Mark Ronson, Uptown Special


 Rarely in modern times has a new single had such an impact on the UK as Uptown Funk, this album’s lead track.

Featuring Bruno Mars on lead vocals, it  dropped onto YouTube last November and became so enormously popular in such a short space of time that its X factor cover by runner-up Fleur East zoomed to the top of the itunes download chart – mainly thanks to the original not being slated for release until now.
Sensibly, Ronson and his record company then brought forward the release date by a month and watched as it took up its rightful place at the top of the actual chart where it has stayed ever since, excepting Christmas week when it was nudged aside by X factor winner Ben Haenow’s turgid debut.
It’s a brilliant, funky, feelgood party record which sounds effortless while undoubtedly being anything but, managing to appeal to both the critical cognoscenti and the rest of the nation, and while there is no other tune as immediately perfect  the album oozes quality.
Stevie Wonder guests on two tracks but his influence is all over Uptown Special, with 1976 masterpiece Songs In The Key Of Life surely having taken up residence on the Ronson turntable in the last year.
Tame Impala singer Kevin Parker lends his falsetto vocals to a number of tunes, the best being Daffodils, which weaves a gorgeous melody over a fabulously funky laidback groove. Kanye West collaborator Jeff Bhasker adds soulful vocals to In Case of Fire, another Stevie-esque party tune that, like the rest of the album, benefits from a more organic feel than much modern soul and funk.
It’s a hugely replayable album that’s as fresh as a daisy and will last all year.
Like this? Try these: Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life; Major Lazer, Free the Universe

By Andrew Greenhalgh

twitter: @adjgreenhalgh


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