Some people thrive on awkward. Take House of Halo. The YouTube channel that brought us the hashtag #withoutmusic turned Bruno Mars from the king of cool to cringe-worthy when they stripped “Uptown Funk” of all its … well, funk.
The result is a bunch of guys prancing around the street singing to themselves, holding up traffic and dancing only to the music playing in their heads. Mashable posted the uncomfortable video Thursday, noting that House of Halo made “Uptown Funk” “significantly less Funk-ish.”
This bit of awkward proves that it’s the music that hooks us and makes songs like “Uptown Funk” so catchy. Over at MTV, an expert broke it down for us scientifically.
The song began as “something that Bruno used to jam around at soundcheck at his gigs,” said its co-creator Mark Ronson. When he and Mars began to turn jam into hit song, they couldn’t come up with a chorus. And the lack of chorus, and its slower tempo, is what resident expert Joe Bennett – a professor of popular music – said makes it so darn catchy.
“Musically, it makes it sound a little bit cooler than everything else that’s going on at the moment. It’s not as frantic — it’s a lot more laid-back.”
At the heart of the tune, though, is a “basic and visceral” musical scale and a taut build up of tension that just makes it hard not to dance when Mars screams “don’t believe me, just watch!”
“The song has lots of points of tension and release. For example, the whole section of ‘Uptown Funk, don’t give it to ya/ Uptown Funk, don’t give it to ya’ that culminates in ‘Don’t believe me, just watch’ is actually an extra four bars longer than what you would expect. So it holds you, while the tension builds and builds and builds dynamically.”
In other words, the tune taps into our innate sense of funk. And when it’s gone, well – we’re just creeped out.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube screengrab]