Some artists are so charismatic and entertaining to watch perform live, that a studio album doesn’t necessarily capture their full power as an artist. I think that might be my take on Bruno Mars and his album “24K Magic”. There are two phenomenal hits, the title track in particular, and some other decent songs on this record, but for me, the magic of Bruno Mars will always be best defined by his multiple appearances in the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Since I have seen him there, any other artist has failed to measure up on that same stage.
Riding the wave of the massive hit “Uptown Funk”, which was actually a Mark Ronson song featuring Bruno Mars, this 2016 album and its equally high energy title track reinforced Bruno Mars as the modern-day version of James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince all merged into one. His blend of sweet and soulful vocals with an always-present posse of dancing masters made for an audio-visual burst of entertainment, and clubs and radios alike were overwhelmed with interest for this song. No matter how many times I hear this song or its predecessor “Uptown Funk”, (which is not on this album, just to clarify) I always smile and tend to reach for the volume button.
“That’s What I Like” slows down the pace half a beat, but is another big hit delivered in the same style, with similar effect. The other singles, “Versace on the Floor”, “Chunky” and “Finesse” are less impactful, and honestly, there isn’t too much else on this relatively short (33 minute) album to get excited about, as they are pretty basic pop songs, but the entire record is still a fun play and is probably a dozen times more enjoyable performed live.
I will keep an open mind every year as I watch the Super Bowl, but until I see otherwise, Bruno Mars will always be the unquestioned king of the Halftime Show, and this collection of hits he strung together makes him one of the most enjoyable and dazzling performers of the last decade.