Own It or Disown It: #291: Bruno Mars, 24K Magic

OwnItorDisownIt

Fucking. Genius.

Last weekend was a pretty big weekend for pop culture. The second season of Netflix’s One Day At A Time premiered, Dragon Ball Fighterz was released, Jay White beat Kenny Omega for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, but most significantly, Johnny Gargano and Andrade “Cien” Almas put on one of the greatest wrestling matches I’ve ever seen, a true work of art that will be enjoyed and learned from for years to come. Also, the Grammys happened.

I’ll not get into a detailed rundown of my grievances with the Grammys because you already know what I’m going to say. Suffice to say that their bid at being perceived as progressive was undermined, again, by themselves, best exemplified by giving the award for Album Of The Year to 24K Magic over four albums that actually could be argued as being the best album of the year. It makes sense that it was nominated—it is a popular album that most critics agree is at least a six out of ten—but for it to win over DAMN. and Melodrama…like, the Academy has ears, right? “Well,” I thought to myself, “I have ears, and I wouldn’t be a respectful or responsible critic if I were to lambast 24K Magic without actually giving it a chance, and I’ve got half an hour to kill. Let’s do this!”

Folks, I’m at a loss of what to say about this one. Not because I’m not sure if it’s good or not (it’s quite bad) but because there’s literally not much to say. Most of what I could say about the title track applies to the rest of the album, with the qualifier that it’s all so much worse. “24K Magic” is novelty, fun novelty at that, but its liberal sampling of “The Message” and empty braggadocio render it relatively disposable. That a full two-thirds of the rest of the album is a lesser version of that, with more obvious jacking of recognizable samples over (somehow) even emptier braggadocio, means nothing has a chance to stick. There are worse things to soundtrack a middle-school dance with, I suppose.

The remaining third consists of two shitty pseudo-ballads (“Versace On the Floor” and “Too Good to Say Goodbye”) as well as “Calling All My Lovelies”, which isn’t all that great but came the closest to rivalling the title track in terms of impact, which still isn’t saying much because it’s a knockoff of “Uptown Funk”. Credit to Bruno Mars for finding a formula for success after not being able to hack it as an original songwriter. He’s now one of the biggest stars on the planet thanks to riding off great tunes made by other people without adding a single unique or well-executed element to the equation. It’s genius, and what’s most impressive is that nobody, God willing, will be able to pull off this stunt ever again on such a wide scale.

VERDICT: DISOWN

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