You know that a producer has become a star in his own right when he’s given a contract to put out an album under his own name. In 2006, Mark Ronson is the man behind much of the two best British pop albums of the year – Lily Allen’s ‘Alright, Still’ and Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’. Ronson had been active in the N.Y.C. and London DJ scenes long before this, and had even released an album called ‘Here Comes the Fuzz’ in 2003 that featured a wide range of talent from Ghostface Killah and Mos Def to Rivers Cuomo, Jack White, and Saturday Night Live comedian Jimmy Fallon to front tracks he crafted.
Ronson took up where he left off with second album ‘Version’, but this record focused very much on the UK, bringing in Lily and Amy and many other modern Brit stars to sing over his chosen tracks. This time around, Ronson was actually playing around with contemporary British pop classics and modern hits, ranging from the Jam’s “Pretty Green” to Maxïmo Park’s “Apply Some Pressure.” Ronson’s put his slant on every one, turning them into splashy, clever blends of old-school hip-hop, ’60s soul, postmodern pop, and classic kitsch. A whirlpool of styles on a wide range of cherry-picked tracks that results in a polished but likable full-length. Ronson even injects some humor into Coldplay by turning “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face” into an instrumental fueled by horns. Radiohead’s “Just” (here sung by Phantom Planet) is treated similarly and the Smiths’ “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” is turned into a soul medley with the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” as sung by Daniel Merriweather. The album has propelled Mark Ronson to celebrity stardom, akin to the recognition those acts he’s worked with behind the scenes have achieved. Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, eat your heart out.