The producer’s collaboration and sample list always prove a pivotal calling point for pinpointing his style, and in the case of ‘Uptown Special’, his latest and fourth studio album, this certainly remains the case.
Stevie Wonder features on the psychedelic funk of the opening and closing features on the record and Bruno Mars, of course, brings his MJ-esk energy on the now-famous ‘Uptown Funk’.
Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker proves a wonderful addition to a couple of softly spoken, funk-driven beats written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon elsewhere, and New Orleans rapper Mystikal stands out brilliantly as he brings the frantic, captivating vigour of James Brown to ‘Feel Right’.
The result is a collection of singles that call back the jazz, blues and irresistible funk that was commonplace in the late 1970s and throughout 80s music.
Chabon’s writing is somewhat underwhelming at times given his status, almost too bent on trying to bridge the gap between his own famous intellect and the youth of today perhaps. As a result, the record doesn’t flow particularly well at times, but without a doubt, the overall feel is one of foot-moving wonder. This shit will have you dancing your way from A to B.
The more you listen to each track, the more addictive it becomes. The nostalgia that flows from Wonder’s harmonic wonder to the electronic energy behind Keystone Starr feature ‘I Can’t Lose’ is simply impossible to dislike. The latter becomes more sensational with each hit of 'repeat'.
Ronson has managed to put together a record here that doesn't have anything particularly new, but which does have an immaculately pinpointed style - and subsequently stands out from the rest of the crowd.
‘Feel Right’ is the only song likely to replicate the success seen by 'Uptown Funk'. It's a similar style of song, but injected with the hypnotic power and dynamism of The Sugar Hill Gang or James Brown in the form of Mystical. It really is a next level song.
Elsewhere, it’s all about nostalgia and the beauty of hindsight. Ronson has managed to put together a record here that doesn't have anything particularly new, but which does have an immaculately pinpointed style - and subsequently stands out from the rest of the crowd.
The tracklist is created from a retro mannerism which has been refined and revamped for the modern mainstream audience – and the resulting poppiness is addictive as hell.