Friday, September 28, 2007


Song: Valerie
Artist: Mark Ronson (f/Amy Winehouse)
Album: Version

I seriously have not been able to get enough of Mark Ronson’s album “Version” which takes recent pop songs and “reinterprets” them as 60’s soul numbers. It sounds like a so-so gimmick that could have gone horribly wrong, but Ronson is on top of his game with this genre, AND has the smarts to keep the songs varied both in approach and more or less recognizable. It’s a hipster record that is not better if you’re a hipster, or worse if you’re not. You don’t need to know that “Toxic” is a Britney Spears song, or that “Stop Me” is from the Smiths… this is a record all could put on at their next party and bring the cool factor up a few clicks. It just hands-down WORKS.

Like any great record, my favorite song has changed quite a bit over the course of absorbing the record. While I love the Britney and Smiths takes (most likely, initially, because I was familiar with the originals), my current favorites are the Maximo Park cover of “Apply Some Pressure” and Amy Winehouse’s take on the Zuton’s “Valerie.” I specifically wanted to highlight “Valerie” because Winehouse is getting a ton of press (for various reasons) and is selling a ton of records here in the States. (Something I must admit is actually pretty shocking to me.) Her recent album “Back to Black” is amazing, and was produced by Ronson. This is so apparent that I am urging anyone who has flipped for the Winehouse record to go out and get “Version.” To me, it sounds like a true companion piece. “Valerie” could fit nicely onto her record, and you’ll find the tempo and vibe to both to be similar. Ronson’s imprint is all over “Black,” and it only becomes apparent when you hear “Version.”

I have not heard Ronson’s first record, 2003’s “Here Comes the Fuzz,” but am interested in what it sounds like. Apparently it is more hip hop influenced vs. straight up soul. “Valerie” is the latest single, no doubt in the hopes to ride on the Winehouse train a bit, but as he should… he helped create her sound. There was recently a rumored rift between the two caused by Amy deciding to fly off to Puerto Rico with her husband to continue their international bender vs. appearing in the “Valerie” video with Ronson. (see below) I have confirmed that this was not true and actually Ronson himself never planned to be in the video either, so Amy was never a consideration.


Valerie – Mark Ronson version

Valerie – Zutons original

And just when you think you wanna give up on the Amy’s and Britney’s of the world that seem hell-bent on career suicide you see something like this, and realize… damn, there is a reason… she is just GOOD.

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