Monday, January 14, 2013

sweet and Geisty blend of retro and nuevo - analogue and digital -  in the audio and the video of  that Bruno Mars megahit "Locked out of Heaven"

if you just listen idly, you mostly hear The Police - the jumpy beat, the loping reggae-ish bassline

if you watch idly, you see a band, playing live, in the old fashioned way, with New Wave-redolent boisterous dancing

but the song is very  produced -- it actually has four producers (the norm, seemingly in pop these days) except that one of the four, The Smeezingtons, is actually three people -- Mars and the two other dudes he wrote the song with -- so that's seven people working on the production, arrangement and mixing on the track -- where did all that work go? (And how come so many chefs didn't spoil the broth?)

well, it has all that vocal science bubbling alongside the main song which could pass for a "document of live performance"
like the voices speeding up in the background of the chorus, like giddy euphoria spinning into orbit

in the video you have vintage / old skool technology: the Akai MPC that triggers the vocal stammer-riff, that old camera -- and an overall scrim of Instagram/Hipstamatic period aura -  "very VHS-y" as Mars himself puts it -- but obviously painstakingly postproduced and digitally tweaked for a quasi-analogue/pre-faded effect

pure delight, though -- the song (not so much the video, which is just okay) -- probably the most rhythmically vivacious thing on the radio right now. And --in its Eighties mainstream Police / Dire Straits references -- a suitable book end to a 2012 that started out (and stayed) dominated by the similarly sourced "Somebody That I Used Know"


  1. Heard this on the radio while doing laundry Sunday. At first I thought it was "Talking In Your Sleep" by The Romantics.

  2. i really like 'Talking in Your Sleep' actually

    don't really hear the resemblance though

  3. The guitars, really, not anything else. Clean, trebly and played in a staccato fashion. And I think the chords are somewhat similar (though obviously not played in the same order or in the same way). I guess that guitar sound/style is really a hallmark of a lot of the pop records of that era, though.