Uptown Special Review
Fresh off the back of his innovative TED talk, there avid audiophile and super producer, site Mark Ronson teams up with fellow producer, cialis Jeff Bhasker (Jay Z, Fun, Kanye West) with fourth LP, “Uptown Special”-a delectable, funky gem…
Having coalesced with everyone from Nas to Duran Duran, Mark Ronson’s musical repertoire is nothing if not eclectic and well-rounded. For the lead single and standout track, “Uptown Funk”, the artist jumps onto the ongoing disco revival spearheaded by French EDM titans, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” last April, fusing a Nile Rodgersesque guitar riff with a Trinidad James sample and funk/R&B influences that hark back to his days as a New York DJ in the 90s. The song sees Ronson collaborate once again with diminutive pop lothario, Bruno Mars, after 2014’s summer smash, “Locked Out of Heaven”, and managing to draw more charisma out of him than a 15 year old on their first Stonehouse in the process. It’s been quite ubiquitous over the past few weeks, and the fun and infectious tune shows no signs of abating. Indeed it is the 39-year old’s irrefutable knack for testing a musician’s artistic capabilities (see Amy Winehouse (for whom the album was dedicated), Adele, Paul McCartney et al) that is most impressive on the album. It is perhaps in the triumvirate of “Summer Breaking”, “Daffodils” and “Leaving Los Feliz” that this is most prevalent. Kevin Parker, the mastermind behind Aussie Pysch rockers Tame Impala, lends woozy, androgynous vocals which blend mellifluously with Ronson’s laidback, riff-driven, groovy, and in case of “Daffodils”, industrial production that resonates youthful, drug-fuelled ennui (“In the back of some pretty boy’s ride/You get high”). On “I Can’t Lose” meanwhile, little known Keyone Starr, recruited from Ronson and Bhasker’s “Mississippi mission” provides exquisite vocals, albeit vocals that sound suspiciously like the verse on “Aint No Fun” from Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. On “In Case of Fire” and “Feel Right”, Ronson’s hagiographic fantasies very much come to life as James Brown and Stevie Wonder influences pour through, the latter of which actually lends vocals and harmonica on “Uptown’s First Finale” and “Crack in the Pearl PT. II”. It is very much a moment of the student becoming the master as a rousing rendition is reprised on the closing track. Lyrically, Uptown Special is sublime, as Pulitzer-winning novelist Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) contributes much of the lyrics. Overall, the album is just the right length, producing an exquisite collection of riff-packed, soul-infused bangers-don’t be surprised to see this poll highly come the end of year.
By Ally Murty.