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Mark Ronson - Uptown Special // Album Review

19 January 2015

After working with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Boy George for his previous solo efforts, Mark Ronson has managed to rope in even more impressive names for his fourth album 'Uptown Special,' kicking things off with lead single 'Uptown Funk' with Bruno Mars, which samples about 9 different songs, and has gone on to become to biggest song in the world at the moment. No biggie.

If you were expecting more of that type of infectious, hook-filled, just really... flippin' greatness, then I'm afraid to say you might not find what you're looking for. 'Uptown Special' sits in the same boat as Pharrell's 'G R L,' Clean Bandit's 'Eyes Open' and Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories' - with a great, best-selling lead single to hopefully help sell the album, which turns out to be not-so-great. That's not to say that the album itself is bad, but in comparison you can't help but feel just a little underwhelmed.

Stevie Wonder features on the first track, 'Uptown's First Finale' - his signature harmonica solo introducing us to an album full of that cool, throwback sound Ronson is famous for. It's a genre we don't see enough of in the mainstream music world, and a genre Ronson does well. 'Feel Right' is a scattier number that sees featured artist Mystikal adamantly claim he 'feel(s) good in this motherfucker,' which, you know, good for him, but my personal standout track comes in the form of 'I Can't Lose,' which feels like a nod to all the powerhouse disco divas, but in a more slightly stripped back, soulful form. Towards the second half of the album though, the tracks seem to derail a little, as expected, with 'Leaving Los Feliz' unfortunately taking the place of the album's rotten apple.

Whilst there is obviously diversity amongst the tracks, the collection stands strong as a unit, and if Motown/synthpop/soulpop/kind-of-disco etc is your kind of thing, then definitely give this a cheeky listen.

First Listen Rating

Uptown's First Finale (Intro) (Ft. Stevie Wonder & Andrew Wyatt) 6.6/10
Summer Breaking (Ft. Kevin Parker) 7.5/10
Feel Right (Ft. Mystikal) 7.8/10
Uptown Funk (Ft. Bruno Mars) 8.9/10
I Can't Lose (Ft. Keyone Starr) 8.5/10
Daffodils (Ft. Kevin Parker) 6.8/10
Crack In The Pearl (Ft. Andrew Wyatt) 6.4/10
In Case Of Fire (Ft. Jeff Bhasker) 6/10
Leaving Los Feliz (Ft. Kevin Parker) 5.2/10
Heavy and Rolling (Ft. Andrew Wyatt) 7.2/10
Crack In The Pearl, Pt. II (Ft. Stevie Wonder & Jeff Bhasker) 6.5/10

Overall: 7.04/10
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