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What do you think of Bruno Mars' newest single?

danevaz

New Member
I ignored this topic for week - didn't understand why it kept hanging around for so long. But today I finally bit.

I think one of the issues with many of the comments is the lack of distinction between the song/music and the video. Most pop videos are slick overdone, shallow fantasies. When I listen to stuff on You Tube I either scroll the video off the screen, or move to another tab on my browser so I can listen to the music without being distracted by the video noise. The video is not the song.

As to the lyrics - it's fairly standard pop music fare - not meant to be anything else. You could criticize 430,345,678.5 other pop songs for the same "banal" lyrics, and crime of "lacking soul."

The posting of the Grammy performance above confirmed my original sentiment - that it's a well sung, produced, and arranged pop song with some interesting musical changes. It's an homage to the 70s soul groups. And they performed it pretty good didn't they?

There's really a lot worse "pop" music out there today.
 

sailenox

New Member
I really like Bruno Mars. Anderson Paak is also a very good artist and drummer. I like this song, i feel the vibe. Maybe its not for everyone, but i like it
 

alexkrisandre78

New Member
If this Bruno Mars track was the scope of music I would not bother with music. Sounds like Starbucks.
You should really listen to what’s going on here. This song, and the Billie Eilish tracks, are actual composed songs with chords and structure. We have just endured 20 years of loops and structures where the intro, verse and chorus are the same chord progression. At least now we’re getting back to song crafting like the 60’s and 70’s. I only see this song as a good sign for what’s to come in the pop industry
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
You should really listen to what’s going on here. This song, and the Billie Eilish tracks, are actual composed songs with chords and structure. We have just endured 20 years of loops and structures where the intro, verse and chorus are the same chord progression. At least now we’re getting back to song crafting like the 60’s and 70’s. I only see this song as a good sign for what’s to come in the pop industry

I suppose all I can see is that his career will basically amount to being a talented impersonator. It's in his roots and it's what he does now. He does it VERY well, but I generally tend to think that if yourr only answer is to go back, you've failed. If we can't possibly find something new to do, and going back to the 60s and 70s is the only answer, music is officially dead.

I'll agree that Finneas is doing some great new stuff with Billie and others, but bruno is not doing that.
 

lychee

Active Member
...He does it VERY well, but I generally tend to think that if your only answer is to go back, you've failed. If we can't possibly find something new to do, and going back to the 60s and 70s is the only answer, music is officially dead...
I respect the fact that everyone has their opinion on such and such a subject, and it is by sharing their ideas that the world moves in the right direction, but however, I do not agree with this way of seeing things.
There are music that last and others that die, soul is a music that we still listen to today, so I find it logical that artists influenced by this sound want to perpetuate what they love.
As said somewhere here, that's what Amy Winehouse did, and that's what Bruno Mars does, we might can not like that way of doing it, but I don't see why we blame him for doing it.
Above all, I don't see why the music would have died by refusing to go towards something new, modern...
If we already have something good, why change the recipe?
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
If we already have something good, why change the recipe?
that's the whole mischaracterization of the argument I am trying to make. There is nothing wrong with doing what you love, and if you have a good recipe and want to stick to that recipe for the rest of your days, great! but that's, not progress. It's either stagnation or regression depending on the starting point.

Other than the mixing techniques and parts of the more blunt lyric, there is nothing new about what Bruno is contributing. It's not a problem that an artist chooses to stick to a genre like Winehouse, but Bruno isn't sticking to a genre, he's pulling from eras of music and profiting off of nostalgia. Totally fine, but it's not original, it's not new, it's not progressive. It feels like his career from his youth, as an impersonator of hits. For me, the only thing that irks me about that is that he has all the talent to do something progressive. He has the talent to take his influences and add something new, but his projects of late have basically just been locked into a complete reinterpretation of classics, beat by beat, wardrobe, and all.

It's fun, it's high-quality stuff, but it's not new, and I wish I could hear him use his talents to make something new because the music world could use a Finneas in that realm of soul/funk/pop.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member

apparently if you youtube bruno a couple times, it recommends dozens of relevant videos. This one is interesting because it cements my feelings that he could be doing better. Most of the songs on this list that arent era-based songs just arent that interesting to me...so when you strip away the era-based music, what is he doing with all that talent?
 

lychee

Active Member
that's the whole mischaracterization of the argument I am trying to make. There is nothing wrong with doing what you love, and if you have a good recipe and want to stick to that recipe for the rest of your days, great! but that's, not progress. It's either stagnation or regression depending on the starting point...

...It feels like his career from his youth, as an impersonator of hits. For me, the only thing that irks me about that is that he has all the talent to do something progressive. He has the talent to take his influences and add something new, but his projects of late have basically just been locked into a complete reinterpretation of classics, beat by beat, wardrobe, and all...
There is a big difference between the Bruno Mars of the beginning and the Bruno Mars of today.
When I read your comments, I have the impression that BM only does covers, but his songs are very new and his own, only the style is old.
I understand the urge to have something fresh and original to put in your ears (so I understand you), but even then there is no current music that does not take its inspiration from the music of the past.
I also believe (I could be wrong) that you are "young", therefore you look towards the novelty, but when you are old like me, the novelty or the originality cannot be a guarantee of quality.
So we go back to the old sounds, and if we can have new old sounds that's even better. :laugh:
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
There is a big difference between the Bruno Mars of the beginning and the Bruno Mars of today.
When I read your comments, I have the impression that BM only does covers, but his songs are very new and his own, only the style is old.
I understand the urge to have something fresh and original to put in your ears (so I understand you), but even then there is no current music that does not take its inspiration from the music of the past.
I also believe (I could be wrong) that you are "young", therefore you look towards the novelty, but when you are old like me, the novelty or the originality cannot be a guarantee of quality.
So we go back to the old sounds, and if we can have new old sounds that's even better. :laugh:
Again perhaps a bit of an oversimplification. Not sure where my 30s puts me on your measurement there but I can look at winehouse and buble and appreciate what they did/do as committed artists to particular genre. I can look at The Weeknd’s dabble into synth pop for his last album as a refreshing stroll down memory lane while merging with modern sounds and production (though I’m not a fan of some of his blatant Michael Jackson imagery he’s trying to invoke). I can appreciate Adele and Sam smith started with soul and gospel influences and moved on toward a different style of pop.

my issue with Bruno are two things. The collective works of his career as an artist tend to be square in the realm of imitation. The other issue I have is with the genres of soul and funk. Like classical they tend to be easily stuck in their ways. Generations of artists doing the same thing barely moving the needle forward. Instead of bold new music it tends to become a measure of ones musical mastery and then gets stuck there. Say what you will about modern pop and rock but it has moved. It takes influence from the past but still moves forward. I want desperately for r&b, funk and soul to move forward. I know how good soul, and funk are, now I’d like Bruno to show us how much better they could be with fresh new ideas.
 

NoamL

Winter <3
Interesting song Chris.

I really dig the fake-out modulation that happens at the end of the chorus, and I like that he repeated it. The composition is solid.

The lyrics are ridiculous, you can imagine if Key & Peele made a parody skit about funk music, there wouldn't be too much difference in the lyrics. I guess the sincerity is admirable.

The production is just not.... raucous? funky? ... enough. It feels too smooth. There is not enough jamming!

The lack of originality does NOT bug me at all. It's just that the performance & arrangement feels so under control. It feels at odds with both the genre of the music and the content of the song.

I thought funk was supposed to be like this:


Or this:


I would rather listen to Snarky Puppy than this song. They may be more of a "math rock" / "nerd band" version of this kind of music though.

Speaking of parodies....

 
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alexkrisandre78

New Member

I suppose all I can see is that his career will basically amount to being a talented impersonator. It's in his roots and it's what he does now. He does it VERY well, but I generally tend to think that if yourr only answer is to go back, you've failed. If we can't possibly find something new to do, and going back to the 60s and 70s is the only answer, music is officially dead.

I'll agree that Finneas is doing some great new stuff with Billie and others, but bruno is not doing that.
Yes, you’re right. I’ve failed. I failed again today because I was listening to Bartok and could only pray that I could compose like that. Silly me.
 

alexkrisandre78

New Member

I suppose all I can see is that his career will basically amount to being a talented impersonator. It's in his roots and it's what he does now. He does it VERY well, but I generally tend to think that if yourr only answer is to go back, you've failed. If we can't possibly find something new to do, and going back to the 60s and 70s is the only answer, music is officially dead.

I'll agree that Finneas is doing some great new stuff with Billie and others, but bruno is not doing that.
At best, I am an impersonator too.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
Yes, you’re right. I’ve failed. I failed again today because I was listening to Bartok and could only pray that I could compose like that. Silly me.
glad to see people can still make ridiculous conclusions from a simple criticism. If you wished to compose “like” that. Good on you. Finding elements of music you like and incorporating into your own commercial compositions is great. If you wished to simply compose “that”, as in blatantly copy the construction of Bartok to the point that it’s no more than a reductive reimagining of the original pieces, and you decide to make a career of that, yeah, I don’t find that to be especially appealing.

there are no 100% original compositions, we are all influenced by something. I don’t contest that. However we all have seen pieces of work that practically border on plagiarism. Bruno’s total discography is almost bordering on that line. Let’s not forget that 24k gold is not subtle able it’s reference to the theme song of In Living Color. This song is no less subtle about where he’s pulling from. I don’t think it’s a harsh standard to want him to provide something new, knowing he absolutely can do it.
 

lychee

Active Member
glad to see people can still make ridiculous conclusions from a simple criticism. If you wished to compose “like” that. Good on you. Finding elements of music you like and incorporating into your own commercial compositions is great. If you wished to simply compose “that”, as in blatantly copy the construction of Bartok to the point that it’s no more than a reductive reimagining of the original pieces, and you decide to make a career of that, yeah, I don’t find that to be especially appealing.

there are no 100% original compositions, we are all influenced by something. I don’t contest that. However we all have seen pieces of work that practically border on plagiarism. Bruno’s total discography is almost bordering on that line. Let’s not forget that 24k gold is not subtle able it’s reference to the theme song of In Living Color. This song is no less subtle about where he’s pulling from. I don’t think it’s a harsh standard to want him to provide something new, knowing he absolutely can do it.
I went to look for the music of In Living Color to see if we are at that famous "limit of plagiarism" you are talking about, and ... no, no, no ... I can't let you say that!
First, the people doing this comparison compare the sound of In Living Color with Finesse by Bruno Mars and not 24k.
Then, apart from the "orchestra hit" contained in the two sounds, it is very, but very far from plagiarism.
The track Finesse is quite simply a New Jack Swing inspired sound, a style of music that was on top in the years '87 to '92 before the advent of (new) R&B.
The "orchestra hit" was a very used element in this style of music, as well as this very recognizable long release snare on a syncopated rhythm.




On the other hand, Finesse is very inspired (without being a copy for my taste) by "Remember The Time" of Michael Jackson (composed by Teddy Riley, the inventor of New Jack Swing).
Some even made a Remenber The Time vs Finesse mashup that fits perfectly:




And the song of In Living Color is itself very inspired by "Wanna Get With U" by the group GUY (of which Teddy Riley was a member).




 

lychee

Active Member
The Koreans often use old sounds and are particularly inspired by the New Jack Swing in their K-Pop.



We like it or we hate it, but the thing is that it works, and it is even quite intelligent on the part of the artists, because they can capture an audience both old and young rather than addressing only young people and abandon the older generation.
Yes because we old people too would like something "new" rather than replaying our vinyls over and over again.
Otherwise some try to hybridize between the old and the new, like this group that I have just discovered and which tries to mix the New Jack with elements of Trap (chocobitz825 maybe it is lack of audacity that you reproach Bruno Mars?):

 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
I went to look for the music of In Living Color to see if we are at that famous "limit of plagiarism" you are talking about, and ... no, no, no ... I can't let you say that!
First, the people doing this comparison compare the sound of In Living Color with Finesse by Bruno Mars and not 24k.
Then, apart from the "orchestra hit" contained in the two sounds, it is very, but very far from plagiarism.
The track Finesse is quite simply a New Jack Swing inspired sound, a style of music that was on top in the years '87 to '92 before the advent of (new) R&B.
The "orchestra hit" was a very used element in this style of music, as well as this very recognizable long release snare on a syncopated rhythm.




On the other hand, Finesse is very inspired (without being a copy for my taste) by "Remember The Time" of Michael Jackson (composed by Teddy Riley, the inventor of New Jack Swing).
Some even made a Remenber The Time vs Finesse mashup that fits perfectly:




And the song of In Living Color is itself very inspired by "Wanna Get With U" by the group GUY (of which Teddy Riley was a member).




You're right finesse was the song in my mind. proof I shouldn't type while on the run. My point was not as direct since I'm pulling from points I made earlier in this thread. It's the total package of his presentation that rubs me the wrong way. If he had done any of these songs in isolation, without the visual cues on top of it in his music videos, maybe I would feel a bit more appreciation for the nostalgia, but its not one video or one song. Its entire albums and music videos. I would say Unorthodox Jukebox was a more tolerable balance of retro and modern, but still a bit heavy on the retro. Since the success of uptown funk, he's gone deep in.
The Koreans often use old sounds and are particularly inspired by the New Jack Swing in their K-Pop.



We like it or we hate it, but the thing is that it works, and it is even quite intelligent on the part of the artists, because they can capture an audience both old and young rather than addressing only young people and abandon the older generation.
Yes because we old people too would like something "new" rather than replaying our vinyls over and over again.
Otherwise some try to hybridize between the old and the new, like this group that I have just discovered and which tries to mix the New Jack with elements of Trap (chocobitz825 maybe it is lack of audacity that you reproach Bruno Mars?):

Some kpop reference new jack swing makes sense as Korea had a point of 90s music that was inspired by the genre. Selling nostalgia every now in then is great, but selling nostalgia as your only product, and telling us that its new is tiresome.

to speak honestly about why this bothers me the most is that for the better part of my career, I've had to listen to thousands of submissions of pop songs by various career writers. The lack of originality is mind-numbing. You can have 5 writers who don't know each other who all use the exact same melodies, and chord progressions, and lyrics in parts of the song. Not because all the good stuff has been done, but because they're following the formula and hoping that because it's worked for others before, that it will work for them. They've either convinced themselves the formula is the only way to succeed, or they lack the confidence to dare and be bold to stand out. Formulaic songwriting is boring, and their music usually ends up assigned to artists who have such low budgets they can't afford the good stuff.

Bruno made his name on bold songs. Now that he has a name, he's riding on formulaic songs. well-executed, well-produced music that, had he not been the artist Bruno Mars, likely would not be the hits that they are now. It is unique in that, you'd hard-pressed to find another artist who could sing these songs as well as him nowadays, but it still remains that he's banking on our nostalgia and the formulas to do half the work.

I could be absolutely wrong, and just maybe I'm bitter from my experience, but I cannot imagine that people will look back on these songs decades later with the same love and appreciation as the songs he's pulling from. Which sucks because he is a rare talent, and I wish he operated more as an artist, rather than an arranger/producer/stage impersonator. (not meant to cut him down, I'm just speaking to his actual career experience)
 
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