Songwriters: Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence
Original Release Date: November 10, 2014
Though technically “Uptown Funk” released late last year, it’s easily dominating my playlist of new releases this year, too. I don’t know about you, but when this song comes on, I have to turn up the volume and dance. It’s a compulsion. Encompassing pop, R&B, and rock, it’s simply addicting on every level. No matter what genre you prefer, it’s damn near impossible to actually dislike this song.
The punchy lyrics and smooth, velvet vocals of Bruno Mars are 100% effective in sweeping me off my feet in Mark Ronson’s jam, “Uptown Funk.” Though this song is brand new, it channels the style of funk that was popular in the 80s. Toss together a plucked bass, some jazzy trumpet and sax, and a blues-y guitar riff, and that’s “Uptown Funk.” The song is reminiscent of a period of R&B and disco music that was ignored by pop radio in the early 1980s, according to a Billboard Music piece on the influences of the hit. Though the songs predecessors never made radio play on pop stations, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have taken their revival track straight to the top of the charts, where it spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Aside from being fun and funky, it also has some aspects of more modern pop music. The bridge builds to the sound of rapid clapping and drums, the same way that many DJ and dance songs build with synths and beats. On this song, it just sounds a little more organic. R&B and rock music go hand in hand, since rock gains its influence from much of popular R&B. Stemming from that inspiration, we have Against the Current’s amped up cover featuring Set It Off.
This cover gets edgy in all the right places. It’s snazzy, jazzy, and sharp. Set It Off’s Cody Carson and Against the Current’s Chrissy Costanza dominate the vocals, both of them fierce singers who bring a ton of energy to the table. Carson and Costanza duet so well together on this song, adding addictive harmonies and dueling back and forth on the verses. The combined bands turn this funky tune into a pure rock jam that’s just as addicting as its Billboard-topping pop counterpart. The cover keeps the brassy jazz band feature from the original, which only add to its versatility. On top of everything, “Uptown Funk” is hot. The fierce pop-rock tone brought to the song by both bands is loud and in your face, and that’s all the more reason to like it. Just try not to jump and/or dance around to this one. I dare you.
It may have come out late fall, and I may be spinning this song non-stop all winter, but I can’t wait for this song (and the cover!) to be on repeat all summer too. Against the Current and Set It Off came together and created something fresh and fun to entice their fans to attend their set on the upcoming Glamour Kills Spring Break tour (which kicks off tomorrow!). I, for one, will be there with fingers crossed, hoping that they perform this song together live!