[This edition of my Hit Parade—“The Bridge” bonus series is available to Slate Plus subscribers only. A link to the episode show page is below. To sign up for Plus—and tell Slate that Hit Parade sent you!—visit slate.com/hitparadeplus.]
In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Tom Breihan, senior editor at Stereogum and writer of its popular column The Number Ones, a chronological review of every song that’s ever hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mars reveals little about himself in his hits, Tom says, and he may not have recorded an all-out pop classic. But as a 21st-century songwriter and performer, Mars delivers pleasurable hits with efficient hooks and near-mathematical precision.