“Futuristic” is a word few would use to describe Bruno Mars. The dude is retro to his core, going back to his kiddie days singing doo-wop and imitating Elvis, and though he’s as responsible as nearly anyone for the sound of pop radio today, he always seems a little happier slipping into someone else’s era than thriving in his own.
This has recently extended from his music and his fashion to even his music videos, as his Police-and-new-wave-aping single “Locked Out of Heaven” had a video that looked like it was filmed using lo-fi ’80s equipment and was being played on a damaged video cassette—not a bad look for Bruno, all told, but one which made you wonder just what the guy has against the 2010s.
Now, he’s slipped back even further. “When I Was Your Man,” Bruno’s second video off Unorthodox Jukebox, sees Bruno trading in his Jheri curl and warped VHS footage for a ‘fro and what appears to be an early ’70s TV special, featuring Bruno playing the piano solo (with a glass of scotch resting on the top) in front of a neo-psychedelic background, with old-school credits announcing his presence and the song’s title.
Again, not the worst look for Bruno, but this is getting a little worrisome. Next video, we’re gonna see him as James Brown in Black & White on a faux T.A.M.I. Show, then as a member of the Rat Pack performing at the Flamingo, then as a jazz singer at the Cotton Club. Once we get totally into the pre-film era, we might just straight up never see him again.