WTF?! Wednesdays: Arto Lindsay, “Erotic City” (1996)

I’ve always been a big fan of covers, especially when the artist doing the covering decides to completely reinvent the original song. A regular ‘ole tribute? Well, it takes a lot of charisma to pull that off, or at least make it interesting — Toots and the Maytals doing “Take Me Home Country Roads” is a fine example.

But a complete inversion of a song? While it might invite scorn from fans of the original, it almost always gets me smiling. Arto Lindsay presented his take on Prince‘s Purple Rain B-side “Erotic City” on the album Mundo Civilizado. If you’re not paying attention (or aren’t a lyrics person), you might not actually place the song on the first listen. Lindsay does add in some percussion that hints at the song’s sonic origins, but for the most part you’ve just got this droll, blissed-out vocal and slack funk presentation that makes lines such as “we can fuck until the dawn” a laugh riot.

I dunno, this may piss off fans of the purple one but for my money, it gets into the Cool Covers Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at