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Track Review

Bruno Mars revives a spunky, early ‘90s-esque sound with his latest hit, a new remix of his song “Finesse.”

Mars took years climbing to the top as he crafted music for others. And since stepping into the spotlight himself, both his voice and his dance moves have inspired comparisons to Michael Jackson. “Finesse,” both the song and its accompanying video, showcases those obvious talents.

This remix also finds Mars joining forces with up-and-coming rapper Cardi B. Together, this duo has hopped on the hit train, and it’s instantly zoomed toward the top of the Billboard charts.

This Is How We Do It

This remix opens with Cardi B’s contribution. She’s telling anyone who will listen how she came from having nothing to having a “drop-top Porsche” and a “Rollie on my wrist.” She then brags that she has “all them girls shook” and that her “big, fat a--” has all the boys “hooked.” And, she admits, she’s gone from “dollar bills” (a reference to her time spent as an exotic dancer) to “poppin’ rubber bands” (an apparent reference to having stacks o’ cash so big that rubber bands can’t hold them).

For his part, Mars begins with the question, “Ooh, don’t we look good together?” He knows this power couple is the center of attention (“There’s a reason why they watch all night long”), so he promises, “I’m gonna show you off.”

And show her off he does. “When I’m walkin’ with you/I watch the whole room change.” The combination, Mars says, of “my confidence” and “your measurements” is enough to “shut that s--- down on sight.” And the pair’s apparent dirty dancing (“’Cause I love the way it feels when we grind/Yeah, our connection’s so magnetic on the dance floor”) offers further proof that they’re “drippin’ in finesse” and that they’ve “got it goin’ on.”

Reloading the’90s

The deliberately retro video (mostly filmed on video tape, which reinforces its old-school look) finds Mars dancing alongside two male dancers who mimic his every Jackson-esque shimmy. Cardi B arrives, and they spray paint the screen in a Fresh Prince kinda way. She sports a crop top and very short shorts, while Mars has on classic late-‘80s wear. And as the video opens, Cardi smacks her own backside (another nod to strip clubs) right in front of the camera.

The men dance, showing of their well-rehearsed moves, and they sing to a group of girls dressed just like Cardi. Finally they all come together (the women bending down in front of the men, for a quick moment, as they dance), and in one shot the silhouettes of women are seen on a nearby scaffolding.

The end of the video offers a dedication to the 1990s Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color. That show was created by the Wayans brothers (and also introduced us to Jennifer Lopez, who just about gave Cardi B a cardiac when she commented on the video). And that show had the same kind of edgy-goofy fun vibe that Bruno reportedly strived to recreate in his video.

Bruno and Cardi B are obviously having fun with “Finesse,” another song that burnishes Bruno Mars’ rep as a feel-good kinda guy. But what’s less fun for fans is this pair’s inclusion of profanity, allusions to Cardi’s stripper past and some risqué outfits worn by women here. And that’s content that we simply cannot “finesse” our way around.

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Hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Record Label

Atlantic Records




January 4, 2018

On Video

Year Published



Kristin Smith

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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