An Old School Victory Punch
Soulful, feel good tracks that make anyone want to get up and dance or bob and weave to each song – that’s what Mark Ronson successfully delivers through his fourth album, Uptown Special. Uptown Special draws from Ronson’s time as a DJ in New York where he was first introduced to hip hop and funk; although no one would guess it, he is originally from London. The multitalented singer, producer and guitarist’s bluesy introductory track, “Uptown’s First Finale” featuring Stevie Wonder, lays down the foundation for the rest of the album. Wonder’s melodious harmonica solo showcases just one of the many contributions other musicians make to Uptown Special. With his help and that of Bruno Mars, Mystikal and other collaborators, Ronson steps out on the scene and allows listeners to relive early funk and hip hop.
The most popular track from the album, “Uptown Funk”, oozes 80s sex appeal and has captured top spots on both the U.S. and U.K. music charts. Mars’ vocals infuse the tempo and bravado of the song. “Daffodils”, another great tune from the album featuring Kevin Parker, brings the psychedelic pop vibe that is reminiscent of Studio 54 in its prime. Parker, a member of Tame Impala, helps Ronson’s “Daffodils” have a groovy melodic beat while being paired with a driven guitar.
“In Case Of Fire” also borrows from the psychedelic vibe beginning like a song straight from the soundtrack for the motion picture, American Hustle. It is one of those songs to play on a Friday before heading out for the night. “Leaving Los Feliz” has the makings of a California summer hit. The title alone puts the song into perspective for Angelinos and the like. “Leaving Los Feliz” has an old school sound bent by carefree lyrics that will attract the inner hipster or scene stealer. There are tracks that feel like fillers, songs like “Feel Good” and “Crack in the Pearl” do contribute to the overall body and feel of “Uptown Funk” but they are not strong.
Uptown Special as a whole is suave. From slow melodies to electric jams, there is no doubt that this 11 track album will appeal to a wide audience because of the 80s sound infusion. It is a fresh, modern revival of familiar sounds that will grow on you, the more you listen. If you’re wondering what songs to cruise to while out and about, look no further than Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special.