- Record of the Year, "Uptown Funk"
- Best Pop Solo/Duo Performance, "Uptown Funk"
- Best Pop Vocal Album
- Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Turns out, this whole album is supposed to be a smash. This guy is a reknown producer and this time it's for himself. So let's see where this one falls amongst the best of the best out there.
I don't know why I didn't know this, but it appears there's a guest artist on every track. We kick things off with "Uptown's First Finale" with the incredible Stevie Wonder and Andrew Wyatt. Stevie's contribution on harmonica is obvious and welcome against an otherwise incredible daunting background mix of sewer sounds that have no business being on an album. It brings things into a lighter mode too, allowing us to ease into the musical tracks beyond.
Kevin Parker is next up for "Summer Breaking." This one's buzzing like the bees of summer. It's funky and groovy and kind of perfect for the song title's implied mood. I can't make out the words very well at all, but maybe that's the point during the the hazy heat that this seems to give off.
Then comes on "Uptown Funk" with Bruno Mars, and the album seems to suddenly fall into place. Like, everything else seemed to be building up to this track. It bring the entire idea of hip hop funk to a it's full place. Lyrically it moves through that party mode with just the slightest bit of disrespect that makes it mildly acceptable.
Keyone Starr has the unenviable task of taking us out of the only song universally known to all on the album and into the unknown. "I Can't Lose" maintains the mood of the last song and keeps up the fun dance party. The sound is kind of fascinating - there's the funk aspect but this odd electronic base to it all that makes the genre classification one all of its own.
"Daffodils" brings back Kevin Parker. We're back to a strange backing track that seems from outer space until it breaks into the more appealing beats. Again, Kevin is a little difficult to understand, but that doesn't appear to really be the point here. Instead, you're meant to drift away into the sway.
Andrew Wyatt returns as well for "Crack In The Pearl." A little more discernible lyrically, this one tells a story. It's slow and steady in mood, letting the whole thing unfold just so. It's a song that things occur naturally through it, instead of forcing certain rhymes and rhythms. It's lazy, but I hope that comes across in the nicest way possible. Really.
"In Case of Fire" kind of takes this back to an older sounding beat. Jeff Bhasker joins in for some reverb style vocals that anyone could groove on into. It's really kind of a great setup here. You want to just wiggle around the room to this, and the pacing is just perfect. How was this one not released as a single?
In a good middle ground between his other appearance tracks and the awesome nature of that last one, Kevin Parker comes back on for "Leaving Los Feliz." Again, still not a huge fan of the nature of his voice - or, rather, the way they mix it I guess. But this one has a nice backing beat at least that makes it bearable. It's one of the better ones from this album that relies on this artist.
"Heavy and Rolling" brings back Andrew Wyatt as the primary vocalist and my ears back to a happier place. I really wonder why production choices were made in such a particular way for each singer, but it make sit so there almost feels to be two separate artists and albums going on, just trading off track numbers.
We end things with "Crack In The Pearl, Pt. II." Stevie Wonder and Jeff Bhasker make their final appearances for the album, starting the song off with a cool vinyl sound, leading back into Stevie's harmonica sounds. Jeff and his crew bring things back down into a solemn place, ending things in a slower way that just leaves you feeling calm and secure in the album's completeness.
- "Uptown Funk"
- "I Can't Lose"
- "In Case of Fire"
So this wasn't the best album I've ever heard, but it is complete. There's a consistent feeling and security in the sound created, and you get the feeling that it's all wrapped up nicely. In that, it's a respectable album, and all makes sense together. So cheers to Mark Ronson for coming back with something solid and presentable that deserves a full listen beyond "Uptown Funk" - even if that truly is the stand out track.