Elsewhere on the album, the ghosts of New Jack Swing producers Jimmy Jam and Teddy Riley loom over Straight Up & Down and Calling All My Lovelies, while Mars indulges in his love of the best power ballads on the album’s closer, Too Good to Say Goodbye. Proving just what a versatile songwriter he truly is, the track is an impeccably arranged piano ballad co-written with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, one of Mars’ idols from the halcyon days of 90s R&B.
From start to finish, the production on 24K Magic – attributed not The Smeezingtons, who had helmed his previous albums, but to Shampoo Press & Curl, the trio of Mars, former Smeezington Philip Lawrence and songwriter/producer Christopher Brody – positively glistens with all the pristine touches of 80s synth-funk and 90s swingbeat grooves. Shining as brightly as the Cuban links around its creator’s neck, Mars’ third album proved that the danceability and unbridled joy of Uptown Funk was anything but a fluke. If anything, it was his driving impulse.
“I needed to stop telling you we’re gonna get down, and just get down”
Described by Mars as a “silky, love-making ballad”, the slow-jam album highlight Versace On The Floor was released as a single in June 2017. Irrepressibly lustful and ornate, it sees Mars charming the clothes off his lover in some imaginary boudoir (“Let’s just kiss ’til we’re naked, baby/Versace on the floor”), and immediately took its place among a fast-growing list of the best Bruno Mars songs. “At a certain point,” Mars told Rolling Stone magazine, “I needed to stop telling you, ‘We’re gonna get down,’ and just get down.”
Set to grinding synth notes the likes of which characterised many of the best 80s songs, Versace On The Floor peaked at No.33 in the US, and its glamorous music video featured Gen Z actress Zendaya bathing herself in neon lights and letting her dress fall to the floor after Mars finishes serenading her on piano. “When the flyest man out here calls you for one of the flyest songs out,” Zendaya posted on Instagram after announcing her appearance in the video, “you make it happen.”