Mark Ronson interrupts his East Village Radio show, fades down his Amy Winehouse- sporting, Supremes-a-go-going Zutons retread “Valerie,” and asks forgiveness—”I only know one beat,” he cops. Listen to Version, Ronson’s new covers record and second full-length, to hear it a few dozen times. Thrusty, exuberant Stax horns and bulky Motown bass . . . staggering organs and boom-bap rhythms . . . the Smiths, Britney Spears, whoever . . . after a while it’s hard to even tell the difference.
What exactly is a “version,” anyway? Ronson—Mick Jones, of Foreigner, is said to be his stepfather, so imagine life in that Central Park West townhouse—works his manifest destiny as a connected guy by being . . . a connected guy. Ronson’s a producer for Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen, and Amy Winehouse (and a DJ to fashion shows the world over). So Version, his latest spin through the Rolodex, is less a covers record than the apotheosis of a remix king, making him bank off what he does to get laid.
No knock on that. The Jam’s “Pretty Green,” with Brooklyn upstart Santogold, bounces like “Rapper’s Delight” on its way to a jump-rope competition, while contributions from his A-list—Winehouse, Allen (reviving the corpse of a Kaiser Chiefs song), and the Dap Kings, who lace every track they’re on—mean this record will be ubiquitous around New York for longer than anybody would like.
And his impossibly dull source material (Maximo Park, Kasabian, and the Charlatans all stop by for remixes, er, covers) guarantees no distractions: The beat goes on, and on, and on. Ronson’s no genius, but he does know how to self-perpetuate.