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Mark Ronson & the Business Int'l ft. Boy George and Andrew Wyatt - 'Somebody To Love Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:02 UK time, Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Mark Ronson

We all like to have a wallow in the past, don't we? It feels nice to look back on things we used to do as children and then try and find a modern equivalent, either for children nowadays or within our own lives. Sometimes there IS no equivalent, and that makes us a little sad, but also a little happy, because it makes the thing special to us alone.

Tim Davie, the BBC's Director of Audio & Music, has written about this very thing for the BBC Radio blog, in relation to the charts, and how different generations have experienced the unique tension which occurs when you want a certain song to beat another song in the Top 10. In his day it was all Human League and Cliff Richard, his children worry about JLS and Take That, but it's the same feeling.

In Mark Ronson's day, of course, it'll have been Culture Club and Duran Duran. And the reason I know this, is that the minute he's made a bit of a name for himself with the parp-heavy brass covers of indie songs, and has the time and funding to bring in the guest singers of his dreams, the very first thing he does is enlist Boy George and Simon Le Bon.

Clearly not much of a Spandau Ballet man, is what I am saying.

(No video. Naked bum.)

Not that this is a song which is entirely rooted in pop's illustrious past. A skippy Vampire Weekend beat and some similarly chuntering guitars make this a far more naughties proposition than, say, 'Bang Bang Bang'. And Boy George doesn't immediately cast the long shadow that he could. Not least because he's not doing all the singing.

Most of the clear narrative comes from Andrew Wyatt, the singer with the Swedish band Miike Snow, with the Boy (or, given his venerated status as an official elder of the tribe, the Old Boy) coming in to scream and wail, with the desperation of someone who really knows what being alone feels like. He also sounds ravaged by the past, his voice frayed and torn.

It's a startling combination, Andrew delivering the verses, the main refrain (for the most part), and the cold hard facts, George sobbing the introduction, the second half of the chorus and other bits and bobs, before taking the whole thing over at the end, tearing his feelings open like a pomegranite and scattering the pips into the cruel winds of time, all the time clearly wishing he'd been a better, more loveable person from the start.

Had young Andrew sung it all, it would be a song which is scared of wasting precious time. Bringing old George in as The Ghost of Christmasses Past AND Future delivers some devastating perspective, proof of what can happen if you can't stop everything from slipping away.

It doesn't seem likely that this will do much to beat JLS or Take That at the top of the charts, but if I was in either of those bands, I'd be listening to this very closely indeed. It's like a warning from history, wrapped up in a newspaper from next week.

Five starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Speakerboxxx says: "The track is simply beautiful."

Earmilk says: "This Mark Ronson remix which features Boy George (of Culture Club for the babies out there) is nothing less then perfection."

Hard Candy says: "This infectious track was co written by Jake Shears and Cathy Dennis!"


  • Comment number 1.

    Amazing song. It's sad that today charts are dominated by utter (word I can't say without comment being removed)

    Now review Ellie.

  • Comment number 2.

    I love this song. Wonderful in every way. Shame it's not going to chart well though. The divide between the commercial, chart-driven acts and the rest is getting bigger and bigger. Now even someone like Mark Ronson can't score a chart hit from an already-released album, no matter how good or 'chart-friendly' the song is. Oh well, amazing song anyway.


  • Comment number 3.

    I actually hate this song. I respect George's soulful/needy vocals and Simon Le Bon's brilliant too, but the song just doesn't give back what you expect it to, like it's missing something when it hits it's peak, and so it's not entirely fulfilling.

    'You Gave Me Nothing' for the next release, please :)

  • Comment number 4.

    Simon Le Bon doesn't sing on this track, Oddie, just the album's title track. The other singer on this one, as Fraser mentioned, is Andrew Wyatt from that 'Miike Snow' band.

    You Gave Me Nothing is a great one too, and would make a good single. Still wouldn't do anything in the charts though, sadly.


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