ALBUM REVIEWS


Mark Ronson
VERSION
SONY COLUMBIA 16.4.07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk


I thought this was going to be like those painful ‘dance remixes’ you get tacked on to indie singles but noooo…….. it’s a full scale re-invention.

Track one just KICKS ARSE. Drums bang out a Stax / Motown /Atlantic soul beat, horns blare and my feet start moving. And what is the tune? It started life as the phenomenally wet Coldplay’s ‘God Put A Smile On Your Face’ but is now a soul party shakedown and all the better for it. Mark Ronson has taken a set of songs from the last ten to twenty years and just completely re-invented them as if they’d been written as old school soul. Then, and this is the genius bit, he brings in unlikely singers. So Lily Allen gets to do The Kaiser’s ‘Oh My God’. The funky backing is so much better than the original that even Lily’s mockney voice seems acceptable. Daniel Merriweather gets to twist the tune of The Smiths’ ‘Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before’ into something else before tying it to The Supremes’ ‘You Just Keep Me Hanging On’.

And the soul beat keeps on, buttressed by punctuating brass and swinging strings. Britney Spears gets the garage- soul treatment from Ol Dirty Bastard and Tiggers. Amy Winehouse does that thing that she does so well, getting all slack on ‘Valerie’ and replacing The Zutons in my head (thank God). Mysteriously, Paul Smith covers his own Maximo Park song and I rather miss the spikey bits of his band, despite the headrush of the beat here. The Jam’s ‘Pretty Green’ becomes a sixties funk work out, delivered by sing-song Japanese girl group, Santo Gold, showing the hints of late-Jam and Style Council that hid in the punk-pop of Mr Weller’s earlier years. Radiohead’s ‘Just’ becomes a baggy style Happy Mondays type shuffle. Robbie Williams takes a stab at The Charlatans but has his voice so much a part of the mix that it could be anyone. Hell, even Kasabian sound funky on this record.

This record is going to soundtrack your summer. It’s going to be unavoidable everywhere you go till, sadly, you are sick of it. But between then and now there’s a lot of boogieing to do…..

www.markronson.co.uk


Ross McGibbon