Many of the lyrics for Uptown Special were written by Michael Chabon, the author of Wonder Boys and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Chabon fully immersed himself in the album's creation, often working with Ronson and the vocalists in the recording studio. With this song, he wrote three completely different sets of lyrics till he hit on something that he felt worked. "It was a different creative process from writing my books, primarily because it is so collaborative and that was the beautiful thing about it for me," Chabon told The Observer. "I will lean more towards the wistful, melancholy regretful note in my lyrics and Mark tends to favor the more optimistic lyrics - that tension, if you will, proved really fruitful."
Los Feliz is an affluent, hilly neighborhood in the district of Hollywood, City of Los Angeles, California. The neighborhood is named after its colonial Spanish-Mexican land grantee, José Vicente Feliz. Along with present-day Griffith Park, it makes up the original Rancho Los Feliz concession, one of the first land grants made in California.
Mark Ronson explained Michael Chabon's lyrics to The Guardian: "Los Feliz is an artsy/hipster/musician-y area of Los Angeles. This song is about an aging hipster who doesn't want to admit that he's too old to still be going to the party. It's not semi-autobiographical at all. At all."
Ronson says this song is "about how lonely a giant nightclub can be." Since he's a DJ at heart and wants to hear the latest sounds, he does still go to clubs, but acts his age when he's there.