Occasionally, an artist comes along that surprises you. When Mark Ronson teamed up with Bruno Mars for Uptown Funk, I was at first unimpressed. It wasn’t that I thought it bad, I just didn’t think of it much at all. Then I heard Valerie with Amy Winehouse and was blown away.

The last year or so has seen me consume his discography, picking out a few items and making a rare playlist (I’m an album guy for the most part) of tracks that really stuck with me. Ronson combines not only interesting lyrics and great music, but he throws in great videos and excellent partnerships, many of which I would not expect, to make some fantastic music.

It is the combination of styles that I find so interesting about his music. While the underlying beats are mostly traditional jazz licks, the melody and hooks vary from track to track, continually surprising the listener with the creativity such combinations showcase. It routinely results in combinations I wouldn’t normally consider, much less appreciate, but somehow its done so well that it becomes entirely interesting.

The more I find out about Ronson, specifically how many artists that he’s produced, the more impressed I’ve become that his own creations are as good as they are. For the most part, they’re a miss, but when he hits, he hits hard. Its rare to find a musician who can be this good in front of the mic as he is behind it.