This past week, I found myself in the uniquely fortuitous position of seeing not only Bruno’s first live performance of the debut single from his long-awaited third album, 24K Magic, but also the first live performance of his yet-to-be-dropped single, Chunky, as performed on Saturday Night Live on October 15, 2016.

24K Magic debuted this week at Number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the video has thus far garnered over 40 million views. Additionally, fans are literally begging for the release of the second single, and the world is on its toes awaiting the album’s full release on November 18. That’s quite a way to come out of the gate.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of the first people on the planet to cue up 24K Magic on iTunes on October 6. I’d also be lying if I told you I haven’t screened the video a few times. I’d really be lying if I told you I could write an unbiased review of anything concerning Bruno Mars, because, Lord, am I biased.

But what I cannot offer in neutrality, I can offer in honesty, and I feel that honesty may just be more important.

With a healthy pinch of Jodeci and a heaping spoonful of Kool & The Gang, 24K Magic simmers in R&B nostalgia and boils over with fun. The video is all we love about Vegas excess – from spa robes to glistening goddesses to golden bottles of Brut. The only thing missing was white tigers, and I’m convinced it’s only because someone misplaced the shipping containers.

Chunky, which debuted on Saturday, is ironically so much smoother than that iconic fresh jar of Skippy. This sexy track calls to mind Heavy D’s Is it Good to You, Keith Sweat’s Twisted, and LL Cool J’s Around the Way Girl. I wasn’t sure whether they were talking about Lisa, Angela, Pamela, or Renée, but I can guarantee that every lady in this country is right now wishing she were her.

Now let’s get to the good stuff, the live stuff. If you haven’t experienced the warmth and harmony emanating from the stage during a live show, you haven’t experienced the fullness of Bruno. If you haven’t seen the dance moves in person – sweet mercy– you have not seen it all. If you haven’t experienced the true magic of this band’s live performances, you’re missing out in a big way.

We tend to take for granted the hard work that goes into making music. We tend to take for granted what actually goes into making something so complicated look so very simple. Making music is hard work. Making live music is even harder. We call out our artists only when we notice mistakes. But I’m going to call these guys out today for doing something amazing and amazingly difficult – making it all look like a party, and for inviting us all to join.

This run of Magic promises to be epic, not only for the quality of the music, but because of the band’s fun, frisky, and rousingly exuberant stage presence.

24K Magic should be enjoyed in no way less than live.

Don’t cheat yourself. Get #blessed.

I’ll see you in Vegas.


Featured Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC