Now, it would be safe to say that Mark Ronson is one of my absolute favourite music producers in the world, half due to the fact that he just has a habit of releasing absolute belters (‘Ooh Wee‘ and ‘Feel Right‘ being two stand out examples) and half due to the fact that his sound is utterly, unapologetically unique. A delicious salad of Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, Jazz and vintage Pop, all topped off with a spicy dressing of big ol’ beats. Mark Ronson was the man who made the top forty charts interesting again. So, I simply cannot escape asking the main question on my mind…
Would the real Mark Ronson please stand up?
Seriously, what the actual f**k has happened. Why is there so many s****y collection of bland attempts at dishwater dull modern Pop? Surely this can’t be my beloved Mr. Ronson? Say it ain’t so! Won’t somebody please drag me out of this f****d up nightmare I appear to have found myself in? Preferably by playing his take on the Kaiser Chief’s ‘Oh My God‘ (you know, the one with Lily Allen) very loudly into my ears so as to drown out what I’ve just unwittingly had to put myself through.
The promise was there, opening with the one-two smash of the super soulful ‘Late Night Prelude‘ melting into the gorgeous blend of Funk and Nu-Disco vibes of titular track ‘Late Night Feelings‘, all groovy bass lines, boogie-centric rhythms and a fluid vocal take from Lykke Li. Already, I was prepared for a contender for album of the year to greet my lug-‘oles and fill me full of the groove.
Then ‘Find You‘ happened. I was shook to the core I tell you folks. I took off my headphones. Surely there must have been some kind of mistake? Silly old me, I must’ve knocked my laptop and somehow skipped onto a different album. I’ll just go and… Hold up… This is still ‘Late Night Feelings’? What the actual f**k? I did not consent to listening to beige Pop fodder! Where is Mr. Ronson and what have you done with him!?
I would say I genuinely cannot put my disappointment with what follows into words, but that would make for a very short read wouldn’t it?
As the album continues, there are snatches of the Mark we all know and love. Tracks like ‘Pieces Of Us‘, with it’s eighties sheen, the distinctly Motown sounds of ‘Knock Knock Knock‘, with it’s guest appearance from Yebba, and the deliciously dark twists of ‘When You Went Away‘, also featuring Yebba, make for some absolutely killer tunes, all made for the dance-floor as much as they are the Hi-Fi or headphones.
However, a few good moments don’t make for a great album, particularly when they’re intertwined with such utterly laughable b******s, such as what sounds like a horrible rip-off of previous Mark Ronson work in the form of ‘Truth‘, which is only made further poorer by a performance from Alicia Keys (in my humble opinion, one of the most over-rated vocalists of all time) and The Last Artful, Dogr. See also the frankly mind-numbing, faux-deep monotony of ‘True Blue‘ with Angel Olson, what sounds like an attempt to write a sub-standard Billie Eilish single in the form of ‘Spinning‘, the cookie cutter dullness of ‘Don’t Leave Me‘ and the snooze-fest attempt at an R&B Ballad that is ‘2 AM‘.
I will say that ‘Truth’ and ‘Spinning’ win the award for the worst song on the album and perhaps one of the worst I can remember listening to in a very, very long time. So congratulations to the pair of them for managing to be so utterly dire. May they come and collect their trophies so I can upon them with utter disgust.
I’d also just like to separately address ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart‘ with it’s Country/Dance crossover which dusted off with a really rather marvellous vocal performance from Miley Cyrus, a lady whose very impressive vocal talents are often over-shadowed by her controversial antics. It’s actually very good, despite being a seemingly random, very out of place addition. Just wanted to make my feelings clear on that one.
So in summary, is ‘Late Night Feelings’ an album worth your valuable listening time? I would say no, but would recommend giving the aforementioned singles a go and skipping everything else. Then cross your fingers and hope what comes next is a lot better.
I leave this review with a handful of songs that range between just above average to quite good, a huge steaming dollop of awfulness and a very heavy heart.
I repeat, would the real Mark Ronson please stand up?