Follow Us on Twitter

Controversy: A Tribute To Prince

Controversy: A Tribute To Prince

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

PRINCE may have his detractors but there’s no denying the man is nothing if not adventurous as an artist. His music has spanned several styles: from his early 80’s material, rooted in R&B, funk, and soul, to New Wave, pop, rock, blues, jazz and hip hop.

It’s this diversity and willingness to experiment that has made him one of the most influential artists of the past two decades and which has, in part, prompted this collection of cover versions from such an eclectic bunch of artists.

Controversy: A Tribute To Prince therefore features some interesting interpretations of some of his biggest hits, including Purple Rain, Controversy, Girls & Boys and Alphabet Street, by a host of major artists. These include soul legend D’Angelo, new reggae sensations The Dynamics and dance stars Soulwax, Osunlade and Rob Mello through to Dubsteps Kode 9.

What’s instantly striking is the way in which none of the cover versions go for the easy approach. All have been given a different spin, so that part of the fascination stems from trying to work out which songs are being covered.

Girls & Boys, with its immediately identifiable “I love you baby, I love you so much” is given a reggae makeover by The Dynamics that’s both laidback and endearing once you’ve adjusted to it, while Purple Rain, by Stina Nordenstam, a Swedish experimental pop star, is an ethereal beauty.

Soulwax’s version of Starfish & Coffee is another personal favourite, a stripped back collection of beats and organ that benefits from a great boy-girl set of vocals, and we also liked the funky, pacy Critical by Rob Mello, which is the closest vocally to Prince on the album.

Our personal favourite, however, is the Blue States’ version of Alphabet Street, a melody-strew, horn-heavy interpretation that sounds like Mark Ronson has taken a chill pill and slowed down his beats. It’s a trippy, blissful delight.

Obviously, with an experimental album of this nature not everything works and a certain contigent of Prince fans will probably be ripping their hair out with frustration at some (if not all) of the re-interpretations, assuming that if it ‘aint broke, why fix it? But for those that are willing to give it a chance, the highlights far outweigh the lowpoints (such as 7 Hurt’s Sexy Dancer with Peaches). So, while it may cheekily be called Controversy, it’s a pretty smooth ride for anyone willing to give into its charms.

Download picks: Purple Rain, Alphabet Street, Girls & Boys, Starfish & Coffee, Critical

Track listing:

  1. She’s Always In My Hair – D’Angelo
  2. Purple Rain – Stina Nordenstam
  3. Alphabet Street – Blue States
  4. Condition Of The Heart – Susanna & The Magical Orchestra
  5. Crazy You – Osunlade
  6. Controversy – Hefner
  7. Girls And Boys – Dynamics
  8. Ballad Of Dorothy Parker – Broadway Project & Jeb Loy Nicholls
  9. Sexy Dancer – 7 Hurtz & Peaches
  10. Starfish And Coffee – Soulwax
  11. Critical – Rob Mello
  12. Future – LB