Friday, June 14, 2024

Fresh Playlist: Is Bruno Mars Cool?

With new music flying like warp-speed through the various channels of the Internet, it can be hard to keep up. But worry not! Each week The Fresh Toast will deliver the most-discussed and exciting songs that have recently dropped. Landed. Crashed. And also: soared. Enjoy.

Bruno Mars—“24K Magic”

This about confirms it: Bruno Mars is cool. And not “cool” in the way, say, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine is “cool.” Which is to say, corporate cool. He’s the punky, tattooed judge on The Voice and he’s on radio and he poses for sexy magazine photos. A brand, if you will.

Bruno Mars is just cool. It’s remarkable, really, how the crooner writing kind of cheesy ballads became this guy. When Bruno Mars and his gang relieved Coldplay during the Super Bowl—and relief is the correct term there—he was both thrilling and enthralling. “Uptown Funk,” a song rotated on radio for two years now, still sounded fresh. It felt good. You wanted to dance alongside him (or at least pretend you could). Were it not for the magnificent force that was Beyonce, he’s all anyone would’ve discussed the day after.

“24K Magic” continues his trend as pop’s retro showman. Bruno Mars has always been a talented songwriter, able to craft catchy melodies and sing-along hooks. But he’s added an extra, funky dimension by cherrypicking his predecessors—namely 80s pop and synth sounds—and grafting their greatest rifts and horns with contemporary pop fixings like vocoders and “#blessed” phrases. It’s given him confidence, an honest-to-goodness swagger that’s undeniable. He really pulls off that pre-hook “Put your pinky rings up to the moon” lyric. Bruno Mars gives you the party; you want to join his fun. Just face it: Dude’s fresh.


“OLD MAKONNEN IS BACK,” wrote Makonnen in the description of this SoundCloud loosie. We’re apt to agree. With “Tuesday,” Makonnen ushered in a wave of ambient melancholy and woozy turn-up. His good-not-great singing cracks, it falls off-pitch. He usually fights against the traditional or even natural rhythm patterns in the song. He paved the way for new generation standouts like Lil’ Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert.

Though Drake jumping on “Tuesday” and signing him to OVO Sound elevated his profile, Makonnen couldn’t failed to build upon that sound. He expressed frustration with his OVO label and often seemed they didn’t know how to promote him. So is “Call Me Badly” a return to form? Yes, but with added polish and thoughtful songwriting. He’s recaptured that relatable longing found in earlier projects. Let’s old Makonnen stays this time.


My editor sent this track over for the playlist. Despite him hating new Bon Iver, new Frank Ocean, and his feelings, all that juju dissipated listening to this song. It’s a really fun record! Those unexpected synth syncopations pop and lead singer Dan Boeckner’s melodramatic croon complement real nicely. But that’s all we’ll say because every writer knows they shouldn’t placate their editor too much [smirk emoji].

Alicia Keys ft. A$AP Rocky—“Blended Family (What You Do For Love)”

Serious steam has grown behind Alicia Keys’ latest chapter in her music career. Her no-makeup philosophy and stint as The Voice judge has gained her some earned good will to the people. But this song falls flat. My main criticism of Alicia Keys’ songwriting is that it tends to introduce a semi-interesting concept, but never really take it anywhere. You will not find progression here. Sure, when A$AP Rockys adds some extra flavoring, but it feels forced. It’s like pounding questionable-looking chicken thighs with the Lawry’s and throwing it on the grill, hoping to hide what’s underneath: a pretty boring record.

NxWorries—“Get Bigger”

We discussed the alchemy of Anderson .Paak and Knxledge’s collaboration in a previous Playlist so we won’t belabor the point here. Suffice it to say that we’re really excited for this album, due out Oct. 21.

Boogie—“No Way”

Not only is Boogie one of the most captivating new spitters out currently, he also delivers consistently. With the Compton rapper’s Thirst 48 Pt. II mixtape coming Oct. 14, he dropped this menacing, frenetic single. He’s a kid you want to look out for.

Bon Iver—“ ____45_____” and “00000 Million” lyric videos

Just randomly dropping these lyric videos in for the people. We’re definitely not settling scores by including these tracks. Just thought y’all might enjoy these great Bon Iver records. Couldn’t see how anyone wouldn’t.

Posted By: Brendan Bures


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