I first wrote "most influential of the 2010s" . But you can't really say Bruno is "influential", because he's so influenced by other things - what could he be actually transmitting to others! But his approach to pasticherie, and its peculiar blithe weightlessness (discussed further below) has been widely adopted. His success has been noted.
Evidence exhibit #1
Invasion of Mars-tian vibes into the world of teenybop! Yet in its clumsiness flashes me back also to the f(l)ailed poptimism of U2's "Discotheque".
(Incidentally, I seem to remember the Pogues were originally called Pogue Mahone, which translates to "kiss my arsehole", right? Or "arse" - I can't remember. Does that mean Austin's surname mean translates to....)
Similarly Bruno-y (with a bit of Plan B too, maybe) is "Love Me Again" by John Newman. Like Austin Mahone I saw this on TeenNick's Top 10 countdown, watched with my precocious 7 year old ( in the process of swapping A.Mahone for One Direction, just like she swapped OneD for Justin B).
Sports bags with patches, talcum powder, whey-faced Brits in Fred Perry's twirling on the wooden dancefloor, a mise en scene more like a 1970s youth club than a modern night club - this is meant to be a Northern Soul nite, right? Even though the music is as much piano-rave as retro-soul.
All means nothing to Tasmin, of course, which makes me wonder how many kids pick up on the retro-vintage signifiers? Even if they do, what do they signify to them, beyond a vague old-timeyness?
Evidence exhibit #2
Pharrell's "Happy" and G I R L, described thus by the FACT reviewer:
"If Pharrell’s recent success has taught him anything, it’s that you rarely score big by being original. 2013’s most monstrous hits, from ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Get Lucky’ to Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, were all shameless in their retro-fetishism and pushed units by keeping one eye on Baby Boomer nostalgia and the other on the bank. Is it any surprise that G I R L follows the same template? From the orchestral string intro of ‘Marilyn Monroe’ to the funk-rock jam session that ends ‘It Girl’, G I R L is 45 minutes of warmed-over retro-pop pastiche, cribbing from Michael Jackson and Chic, from disco and yacht rock. Mostly, Pharrell is content to approximate dance floor fillers from the ’70s and ’80s; at his worst, he rehashes the more soulful and innovative material he made a decade ago."
FACT-man Chris Kelly could have, probably should have, shoved Bruno's Unorthodox Jukebox and its run of hit single in that "Blurred"/"Lucky"/20-20 list .
I don't mind "Happy", actually -- it's not retro I can stand by (as with Tame Impala's mighty "Elephant") but it's retro I can stand - tolerate, perhaps even sing along to in the car. Reminds me of the better Style Council tunes. Or Mari Wilson / Compact! Sixties retro with an Eighties overlay. Doubled nostalgia.
Here's what I said about Bruno in that Finland lecture: