"24K Magic" was well received by most critics. Some of them complimented Mars' vocals comparing them to James Brown, describing the song as engaging, fun and evoking feeling of nostalgia. Others criticized it for not being innovative as it tried to emulate "Uptown Funk" (2014). "24K Magic" was a commercial success. It peaked at number four in the United States and number three in Canada and Australia. It has been certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), four times platinum by Music Canada (MC) and by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The single reached number one in New Zealand, France, Belgium (Flanders), Argentina and Israel. It has received a Diamond certification in France and a platinum one in New Zealand. In the United Kingdom and Spain, the song peaked at number five, being certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and two times platinum by Productores de Música de España (PROMUSICAE).
In September 2014, Mars tweeted "Now it's time to start writing chapter 3", hinting he was working on new music. Following the release of the successful Mark Ronson and Mars' single "Uptown Funk" (2014), the singer headed to the studio to record more songs. Mars said he had no plans to release a new album "[u]ntil it's done". It was due in March, but his appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show postponed it for several months. At the time seven songs were already recorded. On October 3, 2016, Mars revealed the song title and release date through his Instagram account after he uploaded nine photos. They showed the singer looking down wearing a white hat with "XXIV k" inscribed on it. Mars wrote, "You can call it my first single, but I call it the invitation to the party."
The Stereotypes had known Mars and worked with him since 2007, however, after the singer signed a deal with Atlantic Records they did not collaborate very often. Nevertheless, in 2015 Jonathan Yip talked with Mars about working together. Since the singer was already recording 24K Magic, Mars asked for "some beats" and Yip sent them. Later, he asked for more beats and The Stereotypes sent them, but they never heard from him, "nothing came of it". In June 2016, Yip touched base with Mars. He asked Yip if they would like to help him finish a song for his album, to add a little "seasoning". He needed another song with a certain tempo and key. Yip sent Mars an idea that caught his attention, and he asked The Stereotypes to come to the studio.
Once in the studio, it took them some time to "get the groove" on the track. They spent the first couple of hours catching up and having fun. When they began working, Ray Charles McCullough II was "getting scared". He felt this was a "make-or-break moment"—they needed to help Mars with the song. Ray Romulus recalls the artist telling them he wanted to create something that would make people dance again, because in clubs the crowd is on their phones, not moving and glancing at each other. At this point, Mars showed them a "rough idea" of the song. The Stereotypes started programming the drums for "24K Magic" and finished it in a day. It was the first track the team recorded for the album.
In an interview with NME, Mars said he wrote "24K Magic" when "Uptown Funk" (2014) was "number one", so the songs share the same "spirit". In another interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1, Mars explained that the album was going to be a movie and the lead single was its opening. He wanted the song "to get the party started". To achieve that it needed to sound genuine, and that he was having a good time, so he used his emotions and feelings to guide him. He also admitted that "24K Magic' was influenced by West Coast hip hop artists like "Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Suga Free ... [they represented] a time when it was okay to party, to be flashy, to get on the dance floor." In November 2017, Mars was a guest on the Charlie Rose Show sharing that the song was the vision he had intended for this album "I saw us having fun on stage. I saw us draped in silk and gold and me and my friends going up on stage and having the best time. It was important that we had the content to do so."
Production and release
Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence and Christopher Brody Brown wrote "24K Magic". They handled the production under the name Shampoo Press & Curl with additional production by The Stereotypes. Mars, Lawrence, Brown and James Fauntleroy provided the background vocals. Dave Foreman played the guitar, while Byron "Mr. Talkbox" Chambers and Mars provided the vocals on the talk box. Charles Moniz, with engineering assistant Jacob Dennis, engineered and recorded the song at Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank. Serban Ghenea and John Hanes, who served as the mix engineer, mixed "24K Magic" at MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach. It was mastered by Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound, NYC.
"24K Magic" premiered on October 7, 2016, at midnight on radio station WBMX. Atlantic Records released the single on the same day for digital download and streaming. The album was made available for pre-order worldwide via Mars' official site, with the song as an instant download. The label also released the track to be added to Italian contemporary hit radio on the same date. Subsequently, the song was released to UK and US contemporary hit radio stations on October 8, 2016, and October 11, 2016, respectively. On May 26, 2017, Atlantic Records made a remix version by Dutch DJ R3hab available for digital download and streaming.
The track reaches its "ebullient" and "infectious" chorus where Mars sings, "Put your pinky rings up to the moon, What ya’ll tryna do? 24K magic in the air." All the verses are designed with a call-and-response hook. In the opening lyrics, Mars shouts, "Guess who’s back again!/Oh, they don’t know? I bet they know soon as we walk in", punctuating the verses, he continues with more confidence "I’m a dangerous man with some money in my pocket", while backed up by a chorus "adding tough-guy punch to his mellifluous" shouts. The exhortations and confidence in his vocals reminded critics of James Brown. The lyrics celebrate extravagances, glamour and the party lifestyle. Many reviewers felt "24K Magic" condensed a playlist’s worth 80's electro-R&B into one song, with a modern twist on its lyrics.
"24K Magic" has received positive reviews from most music critics. Entertainment Weekly's Eric Renner Brown gave "24K Magic" an "A" note. He praised the lead single saying it is on the same level as Mars' earlier, "Just the Way You Are" (2010) and "Locked Out of Heaven" (2012), and maybe even better due to its "detail and finesse". According to Brown these qualities, along with "world-class vocals", allow "24K Magic" to "levitate". He felt Tupac Shakur's "California Love" (1995) and Michael Jackson's Off the Wall (1979) influenced it. Jay Willis of GQ called the song "delightful"— the second part of "Uptown Funk" (2014). Willis praised Mars for using the same formula as the earlier single and described the intro as "reminiscent of mid-1990s K-Ci & Jojo". Carl Williott of Idolator gave the recording a 9 out 10, comparing it to "Pure Funk compilations, West Coast G-funk and to Midnight Star". Williott said the track did not bring anything new, but it came at a time there are not enough party songs. In the same review, Mike Wass awarded the song 8 out of 10 feeling that it is a mash-up of the 70's, 80's and 90's R&B into "a nuclear-power party anthem" to be played in discos over the next years.Time's Tekendra Parmar called the title track "delicious".Rap-Up thought Mars created a great song, calling the hook "infectious". Jason Lipshutz of Billboard compared "24K Magic" to the TV show Stranger Things (2016) since both evoke nostalgic feelings. He found the single "impressive", with a "killer groove" that mashed the "G-funk" genre into a song with modern elements. He also complemented Mars' vocals and "ear for melody". Patrick Bowen, reviewing the album for Idolator, said "24K Magic" has the best chorus Mars ever wrote, being superior to "Uptown Funk" (2014) in every detail.
In a mixed review for Idolator, Rachel Sonis "24K Magic" a 6.5 out of 10. She described the track as "glossy, lavish and teeming with old-school The Neptunes vibes", but concluded that the single does not accomplish anything new. Robbie Daw rated the track 5 out of 10 saying that it is a throwback to the 80's R&B as a continuation of "Uptown Funk" (2014). He too thought it did not add anything new to pop music—"it simply keeps the party going."
The song made the cut on several lists of best songs of the year. Entertainment Weekly's Ray Rahman dubbed the song a "bulletproof party jam", ranking it number 35 on the list of 100 songs. On the list of the 101 best songs of 2016 compiled by Spin, Winston Cook-Wilson ranked the song at number 61 saying that Mars emulated the style he listened to while growing up and was nothing but impressive. On the Billboard 100 Best Pop Songs of 2016: Critics' Picks list, the single was placed at number 64. Taylor Weatherby wrote that Mars was able to "create another bonafide [sic] hip-shaker" like "Uptown Funk" (2014) thanks to "24K Magic"'s "infectious beat and James Brown-worthy vocal exhortations".
In the United States, "24K Magic" debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 with 101,000 downloads, 12.8 million streams and 65 million radio impressions in its first full tracking week. It was Mars' highest debut on the Hot 100 chart. On the week of December 10, 2016, the single reached its peak of number four on the Billboard Hot 100. "24K Magic" became Mars' seventh number-one song on the BillboardRhythmic chart, and peaked at number two on the Dance Club Songs chart and Dance/Mix Show Airplay. It peaked at number three on the BillboardAdult Pop Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. "24K Magic" peaked at number three on the Canadian Hot 100 on the week of December 31, 2016. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it five times platinum. Music Canada (MC) certified it four times platinum. As of September 2017, the single has sold 1,722,000 pure copies in the US.
"24K Magic" debuted at number one on France's singles chart for the week ending October 15, 2016. The Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) certified it diamond. In Belgium, it reached the top spot on the Ultratop 50 in Flanders and earned a platinum certification. In its third week in Argentina, the track reached the top spot. It also peaked at number one in Israel. The song entered at number 13 on the New Zealand Singles Chart and peaked at number one spending two weeks in the top spot. It has received a platinum certification by Recorded Music New Zealand (RMNZ), with over 30,000 copies sold. In Australia, "24K Magic" debuted at number 12 on the chart, and peaked at number three. The recording has been certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), with 280,000 copies sold. The single peaked at number four in Portugal after debuting at number 20.
In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart on October 20, 2016. It peaked at number five on the week of November 17, 2016. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified "24K Magic" platinum for over 600,000 certified units. In Scotland, it also peaked at the top five. In the Republic of Ireland, the single peaked at number ten on the Irish Singles Chart, after debuting at number 25. The song reached the top five in Spain and later received a double platinum certification by Productores de Música de España (PROMUSICAE), and it peaked at number six in the Dutch Top 40. In Switzerland, it entered the top ten by peaking at number nine and received a gold certification by IFPI Switzerland. In Italy, the song was certified two times platinum, despite only peaking at number 16 on the chart. The recording peaked at number two on the South Korea International Chart.
Development and synopsis
The song's official music video was filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada. Some of the shot locations included the Fountains of the Bellagio hotel and the Fremont Hotel and Casino. Mars and his frequent collaborator Cameron Duddy directed the video released on October 7, 2016. It begins with Mars' private jet landing at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Surrounded by luxurious cars, its steps are lowered. Then, Mars is seen wearing Versace, designer minks and a baseball cap with XXIV written on it as he starts to put on his golden jewellery; rings, necklaces chain, and sunglasses. His band, The Hooligans feature in the music video wear lightweight track suits. The rest of the video includes intercut shots of Mars and his band having fun by the poolside, partying, drinking and playing the tables at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. They party and dance, with glasses of champagne in their hands, inside and at the front of casinos. The video features several women wearing "door knocker earrings" in bikinis and sometimes wearing men’s denim, while they twerk. Other scenes include the singer and some of his bandmates driving down the Strip in a black Cadillac Allanté convertible, later purchased by Mars, and riding power-driven scooters in the casino, while "throwing money in the air". At the end of the video, Mars rides a jet ski in the famous Fountains of the Bellagio hotel.
Raquel Rose Burger of Billboard noticed the 1990s hip-hop trends included in the music video, like tracksuits, gold chains and snapbacks, among others. Partick Bowen from Idolator found the music video "approximately 95% stunting".NME's Rhian Daly criticized the video clip not only for its lack of originality but also the number of cliches. Mars could not stop showing off how rich he is. Tom Breihan of Stereogum considered the second promotional music video average with nothing "especially fun or spontaneous about it". However, he felt "it does have a lot of very beautiful women in it". Jordan Appugliesi of Entertainment Tonight Canada thought the girls in the video looked "adorable" and they were having a blast "in the super fun video" while looking amazing.
Mars first performed the song live on Saturday Night Live on October 15, 2016. His performance was well received by critics. Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone magazine praised the "electric performance" describing it as a "fluid, full-scale spectacle as the camera followed Mars and his singers down a hallway and into the audience" throwing an "epic dance party". Christina Lee of Idolator praised the performance, writing it was a party with a "California Love" vibe for the "Nae Nae generation." She added that Mars and his band came from backstage, "West Side Story-style, to join a crowd that was already dancing". He also performed live on The X Factor UK, on October 30, 2016. The Daily Express's Becca Longmire found the performance "epic". It caused some controversy as he and his band were accused of "miming". The singer was "extremely insulted" by the accusations and denied them. The singer performed the title track with his band on BBC Radio's 1 Live Lounge on November 4, 2016. Mars sung "24K Magic" on November 6, 2016, at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Adelle Platon of Billboard praised his show saying it was "an illuminated performance" thanks to the pyro used. He was also complemented on his "disco moves ... synched with lights on the stage floor". Later, on November 11, he performed the single on the Norwegian television talk show Skavlan and on the following day at 2016 NRJ Music Awards. Mars also performed the single at the 2016 American Music Awards on November 20. His band joined him on the stage that featured an electric blue background and pyro. The performance included a break dance. November 30, the singer performed on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2016, aired on CBS. He performed during the "Bright Night Angel" segment. During The Late Late Show with James Corden on December 13, 2016, Mars included "24K Magic" on the popular segment Carpool Karaoke. "24K Magic" was the second song on the set list of his third worldwide tour—24K Magic World Tour (2017–18).
^O'Donnell, Kevin; Greenblatt, Leah; Vain, Madisson; Feeney, Nolan; Goodman, Jessica; Renner Brown, Eric; Rahman, Ray; Biedenharn, Isabella (December 9, 2016). "The 100 best songs of 2016". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.