Purple Strain

Thursday, 7 February 2008, 17:19 | Category : Uncategorized
Tags :

This is a very odd compilation. It’s probably trying to capitalise on Prince’s massive profile last year, but there are a couple of obvious problems right from the start. First, have a look at the tracklisting. Rather than being a specially commissioned album of Prince covers, it’s clearly been an exercise in searching around by the label (Rapster) to find an odd collection of versions of the purple one’s songs by a bizarre range of artists. Some of these tracks have obviously been around for a long time. For instance, I remember the Soulwax cover of Starfish and Coffee from sometime at the start of the decade, and I don’t think that the other Hefner (not the Darren Hayman one) have recorded anything for some time. Others seem more recent. Such diversity could have been a good thing, but the general impression is just something hastily cobbled together.

Secondly, Prince’s stock is not quite as high now as it was last year. He had the million-night run at the O2 and the free Daily Mail album, but then he went and ruined all the good vibes by suing some of his most loyal fans for daring to use his image without his permission. Mind you, Rapster must be aware of this, as the cover image most definitely isn’t a photo of Prince. I could be argued that it’s an 18th century fop, if you take away the guitar.

However, the good news is that there are some worthwhile tracks on here, mainly the ones that don’t attempt to sound anything like the originals, quite the reverse in fact. So full marks to both Stina Nordenstam (remember her?) who does to Purple Rain what Cat Power did to Satisfaction, and to dubstep heroes Kode 9 and Spaceape who slow Sign of the Times down so much that you can only tell what song it is by listening to Spaceape’s sub-bass vocals recite the lyrics. Elsewhere The Dynamics do a decent reggae version of Girls and Boys (but reggae covers are almost always good) and the aforementioned Soulwax version is enjoyable without being radical.

Download: Soulwax – Starfish and Coffee
Download: Stina Nordenstam – Purple Rain

I wouldn’t bother buying the album on CD though, just head over to emusic where you can download select tracks. Being emusic of course, not all of the artists on the CD are present on the ‘digital version’, but there is a Be Good Tanyas cover of When Doves Cry, which isn’t on the promo I have, and sounds worth a further look.

Leave a comment