Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Bruno Mars – Versace on the Floor

Hang your clothes up, Bruno; they’ll get crushed…


Claire Biddles: Bruno Mars is magical and perfect and earnest and corny and I will continue to theorise about how he would be the perfect celebrity boyfriend and keep you in silk sheets and lobster dinners and, apparently, Versace gowns to acquaintances while drunk as long as he keeps making pastiches of “I’ll Make Love To You” that are somehow the equals of “I’ll Make Love To You.”

David Sheffieck: As if he’s decided to make every other current pastiche artist (but especially Pharrell) seem like they’re playing in the kiddie pool with their warmed-over rehashes of ’70s funk, Mars takes keytar and woodblock percussion and a showman’s ability to commit completely to the cheesiest of concepts, and turns out a masterpiece of a throwback that’s uniquely his. I remain unsure which is the peak Bruno Mars moment of the song, in part because the entire thing seems like peak Bruno Mars, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to two: the command “Dance!” prefacing a keytar solo, or the way he compliments the girl’s dress so passionately it seems like he almost regrets helping her take it off.

Scott Mildenhall: Who knew Bruno Mars was such a fan of Johnny Hates Jazz? Well “Looking For Linda” is a banger after all, and it sounds even better after this invasively oleaginous pelisse procedural. He’s long traded in homage and pastiche, but this must be his first single that’s outright parody.

Alex Clifton: If you want to do a sexy song, powerhouse vocals are not the way to go. Nor are superfluous lyrical details (“I unzip the back to watch it fall/While I kiss your neck and shoulders” — trust me, I didn’t want that much info, Bruno). Ditto extended synth solos that lead to an entirely unnecessary key change that doesn’t actually elevate the mood. Somewhere, Tommy Wiseau is upset he didn’t use this for the sex scenes in The Room.

Eleanor Graham: Who exactly is this for? In case anyone was in any doubt, the kids do not want this at prom. The kids want the SZA album followed by “Mr Brightside” six times. Slow jams have to be justified by interesting production, which this doesn’t have. The key change is actually the sound of Bruno Mars’s MJ hubris reaching crisis point. *Frank Ocean voice* I’m not even into Versace.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Bruno Mars doing an ’80s quiet storm jam in the style of “Between The Sheets”/”Curious”/Whatever WBLS is about to hit you with that makes your manager get real nostalgic during those opening shifts makes perfect sense. The only petulant complaint that ruins the illusion for me is the invocation of the Versace itself, a crass display of modernity in which Bruno implies glamour not sonically or lyrically, but with a bit of Brand Signifier. Normally Mars is allowed to channel his mimicry into a pastiche that sounds like so much but isn’t anything concrete. Here, he’s not only blatantly going for a certain style, he’s botching it in a way that’s seemingly minute but infinitely disruptive.

Jonathan Bradley: Bruno Mars is an artist so invested in the artistry within pastiche he called an album Unorthodox Jukebox before another wag could stick a less kind version of the epithet to him. So I want very much to like his take on the ’90s slow jam, but it strikes its poses too precisely; Mars counts his steps so carefully it might as well be audible. The title image is marvellous, but to the detriment of the rest of the track. The-Dream, whose fingerprints are all over this — though the credits indicate he played no role — would tease out the tensions between passion and luxury consumption, making modern these old moves, but Mars is, for once, doing nothing more exciting than paying skillful tribute.

Katherine St Asaph: Bruno Mars, as ever, is detail-oriented approaching fanaticism: Versace peaked in popularity — see: one of the few dresses with its own Wikipedia article — around the same time this music peaked in the pop mainstream. Bruno’s also really perverse: a synthesis of old-fashioned “Just the Way You Are” romanticism and old-school R&B pastiche should be an obvious hit, but in his devotion to period accuracy he does it via sex far more stylized and soft-focus than the current imagination (the joke in “That’s What I Like” is he’s the one who’d be lucky to find someone whose fantasies involve shrimp scampi and strawberry champagne), and slow jams associated these days with the dentist’s office. And he’s persuasive in this perversity — he convinces even David Guetta(!) to mostly leave the instrumental alone. Do any of these mean good? They at least mean different.

Thomas Inskeep: Of course Babyface had a hand in Mars’s 24K Magic album: it’s the most joyously ’80s R&B flashback since, I dunno, maybe ever? What’s really surprising is that he didn’t have a hand in this song, which is the best 1989 Babyface ballad(ish) of the 2010s, expertly produced by Mars’s crew Shampoo Press & Curl and written by ’em too. This is a gorgeous track, as sweet as a song whose key line is “Let’s just kiss ’til we’re naked” can be. Bobby Brown wishes he’d had this on Bobby, trust. 

Alfred Soto: My respect for his mimicry is inversely proportional to my revulsion toward his influences. I suppose I should be grateful that “Versace on the Floor” segues from gross Styx mirror moves to French kissing with Gregory Abbott. 

Tim de Reuse: Breathtakingly uncanny; whizzes right past “sexy,” right past “sexy in a fun, silly way,” right past “good-spirited parody,” and right past “Tim & Eric-style hyper-exaggerated gross-out throwback” to confidently land in an antiseptic luxury slime netherworld full of soft light and awkward dissolve shots and the expression that Captain Kirk gets across his face when he thinks he’s saying something seductive.

Stephen Eisermann: I’m still trying to understand everyone’s obsession with Bruno Mars, because he’s nothing more than a mediocre radio hit-maker to me. Bruno’s biggest weakness is his upper register, and his fascination with throwing out the tinniest of high notes is on full display in this track. What starts as an over-baked wooing attempt turns into a strainfest from the two-minute mark on and it doesn’t make for a pleasant listen. I challenge anyone to try and seduce their preferred lover by singing strained high notes. I promise you, it won’t work.

Reader average: [8.6] (5 votes)

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11 Responses to “Bruno Mars – Versace on the Floor”


  2. I find the mention of Versace hilariously apt because of how gaudy their clothing is (both historically and even with their recent Resort collection). If Bruno Mars was adamant about naming a specific brand he picked the most Bruno Mars one.

  3. ty to claire for seeing the light and the truth while the world around us is trapped in darkness

  4. all day i’ve been thinking about alex’s tommy wiseau comment and cackling in public

  5. I have been giggling about Scott’s “pelisse procedural” too

  6. @tim oh my gosh thank you, you truly made my day

  7. This song is a national treasure. How dare you guys?

    My only quibble with this is the fact that the key is too high and he sounds quite strained at some parts.

  8. it would have been totally a tangent, but this is the best category on Wikipedia

  9. @ katherine god bless u for this gift

  10. Who exactly is this for?


  11. Belatedly realised I mixed up Johnny Hates Jazz with Hue & Cry! Apologies to both Hue and Cry, and also Johnny.