There is no denying that Mark Ronson's 'Uptown Special' is on course to become one of this year's biggest new releases already. With its lead single 'Uptwon Funk' breaking all kinds of streaming and download records, it is following in the footsteps of 'Get Lucky' and 'Happy' to be 2015's international phenomenon. But the problem with having such an incredibly well-liked single on the album, it can make the rest of the material seem sub-par and this is an issue on the producer's fourth full-length.
With an eclectic and talented collection of guest vocals throughout the record, including Stevie Wonder, Tame Imapala's Kevin Parker, Mystikal and of course Bruno Mars, the album has all the presence to make a genuinely memorable record. But despite all the talent on show, 'Uptown Special' is a fairly hollow album that doesn't deliver the spark we were all hoping for. While 'Daffodils' is probably the album's most engaging track and Mystikal channels his inner James Brown on his contribution 'Feel Right', the rest of the album struggles to keep up with the pace and energy of its singles and in the end, delivers a less than expected result.
While Ronson clearly had a well-conceived direction for this new full-length, its sheer insistence of combining so many different influences and inspirations on one record has left it feeling segregated and hard to get through in places. An interesting experiment but not one that has fully paid off this time.