Just four months after the release of Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry for Bringing
You Here. Love, Dad, hip-hop pop-duo P.M. Dawn are working on an album of
covers tentatively titled Rhythm for Infinite Blues. According to frontman Prince Be,
the album will feature their take on R&B and soul classics by such artists as Stevie
Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
"It's going to be like a smaller version of Dearest Christian," Prince Be, 28, said,
referring to the group's latest album. That disc has drawn critical raves for its
genre-blending use of pop, hip-hop, reggae, glam rock and piano ballads to facilitate a
search for hope in a world filled with hopelessness.
Songs bearing such titles as "Misery in Utero" (RealAudio excerpt),
"Hale-Bopp Regurgitations" and "Being So Not for
You (I Had No Right)" (RealAudio excerpt) reflect Prince Be's concerns about
the state of the world following the birth three years ago of his son, Christian.
To continue this theme, Prince Be (born Attrell Cordes) said that Rhythm for Infinite
Blues will be filled with covers of such socially aware R&B classics as Marvin Gaye's
"Inner City Blues" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."
The album does not yet have a release date.
"Basically, we're still feeling out what songs we want to cover," Prince Be said, "but we
know the issues we want to address, so we're just looking to take the work of these
artists and put our own spin on it."
As an example, Prince Be said P.M. Dawn's version of "Superstition" is "slower and
creepier" than the original.
"We sort-of switch all the choruses around and ... do the whole thing over a Barry White
sample," Prince Be explained. "You still can hear the original in there, but we've
definitely changed the feel of it."
P.M. Dawn, which also includes Prince Be's brother, J.C. the Eternal (a.k.a. Jarrett
Cordes), are no strangers to cover songs. On 1992's The Bliss Album...? they
covered the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood," while 1995's Jesus Wept closed with the
group performing a medley consisting of funk star Prince's "1999," art-rockers Talking
Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" and singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson's "Coconut."
Fans of the group are greeting the news of a P.M. Dawn covers album with a great sense
of anticipation. David Sherman, a 24-year-old P.M. Dawn fan from Raleigh, N.C., wrote in
an e-mail that he has always liked the work the group has done with cover songs, and
that the practically sample-free sound P.M. Dawn have pursued on Dearest
Christian makes him even more excited about Rhythm for Infinite Blues.
"When I first heard that Dearest Christian wasn't going to have as much sampling,
I was a little bit hesitant because I think P.M. Dawn have done some great things with
samples," Sherman wrote. "When I finally picked up Dearest Christian, though, I
really liked it. I think the chances they took with this album really paid off.
"If they take the same chances on this covers album," Sherman continued, "it might be
something really special."
Near the end of last year, P.M. Dawn gave their fans a taste of what they were up to
when they played 20 radio-station-sponsored festival shows across the United States.
The shows -- which found the group on bills with such pop artists as 'N Sync, 98
Degrees and Cher -- allowed them to play their almost sample-free new songs, test out
their version of "Superstition" and put a new spin on such hits as
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"We do the first verse straight and then sort-of improvise the rest," Prince Be said of the
live version of "Set Adrift on a Memory of Bliss." "We move the crowd a little bit and then
we see how things happen. The band switches up the songs a little bit, maybe on the
keyboards or by changing the drum patterns."
Though no dates are set yet, P.M. Dawn and their four-piece band are putting together a
winter U.S. tour of their own, which Prince Be said likely will consist of intimate shows
that concentrate on the group's new devotion to musicianship.
"I don't want to do any explosions or anything like that," Prince Be said of the group's
upcoming tour. "From the shows we've done so far, I can say that it is really turning out to
be a nice piece of work."