Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Bruno Mars strikes gold with “24K Magic”

Image courtesy of Warner Music Group

Bruno Mars wasn’t fascinating to me when he first hit the scene in 2011. Light and poppy, his freshman effort “Doo-Wops and Hooligans” was filled with airy songs that were fodder for cheesy middle school dances. It wasn’t until Mars’ 2014 Super Bowl Halftime Show that I recognized that this man had serious funk running through his veins. Backed by snazzy horns, gaudy stage production, and flamboyant footwork, Mars harkened images of James Brown. With Mark Ronson-produced smash hit “UpTown Funk!” later that year, Mars was the man dedicated to bringing classic R&B back to the masses.

In his latest effort “24K Magic”, Mars tries to recreate the “UpTown” spunk that catapulted him into stardom. With a throwback flare running through the album, Mars travels through the time machine of R&B from the likes of industry heavy hitters like James Brown, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, and the recently departed Prince. He swaggers through the nine-track album with gaudy braggadocio. Filled with Michael Jackson-esque growls, howls, and groans, Mars presents a tight composition filled with horns, synthesizers, and falsettos with his funky backing band, the Hooligans.

Through seductive get-ups, he brings a persona teetering on the border of charismatic and cocky, saved by snappy one-liners like “Honeypie/I’m far too fly to be on standby” in album standout “Calling All My Lovelies.” With velvety slow jams like “Versace on the Floor,” Mars harkens back to New Edition’s Ralph Tresvant and his silky smooth croons, prime for a 90’s high school prom. Always one to be charming and cheeky, Mars brings it out in full force as he slides with sleek machismo in singles “Chunky” and “Perm,” where he brags about his power on his many women, though leaning more sexist than seductive at times. 

A 33-minute album with no prominent features, Mars brings himself to the forefront, though masked by the grand showmanship of a swanky funk production at certain points. “24K Magic” is no “Uptown Funk!” It doesn’t need to be. After a four-year album hiatus, Mars welcomes a natural evolution from his reggae-infused crooning during the “Hooligans” era. He sounds confident, imagining himself draped in “Cuban links, designer minks, Inglewood’s finest shoes,” as he should be with his successful track record. He’s earned it. 

This album receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Brianna Powell, Editor in Chief
Brianna is the Editor-in-Chief of The Stampede.

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Bruno Mars strikes gold with “24K Magic”