Life & Culture

Mark Ronson’s Five Best Sad Bangers of All Time

The producer unpicks five of the best tear-jerking jams ever to grace the dancefloor

Since breaking into the industry at the beginning of the millennium, producer and DJ Mark Ronson has garnered acclaim and gathered awards for his music, collaborating with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, Lily Allen and Lady Gaga along the way. To coincide with the release of his fifth album, Late Night Feelings – a slow-burning set of “sad bangers” – Ronson takes over the Another Man website, with a series of articles spanning interviews and guides that offer a glimpse into his world and the new record.

Like The Beatles before him, Mark Ronson knows how to take a sad song and make it slap. Late Night Feelings, the superstar DJ and producer’s new album released this week, is a slow-burning set of “sad bangers” tailor-made for those moments when the night’s promise gives way to a sense of 3am regret, and the “you-shaped space in my bed” waiting for you when you get home (sob). “It was actually [London DJ] Rory Phillips who came up with the term ‘sad banger’,” says Ronson, who explored the concept at Club Heartbreak, a night he founded with sad-banger royalty Romy xx in London last year. “I just saw it on a poster for Lewis Capaldi’s new album: ‘for fans of blah, blah and sad bangers’. I was like, ‘Wow, they’re really running with your term, Rory!’” Here, he unpicks five of the best tear-jerking jams ever to grace the dancefloor.

Pete Rock and CL Smooth, They Reminisce Over You

“Now, because of the post-Yeezus and Drake influence, hip hop has become more emotionally vulnerable, but back then putting out a song about your friend who’d passed away with a very moody, evocative saxophone sample felt rare, it really was just so moving to me. I was really getting into rap at the time, but I’d never heard a rap song that moved me to tears like that.”

The Game ft. 50 cent, Hate It Or Love it

“It’s kinda the same thing, the perfect combination of a beautiful, melancholy sample with a really honest, genuine message about having a hard time growing up. The beat and the lyrics match perfectly. The first line is ‘Coming up I was confused, my momma kissing a girl’ – it’s about him seeing that his mother was gay for the first time growing up in Compton, growing up with nothing and overcoming adversity.”

King Princess, 1950

“It was our first single [on Ronson’s new label, Zelig] and the demo of hers that made me flip out over her music. It’s a song by a young girl feeling like nobody in the room understands her, feeling a little disconnected. It’s a love song, but it has this sense of loner alienation in it. There’s this line in the second verse where she sings, ‘Did you mean it when you said I was pretty?’ It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach when I heard that. I’m not a queer 17-year-old girl from Brooklyn, but that line was so visceral. I just felt like, ‘Fuck’.”

Saint Etienne, Only Love Can Break Your Heart

“There’s some nostalgic thing there for me with this song, because it came out when I was at school. But it’s just so beautiful and gorgeous.”

The Jones Girls, Who Can I Run To

“With all those girl groups who had big disco-diva records [in the 70s] there was always some amazing ballad on the B-side. This one was covered by Xscape in the 90s, so it became a big R&B hit in America. I remember watching John Early’s first Netflix special – it was so funny and it ended with him lip-syncing to this song, it was an amazing performance. I was like, ‘How has this person ticked all the boxes of every great love of my life in one standup special?’”

Late Night Feelings by Mark Ronson is out 21 June 2019.