The last time Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson teamed up and dipped into their bag of 80s sonic references, they came up with “Locked Out Of Heaven”, a slight update of a pop/rock sound that owed more than a little bit to Sting and The Police. The bag dipping this time seems to have resulted in something a bit more Zapp and Prince influenced… but does it work?
I initially gave “Uptown Funk” several listens when the single dropped not too long ago cuz I really wanted to like given the talent involved but… it just wasn’t funky enough for me. Ronson’s retro production fell a little flat and I felt like Bruno was aiming for Morris Day swag, but he missed.
However, the video redeems the song’s shortcomings as Bruno and his party posse strut through a soundstage that’s pretending to be back in the day NYC and their energy makes me listen to “Uptown” with different ears. There’s all kinds of mini-pimp shenanigans going on here—- B. Mars at the beauty parlor, Ronson riding on the hood of a throwback stretch limo—- and the choreo adds to the overall feel good vibe of the clip. Appreciating the concept also lead to me paying attention to the lyrics and discovering that the “smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy” was a haha moment that somehow went over my head when I there was no visual to accompany the song. Throw in some cool camera tricks and the lil’ dance bit that seemed to be a shoutout to MJ’s “Bad” video, and it all adds up to me finally being down with Mars and Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”.
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