he is, how he’s the music he makes and that just made me smile.
2016 – BBC 1 Live Lounge – watch all the way until the end.. Adele’s All I Ask is a true showcase of brilliance (written by Bruno Mars) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbTv_TkqUg0
2012 – BBc1 Live Lounge – The Little Mermaid is so much fun – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPDj-pt7vjI
Also many don’t know that Bruno Mars has written and produced so many hits that we know and love…see how many of these you knew…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG4vczLtNE8
Bruno Mars Carpool Karoke – this is just pure class!
Happy listening, please let me know what you love about this album and why…