I tried, but failed…

Mr. Bruno Mars,

I’m so sorry to inform you of this, but I have failed in my attempts to dislike you and your music. I’m sure I do not need to tell you that your music is currently very popular.  What you may not know, is that I am automatically suspicious of current popular music.

So when my wife (who, like almost every woman in the world, loves you) started talking about you and listening to your music on her popular music Pandora station, I thought I had found the target for my venom that I so desperately crave.

When I was in the hospital, you came to town and my wife and her mother went to your concert.  When she gushed about your performance and that she thought if I was there I would’ve enjoyed it, I met her enthusiasm with deep skepticism.

When she purchased your CD (those things still exist?) I would leave the room (once home) every time she pressed play.

When you were chosen to perform at halftime for the big game (actual sporting event name trademarked), I knew I had to be right because, let’s face it, their track record of picking artists isn’t exactly stellar, is it? And so, grudgingly, I watched you perform at halftime (for my wife) & thought it was better than expected.  But it was a halftime show, likely lip-synched, or at least performed to a pre-recorded backing (as is the halftime show standard), & I figured your band was likely put there for show, and didn’t actually play, there, or on record.

And then I tried to forget about you. But my wife kept playing your music.

And then she would tell me of how listening to your music would make it easier to get through the months I spent in the hospital while she was home for the hour or two each day to shower and get ready to come back to stay with me.

And I thought, maybe I should open my mind and give this music a shot.

And then your song “Just the Way You Are” started to appear in every ad campaign on every television station every minute of the day.  And once again, I convinced myself to try to dislike you and your music.

But then you released “Uptown Funk”.  And I thought, “That’s pretty cool.”  But I first heard it on Ellen, where there was a DJ in the back and the music was piped in.  I saw your band dancing around with you and thought, “If these guys actually played this music, then it would be good.”  And then…disaster struck.

My wife played a video on YouTube, of you and your band in a live performance, in a relatively small venue.  It was the kind of venue where if someone isn’t actually playing their instruments, and isn’t actually singing, it can’t be hidden.  And, to the best of my knowledge, there was nothing to hide.

Needless to say, my world crumbled around me.  My entire belief system was shattered.  I started to doubt everything I thought I knew.  Music, pop culture, my place in this world…my very existence.   How could this be?  I can’t like popular music!

Eventually, after the denial, grief, & anger subsided, I started to accept my condition.  I went back and re-examined your catalog that I all too easily dismissed before.  And as I listened, I asked myself, “Without the production bells and whistles required of today’s popular music, would this music stand up?”

And I’m sorry to have to be the one to break this to you, Mr. Mars, but the answer to that question is yes.

And so I dropped my attempts at disliking your music, and instead turned my focus to disliking you.  But again, and I do apologize, my efforts came up short in that area as well.

I’ve heard the criticisms that you are a Michael Jackson clone and that you stole your act from James Brown.  Those criticisms served as my last bastion of hope.  I thought, “Yes!  I can like the music because it is basically stolen from past artists.”  Sadly however, I knew I was just lying to myself.  I’m sorry, Mr. Mars, but I have to respectfully disagree with those criticisms.

I had to admit that, while your music certainly does seem influenced by those artists, it is clear it is your own (& your band’s, & anyone involved in writing & performing the songs).  You aren’t a Michael Jackson clone, you didn’t steal from James Brown, & that was really upsetting to me.  No, you are almost like a combination of Michael Jackson, James Brown, & George Clinton evolved to their next logical step, with your own style thrown in for good measure.

You pay homage to the great music of the past.  You don’t steal from it.  And I am actually happy that your music has achieved commercial success, even if it does mean having to hear the same snippet of your song 72 million times a day in ads for everything.  I have to admit, my initial impression of you was wrong.  How could you do this to me?!?  I hate being wrong!

In all seriousness though, thank you for your music, for proving that talent can still be popular, and for providing some light in my wife’s world (& therefore mine) during our darkest days.

Much continued success,

A formerly reluctant fan

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

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