Mark Ronson & The Business Intl - "Record Collection" (released 27/09/10)
Mark Ronson has openly acknowledged the fact that he needs help from others, which he collectively calls The Business Intl. The resulting album is an array of genres colliding. He visits the last 5 decades and colours them with twangy electro sounds and modern beats. It's like he has decided to create his own old songs that never existed, so he could remix them, as he is famous for on his other albums. This is his 'Record Collection', it makes sense if you think about it.
Ronson has crammed in plenty of old hypnotic 80s and 70s loops to send you into a fairly enjoyable trance, with contrasting raps and 60s vocals chiming in at surprising moments. This is an era overload outfit, psychedelic hat, a-line skirt, awkward band t-shirt and rollerskates, you look like you got dressed in the dark, but somehow it worked out alright for public appearances. Tracks like "Lose It In The End" has a 60s feel about it, based on the style of vocals by Alex Greenwald (from Southern California band Phantom Planet who perform the theme song for The OC), but also a strong loop that wouldn't be out of place in Rawhide (!), and an unexpected grimy rap from Ghostface Killa. It sounds like a monster, but it's actually held together very well with a good fuzzy electro beat.
Of course the first single from the album, "Bang Bang Bang", featuring the perfect voices from Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and MNDR, comes out trumps above all the songs, in my opinion. Having it as the first track kind of gives the rest of the album a lot to live up to, and unfortunately, in comparison, a lot of the songs are a little bland and weak, but by no means horrendous.
A lot of the lyrics aren't spectacular though, especially on the title track "Record Collection", which in places actually makes me want to kill myself. Simon Le Bon is the cheeky chappy pretending to sing about hip records, corr blimey, while Wiley pipes in towards the end who makes skinny legged white boys with cockney accents look like a damp piece of toast - pretty useless really.
The filler tracks actually sound more like interludes, and wouldn't be out of place in an 80s adventure movie. They do lace-up the album nicely, glueing together the past, the present and the future.
There is something on this album that everyone is going to like, it's hard not to with this cocktail of artists, beats and eras, catering for all walks of life. It is a record collection indeed, and it's quite a vast one. I've never been interested in listening to any of Mark Ronson's previous albums, but I was eager to hear this one. So he must be doing something right.