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He may get a lot of hate, but Bruno Mars sure does know how to churn out the hits. He helped produce Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” and has a successful solo career as well. So what makes Mr. Mars so damn catchy?
There is one answer. Influences.
Pop music draws from a lot, and I mean A LOT, of different musical stylings. From arena rock, the King of Pop, modern pop draws from almost everything. The first example of this in Bruno’s music comes in the song, “Treasure.”
First off, he just looks like Michael Jackson. But once the song begins, it is clear that it doesn’t just have the look, he has the sound. There are moments in “Treasure” where it is absolutely clear that this song comes from somewhere late in the 1970s. The synth fill that follows each line in the chorus is straight out of the soundtrack to any 80′s movie. The crushed, red velvet suits and disco balls help place this song in an era of its own – allowing only up to 480p resolution on YouTube helps too.
“Treasure” adds a modern touch with a touch of sampled drums and a plethora of vocoding on the harmonies. It is subtle enough as to not ruin the song, but stays to true to the influence that he is drawing from.
Next up is “Locked Out of Heaven”.
The musical references that show up in this song come from a similar era, but a completely different type of music. The guitar riff is borrowed from a song by The Police. And the Fender Stratocaster, rock’s most famous instrument, is right up front in the mix, allowing for a really driving rock groove to lay itself down. The sampled “woops” and the group grunt in the verse allow the song to be incredibly singable while adding a modern touch.
The full-on pop chorus comes back to modern times, but the song quickly goes back to its roots, and the real meat of the song.
There is a reason that pop music is so incredibly catchy. It relies on everything that you have already heard and loved to stay in your ear.
Next week? Taylor Swift.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Patrick Fort at email@example.com.