Today something wonderful happened to me. I was thinking yesterday, “Bruno Mars has got an incredible voice. There are so many pop stars that can’t sing for shit, and their voice isn’t just using Auto-Tune as a crutch, nnn hnnn no it is not, their voice isn’t even the sort of thing that has legs at all, most likely, and their manager probably just set it in an Auto-Tune wheelchair and got panicked and pushed throw pillows up all around. And then? Then it sings “Roar,” and may the Good Lord keep us [do not click on that link. I was morally obligated to provide it in the interests of completeness]. Bruno Mars can legit sing. And he’s a talented guitarist. And he’s pretty as hell—where are all the so, so many Bruno Mars songs that I love?” Now, “Locked Out of Heaven” is a really good song. It references the early 80s turn towards well-Policed reggae in a way I really like. Many pop bands did a reggae thing during that period that [here Belle draws shape of ‘square’ in air with forefinger of each hand] was often too rightthere on all ‘eff oh you are’ beats, ironically lacked any freedom to move, and was one of many musical equations asymptotically approaching the x-axis of the Sisters of Mercy. The drum machine in the Sisters of Mercy was named Doktor Avalanche, and he was an actually important person in the band.
Then I thought, I bet Bruno Mars could cover a Michael Jackson song like anything. Yes! Yes he can. An SNL skit involved this awesome, undeniable fact. But he can’t cover MJ songs, because he’s too good! No one becomes a rock star to be in a covers band, and no one can derive all that much joy from seeing someone sing Billie Jean exactly like Michael Jackson—it’s mimicry. It would be great at a show. (On the other hand, everybody could derive joy from seeing somebody dance just like Michael Jackson. Really, two great things happened to me today, since I showed my kids videos of MJ in his prime dancing for the first time, including an insane moonwalk. Verdict: “I didn’t think human bodies worked like that.” Heh, indeed.) To combat this, Bruno Mars covers a mashup of “Billy Jean” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” [Live in radio station, great vocals but not enough guitar; in a club, brings the rock, crap recording]. Covering a mashup is a fun, interesting thing to do—I have seen some other artists doing this but now I can’t think who. So I was poking around listening to different songs. This past year’s hit “When I Was Your Man” is sappy. Beautifully sung, but sappy. The video is cool in that it replicates a very specific thing: a live televised musical performance from the 70s or 80s, with multiple cameras, and live editing of the feed so that you get different cutaways, pans, and even kaleidoscope-like effects. But it also includes a small amount of ‘behind the scenes,’ that is, we see the lights, and the cameras and dollies, briefly, and the reel-to-reel running.
As Bruno Mars has gotten (one imagines) more control over his visual output he has consistently preferred a certain analog look, even going so far as to preserve the TV aspect ratio, and very specifically, even in the HD Official Music Video having it look as if you are viewing the video on a TV screen of a certain sort. The video for “Locked Out of Heaven” is like this, while earlier efforts such as the video for “Grenade” are more generic. AND THEN THIS HAPPENED! BREAKING MUST CREDIT BELLE THIS SONG WAS PERSONALLY WRITTEN FOR ME!
I…just…am so happy! I love this song! The video is genius! Its every detail, from the hair-style the girl is rocking, to the backing band pretending to play horns as they dance even when there aren’t any trombones or saxophones in the song, to the truly killer bass line, to the unified outfits, to the lighted stage, to the ludicrous “trails” video effects…I love it. YAY! Also Maria’s coming to my house. I could make her listen to pre-Prince Minneapolis funk but the receiver is b0rken. TT_TT [on preview: our avec-serifs font makes that emocon look weird. I shall choose to interpret them as eyelashes. For those who do not use the upright, Japanese-style emocons, those are two eyes, from each of which descends a wide river of tears. Manga characters cry like that. Well, in shojo manga. In shojen manga if they are crying that hard they also have snot coming out of at least one nostril. Manga for boys has some advantages in greater realism.]