Bruno Mars – 24K Magic


The time has come. After what feels like a million years of Bruno drought, listening to ‘Treasure’ on repeat and praying for new music, the Great Bruno Mars Depression is over. He’s back. Bruno Mars, the World Record holder for Smallest Human Being to Ever Grace Our Planet (probably, not 100% sure but, like, if it’s anyone it’s him) has #blessed us with 33 minutes and 28 seconds of pure liquid gold in the form of new album ‘24K Magic’. And, let me tell you, it’s GOOD. Possibly the best thing to come out of Bruno Mars’ existence since that photo of him looking like an actual gremlin stood next to Taylor Swift, even.The album opens with title track ‘24K Magic’. A banger. Arguably the most bangingest banger to have ever banged. We have reached peak banger. Nothing will ever bang this hard again. Music is cancelled forever because Bruno Mars has won. Never before did I imagine the phrase “PUT YOUR PINKY FINGER TO THE MOOON” could mean so much to me, but here I am, in the Year of Our Lord 2016, smiling through the tears and throwing my little finger up to the heavens as a symbol of pure exultation. #Blessed.

There’s lots of other great tracks in there too. Not, like 24K Magic level good (obviously, because nothing is or ever will be ever again), but still very good. Namely ‘Perm’, which is essentially three and a half minutes of Bruno being That Guy on a night out who keeps trying to buy you blue WKDs on the two-for-a-fiver deal at Yates and grinding on you when he thinks you won’t notice, but over a banging instrumental so I guess it’s kind of forgivable, maybe? ‘That’s What I Like’ and penultimate track ‘Finesse’ are also worth mentioning- smooth, seductive, groovy, but also still banging- a balance that I strive to achieve in all areas of my life.

Obviously there’s the token slow songs on there, with ‘Calling All My Lovelies’, essentially a year 7 MSN break-up in song form and ‘Too Good to Say Goodbye’, accurately summing up how I feel about this album ending, bringing the album to a close. They’re OK. I guess Bruno was understandably tired from pumping out banger after banger by this point. I still throw my pinky finger to the moon to these, but in a reserved and respectful manner. It’s what Bruno would have wanted.

Seriously though, this album bangs. Hard. More than words can accurately express. If you do anything today, listen to this album, dance around your room to it, and throw Bruno a pinky finger salute while you do so.

 Bruno Mars – 24K Magic = 8/10 

Katie Hayes

Mark Ronson – Uptown Special Review

Mark Ronson in King's Cross, London.

Almost five years on from his last full length studio release, Mark Ronson returns with an album that everyone has been waiting to hear over the Christmas season. Record Collection from Ronson and his Business Intl. was very much one of the best outputs from the London producer in sticking with the idea of electronic pop, with a collective of musicians outside of the mainstream to help dismantle the tarnishing he received in the music press for his cover tracks such as ‘Valarie’. he’s spoken of the album being a very involved effort that he’s fretted over to the point of being physically sick in the case of ‘Uptown Funk’. Was it all worth it?

Just on commercial success alone ‘Uptown Funk’ was worth the stress with Number 1 successes from the UK, US to Croatia. It’s a track with an absolutely infectious and contagious handclap rhythm, brass and hanging, whirring synths. The deep funk backing vocals take over the role of a rooted bass line and is complemented with a smooth disco-funk fused riff. The set up of the instrumentals and the simple lyrics were made for an out and out pop musician such as Bruno Mars; in fact the song was pretty much made for him to exercise his vocal flair from the spoken word to the step by step build up in culminating with a vocal peak. second single ‘Daffodils’ which sees the pop producer combine his efforts with Kevin Parker: Neo Psychedelic producer and the driving force of Tame Impala as a follow up to his lead single ‘Uptown Funk’ which also featured Bruno Mars on the track. It would seem then, that much like his 2010 studio album under the title of Mark Ronson and the Business Intl.; that Ronson has set about forming another impressive and varied list of collaborators for his current project and the two names already produced are pretty different in themselves. The track opens with a washed out, analogue synth sweep which rolls off into a slick and slightly pashed out funk-like groove of a riff with crisp percussion and Parker’s spaced out, high pitched vocal just expanding the song’s space even more. The explorative sounds are reeled in a little with bass line interludes and flashing bass beat. It’s quite a novel record in producing what is effectively a neo-psychedelic-funk hybrid, but one that works with all purposefulness and style.

‘Feel Right’ features rapper Mystikal and features his throaty and gruff rap with a light rattling riff and bold brass intercessions along with a call and respond backing vocal. These three elements of the song are used to propel the song into action towards and through the chorus. A more rough filtered ‘Uptown Funk’. I can’t lose featuring vocalist Keyone Starr is a homage to a late 80’s and early 90’s electro-pop hit with it’s distorted and warping synths and the pop melodies being layered on top. ‘Summer Breaking’ and ‘Leaving Los Feliz’ feature Kevin Parker’s neo-psychedelic guitar in unconventional situations such as smooth jazz backing tracks. Tracks featuring Stevie Wonder feel frustratingly a little underwhelming as even though it puts him some sort of soul/psychedelic fusion, you feel he isn’t being maximised as a vocalist. In case of Fire is a Glam Rock influenced track before it goes off towards a funk and hazy produced track. Whilst there is enough variety in conjunction with an overall retro theme and some real moments of pop fantasia; there is a slight lack of substance and depth to the album with songs that really would suit them. The album is a great piece of retro inspired pop; perhaps not up to the standard of it’s Daft Punk counterpart Random Access Memories, but a success nonetheless.

Mark Ronson – Uptown Special = 7.5/10

This Week’s Music Video with Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Belle & Sebastian, Angel Olsen, Blonde Redhead, The Decemberists, Deerhoof and She & Him

Single Review – Mark Ronson – Daffodils (feat. Kevin Parker)

As Mark Ronson continues to release material from his upcoming album Uptown Special with the it’s second single ‘Daffodils’ which sees the pop producer combine his efforts with Kevin Parker: Neo Psychedelic producer and the driving force of Tame Impala as a follow up to his lead single ‘Uptown Funk’ which also featured Bruno Mars on the track. It would seem then, that much like his 2010 studio album under the title of Mark Ronson and the Business Intl.; that Ronson has set about forming another impressive and varied list of collaborators for his current project and the two names already produced are pretty different in themselves. The track opens with a washed out, analogue synth sweep which rolls off into a slick and slightly pashed out funk-like groove of a riff with crisp percussion and Parker’s spaced out, high pitched vocal just expanding the song’s space even more. The explorative sounds are reeled in a little with bass line interludes and flashing bass beat. It’s quite a novel record in producing what is effectively a neo-psychedelic-funk hybrid, but one that works with all purposefulness and style.