In this installment of cross-generational mash-ups, I will talk about mashing up songs by Bruno Mars. Now, several of Bruno Mars’ songs actually lend themselves to cross-generational mash-ups as Bruno’s sound tends to hearken back to earlier eras. In one case, Bruno’s song may sound more retro than the older hit. Here are some of my ideas:
“Locked Out of Heaven” (2012) /”Spirits in the Material World” – The Police (1981) / “Roxanne” – The Police (1978) / “One Thing Leads to Another” – The Fixx (1983) / “Maniac” – Michael Sembello (1983). Bruno’s latest No. 1 smash features a 1980s style arrangement–some reviewers often mention the Police when they talk about the song. And for me, the best Police songs to fit as a mash-up for this number are the 1981 song “Spirits In the Material World” and with Bruno’s high register, their 1978 hit “Roxanne, but come to think of it, “Message In A Bottle”, “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” (the original version, not the much slower 1986 re-recording) and “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da” can be included in the mix, too. But it was another 1980s song that popped up in my head first when I listened to the Bruno Mars song–The Fixx’s “One Thing Leads to Another”. Then some interludes in the song then made me think of Flashdance, particularly Michael Sembello’s smash “Maniac”. I have to also note how Bruno Mars’ video also evokes the aesthetic of the era–it looks so much like a 1982 music video in my eyes. The only thing that would make it anachronistic is that the rock sound that Bruno employed would only be performed by white guys during that time–music videos featuring black artists prior to Michael Jackson’s Thriller breakthrough are very much R&B, soul, or disco.
“Nothin’ On You” – B.O.B. featuring Bruno Mars (2010) / “Being With You” – Smokey Robinson (1981) / “Just to See Her” – Smokey Robinson (1987) / “One Heartbeat” – Smokey Robinson (1987). Whenever I try to sing the chorus/hook of “Nothin’ On You”, I can’t help but burst into a Smokey Robinson high-pitched falsetto impression as Bruno’s voice is set at such a high pitch, and then it dawned on me that Smokey himself can pull off this hook. It also gave me a fantasy concept of having Smokey singing an EP of Bruno Mars songs, and Bruno doing a full album of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ classics. It’s a given that Bruno will easily nail the Smokey classics, such is Bruno’s remarkable talent, and “Just the Way You Are” is such a perfect fit to Smokey’s romantic classics. There are a couple of hitches to having that concept fully realized, though: first, Smokey may balk at the profanity used in “Billionaire” (Bruno’s collaboration with Travis McCoy) and would object to the raunchy lyrics of “Runaway Baby” and even “The Lazy Song”; second, and most importantly, Bruno has some bad blood with Motown as he used to be signed with them when he was starting out but some idiot unceremoniously dropped him. But then again, they can make adjustments to make it suitable for Smokey to sing them, and well, maybe the bad blood Bruno might have with Motown may not be that bad as without that stint he wouldn’t have formed his writing/production team the Smeezingtons and lay the foundation to his current success.
“Runaway Baby” (2010) / “Freestyler” – Boomfunk MC’s (1999). You would think based on the retro-rave-up style of “Runaway Baby” that this would be the older song and the techno-styled “Freestyler” the more current one, but it’s such delicious irony that the latter song is more than ten years older. But they share some melodic grooves that is why I think they could make a great mashup.
Well, that ends this edition of my Cross-Generational Mash-Ups. Next week’s edition would not be devoted to one artist but to miscellaneous ones. Hope mix-masters out there can use their imaginations and make my ideas come into fruition.