Monday, 11 February 2008

New Album Review - Puff Daddy: The Covers Album

When Puff Daddy topped the charts with I’ll be Missing You, he took a metaphorical birthday card, crossed ‘Happy Birthday’ off the front and wrote ‘In Sympathy: Biggie’ before crossing out Sting’s name from the inside and writing his own. Since then, the kleptomaniac star has been appropriating other people’s songs and giving them entirely different meanings. At long last, he has released The Covers Album, in which he slightly alters existing music and removes all original intent on the part of the writer, for a whole ninety minutes.

Take forthcoming single, I Could Die (Feel So Lonely) which samples Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel. Despite the name of the song and Elvis’s original lyrics (which appear here behind a chunky bass-heavy beat), Puffy has turned the song into a feel-good party anthem. Rapped verses now tell of Diddy’s exploits in the penthouse suite of the eponymous hotel with a group of girls and case of champagne.

Now compare this to the album’s nadir, Hip Hop Hooray (Tha Sun). Sampling an old copy of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, the song has been changed from a happy, full of the joys of spring piece of music to a bleak, plodding song about learning of a friend’s death. Truly, this is amongst Puff Daddy’s worst.

The rest of the album is no better. The song I wish I was Dead by little-known punk band Sadsack is sampled and turned into a crowd-pleasing paean to happiness. For some reason, Lust for Life by Iggy Pop, originally a song about heroin is – in Puffy’s hands – about cream crackers.

For the most part, this album is a terrible blight on the already-pocked career of a fairly poor recording artist. Why he decided to cover his own cover (Still Missing You (Shoulda Written my own Song)) is a mystery to me. Even more mysterious is the extra verse in which Puffy apologizes to his dead friend Biggie for tacking together a new version of someone else’s song instead of writing a new one to commemorate his life.

The Covers Album by Puff Daddy is available on CD, Mp3 and special edition Blu-Ray disc that comes with a free pair of underpants.

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