Heartbreak is often a musician’s greatest muse; just ask Mark Ronson. As he attempted to process his divorce, the producer has delivered his fifth album, Late Night Feelings, a stunning record full of so-called “sad bangers” that allow the listener to dance alongside their messiest emotions. Backed by an understated disco soundscape that gradually becomes more raw and less structured as the listeners dives deeper, Ronson has curated several female artists — from up-and-comers (King Princess, Ilsey Juber, YEBBA) to certified megastars (Camila Cabello, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys) — to articulate the titular feelings across the album’s thirteen tracks.
The record opens with the aptly-titled “Late Night Prelude,” an orchestral intro to the Lykke Li-assisted title track. “Find U Again” features vocodered vocals from Cabello and has the most chart potential on the record; King Princess takes on uncertainty in a relationship on “Pieces of Us.” The following triptych of songs spotlight YEBBA, but don’t always do her justice. Though the singer has a phenomenal voice — the makings of a stateside Adele — her abilities are only given proper breathing room on single “Don’t Leave Me Lonely.”
Keys and rapper The Last Artful, Dodgr deliver spirituality on “Truth,” while lead single and Cyrus-featuring “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” follows in its countrified desperation. Disco-on-quaaludes is a perfect description of Angel Oslen’s “True Blue,” the most beguiling performance of the album, before industry secret weapon Diana Gordon takes center stage on the pleading “Why Hide;” chasing the feeling her partner has given her, the singer lays everything on the line for a shot at a blossoming love. Lykke Li returns on the final two tracks — a full circle moment of opening and closing the record that embraces the cyclical nature of relationships — joined by YEBBA and Juber on “Spinning” to attest to the power love can have on us all. Much like Late Night Feelings, it’s insular and universal, providing Ronson with what might just be his magnum opus.
Standout tracks: “Find U Again,” “Pieces of Us,” “Why Hide,” “Spinning”