If I Was Prince

If I Was Prince

Various Artists

Rex

Call me an atavist, a purist, or someone with a stick up his inglorious orifice, but I used to hold onto the firm belief that there are some songs and some artists who have etched their music in stone and their sonic sculptures should not be touched. Aretha, Marvin, Stevie, Curtis, and I would definitely put Prince in that category.

However, this disc did force me to rethink my position. If I Was Prince is, if anything, an intriguing tribute to His Royal Badness, with bands covering ten of Prince’s best songs (hits and obscurities alike). Now, the problem with most covers is that they stick so close to the original there really was no point in remaking the song. If that would have been the approach, then this review — like the CD — would’ve been trash. After all, who could imitate the bizarre funk the man has given us all these decades? However, what this CD does is capture the iconoclastic spirit of Prince by being just as experimental as the artist himself is.

7 Hurts with Peaches & Bitch Lap Lap give “Sexy Dancer” the tongue-in-cheek Tom Tom Club treatment. Op:1 Bastards uncover a fresh, new funk with the even-handed minimalist “If I Was Your Girlfriend.” And Hefner gets mega-props for converting the hard-driving ìControversyî into an ethereal ballad.

However, the compilation does not totally work. Misty Dixon emulates “The Beautiful Ones” so closely that it just falls flat — since no one can imitate that soul-screaming psychosis at the end of the original. Broadway Project, with his “prog punk,” heavily-stringed cacophony and Jeb Low Nichols’ sing-rambles don’t come close to doing “Dorothy Parker” justice — though it is interesting. And Capitol K’s “Dance On” takes abstraction to the Nth degree of annoyance.

Rex Records: http://www.rexrecords.com

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