Album Review: Mark Ronson, “Uptown Special” (2015)

Bruno Mars Was the BEST Bit… and I Don’t Even Like Bruno Mars.

An unfortunate release for Ronson all round in my opinion. With the hit single ‘Uptown Funk’ being his first to reach No. 1 in both the UK and US charts fans were left with promising hopes for the upcoming album.

 This album as a whole fails to see him reach that same standard more than once. As well as this, it’s rare to actually hear anybody credit him for the song, as despite it only ‘featuring’ Bruno Mars it’s still assumed by most that it’s his song all together, that’s not the only problem I have with the song (I’ll get to that later).

The album although going on to become Ronson’s first No. 1 album, is made up almost entirely of ‘filler’ material. Most albums contain a track or two that you never quite get all the way through or the sort that you always feel the need to skip; the problem with ‘Uptown Special’ being that this is the case for almost the entire album. Ronson being a brilliantly ground-breaking producer (producing records for Amy Winehouse, Adele and Sir Paul McCartney) as well as a DJ and has collaborated with some legendary musicians in his career, I along with many others had much higher expectations from him in his latest effort. I realise that it’s not necessarily my chosen genre of music etc. however I do appreciate his talent as a musician and do agree that some of his earlier work was good, I’m just not at all bought in concerns to this album. In regards to it becoming No. 1, I’m putting this entirely down to his collaboration with Bruno Mars, and I’m basing the overall success of the album on one track (Uptown Funk), rather than the album as a whole.

Now, for my problem with the single ‘Uptown Funk’… Everybody for months has been raving about this “brilliant new sound” in reference to ‘Uptown Funk’. “NEW”. What about that sound is ‘NEW’? In all honesty when I first heard the single I genuinely thought it was going to be by ‘The Time’ (if you’ve never heard of them, just give Purple Rain a watch and you’ll know what I mean). Musicians have been experimenting with Funk sounds for years. It’s NOT new! It could easily be any pop song from the 80’s; the only difference is if it was released then, it wouldn’t have blown anybody’s hair back. It’s catchy I’ll grant it that, I’ll also accept it’s not a bad song, but Number 1 material? No… and New sounding? Definitely not. I am also willing to accept that this is probably adding to my overall contempt for the album; however it’s undeniably a very weak and even dreary release which was at times a chore to listen to from an artist who’s produced multiple platinum selling albums and worked with such people as Paul McCartney and Amy Winehouse, the latter of whom he dedicated this album to.

Overall as an album I’m actually lacking in things to say about it due to it leaving little/no impression on me at all. He may gain commercial success to some extent, but certainly not going to be leaving any lasting legacy. With Ronson’s high status as a producer who creates hits, his best work in my opinion is when he sticks to the producing aspect of things as I do believe he’s extremely talented in this area. I’m rating this album a very generous 3 out of 10.

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