For most of his career, Mark Ronson has lived somewhere in the ether between public and private artistry — content, mostly, to be the man behind the curtain for spotlight-ready collaborators like Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars. The shine, if anything, rests on his awards shelf: seven Grammys, a Golden Globe, even an Oscar (for A Star Is Born‘s raspy juggernaut, “Shallow”).
He’s the hidden wizard once again on Late Night Feelings, ceding the stage to a glittering procession of pop-star Dorothys. Miley Cyrus delivers dusky cowgirl disco on “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”; Camila Cabello pines for a better ex on the mentholated bop “Find U Again”; Alicia Keys lends soulful heft to the electro-funk scribble “Truth.”
Oddly, the women with the most distinctive styles often end up sounding the least like themselves. King Princess abandons wry, clean-lined sparsity for something closer to Katy Perry on “Pieces of Us”; Swedish songstress Lykke Li practically Rollerblades through the shimmer-light title track, though her dark Nordic heart reemerges on the insomniac ballad “2 AM”; even Angel Olsen’s electric yelp softens to butter beneath the woozy synths of “True Blue.” Feelings all goes down easily, but Ronson’s own creative DNA remains a mystery. This isn’t a manifesto; it’s a mixtape. B