By the time Mark Ronson released his second album, his gold-tier production chops had been established by the retro-soul coating he’d applied to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. On this collection of playfully inventive covers, the pair unites again, turning The Zutons’ “Valerie” from bluesy rock into emotive, shining soul. That and other UK chart-scaling singles—including reworkings of Kaiser Chiefs’ “Oh My God” and The Smiths' “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” starring Lily Allen and Daniel Merriweather, respectively—affirm his Midas touch. But the album’s less-celebrated tracks just as effectively showcase the imagination and craft that have served him so well in subsequent years. The Jam’s “Pretty Green” burns vividly after being doused in dance-punk and Santigold’s punchy vocals, and with Robbie Williams adding new emotional bite, The Charlatans’ “The Only One I Know” is transformed from a baggy anthem into a Northern soul stomper.
God Put a Smile on Your Face (feat. The Daptone Horns)