Prince : The Hits/The B-Sides

...genius or utter imbecile?...

Prince: genius or utter imbecile? The answer, as is often the way in pop music, is ‘a little bit of the former and a rather more sizeable amount of the latter’, and so this arduous trudge through 56 tracks across three CDs is a rollercoaster ride through sewers of bilge and the occasional waterfall of pop diamonds.

You’ll know most of the good stuff already – ‘Raspberry Beret’ and ‘Little Red Corvette’ are perfect, gleaming pop, ‘Gett Off’ a masterful humpathon of pornographic funk, ‘Sign O’ The Times’ quite simply one of the great singles of the modern era.

However, one unfortunate adjunct of being considered a genius by so many is that one tends to relax one’s bollocks filter somewhat, and Prince at his self-indulgent worst is a veritable monolith of, by turns, lyrical whimsy and laboured crudeness, anaemic funk and dishwater-weak MOR balladry. There’s too much good stuff on here to render it moot, but by God, it needs someone to go at the tracklisting with some big-ass secateurs.

Pete Cashmore