Album: Mark Ronson & the Business Intl, Record Collection (Columbia)
From 'Back to Black' with Amy to the bleach blond of Le Bon
Sunday 26 September 2010
Mark Ronson must be feeling a little isolated and embattled right now.
First he tells the NME that people are coming up to him in the street to call him a wanker, and then, to add insult to injury, even his muse Amy Winehouse has a pop. ("You're dead to me", she tweeted a week or so ago, before making a partial retraction.) Meanwhile, his protégé Daniel Merriweather has stepped out solo, and everyone from Eliza Doolittle to Tom Jones has lifted his trademark nouveau-vintage sound. They don't need him any more. The question is: do we?
The producer (and now singer's) third album doesn't answer that one conclusively, although the balance tilts towards the affirmative. This time around, Ronson has largely ditched the retro thing and aimed for something vaguely contemporary. This course of action is fraught with danger: one minute you're timeless, the next you're simply outdated.
For instance, opening track (and lead single) "Bang Bang Bang" sounds like a Pharrell/Neptunes cast-off from circa 2003. Indeed, much of Record Collection aims for the kind of Day-Glo electronic psych-pop executed with noticeably more panache by Damon and Danger Mouse on Gorillaz' Plastic Beach.
It is, to say the least, hit and miss. The world could, for example, live without Kyle Falconer, the idiot boy-child from the View, singing the line "I'm gonna ride my bike until I get home" (still dressed, one assumes, in the jeans he's been rebelliously wearing for four days in a row).
And dear old Boy George seems a little wasted (no, not in that sense) duetting with Miike Snow's Andrew Wyatt on "Somebody to Love Me". In the plus column, getting Ghostface Killah to rap over the theme for some imaginary spaghetti western ("Lose It", co-written with Jonathan Pierce of the Drums) is an inspired choice. The title track (co-written with the drummer from the Kaiser Chiefs) is hilarious, getting a self-aware Simon Le Bon to sing the chorus to a song about a washed-up superstar bragging about his increasingly meagre claims to a bling-bling lifestyle. ("I drive round cities in a chariot/ I get preferential treatment at the Marriott...")
Ex-Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall excels on her two tracks, and there's something very Profumo Affair about hearing the words "I've done some dirty deeds..." in her elegantly bored tones. Best of all, however, is the mangled future-soul of the D'Angelo collaboration "Glass Mountain Trust", although it's rivalled by three instrumentals: the space-age, minute-long "Selector", freakbeat interlude "Missing Words", and "Circuit Breaker", which appears to blend the Smiths' "Oscillate Wildly" with John Barry's Bond theme.
Maybe that's a pointer to the future for Ronson. Never mind Winehouse or Merriweather: next time, lock him in a studio with Quentin Tarantino.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
The Interview film review: Controversial gross-out satire is broad, bawdy and bad - but undeniably entertaining
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever