Life on Mars: the fu­ture of pop mu­sic is on his way to Dublin

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

CON­SID­ER­ING that Bruno Mars only re­leased his de­but al­bum last Oc­to­ber, it can be ar­gued that he is al­ready the most out­landishly suc­cess­ful and tal­ented act of his gen­er­a­tion. The phrase “the new Michael Jack­son” may only be­long in some de­mented record com­pany press re­lease, but for once we’re look­ing at some­one who could po­ten­tially have a seis­mic ef­fect on the mu­sic in­dus­try.

Only 25, Mars poses a triple threat as a per­former, pro­ducer and song­writer. In the lat­ter cat­e­gory he’s just been named the most suc­cess­ful song­writer of 2010 (and there were some huge names up against him). In ad­di­tion to his own hit sin­gles (Just the Way You Are and Grenade), Mars also co-wrote Cee Lo’s Fuck You as well as a few other multi-plat­inum sell­ers.

As a pro­ducer he’s al­ready too ex­pen­sive to hire for all but those at the top of the A-list. As a per­former his Doo-Wops and Hooli­gans al­bum reached the top of the world’s charts. Oh, and his cur­rent tour sold out in nanosec­onds. So quick has been Mars’s as­cent that way back he was booked into the Olympia for his Dublin date next Wed­nes­day, even though he could eas­ily sell out the O2. Last month he picked up his first Grammy, and was sec­ond only to Eminem in the num­ber of

nom­i­na­tions.

In many ways Bruno Mars is a Step­ford fig­ure. He has the fresh-faced ap­peal of a boy ban­der and his mu­sic, while rooted firmly in the main­stream for that vi­tal pan-gen­er­a­tional ap­peal, has the odd hip-hop and r’n’b flour­ish to keep the mu­sic mags on board.

Mars earned him­self some “bad boy” cred last year in Las Ve­gas, when he was ar­rested af­ter be­ing found in pos­ses­sion of 2.6 grams of co­caine. Mars told po­lice that he had never taken drugs be­fore and re­alised what he had just done was fool­ish. But type in “bruno mars mug shot” into a search en­gine and look at how he posed for the pho­to­graph. That’s some smile.

As a song­writer, Mars ex­cels in vault­ing over gen­res. Ra­dio loves him be­cause his tracks are equal parts hip-hop and Billy Joel. He’s black enough to score a record deal with Mo­town but white enough to know he can’t be mar­keted as what­ever “type” they want.

He’s smart enough to re­fer to him­self as “the Nick­elodeon ver­sion of Dan­ger Mouse” and says he stud­ies songs such as Won­der­ful Tonight and Noth­ing Com­pares 2 U to see what goes into mak­ing a clas­sic. He writes songs such as Fuck You for other artists to see how far he can go in terms of lyrics and styles while still notch­ing up multi-mil­lion sales and air­play.

Put sim­ply, Bruno Mars is the most im­pres­sive and ex­trav­a­gantly tal­ented new act of the past decade. He’s al­ready the new Ryan Ted­der and is ca­pa­ble of mov­ing into an even more rar­efied cat­e­gory over the next few years.

So, if you’re one of the few go­ing to the Olympia next Wed­nes­day, re­mem­ber: you’re watch­ing The Fu­ture of Pop Mu­sic in

ac­tion.

Grammy call­ing: Mars with his gong for best male pop vo­cal per­for­mance

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