the most 90s thing to come out of 2018
February 5, 2018 4:47 PM   Subscribe

The song and music video of the remix of Bruno Mars' Finesse with Cardi B sounds and looks like it came directly from 1992, but it was released in January 2018.
posted by divabat (56 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
OMG... am I super old....... or BACK IN STYLE AGAIN?????
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 4:50 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Ok I JUST heard this on the "modern hip hop channel" and I was so confused. Now I feel better.
posted by Emmy Rae at 4:59 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


That's amazing! It's as if the last good music ever created were only two years old!
posted by darksasami at 5:12 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


For reference: In Living Color debuted in 1990, 28 years ago. The Beverly Hillbillies debuted (in black & white) in 1962, 28 years earlier than In Living Color.
posted by mhum at 5:14 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Does anybody under 30 listen to Bruno Mars? The thought has occurred to me.
posted by rhizome at 5:17 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


No. No they don't.

I keed. I find him catchy. But he's not my bag. I feel like Mars is channeling Michael Jackson somehow.
posted by hot_monster at 5:21 PM on February 5


Also, I think one of the biggest under-appreciated gems of 2017 is that Cardi B is, like, actually good at rapping. I mean, I guess we can take it for granted now (especially after the breakout of "Bodak Yellow"), but there was no reason a priori that someone previously best known from her stint on Love & Hip Hop NY and the "hoes never get cold" Vine would also be a good rapper. Yes, she attended a performing arts high school, but I don't think it was anything quite like Nicki Minaj who literally got into the Fame school.
posted by mhum at 5:25 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Bruno is a remix expert. Unfortunately, he's already been sued for doing too good a job remixing things.


I am pretty sure he'll be sued again for this song, possibly by Bobby Brown/New Edition. I can't remember the exact song it feels like.


Don't believe me ? Just watch!
posted by Freecola at 5:25 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Underrated Bruno Mars mashup: Uptown Funk + Walk the Dinosaur = Uptown Dinosaur, with download
posted by nicebookrack at 5:31 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I have this reverse effect with Bruno's songs. Songs that I end up loving generally require me to listen to them 5 or 6 times, whereas with Bruno's songs I enjoy them straight away...but then get over them after the fifth time.
posted by liquorice at 5:31 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I want Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson to find somebody who is not Mystikal who they can work with to continue doing that awesome Hip Hop James Brown thing in Feel Right off of that Ronson album that had Uptown Funk. Don't get me wrong, Uptown Funk was amazing, but Feel Right was the beeeest. Except. It had goddamn abusive rapist Mystikal on it. So yeah, find someone else and do more of that with the Ronson and Mars production magic, I need more.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:33 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I love Cardi B's voice and her version of this song. Any time rappers sound really unique, I'm in. If you like her, you might like:

Fifth graders with sore throats: Rae Sremmurd
Stoners leading a pep rally: Migos
posted by Freecola at 5:35 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Frankly, the dancing on In Living Color was better than that.

The dancing on this Canadian video from 1989 was better than that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:35 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


In January, Cardi B was "the third act -- and first woman -- with five of the top 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in a single week since the list began in 1958. [...] Further, Cardi B is the only artist to achieve the feat with her first five chart entries." You can't fuck with her if you wanted to, indeed.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:41 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Needs a newjackswing tag
posted by NoMich at 5:42 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


If Bruno Mars decided to cover the best new jack swing songs, I would support it. I think he's technically a better singer than some of the original artists.

The country needs more newjackswing!

Start here: Bobby Brown- Every Little Step
posted by Freecola at 5:51 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I got this off Tumblr which has a significant under-30 population, so I’m guessing that demographic does listen to him.
posted by divabat at 5:58 PM on February 5


So early 90s! That one drum part is like, directly sampled from "Poison," right?
posted by aka burlap at 6:20 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Frankly, the dancing on In Living Color yt was better than that.

The dancing on this Canadian video from 1989 yt was better than that.


I liked the dancing! It had a knowingly exaggerated, theatery look to it that matched the kind of we're-on-a-stage-set look of the video set and also matched the "we're not actually from the 90s, we're just doing a little reenactment of the 90s" feel of the whole song.
posted by aka burlap at 6:24 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


where am i is this my sophomore year halp
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:35 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]



I want Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson to find somebody who is not Mystikal who they can work with


Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. please please please
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:38 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Does anybody under 30 listen to Bruno Mars? The thought has occurred to me.

Bruno probably skews towards that age range, but I think Cardi B is probably pretty popular with younger demographics. Hence the cross-over, I suppose.
posted by codacorolla at 6:40 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Any of you who feel all sour about this, go listen to Rhythm Nation 1814 as homework and come back.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:44 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


The 20 year nostalgia cycle strikes again.

You walk on the moon float like a balloon
You see it's never too late and it's never too soon
Take it from me what it's aiight to be.
In Living Color

And how would you feel knowin' prejudice was obsolete
And all mankind danced to the exact beat
And at night it was safe to walk down the street.
In Living Color


Early 90s hip hop was some optimistic shit. All it was missing was some New Jack Swing.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:58 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Needs more Cross Colours, though.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 PM on February 5


Rhythm Nation 1814

what even was the deal with that? Napoleancore?
posted by thelonius at 7:04 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


The abrupt change from 30 fps to 60 fps hit me on a weirdly visceral level, like I was suddenly watching one of those motion smoothing demos on a TV showroom floor
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:05 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


what even was the deal with that? Napoleancore?

I always saw Napoleon as more of a Control guy
posted by thivaia at 7:29 PM on February 5


So early 90s! That one drum part is like, directly sampled from "Poison," right?

Yeah, that snare is pretty much straight 606 or 808, which was either the heart, meat or inspiration of a whole lot of late 80s and 90s hip hop and R&B. I was thinking more C&C Music Factory or even Information Society, which had one of the hardest hi NRG snare hits in the 90s dance biz.

This signature terse snare sound is a heavily gated and sharply attacked 606, 808, 909 or even 505 drum machine sound, or samples of it. It's mainly not even a real snare sound at all, it's just 1-3 channels of additive synth noise with various attack, decay, sustain and release profile and whatever filters/post FX and inserts, generally timed/filtered delay and reverb.

It's such an easy sound to make in a synth that a lot of producers don't even turn to the standard drum kits for that retro synth snare sound. You just go to whatever basic synth module with 3+ oscillators and ADSR stages and throw a gate on some noise and you've got a boss retro synth snare. Pitch it high and hissy for splashy, softbrush snare, and pitch it low and growly and overdriven for something harder and more metal, or somewhere in between for R&B.

This sound has been used so much 'cause it cuts through basically everything. You can throw it in the middle of heavy subbass rolls or lines, right next to hand claps, in a big mess of pianos and you'll rarely need to side chain it or duck it with compression to get it to cut through just about every damn thing short of earbleed vocals or heavily overdriven guitars in the same pitch range.

That sharp attack and gated noise just punches through everything. Same reason why Phil Collins used it, too.

PS, if you like your hippity hop more on the Deltron and TCQ tip, your keywords of the day are: "Jonwayne Is Retired"
posted by loquacious at 7:58 PM on February 5 [25 favorites]


Well damn loquacious, I'm now in a drum machine YouTube hole and simultaneously making playlists of my high school dances only this time with knowledge.Smack it up, flip it, rub it down, oh no indeed.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:11 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Early 90s hip hop was some optimistic shit. All it was missing was some New Jack Swing.

One of the things I remember most from growing up in that period was the kind of United Colors of Benetton optimism and I'm surprised it doesn't play a bigger role in nostalgic media today
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:08 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


The latest episode of Switched On Pop is about precisely this! It has audio samples, which are helpful for understanding what New Jack Swing is (I had no idea).
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:46 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Just dropped in to say I've got a 505.
posted by adept256 at 1:13 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


> hot_monster:
"No. No they don't.

I keed. I find him catchy. But he's not my bag. I feel like Mars is channeling Michael Jackson somehow."


I get more of a Prince vibe off him actually. Less creepy than Michael. Real squeaky clean vibe I get off him.
posted by Samizdata at 2:38 AM on February 6


> Freecola:
"If Bruno Mars decided to cover the best new jack swing songs, I would support it. I think he's technically a better singer than some of the original artists.

The country needs more newjackswing!

Start here: Bobby Brown- Every Little Step"


Only non-classic swing I have been doing lately is electroswing, I am afraid. I think the country needs more good *swing.
posted by Samizdata at 2:42 AM on February 6


In the video, Bruno is dressed like all the cool boys in my sixth-grade class, and I am charmed.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:54 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


On a tangent: is there a taxonomy of canonical orchestra-hit patches and where they were used? There is the Fairlight ORCH5, of course, and a bunch of successors. I think the one used in this track may be the same one L.A. Reid and Babyface used the hell out of around 1988-1989 (in Bobby Brown's Every Little Step and lots of other tracks), which is not the Fairlight, though can anyone identify what the standard late-80s swingbeat/R&B orchestra hit is?
posted by acb at 3:04 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. please please please

Bruno Mars seems to owe more to L.A. and Babyface than Jam and Lewis, though with probably a bit of Teddy Riley in the mix as well.
posted by acb at 3:06 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Needs a newjackswing tag

Needs more Bel Biv Devoe, that’s what it needs.
Also, this post on Kottke.org has a great Spotify playlist if you need to scratch the itch
posted by matrixgeek at 4:08 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Who is this Bea Cardigan person I keep hearing about? Was she one of the Golden Girls?
posted by slogger at 7:45 AM on February 6


The abrupt change from 30 fps to 60 fps hit me on a weirdly visceral level

It's not just that, they do something really weird with it too.

At about 3.24 there's a shot where Mars waves his hand across the screen, and on the second the shot slides slightly to the left, giving it a really weird effect, and it happens a lot through it. I would chalk it up as a weird warp stablisation effect, but if they shot it at 4k/60fps they'd be able to stabilise it without showing any weird motion, so I assume it's a deliberate choice, and could be done by hand at the key moments they wanted it.

Why, is the question I'm left with. It really screwed with my eyes while watching it, and it's not like any of the effects of stabilising a rapidly moving camera evoke the 90s... most of the choice to do it in 60fps also kills that feel.
posted by opsin at 8:08 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


(I spotted that effect by watching it back at half speed at the timecode I posted, it becomes really obvious.)
posted by opsin at 8:09 AM on February 6


The abrupt change from 30 fps to 60 fps hit me on a weirdly visceral level

... most of the choice to do it in 60fps also kills that feel.


I had a heated text exchange with a friend about this because holy hypercolour does the 60fps destroy the 90s verisimilitude. I found it jarring and empty-looking, especially in contrast to the initial Cardi B sequence: when they cut to the dancers on the scaffolding it looks exactly like what it is, a bunch of folks gyrating on a sound stage. But also somehow really cheap and artless - and while I can believe the first when it comes to the source material, I can't believe the second.

My friend boiled it down to my familiarity with SDTVs versus the target demographic for this video all using HDTVs, but if that's true then why shoot Cardi at 30fps? It's all just a tremendously odd choice for what is otherwise an eerily spot-on homage.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 8:49 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Does anybody under 30 listen to Bruno Mars? The thought has occurred to me.

Yes.
posted by mazola at 9:01 AM on February 6


On a tangent: is there a taxonomy of canonical orchestra-hit patches and where they were used? There is the Fairlight ORCH5, of course, and a bunch of successors.

The Yamaha DX-7 and the Juno and some other notable synths from the era had widely used orchestra hit patches, but anything at the top 40/RIAA production level from the late 80s through the mid 90s was probably a sample. And it was likely a sample of an acoustic orchestra hit that's been processed and punched up with FX, not a purely synthesized one.

There was a whole lot of pro grade sample libraries and source discs going around back then, and the good ones could be more expensive than a good synth. Pro sample libraries could cost thousands of dollars, but it was often the only quick, reliable way to get the hit sounds people were using. The other way to get these sounds was to have a synth/patch programmer make them for you (even more expensive than an expensive library) or going out and recording your own samples (even more expensive then hiring a synth artist.)

Finding out exactly which sample it was and if any additional proccessing or FX had been put on it before resampling it again is going to be extremely difficult because a lot of the producers and studio engineers that were working on this stuff behind the scenes were very protective and secretive about their samples and patches.
posted by loquacious at 10:07 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


One of the things I remember most from growing up in that period was the kind of United Colors of Benetton optimism and I'm surprised it doesn't play a bigger role in nostalgic media today

I also remember that, but those rose-colored glasses have been smashed & incinerated.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:16 AM on February 6


I had a heated text exchange with a friend about this because holy hypercolour does the 60fps destroy the 90s verisimilitude. I found it jarring and empty-looking, especially in contrast to the initial Cardi B sequence: when they cut to the dancers on the scaffolding it looks exactly like what it is, a bunch of folks gyrating on a sound stage. But also somehow really cheap and artless - and while I can believe the first when it comes to the source material, I can't believe the second.

I think it does this really cool thing where it is wrong, but it feels right as a way to evoke the kind of artificiality of television video vs movie film but in this weird heightened anachronistic way. Like the 60fps stuff feels plastic and overly polished and clinical compared to the intro in a way similar to how video feels vs film stock.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:19 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I think the 30fps to 60fps switch was done to mimic the film vs video disconnect from the In Living Color intro. The paint theme and the set and the dancing are also clearly cribbed, almost carbon copies.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:27 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Does anybody under 30 listen to Bruno Mars? The thought has occurred to me.
Yes.
posted by mazola at 10:01 AM on February 6 [+] [!]
Correction: maybe not.
posted by mazola at 12:11 PM on February 6


At about 3.24 yt there's a shot where Mars waves his hand across the screen, and on the second the shot slides slightly to the left, giving it a really weird effect, and it happens a lot through it. I would chalk it up as a weird warp stablisation effect, but if they shot it at 4k/60fps they'd be able to stabilise it without showing any weird motion, so I assume it's a deliberate choice, and could be done by hand at the key moments they wanted it.

Why, is the question I'm left with. It really screwed with my eyes while watching it, and it's not like any of the effects of stabilising a rapidly moving camera evoke the 90s... most of the choice to do it in 60fps also kills that feel.

I watched it 1/4 speed and it looks like it's by hand, I couldn't see any tweening or anything postprocess-y. I think a difference with something like In Living Color is that SteadiCams were not a thing in 1991, so everything was on a crane or whatever, while in this video it looks to me like we have a guy wearing a stable camera at Bruno and doing a little jiggle at the right time.
posted by rhizome at 2:27 PM on February 6


I don’t think that’s a Steadicam shot. I think the whole video was shot at 4K and reframed for HD, which gives them lots of room to animate in little “camera moves” in post. Think of it as “pan and scan,” but with the ability to pan and scan the frame in any direction, rather than just left and right.
posted by Mothlight at 4:34 PM on February 6


Yeah, I found myself thinking that, yeah, maybe the frame rate change was meant to mimic the film vs. tape thing, too. It's possible, but it still looks weirdly smoothed out in a way that '90s TV didn't, just because it's progressive-scan instead of interlaced.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:55 PM on February 6


I just watched this on my big tv and boy is my comment above wrong. I agree the camera is on some kind of rig, probably with a fancy stabilizer, being moved around quickly by hand. I think the 60fps makes the move look especially weird because it catches nuances of the motion that 30fps wouldn’t.
posted by Mothlight at 7:19 PM on February 6


> Just dropped in to say I've got a 505.

Yet nothing sounds quite like an 808.
posted by mrbill at 11:15 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


what even was the deal with that? Napoleancore?
Nah, thelonious, if you look at the materials and interviews Jackson did, she quite clearly says it's because 1814 is when the Star-Spangled Banner was written. It was an attempt to portray America's history through music instead of wars or industries or atrocities.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:51 AM on February 7


Re: orchestra hit samples:

There was a whole lot of pro grade sample libraries and source discs going around back then, and the good ones could be more expensive than a good synth. Pro sample libraries could cost thousands of dollars, but it was often the only quick, reliable way to get the hit sounds people were using. The other way to get these sounds was to have a synth/patch programmer make them for you (even more expensive than an expensive library) or going out and recording your own samples (even more expensive then hiring a synth artist.)

I did a bit of looking around and the Korg M1 orchestra hit patch sounds a lot like the one used in a lot of late-80s/early-90s new jack swing tracks (perhaps even the LA & Babyface one). (It was apparently on a floppy titled “T1 Card 5”, and comes with the Korg Legacy Collection softsynth version of the M1, though not the iOS version.) There's also an orchestra hit patch in the Roland Sound Canvas (also available as a softsynth), but it doesn't sound quite as sharp/clear (though perhaps could be EQd into shape). The Fairlight CMI ORCH5 sample is not even close.
posted by acb at 2:25 PM on February 19


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