Music

ALBUM REVIEW | FUNK

Mark Ronson, ‘Uptown Special’

On his first release since 2010’s “Record Collection,” Mark Ronson roars back with a hard funk album that pays tribute to the music he grew up with, while putting a fresh spin on it. “Uptown Special” sounds like a true labor of love; it’s also a sinful amount of fun and unabashed in its pursuit of a good time. The revered music producer’s latest is a far-flung collaboration featuring everyone from Stevie Wonder on harmonica, to Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt on guest vocals, to lyrical contributions from Michael Chabon, who’s noted as “Ronson’s favorite living author” in the press materials. In November, Ronson gave a taste of what to expect with the first single, “Uptown Funk,” a tasty morsel of Prince-ly soul with Bruno Mars on vocals. That song anchors an otherwise topsy-turvy record equally at home on intergalactic ballads (“In Case of Fire”) and club jams (“Feel Right,” featuring rapper Mystikal in a NSFW sendup of James Brown). The haze enshrouding Parker’s voice lends an air of psychedelia, most notably on “Daffodils.” And yet somehow it all works under the guise of what Ronson considers funky. (Out Tuesday)

JAMES REED

ESSENTIAL “Uptown Funk”

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