The best album you won’t hear

It’s a fight between Prince, Norwegians, and the law

Becky Lang

Turns out a lot of people in Norway really like Prince. And five discs worth of Norwegian bands love Prince enough to record covers of his songs without getting paid for it. Unfortunately, the love is not requited.

“Shockadelica,” the above-mentioned five-disc tribute to that artist once known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince , may not be around for long. Teaming up with an eager set of copyright laws, Prince wants all copies destroyed.

Shame, because the album isn’t bad. A few hits, like “I Would Die 4 U,” are even covered twice, in case one version doesn’t satiate your princely appetite. “Manic Monday,” played by a group called Ephemera, appropriately resurrects the days of bubblegum pop’s infancy, topped with euphoric bells. A band called Grande does a flamboyant, over-the-speed-limit take of “Paisley Park.”

One of the best is the cover of “Starfish and Coffee” by Haddy N’jie, a Billie Holiday-inspired smoky vixen with simple undersea chimes sprucing up the song.

There are two versions of “Nothing Compares to You,” neither extraordinary. One is a hillbilly parody of the song by a band called Brødrene Lövenstjerne , and the other is a softly strummed ballad by a Natalie Imbruglia sound-alike named Silje Nergaard , a pop star who has recently turned to jazz.

From typical garage rock bands to raving mix-makers, Prince’s catalog has been attacked from every angle, with pleasing results. Even if you don’t like Prince, the album is an easy dictionary reference for some of the best bands in that hot chocolate and ski slope section of Europe.

Intrigued? Unfortunately, only 5,000 copies were released, and they might be fuel for a fire by the time you read this.

Hint for the curious: check out the label’s Web site.