Mark Ronson’s grasp of weapons-grade Soul Train revivalism has no parallel. ”Uptown Funk” breaks a serious sweat, but the centerpiece of Ronson’s fourth album is the volcanic ”Feel Right”: Over heaving horns and bubbly bass, Mystikal spits surreal lines about bananas and bamboo and getting interplanetary with Bruno Mars. It’s a master class in stanky, guttural rump shaking.
In fact, ”Feel Right” pulses with such kinetic ferocity that it’s almost a shame anyone else was invited to play. But Ronson, who is always operating with a DJ’s mentality, knows that parties need breathers too. Those loungier interludes, several of which are led by Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, get so dreamy they sometimes threaten to turn Ronson’s chilled-out moments into sleepy tab-closers, though several are saved by novelist Michael Chabon’s vivid lyrical contributions. Still, the cumulative 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. B+
I Can’t Lose