Published Jun 21, 2019Those expecting endless iterations of 2015 hit "Uptown Funk" with Late Night Feelings will come away disappointed. Or maybe not — as a producer, Mark Ronson is a top-tier craftsman and curator when it comes to maintaining attention. His fifth studio project functions as catharsis; a recent divorce and subsequent depression left Ronson in his feelings.
For those only figuring out that Ronson has been doing his UK-meets-NYC blend of pop, soul and hip-hop (with subtle and distinctive notes of new wave and punk) for a while now might glom to these slow and mid-tempo ditties, all featuring female vocalists and producers. The melancholic tone — the "sad bangers" as Ronson describes the songs — that inform Late Night Feelings aim for the broken-hearted. They hit the mark: "There's a you shaped space in my bed," is both the theme and a lyric in the charmingly wistful Camila Cabello track "Find U Again."
A relatively new-to-the-scene name like King Princess bring the goods with the poppy "Pieces of Us," as does the Grammy-winning, but still relatively unknown, Yebba, who delivers three disparate numbers that vary in replay ability in "Knock Knock Knock," "Don't Leave Me Lonely" and "When U Went Away."
One to watch rapper/vocalist the Last Artful, Dodgr delivers a dynamic Prince-like performance that manages to rough up Alicia Keys' pop polish on "Truth." While many have opinions on one Miley Cyrus, her vocal ability and innate charisma — in addition to doing a mean Stevie Nicks impression — makes "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" declarative and impactful.
That said, Ronson is indeed aspiring for a worldly, poppy Fleetwood Mac feel with Late Night Feeling and largely succeeds: the wavy Angel Olsen number "True Blue," the chart-minded disco-pop of title track with Lykke Li, and the chill soul of Diana Gordon (formerly known as Wynter Gordon) with "Why Hide" display emotion, musical range and depth.
In the solid Late Night Feelings, sadness is more than an abstraction here: it's multifaceted, multilayered and mellifluous melancholy. (Sony)