Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Prince: The Hits/The B-Sides [Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1993]
Take as a given that this is an overpriced exploitation or indulgence, depending on your point of view--that is, whether you're Prince or not. The two discs of A sides are indeed choice, but most come from albums that yield more choice (not to say choicer) stuff, and their recontextualization isn't as jaw-dropping as an admirer of our greatest popular musician might hope. Whether the duplications merit the tariff you can decide for yourself. So would the B sides justify purchase on their own were the little man so generous as to make them available as such (or were the world to end, whichever comes first)? And the answer is: maybe. The porny stuff--especially "Irresistible Bitch," "Scarlet Pussy," the wicked "Feel U Up," and the absolutely classic "Erotic City"--is must-hear for any sex fan. The funky stuff is fonky. The dog bit is like bow-wow. And the ballads are of every description, including godawful. B+