Imagine, then, trying to steal a song from Prince. Prince owned the 80s. Madonna and Michael were more iconic, but Prince had the songs, hit songs, so many he could even give some away (and even his castaways became hits). Forget that he can sing, play two bands' worth of instruments, or perform circles around everyone: just look at his 80s songbook—even his B-sides glow in the dark. Rock, catchy pop, steamy ballads, hard dance funk, whatever weirdo genre "If I Was Your Girlfriend" happens to be: he could do it all. Oddly, there aren't that many great Prince covers out there. Maybe it's that Prince and his persona are so impossible to inhabit that covering his songs is as hard as trying to pronounce his old name, O(+>.
This cover, by Dump (a.k.a. the side project of James McNew of Yo La Tengo), was originally on That Skinny Motherfucker With The High Voice?, a 1998 cassette-only collection of Prince covers. Dump transforms the downtempo groove of this minor Prince hit into a sad, beautiful, lo-fi meditation on life and pop.
Dump covers Prince's "Pop Life":