Phew, what a weekend. 72 and sunny and gorgeous and making me want to pick up and move. Got back from LA late last night (delayed in Chicago), battled some major league insomnia and I’m back at work this morning, just in time to bring you some pretty fantastic music. Before leaving I went on a bit of a splurge and bought four CDs, which I will be featuring over the next week. The first of which was Mark Ronson’s new album Version, which is (except three short original interlude tunes) all covers of songs by other artists. Perfectly built for featuring on Cover Tuesday. The album as a whole is just good, certainly not great. There are tracks that stand out so distinctly from the rest that it’s hard to think of the album as a package, instead of filler built around a handful of fantastic songs. The obvious star of the album is the cover of The Zutons’ “Valerie” which features Amy Winehouse. I’ve posted the song before, but it bears repeating just how good it is, coming the closest to being a perfect pop song than anything I’ve heard in a long long time (even featuring ?uestlove of The Roots on “percussion” which I guess means the tambourine). Ronson’s other British-female-vocalist pal, Lily Allen’s contribution (the Kaiser Chief’s “Oh My God”) is another stellar track with some punchy horns. The other songs are kind of a mixed bag. Some are good from the first listen (“God Put a Smile On Your Face”), some terrible from the first listen (“Pretty Green”), some getting better after repeated listening (“Apply Some Pressure”) and some worse (“Toxic”). There are also the mediocre tracks, especially the Smith’s cover “Stop Me” (bafflingly popular among the indie crowd, if other blogs are a good indication) and the Charlatans cover “The Only One I Know.” I guess it’s best to listen to the album in small doses, and skip the low points. It’s true that the Ronson signature style (pretty generic drumbeat, slap some horns on there, add a tambourine) can get a bit grating after a while, but what’s good is so good that it might not even matter.
Mark Ronson with the Daptone Horns – God Put a Smile On Your Face (Coldplay cover) Mark Ronson with Paul Smith – Apply Some Pressure (Maximo Park cover) Mark Ronson with Kenna – Amy (Ryan Adams cover) Mark Ronson with Amy Winehouse – Valerie (Zutons cover)
posted by Adam