Of all a biggest takeaways one could take from a Grammys on Sunday night (Jan. 29), one of a slightest tenable is this: Bruno Mars stays winning.
In fact, no masculine artist in contemporary cocktail strain has enjoyed a longer undefeated strain this decade than Bruno. His initial charting singular as a featured artist went to No. 1 on a Billboard Hot 100 in May 2010, as did his initial as a lead artist 5 months later. He’s surfaced a draft some-more times (seven) this decade than any other masculine artist. Each of his 3 LPs has been approved multi-Platinum by a RIAA, and in between dual of them, he accidentally tossed off a many entire pound of 2015, many as a preference to writer blossom Mark Ronson.
Even when latest album 24K Magic looked like it might’ve landed a small soothing by his illusory blurb standards, Mars managed to spin around his movement and narrative. First singular “24K Magic” stalled during No. 4 on a Hot 100 — his initial lead singular not to strech a chart’s rise — though afterwards second singular “That’s What we Like” climbed to No. 1 and became one of 2017’s biggest hits. The set unsuccessful to parent a third singular to unequivocally fasten on with a open — though afterwards he enlisted Cardi B for a late-game “Finesse” remix and video, that done a Internet impassivity and propelled a strain to a tip 5.
And now, a manuscript is etched perpetually in a W column: 24K Magic made Bruno Mars a biggest leader during a 60th Annual Grammys, not usually winning him manuscript of a year, though saying dual of a marks — a pretension lane and “That’s What we Like” — win record and strain of a year, respectively. He even had one of a night’s best-received performances, with his and Cardi’s eminently beguiling “Finesse” reversion romp. It became Bruno’s night, and a shot of him in sunglasses and a sparkly jacket, cradling an crawl of Grammy statues, will be one of this year’s fast images.
But for a initial time in Bruno’s career of undeviating success, he might’ve indeed been improved off holding a loss. Because while Mars was positively one of a year’s biggest artists, he’s not a one that a lot of Grammys viewers wanted to see regularly parading to a lectern final night. Not in a year when dual vital swat albums by iconic MCs were looking to snap a 14-year drought for hip-hop in a non-best new artist ubiquitous categories. Not in a year where womanlike artists went mostly unrepresented among a marquee nominations, and only one finished adult winning on a Grammys telecast. And not in a year where a biggest Spanish-language strain in Hot 100 story could have brought home some potentially ancestral wins.
Not that anyone went into a dusk wanting to covet Bruno Mars. Despite his obnoxiously high career batting average, Mars has remained a consistently amiable figure in a strain world, with an spreading unrestrained for cocktail and RB story that filters into his throwback smashes, that historically bear more the signature of a supernatural tyro than a criminal artist. To put it reductively, Mars creates strain to container seamlessly into modern-day marriage and bar mitzvah playlists — and he does it improved than anyone, as evidenced by a fact that we substantially haven’t left to presumably form of duty given 2010 though conference his voice during slightest once.
The problem for Bruno is that these are not indispensably a best times for a masculine cocktail artist with an unconstrained story of violent success to still be next so thoroughly, though creation any apparent try to rivet with a incomparable themes of a moment. Bruno’s acceptance speeches were frequency rude — he shouted out his associate manuscript of a year nominees for pulling him to be better, and went out of his approach to name-check producers Babyface, Jam Lewis and Teddy Riley, whose precedent 24K Magic would’ve been wholly unfit without. But there was no acknowledgment of a incomparable narratives during play that his wins were feeding into — a snubbing of hip-hop, of foreign-language artists, of women — and indeed, no genuine acknowledgment of a universe outward his possess career: his excitements and grievances were all personal and self-contained.
And again, in a vacuum, there’s zero indispensably wrong with that. Mars’ achievements are hard-earned, a multiple of ability and investigate that leaves him radically though counterpart in a stream industry. It’s not obligatory on him to pronounce for anything or anyone though himself, and it’s positively not his shortcoming to apologize for who a Recording Academy didn’t vote for. But he didn’t do himself any favors in ostensible to have no recognition of what his wins (and his ubiquitous cocktail supremacy) represented final night, beyond his possess personal validation. As a result, Mars now finds himself as a arrange of criminal in a altogether story of a awards, that reads something like “Unchallenging and unchallenged cocktail star triumphs over historically underrepresented musicians and artists.” And while that’s not wholly satisfactory — Mars, of Puerto Rican and Filipino descent, is a minority in cocktail strain himself — it competence finish up a tough organisation for Mars to absolved himself of going forward.
Just ask Macklemore Ryan Lewis. At a 2014 Grammys, they were roving about as high as any new artist of a decade: a span of Hot 100-topping singles, a Platinum-selling entrance album, and 7 nominations during that year’s Grammys. But after a twin won of those awards — many in a hip-hop categories, and many during a responsibility of that year’s other dermatitis new artist, Kendrick Lamar. After a severe Internet recoil to their Ws, Macklemore texted Kendrick Lamar an reparation for carrying “robbed” him, and afterwards common a content on Instagram as a arrange of mea culpa, that was likewise feeble received. The duo’s career never utterly recovered; while both are still cocktail presences in 2018, they’ve nonetheless to lapse to a blurb heights they scaled pre-Grammys — and, for what it’s worth, they haven’t been nominated since.
Bruno’s conditions isn’t a same, of course; he has a longer attention lane record, his success doesn’t enthuse a same discuss over competition and informative allowance as Macklemore’s, and his response to his Grammy victories was significantly reduction ham-fisted. But he likewise finds himself during a core of a flashpoint impulse in a endowment show’s history, and he’s not indispensably on a right side of it: While Mars’ hits are immaculately crafted, they pull from strain story though unequivocally pulling it forward, personification to listeners’ pleasure centers rather than expanding their horizons. As frustrations over a awards’ retro-mindedness and ostensible inability to simulate changing low-pitched times strech a prohibited point, it’s really easy to indicate to his success as Everything Wrong With a Grammys.
How that new standing affects his career from here will sojourn to be seen — presumably for a prolonged while now, as he’s already entered a victory-lap theatre of this manuscript cycle and competence not be due for another until a 2020s. But it seems sincerely expected that Mars, already good overdue for some kind of career regression, competence finally start to feel it when he does return.
Another masculine cocktail star who enjoyed a winning strain of even larger length than Mars is Justin Timberlake, who was still spinning off soundtrack singles that were commanding a Hot 100 as recently as 2016. But this time around, for arriving album Man of a Woods, things already feel different; new singular “Filthy” hardly scraped a chart’s tip 10 and is already plummeting. More importantly, he’s not going violent anymore; a video for “Filthy” follow-up “Supplies’ was roundly lambasted for a mixed-messaging and too-easy sloganeering, while Timberlake himself is feeling increasing feverishness for past veteran decisions, like starring in a 2017 Woody Allen movie, or not adhering out his neck for Janet Jackson in a fallout following their Super Bowl XXXVIII habit malfunction. He’s not going divided anytime shortly — no one with Timberlake’s or Mars’ resume ever disappears totally — though he competence never be atop a cocktail universe as he once was again.
The comparison with Mars is again imperfect: Timberlake is comparison and some-more away from this cocktail moment, and Mars hasn’t nonetheless been during a core of any incidents as disorderly during a Super Bowl fiasco. As a matter of fact, before these Grammys, he’s managed to equivocate cocktail play flattering most altogether — aside from some minor allowance accusations connected to his final album, he’s been radically controversy-free for his whole career. But a time competence come shortly where he’s forced to answer and fastener with some difficult questions connected to his Grammy victories, and if he’s not some-more skilful than Timberlake over how to answer them, he competence find himself in identical prohibited water. As we saw final night, Mars competence not be a form to puncture his possess hole, though he also competence not be a form who knows how to equivocate descending in one that’s already there.