Mark Ronson Version

Mark Ronson Version
The brunt of the criticism circling Mark Ronson’s album says he was wrong to make these white bred indie rock songs strut in distinctly black rhythms, which is both petty and small-minded for reasons too complex to discuss here. Ronson’s funked-up versions explore the sunnier side of their originals. He re-imagines tracks from the Smiths ("Stop Me”) and Ryan Adams ("Amy”) by rearing the drums on hip-hop, allowing the horn section to pay respect to Motown and ensuring that you can move your feet to the beat. Lily Allen’s best work to date may be her cover of the Kaiser Chiefs’ "Oh My God.” Buoyed by a sense of playfulness, her voice floats through a forest of funk without the hollow sincerity of her solo work. Amy Winehouse owns "Valerie” with a stupefying and humbling display of her neo-retro soul sound. Britney Spears’ "Toxic” seems out place but the lyrics and the inclusion of an Ol’ Dirty Bastard verse take on new significance in light of all the celebrity debauchery of late. Ronson rescues Radiohead’s "Just” from its self-imposed doldrums, allowing Alex Grenwald and the horns to stake the claim that they have matched, if not outdone, the original. If anything, Ronson is a one-trick pony that’s excellent at masking it. But it’s all over so fast that even the songs that could wear thin — "LSF” and "The Only One I Know” — are easy to appreciate. (Sony BMG) Pierre Hamilton (Sony BMG)