Bruno Mars: 24K Magic review – Barry Manilow in 90s R&B clothing

Bruno Mars 24k Magic

“I’m a dangerous man,” whoops Bruno Mars, more in hope than expectation, on 24K Magic’s opening track. As a wildly successful good-vibe merchant, Mars is only a danger to the sensibilities of people who detest his retro-fuelled buoyancy. For those who are on board, however, his third album will further the impression that he’s Barry Manilow in 90s R&B clothing: a writer of bothersomely memorable hooks, and a singer of great likability.

Though Mars styles himself as a playa here – scoring a few Romeo points on Calling All My Lovelies by featuring Halle Berry’s actual voicemail – the core of the album is his passion for the early 90s period when hip-hop met soul. James Brown is referenced unto pastiche on the crisp Perm, but Finesse and That’s What I Like respectively revisit new jack swing and the young R Kelly with such love that it’s not so much throwback as righteous resurrection.

Powered by article was written by Caroline Sullivan, for The Guardian on Thursday 24th November 2016 21.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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