Released: 18th November 2016.
"24K Magic", pronounced "twenty-four karat magic" and stylized "XXIVk Magic", is Bruno Mars's long-awaited third studio album four years removed from its predecessor 'Unorthodox Jukebox'. As always, it's nothing you would expect from the artist as Bruno departs from his 'Unorthodox' sound, opting instead to pay homage to the 90s.
The record opens with its title track, which was released as the lead single. It's a funk, disco and R&B song with lyrics and a vibe resembling "Uptown Funk"; however, its primary influence comes straight from "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It's followed by "Chunky", which boasts a huge electronic synthesizer that takes some getting used to, but eventually the sound grows on you. "Perm" has a funk and James Brown feeling to it and it's on the "playground" with Prince's "Housequake".
"That's What I Like" sounds like "Ignition (Remix)" by R. Kelly and presents us a with a relaxed vibe. Track number 5, "Versace on the Floor", incorporates an R&B slow jam and is a clear "bedroom anthem" borrowing from Boyz II Men and Bobby Brown with everything on point from instrumentation to the outstanding vocal production. "Straight Up & Down" is a clear tribute to Michael Jackson's catalogue and in no way inferior to it.
As we reach the end of the album we would expect the weakest tracks, but not with Mars, as he keeps delivering with some of the best of the album. "Calling All My Lovelies" is a blend of G-funk/R&B with Prince/D'Angelo and one of the most sensual and sexiest tracks of the year. "Finesse" has a hip-hop and new jack swing sound with its lyrics revisiting the themes of party, style and even some love into the melting pot. The final track "Too Good to Say Goodbye" is a soulful recording penned by the one and only Babyface which is a clear standout with its Jackson's 5 vibe into the recording .
This reviewer dubs this album as R&B, funk and soul blended with pop. It's a departure from his previous work and genre-hopping songs and from his previous production team The Smeezingtons, since the production is courtesy of Shampoo Press & Curl. Overall it's a solid project which has his lowest points ("Perm") as well as some bland lyrics and makes you crave for more Mars and less background vocals in some tracks. Nevertheless, the singer's flawless vocal production and two of the highlights ("Versace on the Floor" and "Too Good to Say Goodbye") clearly make you forget easily all those minor flaws.
This release uses copy protection, and might not play on all current or future equipment.