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story.lead_photo.caption Late Night Feelings by Mark Ronson. TNS

B Mark Ronson

Late Night Feelings


Mark Ronson has a thing for ubiquity. After co-creating modern party classic "Uptown Funk" with Bruno Mars, the DJ-turned-writer-producer snagged an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for his work with Lady Gaga on the epic ballad "Shallow" from 2018's A Star Is Born. What Ronson has done for an encore with Late Night Feelings might not wind up as wildly omnipresent as his past successes, but its surprisingly subtle set of melodies are pervasive in their own fashion.

First, he turns collaborator-singer Miley Cyrus into her godmother, Dolly Parton, on the growly "Jolene" sound-alike "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart." Then, Ronson and co-writer Kevin Parker of Tame Impala fame give vocalist Camila Cabello the downtempo "Find U Again." Ronson's teaming with King Princess on the shimmering, metronomic ballad "Pieces of Us" is lustrous and supple, as is his pairing with Lykke Li, singing the album's haunting title track and Alicia Keys' poignantly soulful "Truth."

Ronson's late night feelings may not be as contagious as those in his past, but they are stirring.

Hot tracks: "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart," "Find U Again," "Truth"


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Jack White of The Raconteurs. The band has released its first album in a decade. TNS
Jack White of The Raconteurs. The band has released its first album in a decade. TNS

B The Raconteurs

Help Us Stranger

Third Man

One of Jack White's side projects, the Raconteurs, made a couple of quick albums just as the White Stripes were dissolving, circa 2006-08. Help Us Stranger marks the band's return after a decade, and White folds his outsize personality into a dozen songs in a way that suggests he feels most at home in the context of a band, especially one as strong as this.

White shares the songwriting load with Brendan Benson. Though they are often typecast as opposites — White as bluesy gun-slinger, Benson as power-pop craftsman — they blend their approaches seamlessly. There's Benson shouting atop the ripping guitars on "Live a Lie," while White sounds hopeful and tender on the piano-ballad "Shine the Light on Me."

Only "Don't Bother Me" gets carried away, reminiscent of the overly gimmicky tracks on White's solo albums with its frantic pacing, scrambled three-part arrangement shoehorned into three minutes and outraged lyrics.

Bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler play a crucial role, particularly in the reverberating line Lawrence threads through "Now That You're Gone" and the rippling groove Keeler brings to a fierce cover of a Donovan B-side, "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)."

Help Us Stranger brims with unapologetic rock songs that mine '60s and '70s signifiers. Yet it's the ballads that give the album its unexpected emotional heft, particularly "Somedays (I Don't Feel Like Trying)." The acoustic "Thoughts and Prayers" becomes an unlikely hymn to a graying planet.

Hot tracks: "Live a Lie," "Somedays (I Don't Feel Like Trying)," "Thoughts and Prayers"


Chicago Tribune (TNS)


• Drake, "Omerta" and Drake featuring Rick Ross, "Money in the Grave." In between the Toronto Raptors winning their first championship and Drake posting thirst traps on Instagram to announce that he's been in "album mode" came this pair of songs, dubbed "The Best in the World Pack." Whether that's a reference to his beloved basketball team or to himself doesn't matter: a championship for one is a championship for all. "Money in the Grave" is Drake at his moody, petulant peak — a morbid anthem for a hot summer. But the real sneers are on "Omerta," which is one long-stretch verse, no chorus. Drake more or less free associates his boasts here, even leaning into a signature Biggie Smalls flow to emphasize his comfort. In the wake of his hometown's triumph, he's feeling as blustery as ever: "I wish that I was playing in a sport where we were getting rings/I wouldn't have space on either hand for anything."


The New York Times

• Sturgill Simpson, "The Dead Don't Die." What emerges when the wry mystic Sturgill Simpson writes the title track for the new Jim Jarmusch zombie comedy is an elegant, elegiac hard-country song that's notionally about the walking dead, but is really about how the dead still walk among us, in our hearts and minds: "Hearts break when loved ones journey on/At the thought that they're now forever gone/So we tell ourselves they're all still around us all the time."


The New York Times

• Raveena, "Stronger." Stately, churchy, but slightly wavering chords support Raveena Aurora, a New York songwriter in a subdued secular hymn about prying herself out of a toxic relationship. "I know you love to see me broken/You live to see me confused," she sings. "Don't talk too soon/I ain't dead yet." But her voice is calm, with a hint of Bollywood antigravity; she has realized that, "I was so naive to think a man could be stronger than me."


The New York Times

Weekend on 06/27/2019

Print Headline: Mark Ronson's Late Night Feelings surprisingly subtle


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