When I saw Bruno Mars perform a couple songs from his new album XXIVK Magic on Saturday Night Live in October, I thought to myself “Is he trying to bring back New Jack Swing?”
He brought back New Jack Swing!
Mars, with his writing and production team Shampoo Press & Curl (thought to be a reformulation of The Smeezingtons), has created a 9 track flashback to the late 80’s-mid 90’s, that magical time when R&B singers and groups owned the Billboard charts and Hip Hop was hitting its stride. I was only a kid during this time but I can only imagine how fun it must have been to go to the club and leave a sweaty, funky mess moving your ENTIRE body all night long.
That is what XXIVK Magic makes me imagine. It’s loaded with prominent basslines, keytars, synthesizers, and talk box embellishments à la Rodger Troutman and Teddy Riley. The uptempo tracks are perfect for recreating the iconic dance scenes from House Party and the slow jams will make you want to grab your boo to get “closer than close”. The writing is top notch, exactly what we have come to expect from Mars and his team. The songs use today’s lingo without losing the influence of yesteryear.
I’ve listened to this album 5 times, back to back. I love it from beginning to end and I highly recommend it to all R&B lovers, especially those with old school artists in their playlist.