Prince’s masterpiece of stripped-down funk “Kiss” has been transformed into an ethereal and emotional ode to intimacy, courtesy of indie folk musician Soft News. Draped in melancholic strings and ambient guitar work, Soft News’ version of “Kiss” is a lush and meditative duet.
The passion project of New York City-based musician Erik Laroi, Soft News highlights Laroi’s knack for turning glossy hits of the 1980s into melancholic hymns of the present. Produced by Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, The Bones of J.R. Jones), the song also features vocalist Olivia Price, cellist Christian Dupree and violinist Claudia Chopek (Father John Misty). “Kiss” will be released on April 19 as part of 70 First Ave., an EP of Prince covers.
Says Laroi: “When you think of Prince songs, you usually think of them as funky and with a bit of sass. But I’ve always sensed a layer of melancholy or sadness in the way he writes. I wanted to strip “Kiss” down to its sonic barebones, slow it down, and reveal new emotions that the original didn’t communicate.”
According to Laroi, the way in which Soft News interprets “Kiss” is very much in line with the project’s daring treatment of other gems from the ’80s. He describes what he does as “stripping songs of their decade’s trademark glitter and bombast in favor of a sound that is intimate, exposed, and soothing.”
This grown-up and innovative approach to childhood nostalgia has been the product of collaborations with a who’s who of the indie music world. Soft News has featured contributions from producer Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields), Claudia Chopek (Father John Misty), vocalist Lorraine Lellis (Mahogany, Aarktica), vocalist Margaret White (Sparklehorse), and string arranger Perry Serpa (TV On The Radio).
“Kiss” is one of four Prince songs covered by Soft News on 70 First Ave. Also making the list are “Paisley Park,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Little Red Corvette.” Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing Soft News’ treatment below: