Uptown Special

Mark Ronson - Uptown Special
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2015 Ratings: #397 / 771
User Score
Based on 117 ratings
2015 Ratings: #423
January 13, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Columbia / Label
Funk, Synth Funk / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
A.V. Club

Uptown Special’s overall tone features classic funk and R&B along the lines of masters James Brown and Stevie Wonder (who appears on the album). But the album is by no means restricted to those styles.

88
Paste

Ronson’s Uptown Special is his best work yet and one of the best funk albums you’ll come across in recent memory.

83
Entertainment Weekly

The umulative effect of Special’s contagious cool will keep hands up and bad vibes down—and if all else fails, just put ”Feel Right” on repeat.

80
DIY

Setting out to create his own original versions of the funk and soul jams he played out in New York hip-hop clubs in the early noughties, in ‘Uptown Special’ Ronson creates a backward-looking cosmic funk record, as quirky as it is bombastic. 

80
Drowned in Sound
Throughout the album Ronson plays the role of puppet master to an impressive collection of musical talent.
80
FasterLouder
A strictly-limited guestlist in comparison to the exhaustive list of featured artists on previous LPs allows for Ronson to hone in specifically on the strengths of his artists.
80
The Guardian

The one thing noticeable by its absence from Uptown Special is anything that resembles the music that made Mark Ronson famous, which is doubtless the point.

78
Sputnikmusic

Uptown Special’s greatest attribute, then, is that it could have been a hit in any decade, a slyly running commentary on the fluidity of modern pop music but one that never fails to forget what the people really want: to dance, dumb and delirious, and forget.

70
Exclaim!

What Uptown Special represents is an ode of sorts to classic funk and R&B sounds.

70
Rolling Stone

This LP moves on to Seventies and Eighties funk, with more sharp casting

70
Slant Magazine

For his fourth album, Uptown Special, U.K. producer Mark Ronson assembles a seemingly disparate group of collaborators ... to create a cohesive homage to vintage soul and funk fused with electronic elements and '90s hip-hop flourishes.

70
AllMusic

Uptown Special is another nostalgic fantasy that provides light entertainment and provokes backtracking.

70
HipHopDX
Key to this album’s execution is that Ronson’s most comfortable when working as a throwback artist with classic inspirations that has access to modern tools.
70
musicOMH

There’s plenty to enjoy in Uptown Special, even if there are some tracks that end up sounding insubstantial and a bit unsatisfying.

70
NME

‘Uptown Special’ is Ronson’s moment of absolution: you can try to hate it, but in the end, as with all the best pop music, resistance is futile. 

70
Under The Radar
To be sure, Ronson's album is extremely proficient, excellent with its little witticisms and hints of vanity ... but while these folks have the funk, they're just short of sex appeal.
67
Pretty Much Amazing
This is party music – don’t overthink it. Sadly, it sounds as if Mark Ronson did.
60
Spin
The problem with Mark Ronson's all-encompassing exuberance for pop music's past is that he has too much love to dole out coherently over an 11-track album.
60
Pitchfork

Too top-heavy to sustain its momentum, yet too fleeting for its thematic framework to cohere, Uptown Special is that rare beast: a concept album that actually could use more fat.

58
Consequence of Sound
The album is a hodgepodge of Ronson’s favorite things (the musical styles he listened to as a teen in the ’90s, lyrics from an author he loves, etc.) with a misguided conceptual twist and one standout hit single.
50
PopMatters
It’s slick, glossy, and expensive, but lift the hood and there’s a scarcity of solid, original, or memorable material inside.
40
Time Out London
The trouble is that is there are so many soundalikes flying around – from Snoop to Steely Dan, from Jagwar Ma to Lynyrd Skynyrd – that despite the production sheen, the album sounds empty and aimless with repeated listens.
40
No Ripcord

Musically, it ends up being a case of Uptown Funk and ten other songs.

goncalocouto
76
"Uptown Special" is an accessible, nice and fresh album that shows the British producer's maturity. It's a really fun album, even for those who don't listen to funk.

✅ Summer Breaking | Feel Right | I Can’t Lose | Daffodils | Leaving Los Feliz
afridgetofar
70
It's ok...
64
Not bad for a producer album.
acidfreecookies
65
Uptown Funk is one of the catchiest singles of the year, but ultimately the rest of the album tends to sound samey. It's an authentic throwback sound, but doesn't seem like it has anything of value to add.
tha138
60
Gloriously ambitious tribute to funk complied with the present but finally lost in translation.
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END OF YEAR LISTS

#21/Digital Spy
#34/Variance
#41/FasterLouder
#43/MOJO
#61/Rough Trade
#63/Under the Radar

Track List

  1. Uptown’s First Finale (feat. Stevie Wonder & Andrew Wyatt)
  2. Summer Breaking (feat. Kevin Parker)
  3. Feel Right (feat. Mystikal)
  4. Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)
  5. I Can’t Lose (feat. Keyone Starr)
  6. Daffodils (feat. Kevin Parker)
  7. Crack In the Pearl (feat. Andrew Wyatt)
  8. In Case of Fire (feat. Jeff Bhasker)
  9. Leaving Los Feliz (feat. Kevin Parker)
  10. Heavy and Rolling (feat. Andrew Wyatt)
  11. Crack In the Pearl, Pt. II (feat. Stevie Wonder & Jeff Bhasker)
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Added on: November 25, 2014