This is not about Prince’s posthumous greatest hits compilation of the same name. “4Ever” was a track on the 2009 album Lotusflow3r. To be brutally honest, this post isn’t going to take up much of my time because this is a lackluster song (by Prince’s standards) on a lackluster album (by Prince’s standards).
There’s nothing wrong with this song, but there’s nothing that stands out about it. There’s nothing complicated musically or vocally. Nothing particularly compelling about the lyrics. This song is just there and that’s fine. I heard the great Alan Leeds on the Questlove Supreme podcast recently. Leeds (brother of frequent Prince collaborator, saxophonist Eric Leeds) was many things to Prince including tour manager and President of Paisley Park Records. I’m going to paraphrase here, but Leeds was talking about Prince’s music and said when you’ve written and recorded thousands of songs, eventually anything he puts out is just a new version of something he’s already done. The specific example he gave was that many of his later ballads were updated versions of “Adore.” I feel like “4Ever” is something he’s done many times before. Once again, I qualify that by saying that I’ll take Prince’s average stuff over nearly anyone else’s best. I feel like I’m writing that four times a week now.
Since I have little to say about “4Ever” I’ll take this opportunity to go on this tangent instead: I see that one of the background vocalists on this song is Tamar Davis. Tamar sang with Prince a lot in the mid-2000’s/3121 era and was supposed to have a solo album around that time that never materialized. I’m not sure why. I was always impressed by her. The track “Beautiful, Loved, and Blessed” is a favorite of mine and I thought their performance of it on Saturday Night Live was stunning. Somehow uplifting and funky as hell at the same time. I always wondered what happened to Tamar but never really took the time to dig in to it. I heard she was even on a season of The Voice a few years ago and made someone’s team, but didn’t win the show.
Then for Prince’s birthday on Sunday a surprised showed up on YouTube. It was a cover of “The Cross” recorded by a few dozen of Prince’s former bandmates and collaborators. It’s beautiful, and I was thrilled to see Tamar sharing lead vocals with Kip Blackshire, who gave a showstopping performance. It was fun to see so many collaborators from over the years in the video. My guy Tommy Barbarella was there sans keytar. Kind of a disappointment to see him sitting at a regular keyboard instead of holding the giant purple keytar. So glad to see Donna and Ida from 3rdEyeGirl there, but where was Hannah? Was also stunned when Mayte appeared late in the video. It’s definitely an enjoyable listen and a blast to watch if you’ve been a Prince fan and wondered where some of his old bandmates are now in 2020.
As for “4Ever” I’ll give it 2 out of 5 stars. It’s worth a listen…every Prince song is…but there’s a lot better out there.