By Colin Gallant
Who does Bruno Mars think he is? No, seriously, I’m asking.
Based on wedding and Bar Mitzvah neo-classic “Uptown Funk,” Mars’s biggest hit to date, you’d think 24K Magic would simply jack Prince one more time and that Mars would shell out for Mark Ronson (who did the heavy lifting of writing “Uptown Funk”) to produce his album. Instead, he and producers Shampoo Press & Curl (really?) and The Stereotypes (really?) ripped off Ronson and a confusing melee of other hitmakers for a mostly confused, anachronistic mess.
To be fair, there are a couple of good things about 24K Magic: it’s only nine songs long, Halle Berry makes an appearance, and occasionally Mars seems to be in on the actually funny part of the joke this record is.
“Chunky” uses silly jewelry terminology and soggy, boogie hues to give love to the old-school ladies. “Shout out to the girls who pay their rent on time,” he sings for some reason. A better delivery of funk-indebted humorous, light-heartedness is “Perm” (which Ronson and Mystikal are likely filing suit over at this very moment). Mars actually sounds reverent and delightfully charming for the briefest of moments, encouraging someone uptight to “throw some Perm on your attitude.” It’s the same hook-heavy, substance-free fun of “Uptown Funk,” just a little too familiar for comfort.
Not much of the rest of the album is even worth talking about. There’s some pretty embarrassing Boyz II Men posturing, a fake missed call to Halle Berry and perhaps the most revolting song of all time: “Versace on the Floor.” That one is recommended to only the most adventurous of masochists, for whom the surprise should not be spoilt.
Don’t bother seeking out this album. There are plenty of places you’ll inevitably encounter it anyway: an awkward car ride that can only be put at ease by the worst of top 40 radio, a nightclub you wish you hadn’t gone to but got dragged to by that one friend, literally anywhere caterers work, the lobby of an office building that smells like leftovers crossed with feet, or perhaps even the Seventh Circle of Hell.24K Magic, Bruno Mars