For You 6 ( 1978 )
For You / In Love / Soft And Wet / Crazy You / Just As Long As We're Together / Baby / My Love Is Forever / So Blue / I'm Yours
The front cover sleeve reveals a 20 year old Prince with an afro and a blurry motion effect on one side of his head. 'For You' was his debut long-player, but he'd worked on sessions, honing his skills prior to these recordings. Indeed, Prince is responsible for pretty much everything you hear on this record, including production. The sound of the record reveals little that was to come later in the often impressive Prince catalogue. He sticks to a then contemporary soul style - for the most part, a fairly unambitious series of unremarkable soft grooves. A few tracks are harder hitting, a few tracks offer stylistic variation, and that's that. 'Soft And Wet' was released as a single, the title alone revealing years later, that yes, this is Prince. Prince sings using a high, falsetto vocal, the song moves along at a reasonable pace clocking in at just over three minutes, an accomplished pop/soul number. In fact, the entire album is only just over 33 minutes long, it really isn't a major work. Debut records often aren't, or at least weren't. These days there seems to be a lot more pressure for artists to get it right, first time out. These days, new artists seem to have much shorter careers, however. These two things may very well be related. Anyhow, this umambitious, brief Prince album is very easy to listen to. The use of moog, arp and various synthesizers would lead Prince in other directions in the future, but here are used almost as if to re-enforce what the manager of Prince said at the time, pitching him as some kind of new Stevie Wonder.
'My Friend Forever' includes a spiralling Prince guitar figure mid-way through that impresses, the closing five minute long 'I'm Yours' is one of the more ambitious tracks here. Again, Prince gets to show off some fairly impressively accomplished guitar parts. 'Just As Long As We're Together' which appears at the end of side 1 if we're talking old vinyl, is an upbeat disco/soul number, lots of melody and works as a very commercial sounding track for him. In contrast, the two minute long 'Crazy You' includes acoustic guitar work, is a soft ballad that sounds pretty but doesn't really go anywhere. He'd do better later, but if we imagine this isn't later, this was then - the album still would struggle to sound anything other than rather listenable, unoffensive soul/funk of the type lots of other artists are/were doing. The acapella opening number is nice, for example. It's nice. It's alright. That's all it is. Almost as if 'For You' was put together as a musical CV to showcase selections of the talent Prince Rogers Nelson possessed, rather than to be anything more than that.
The Beeston Poet Thebeestonpoet@aol.com a very dissapointing debut. I think it is by far his worst album. There is nothing at all on this record that would make you think you are listening to a songwriter who would go on to become one of the all time greats. 'Soft An Wet' is the best song on here although it aint up against much competion lol. An 'Just As Long As We're Together' is quite possibley the most cheesey song in the entire Prince back catalog.coulda been a Bucks Fizz or Dollar B-side maybe? lol. the over-all feeling i get when listening to the 1st two albums (although the second one had a few great moments).is? Maybe Prince got a record deal two years two early
Prince 7 ( 1979 )
I Wanna Be Your Lover / Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad / Sexy Dancer / When We're Dancing Close And Slow / With You / Bambi / Still Waiting / I Feel For You / It's Gonna Be Lonely
With Prince reportedly under some pressure to produce record sales following the disappointing performance of his debut, he really does step up his game here. He already sounds more self assured than the previous years LP. Everything is striking out a little more than it was. The album is a perfectly rounded forty minutes, opening with a bang, closing with a ballad and with meaty delight inbetween! Well, let's speak of the groovy delight that is 'I Wanna Be Your Lover'. Topping the R'n'B charts and reaching number 11 on the pop billboard charts proper, it's got nearly everything you could wish for. The album version here includes a groovy keyboard led instrumental section that wasn't present on the single version, by the way. The song is a disco/soul/funk hybrid, but tastefully done. Kind of laid back and with interesting lyrical work along the way. Only a slight quibble, it just fades out at the end, wonder if there was an even longer version? We move on, remember the Chaka Khan hit 'I Feel For You'? This is the album that contains the original Prince version. It's an enjoyable song, no question. It also proves that Prince's grasp of pop music was already more advanced than it was before, just basing that on the evidence of comparing this album to the debut set. Another highlight arrives with the lyrically risky 'Bambi', which seems to be about the male singer of the song trying to convince the female 'Bambi' that it's better with a man that a woman. As for the musical content, Prince gives us mucho rock guitar work, with a solo arriving around the three minute thirty mark that really does showcase the mans talents brilliantly. The solo twists back into the main melodic theme of the song and fades out to close.
You know, this album isn't bad? I say that in some surprise, because i'd never heard the early couple of Prince albums spoken about very often, certainly not here in the UK, at least. But, this is good stuff. Oh, it's still no groundbreaking classic, it still lacks enough individual tracks that are more than just 'good' and lacks enough tracks that break out of disco/funk sufficiently long enough to make this album anything more than just a good album. I say that as if it were a bad thing? Oh, not at all. I can use 'Sexy Dancer' as an example. It's a more than competently put together disco number, no question. Very well produced indeed and the arrangement is right, if not exactly imaginative. Thing is, and this was a problem with the debut as well, it's nothing that other artists weren't producing in their droves, as well. Prince, stunning musician and producer that he was already proving himself to be, wasn't producing enough distinctive material to be considered a big hitter. It was still early days for him, though. Particularly in his ballad-writing abilities. 'When We're Dancing Close And Slow' doesn't grab me at all, and followed as it is by 'With You' creates a lull in the centre of the album. Still, we can't have everything all at once, can we? This is still an enjoyable album that is fun to listen to.
Dirty Mind 9 ( 1980 )
Dirty Mind / When You Were Mind / Do It All Night / Gotta Broken Heart Again / Uptown / Head / Sister / Partyup
Well, it came as a surprise to me, too. I've never been an especially large Prince fan throughout my life. During the course of listening to his albums for preperation for this page, i'm starting to change my mind. Not that my opinions will exactly match those of the majority of the 'proper' critics. But then, if they did, they'd be little point me having a site of my own now, would there? Anyhoo, apparently the story goes that Prince recorded these songs as demos. Took them to the record company and presented them as his new album. Minor changes were later made, but Prince more or less got his own way. The sound is drastically changed from the standardish soul of previous Prince releases. A lot of soul artists at the time were doing these overproduced disco influenced records. They'd lost sight of what made true soul music, in the first place. Here, everything is stripped back to basics. But we've also got a few innovations, for the time. A lot of the songs are keyboard led, synths were being used as a lead instrument by Prince, just as new-wave was strugging out of its primordial soup. We've still got real bass and drums here, though. Several of the songs are bass-led in terms of melody, others are led by the keys and synths. The guitar rarely provides the melody - the guitar provides the funk, more often than not. Prince is in even finer voice than before, he sounds totally confident and assured of what he's doing here. Eight songs, just over thirty minutes in length. Thing is, it works. No chance of getting bored. Yet, the melodies are so strong, you are easily able to keep coming back time and again. If you want a sixty minute long soul album, just listen to this one. Twice!
Prince gives us ever more risky lyrics. 'Sister' dubiously mentions 'juice' and the fact that the singer was 'only 16'. And yes, it does seem to be that kind of sister, not the black kind - incest is also mentioned in the lyrics. Well, we can draw whatever conclusions we like. Chances are, Prince is being extremely playful with his lyrics. Oh, did I tell you I love the bass in this album? Well, 'Partyup' for example. This bass is funky, melodic, impressive. It also is real, in the sense it doesn't go 'deek deek, deek, dung dung, deek' like so many plastic sounding funk/soul bass players did go in the 80s. It sounds real. It's real, maan. During 'Uptown' Prince doesn't want to stop because his body is hot, but he certainly does want to go "up town". So to speak! 'Gotta A Broken Heart Again' is a gorgeously sang ballad, the title track is just a stupendously funky new wave/soul hybrid. You could be mean and say these synth sounds come across as dated, but for me, because of the stripped down nature of the album as a whole, they work. This album works better for me than some of the more acclaimed, but more produced albums Prince did later on. Oh, 'When You Were Mine' has a silly, simple melody. Prince does his falsetto vocal, the song is so funny and happy and brilliant. It's not high-art you would think, but in terms of making me smile, warm and feel entertained, it can't be beat. Plus, the vocal is delicious. 'Dirty Mind' didn't sell anymore copies than the previous Prince albums, yet the acclaim it received was enough for Prince to carry on, knowing he was on the right track.
david jackson email@example.com thankyou 4 introducing me to this album. It's now my favourite ever. I haven't got an album that makes me smile and want to dance as much as this one. Only a 9! FIDDLESTICKS TO YOU TURNIPYED!!
The Beeston Poet Thebeestonpoet@aol.com I have always said' maybe prince got a record deal two years too early'.it seems DIRTY MIND is when he became the kind of artist he wanted to be. an wasnt been told what to do as much . he was never ment to be a play it safe run in the mill soul hit writer . It aint exactly The Sex Pistols . but at the time this was a very controversial album an a huge step from the 1st two bland albums. so lets re-write the history books DIRTY MIND was his Debut album .an before that there was just an EP with SEXY DANCER/SOFT AN WET/BAMBI/I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER .. lol
John firstname.lastname@example.org This is where the Ronnie James Dio of soul starts to find his feet, so to speak. Can't find a single fault on this baby. Short and frank. Just like it's creator. Light years ahead of it's competition. 9/10.
Sand Norway One thing; the other comment here about "Dirty Mind" should have been Prince' first album, made me actually sit down and wonder if that could have been possible. The young unknown Prince strolling along to the record company with songs about oral sex and incest. It makes me smile thinking about it. This album really seems to me to prove how much Warner Bros. believed in him. With two flops on his back, they could easily have dropped him. I think the poor sales of those two first records also made Prince re-think his image. Opting for something more sensational and visible. A do or die kind of concept. And if so; then "Dirty Mind" is a result of the first two albums selling poorly and in search of a break-through sent Prince in another more daring direction. The other thing; is how fantastic "Dirty Mind" sounds now. Being a huge Prince fan in the 80's, I can hardly remember many people playing this record very much. Including myself. Probably the sparse production sounded dat! ed after "Purple Rain". And although Prince kept sex as his theme, he was more teasing than sleazy in the 80's. I don't think "Dirty Mind" was in tune with that decade. Revisiting it these days, I think it is a total masterpiece. It doesn't really belong. It's not the sound of the 70's, it's not the sound of the 80's. it's just an incredibly fun bouncy record with catchy timeless hooks ... and themes. Ok, that's enough! I'm not that good writing English. : )
Controversy 8 ( 1981 )
Controversy / Sexuality / Do Me Baby / Private Joy / Ronnie Talk To Russia / Let's Work / Annie Christian / Jack U Off
This record is in a similar vein to 'Dirty Mind', although with a slightly different lyrical emphasis in places and slightly more production. For me personally, the tunes here aren't as good, lacking in the simple innocent joy that permeated the tunes throughout 'Dirty Mind'. Having said that, this is still a pretty solid record. It's slightly longer, the title track being the 2nd longest. This track is a funk workout, keyboard and bass sounds combining well. It's pretty impressive, all told. It is funky, let's put it that way. In contrast, is the shortest song on the album. 'Ronnie Talk To Russia' opens like punk-rock, contains lyrics... well, the title says it all really. The circus style, piping keyboard melody and daft nature of the entire song makes you wonder that Frank Zappa hadn't written it. That's a good thing, in our house. Especially as the song contains a great little Prince guitar solo right through the middle! Songs such as 'Private Joy' show Prince's increasing reliance on technology to base his instrumental tracks around. Well, this isn't Kraftwerk, it's just that it uses keyboards sounds over and above everything else and the drums, although real (?!?), could have easily been replicated by machine. Oh, another small reason this album gets less than 'Dirty Mind'. 'Lets Work' has 'deek deek deek' bass sounds. I don't like them!
The longest track on this album is the near eight minute long ballad, 'Do Me Baby'. It does indeed seem to be designed to make love to, although making it 18 minutes may not have met with approval by the record company, so eight minutes it is! It's quite good, but better songs include the uptempo and fun 'Sexuality' and the closing funk and grind of 'Jack U Off'. Having said that, the keyboard melody is utterly ludicrous, and therefore, some kind of genius. Page Comment? | Site Comment?
1999 8½ ( 1982, UK pos 30 )
1999 / Little Red Corvette / Delirious / Let's Pretend We're Married / DMSR / Automatic / Something In The Water / Free / Lady Cab Driver / All The Critics Love U In New York / International Lover
Ambitious and going for broke, Prince squeezes in 70 minutes of music for his '1999' commercial breakthrough album. The title track was always likely to find an audience somewhere, sometime. It's friendly, dancey beat totally suitable for dance-clubs to this day. Enjoy it when you're drunk. The female co-vocals really raise the song, as well. A duet, but not credited as such on the sleeve of the single, although my memory may be failing me, as I was quite young at the time. Eight years old, I was. Blimey! Anyhoo, Prince continues with his funk/synth direction, and more. He goes wholesale into that, to the point the guitar is relegated in places. Plus, the seventy minute length of this album creates the impression that its important to some people - some people prefer quality mixed with mediocrity, as if the length of the album alone proves something. I've always preferred a concise and consistent album, hence my surprisingly low grades for 'Exile On Main Street' and 'Electric Ladyland', for example. So, for such a long album, '1999' actually surviving its weaknesses, is something to be marvelled at. For example, two huge hit singles to open to put you in a good mood? Works for me. Especially when the uptempo and just sheer fun of 'Delirious' follows, a song going back to the style of parts of 'Dirty Mind', sheer party music that's just impossible to resist. One problem I do have however is that four songs on the album top seven minutes in length. All extended workouts, 'Let's Pretend We're Married' being impressive for its genuine modern updating of a dead genre, disco. 'DSMR' has its moments, but those little funk guitar parts and the tempo of the song and the repetition and the tempo of the song and the repetition. 'DSMR' has its moments, but those little..... ah, you get the point.
The other couple of long songs? Well following the two previously mentioned, right next on the album making three songs lasting twenty three minutes or so, is 'Automatic'. Aptly titled, really. Thankfully, the fourth seven minute plus song, 'Lady Cab Driver', is superb. A real proper funk workout that's done with energy, soul. It's actually funky, which is always a plus! I like the remaining songs, apart from the ballad 'Free' which I personally find to be very lifeless. The closing ballad 'International Lover' seems a lot more soulful than 'Free', for example. Prince does great vocal things. Overall, well. A notch above 'Controversy', just for this albums sheer scale and ambition. It's an album where even the weaker moments are listenable, because they get consumed by the whole. It's an impressive album, all in all. In a way, it defies common sense. It's an album that grows with repeated listenings, despite glaringly obvious faults in places. A strange thing, but there you are. Prince overcame himself, he did it. <
Sand email@example.com To me this is the album where Prince really starts developing his pop songwriting genius and began to release some of the most exiting records of the eighties. The album is a bit uneven for my taste, mostly because songs like 1999 and Little Red Corvette are so damn great, they make some of the others pale in comparison. Sign of the Times is a better doublealbum as a whole, i think, because the difference between the good songs and the great aren't that obvious. Ringo Starr once said that The Beatles should have released The White Album and The Whiter Album, instead of making it a doublealbum. Then people wouldn't have critized it so much. One can wonder if Rubber Soul and Revolver had been a doublealbum: too much songs, too much mediocrity, it's good but would have been great as one?
Purple Rain 9 ( 1984, UK pos 7 )
Let's Go Crazy / Take Me With You / The Beautiful Ones / Computer Blue / Darling Nikki / When Doves Cry / I Would Die 4 U / Baby I'm A Star / Purple Rain
Nine songs and forty three minutes of utter concise writing and when a song is lengthy, Prince makes sure it warrants the length. An album with at least two bona-fide classics present on it with the rest of the songs occasionally nearly equalling said two classics. It's a peach, alright. And for an album produced right slap bang in the middle of the 80s, the various 80s production touches of the day make surprisingly little impact, in a good way, when the album is listened to all these years later. Anyway, i'll speak about a few of the songs here, seeing as I am here. Seems only right. The title track and single, arrives right towards the end and caps the album off great. One point, actually. 'Let's Go Crazy', song one. 'When Doves Cry', song five. 'Purple Rain', song nine. A good way to spread out the singles when too often albums have them all packed towards the start of an album. That way isn't good as you often lose the desire to listen right through to the end. So yes, the title track. Eight and a half minutes of atmosphere, stupendous vocals and repetition that actually enhances the track. The music is a slow groove, wonderfully done, ponderous drums, little guitar parts. Synths. It's carefully constructed, but this music backing doesn't actually vary a whole great deal across the songs eight and a half minutes. Vocal wise, Prince sounds just great here, spine-chillingly good vocals. I do love the little guitar touches too, good stuff around the four minute mark, for example. I'll switch for a moment to 'When Doves Cry', a song that still sounds impressive sonically even listened to today. An utterly distinctive introduction, guitar and vocal noises. A perfect pop construction that puts Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' songs, released the previous year, somewhat to shame. That's how good a song it is, pop-wise. I'm less fond of 'Let's Go Crazy' than the two aforementioned tracks, but this is hardly a major complaint. 'Let's Go Crazy' is simple pop stuff of an enjoyable nature that's hard to actively criticize.
At this juncture, I must admit that through the years i've actually had an uneasy relationship with the music of Prince. Around 1989/1990, I bought this album on CD. Didn't like it all, thought it vastly overrated and 'Computer Blue' one of the worst songs ever written. Obviously, i've changed my mind since. Not before selling said CD and re-buying it, years later. But still, it makes me wonder why this happens with Prince. Even when he was apparently the coolest artist on the planet, back in the mid to late 80s, there was always something aloof about him. Something that stopped you appreciating him as much as you may otherwise have done. I put it down to the fact none of us really know what Prince is like as a person. Also the fact that, for a songwriter, he's never really written a confessional album, or a lot of songs that have really given us an impact into who he is as a person. Basically, for a superstar, he's kept himself very private. Which is all very well, but it does put up a certain barrier. This album, for example. It's party-time. Some of the most enjoyable music ever created, but there remains something that stops it being perfect. It's the fact it's difficult to get inside the songs, to dream the songs, to imagine situations and places regarding the songs, in relation back to the artist that created them.
'Take Me With U' is another well realised pop number, 'Darling Nikki' one of the lesser tracks here but it does manage to vary the tempo, being a much slower number than the majority of the tracks here. Well, I say that knowing full well that 'The Beautiful Ones' is a ballad taken ultra-slow, however I rather like 'The Beautiful Ones'. Prince sounds in preacher mode, but just who is he preaching to, exactly? It's a come-on, it's a sexual thing. 'Computer Blue', which all those years ago I inexplicably hated, has turned into a minor favourite of mine, these days. This is largely due to the interaction between Wendy and Lisa, as well as the performance of Prince, the man himself, of course. I think i'm almost done. Have I mentioned 'Baby I'm A Star' yet? It's a funky little number and we end up with an album entirely devoid of filler. Well, possibly 'Darling Nikki' apart, but calling that filler is possibly being a little harsh. So, a '9'. Why not more? Well, '9' is pretty damn good anyway and I did try to explain in the middle paragraph of this review that with Prince, there always seems to be something unexplainable missing, in an emotional aspect. It's a minor thing with an album as good as this, but it remains even so. Still, I don't want to end this review on a sour note, so I won't. 'Purple Rain' is a mighty album that's likely to make almost anybody feel very happy. That's obviously a good thing, indeed.
Thomastomriol521@hotmail.com I'd just like to add that 'The Beautiful Ones' is my favorite Prince song. Gotta say, your reviews got me into Prince and so i now own Dirty Mind, Controversy, Purple Rain and Sign o' the Times. Your reviews are pretty much spot on and this isn't the first time i've said that. Keep up the good work and yeh, this might well be my favorite Prince album!
Around The World In A Day 7½ ( 1985, UK pos 5 )
Around The World In A Day / Paisley Park / Condition Of The Heart / Raspberry Beret / Tamborine / America / Pop Life / The Ladder / Temptation
After the huge 'Purple Rain' Prince wanted to deliver something to confound expectations. Released with minimal publicity, more or less just turning up in the stores, the psychedelic pop oriented 'Around The World In A Day' was seen as a disappointment by many. Early reports from the record label seemed to indicate this would be Prince's 'Sgt Peppers' and its easy to see why that tempting titbit was thrown up in the air for critics and fans of the day. From the colourful artwork through to an equally colourful record within - this is a musically expansive album, heavily arranged and produced. I'll start by mentioning the big single this time round, 'Raspberry Beret'. A little slice of delicious pop designed to appeal to all of his many fans as well as the pop audience at large. Absolutely nothing to be concerned about, one of his finest singles, in fact. As for the remainder of the album, a good half of it is firmly in the usual Prince style, more or less. 'Around The World In A Day' isn't the radical departure we were all led to believe, simply not a retread of the previous two albums, thats all. Whilst other then supermega acts such as Madonna or Michael Jackson released variations on a theme and in the latter case, took three/four years to produce follow-up records, Prince was back at it before the 'Purple Rain' waves of success had even subsided. Still, strangeness does abound in places. The opening title track does its job with plenty of exotic rhythms forming an almost hypnotic musical bed. The opening stretch of 'America' seems designed to have confused owners of the first generation of CD players, skipping and scratching before a hugely funky beat gets going and all is well.
The first single to be taken from 'Around The World In A Day' in the UK was 'Paisley Park'. It was a hit, nothing to be shocked about there, but not generally seen as one of the better Prince singles at the time. I love this track, it's a fine piece of storytelling and has neat guitar phrases to keep you interested. The chorus is strong and particularly evocative. The rhythm track is slow, steady and highlighted by good additional percussive effects. In more usual Prince style, although sharing the 'produced' nature of the album as a whole is the emotional ballad, 'Condition Of The Heart'. The song doesn't really warrant it's near seven minute length, however. The first couple of minutes are clear padding, however well Prince sings the remainder of the tune. 'Pop Life' is a mid-tempo ballad firmly in Prince style and sounds very eighties listened to decades later. The effort that was put into the production of the album does date it slightly, although typical Prince rhythmic sounds of the 80s are dated anyway, thanks to the technology employed. The closing eight minute long 'Temptation' is drawn out, features an abundance of brass and guitars and Prince whoa-ing and ahh-ing and ending the album fairly berift of sex, on a sexual tone.
Ultimately, the expansive production is a red herring. The album now seems ridiculously un-controversial and not one of Prince's better efforts, either. It has its highlights of course, and said highlights are very high indeed. The title song, 'Paisley Park' and 'Raspberry Beret' in particular. The storming 'America'. The rest of the album is decent enough, if unremarkable listened to all these years later. 'Around The World In A Day' is a good record though, overall. No masterpiece nor an especially weak-link.
Parade 8 ( 1986, UK pos 4 )
Christopher Tracy's Parade / New Position / I Wonder U / Under The Cherry Moon / Girls & Boys / Life Can Be So Nice / Venus De Milo / Mountains / Do U Lie / Kiss / Anotherloverholenyohead / Sometimes It Snows In April
The last album Prince recorded before the messy breakup of The Revolution, and his second movie soundtrack. Surprisingly given this albums fairly lowly reputation over the years, it's mostly excellent stuff. The records nature as a soundtrack record benefits it over 'Around The World In A Day', the album from which it takes its cue. The same mix of psychedelia and exotica is present on the opening cut, for example. There are important differences, however. The sound of this album as a whole is simply superb, richly recorded without being overproduced one iota. The strings combine with a mix of strange instrumentation all through 'Christopher Tracy's Parade', for example. It's a giddy, thrilling beginning that really does sound like, well, a parade. From this we're led straight into 'New Position', another wonderful sounding track, musically. This one ups the ante, funk-wise. Without ever resorting to basing the song around usual funk instrumentation, I might add. Oh sure, there's a bass line, of course. But also much else besides, something that sounds like a cow-bell, for example. Much percussion and all these elements combined makes it almost impossible not to dance to 'New Position'. It's not just funk, it's not dance or disco. It's Prince. It's the kind of experimentation he was rife with, throughout his peak years. The next couple of songs are both fairly brief, atmospheric linking tracks. They add to the albums atmosphere overall I suppose, but don't withstand repeated listening in and of themselves.
'Parade' is an varied album, a fairly consistent album bar one or two pieces of filler i've already mentioned. Well, 'Vino De Milo' is another sub two minute linking track and 'Do U Lie' is just downright weird. It has a very european, jazzy atmosphere. It's actually pretty good, all told. 'Do U Lie' sitting right next to 'Kiss'? Works for me, although I must say that 'Kiss' has suffered over the years. Firstly through overexposure and secondly through the loathsome Tom Jones cover version. Oh, whilst 'Kiss' and the equally as commercial 'Girls & Boys' were sure-fire chart hitters, 'Life Can Be So Nice' is downright weird. It's the sound of Price experimenting with the studio, with a normal everyday song and seeing how strange the normality can be made to sound. This is a song overloaded with all sorts of non-standard percussive noises. Ah, before I go, i'll briefly mention the other last gem on this album. 'Sometimes It Snows In April' is a genuinely lovely ballad of sheer class.
T. Peacock I've been reading your reviews on Prince's albums as a reference to see which ones to buy. I've 9 of his albums now and think you've pretty much got the review spot on again. Your reviews on Prince seem to be pretty much how i rate them. But yes, anyway, I was slightly surprised to see this gets the same rating as 'Diamonds and Pearls' because i'm not too much of a fan of that album apart from the last run of tracks. Anyway, 'Sometimes it snows in April' is possibly one of his finest songs...i got this album for £3 the other week and would pay that much just for this song..it's beautiful
Sign Of The Times 6 ( 1987, UK pos 4 )
Sign O The Times / Play In The Sunshine / Housequake / The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker / It / Starfish And Coffee / Slow Love / Hot Thing / Forever In My Life / U Got The Look / If I Was Your Girlfriend / Strange Relationship / I Could Never Take The Place / The Cross / It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night / Adore
Loads of material written and recorded, Prince submits a triple LP set 'Crystal Ball' to his record label Warners, which they reject. Various material was re-edited into what we now know as 'Sign Of The Times', often hailed as the mans finest work. A double album it is then, with a wide range of music contained within. The title tracks sounds somewhat dated now thanks to the steady, synthetic programmed beats. The song retains something, though. I don't know, it's kind of addictive and spooky, you're never quite sure what's going to happen even though nothing ever does happen! If that makes sense? The other big radio-song from the album relaunched the career of sheena easton, heaven help us. 'U Got The Look' is prime 80s pop, so tied to the era from which it came that now it only provides nostalgic thrills and nothing more. Prince seems to have largely forgotten his desire to innovate, instead relying on tried and trusted techniques seemingly designed to produce commercial tracks. This isn't entirely surprising as eyebrows were being raised at his record label back in 1987, it clear his sales were slipping. Well, let's take 'It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night', a live funk/soul workout lasting nine minutes that may as well be Prince's 'Revolution 9' for all the excitement it provides on record. It's followed by a dreary six minute ballad notable only for the re-emergence of the Prince falsetto, always a good thing to hear. Fifteen of the 80 minutes the album lasts has flaws then ( eg, the final two songs ) and for my money, the two singles are far from the best the man has done. That makes 24 minutes of music, the rest of the album better be pretty damn good to earn its reputation then, that's what i'm thinking. Still, it's a work of art isn't it, the album? More than the sum of its parts?
'I Could Never Take The Place' has a commercial melody that later descends into a jam, nothing more, nothing less. A procession of slow to mid-tempo pop ballads crop up with the likes of 'Housequake' left to enliven proceedings, entertaining pieces of fluff, and little more. I do like 'The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker', it immeditately sounds slightly different if anyone pays attention to what Prince has done with the percussion, interesting beats at last. Good vocals and a set of lyrics making sense in terms of a mini-story. 'Play In The Sunshine' is uptempo and good pop music. Yet the feeling remains, the album lacks focus. It lacks enough stand-out cuts and if simply providing a quantity of music is enough to overcome quality, then i'm not sure i've been listening to music all the years with the same kind of ears as everybody else. Disappointing.
Jeremias Hiekka firstname.lastname@example.org For heaven's sake don't take this review seriously. Adore is a "dreary six minute ballad"? I would suggest you to listen to it yourselves. It has probably the best vocal perfomance that he has ever done and the song is gorgeous. And the songs that he mentions are not even nearly the best ones. "If I was your girlfriend" is to me maybe the best Prince song, the psychosexual lyrics and the feeling in the song, it is thematically complicated yet still easy to digest. This album plays like a compilation of great songs, you can hear almost all of his influences in a form that is purely enjoyable and the sheer variety of it all is just impressive. Easily his best album and one of the best albums ever made. This album made me a fan of his works.
danny email@example.com Half of me wants to uphold the standard opinion of Sign of the Times, and half of me feels just like Adrian. Overall on my first few listens though, I was disappointed. For a classic double LP, I'd say it does end incredibly weak like Adrian suggests. And the singles are good but somehow more dated than tracks from Contraversy and Dirty Mind...How is that even possible? Those 2 albums really fired me up as a Prince fan, and I like them better than Sign of the Times. 1999 had groundbreaking singles, but maybe less variety than sign of the times. Right now this album disappoints me, but as Adrian mentioned the production has some mystery to it--a mystery that does seem to go nowhere--but a mystery none the less. With no standout tracks, the instrumentation occassionally sneaks up on you as innovative, but that's generally because it awakens you from a virtual state of boredom. Sign of the time's is interesting for sure, but not something I feel the genius of just yet...
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com Yes, this album does sound dated. the funny thing was, it sounded dated when it was released! The then-current fashion for weak synth sounds, light boppy beats and mixed down guitar made this sound very 'Eighties' even when brand new. It could do with a good remastering though, as the CD sounds both dated and weak and muffled. But despite that, this does contain some of Prince's best ever songs: the title track and If I Was Your Girlfriend are my favourite two tracks by him ever, and despite its typical double album faults, this is far better than Controversy or Diamonds and Pearls.
Stephen firstname.lastname@example.org This is a fantastic album. OK, it does sound a little dated, 20 years on. I think it's the eclectic element that makes it so appealing: so many styles, so many approaches, and such a flexible approach to song structures and performance. Six out of ten?! It's his Exile On Main St. (Oh dear: just checked and that only got six and a half.)
GAZZA email@example.com The ratings clearly wrong , this is one of the last great modern soul albums boasting incredible diversity and inspired performances . Across a double album it takes in stripped down electro sumptious soul ballads, beatlesque pop (circa 67)a live funk workout and in the title track the most powerful songs of the 80s ,produced with little more than a drum machine and a telecaster .
"housequake" sees prince showing the emerging rap stars of the time that he could give them a run for their money too .
It also has 2 of the strangest things prince has done (and thats saying something) but my favourite is "the cross" where prince delivers his most commited hard rock performance . I still listen to it and enjoy it 20 years on .
Lovesexy 7 ( 1988, UK pos 1 )
Eye No / Alphabet Street / Glam Slam / Anna Stesia / Dance On / LoveSexy / When 2 R In Love / I Wish U Heaven / Positivity
Nine songs, forty five minutes. Prince could have released another double album. Indeed, he had enough material to release a triple album or more, but rather than stretch material thinly he got back to doing what he once did best. The release of 'Lovesexy' was not without it's complications, though. Originally a Prince effort titled 'The Black Album' was to have been the follow-up to 'Sign Of The Times'. 'The Black Album' is a lewd affair without an ounce of intelligence to it, an album of party music married to lyrics that certainly aren't ingenious. Prince got cold feet, withdrew 'The Black Album' before release and ended up with 'Lovesexy' instead, a record he'd describe as the opposite to 'The Black Album'. The truth is, neither 'Lovesexy' or the rejected 'Black Album' have an awful lot to say. 'The Black Album' had mystique through being unreleased, when it was released, it lost that mystique. 'Lovesexy' always was a fairly straightforward album, although Prince complicates matters in places, turning straight ballads into initially hard to grasp pieces of music. Well, i'm thinking in particular of 'When 2 R In Love', the only shared track between 'The Black Album' and 'Lovesexy'. It's an understated piece musically, although interesting things are going on melodically and structually. Lyrically, it's disposable story-telling. 'I Wish You Heaven' follows 'When 2 R In Love' on the record, another straight-forward, dare we say mediocre ballad, which Prince tries to invest some life into through the playing and some unusual production and mixing touches. Yet, whereas in the past Prince was genuinely stretching the confines of the studio, here he's merely using little touches here and there, almost as if to give the material a reason to exist.
There are some stellar tracks on the album, though. Amongst the mediocrity, we've got 'Alphabet St', one of his finest singles. 'Glam Slam' only reached number twenty-nine in the UK singles charts, yet it's a fine piece. Prince brings back his unusual and interesting percussion here, the vocal melody is strong, something not always present elsewhere on the album. Another favourite of mine on 'Lovesexy' is the stuttering and swinging 'Dance On', something genuinely funky. It lasts a mere four minutes yet could have carried on for ten minutes, it really does have an irrisistable groove. The opening tune is decent, 'Anna Stesia' a competent piece. Yet, there isn't enough going on musically, vocally or lyrically during the vast majority of the album. It's by no means a bad album, yet it's got awful cover art and must have seemed a step back in ambition after the double album 'Sign Of The Times'. Going back to a forty five minute, digestible album format is welcome, yet 'Lovesexy' lacks enough knock-out punches to be able to carry off any sense of importance.
Rob UK Im enjoying these reviews because they are to the point and describe the music in detail without just making comparisons. Good work.
Lovesexy would have to be in my top five Prince albums, most tracks have a dreamlike sound to them that sits apart from conventional rock or R&B while the fiercier songs like Dance On and Eye No have endless layers of funky sounds that sound messy at first almost like bebop jazz but somehow keep in control with great melodies. I also love Ingrid Chevez whose voice features occasionally in the songs. She can also be heard on t Cafe Europa" from the David Sylvian album Dead Bees on a Cake"
Batman 4 ( 1989, UK pos 1 )
The Future / Electric Chair / The Arms Of Orion / Partyman / Vicki Waiting / Trust / Lemon Crush / Scandalous / Batdance
Prince strikes commercial gold with a tie in soundtrack to the blockbusting film of 1989. A quickly recorded and thrown together set of tunes that restored Prince to commercial favour in his native homeland. Good things first of all, the production showcases a Prince moving forwards. The overall sound indicates increased and more inventive use of programming and beats. Basically, Prince had got significantly better, in production terms, for the first time since 1984 or something. This is most noticeable actually on the title track and lead single, a song which I bought on 7" vinyl way back when it first came out. This single confused many Prince fans and still does. It's structure is weird, the samples from the film break-up any kind of regular structure the song might have had. Yet, 'Batdance' is actually the sound of Prince embracing dance technology, moving into the 1990s and also seeing fit to include one of his finest guitar solos all through middle of the song. It's an impressive production acheivement, basically condensing the entire album down to one six minute long track. Elsewhere sadly, the album misses far more than it hits. The opening track 'The Future' is all groove and lacks any substance, clearly the kind of track Prince would have rejected as filler in the past. 'Electric Chair' is okay when Prince plays guitar. You know something? Had Prince done an out and out rock album right about now, or the year after, i'm sure he'd have fully restored himself to critical favour. As it is, he didn't. Ah well.
'The Arms Of Orion' is a standard Prince ballad, although it is certainly not a throwaway, as Prince infuses this with a lovely genuine sounding vocal and a pretty melody. Does any track on the album match upto the productions thrills of the lead single, then? Well, i've mentioned 'The Future', 'Electric Chair'. Too good pieces of production, shame about the tunes. 'Partyman' successfully marries both elements, tune and production. It's an actual song, not just a series of grooves. 'Trust' seemingly has the exact same rhythm track as 'Batdance', albeit subtly altered. It's the kind of track that proves that yes, Prince chould churn out material due to his own particular working methods being what they were, but was he really stretching himself any more, writing wise? Probably not, is the sad answer to that question. Towards the end of the album, the sound of 'Batman' just becomes irritating. The nature of the album as a quickly put together cash-in becomes clearer and clearer through repeated listening. And although the album does have some impressive production touches here and there, the end product is ultimately disposable and forgettable.
Jason firstname.lastname@example.org While the album as a whole is certainly a weak one for Prince, I think "Scandalous" is a beautiful song with a sincere vocal effort, and relatively unhampered by the sentimentality on "Orion".
Philthy Phil email@example.com I quite agree with the last poster. Scandalous is the best track on the album - the only listenable one IMHO - and you don't even mention it!
Leo firstname.lastname@example.org The batman album is one of Prince's best albums. the future and electric chair are classic openers, with other stand outs such as partyman, trust and batdance. This album is a masterpiece i think some people need their ears cleaning
Graffiti Bridge 7½ ( 1990, UK pos 1 ) Can't Stop This Feeling I Got / New Power Generation / Release It (performed by The Time) / The Question Of U / Elephants And Flowers / Round And Round (performed by Tevin Campbell) / We Can Funk (performed by George Clinton and Prince) / Joy In Repetition / Love Machine (performed by The Time) / Tick, Tick, Bang / Shake! / The Latest Fashion (performed by The Time/Prince) / Melody Cool (performed by Mavis Staples) / Still Would Stand All Time / Theives In The Temple / Graffiti Bridge / New Power Generation Pt2
A slightly strange release from the diminutive purple one in that he himself only sings on just over half the tracks. 'Graffiti Bridge' has generally got a bad rap over the years, as a soundtrack movie to a film that flopped big-style, and Prince himself can't even be bothered to sing/perform all the songs? As well as these already negative factors, we consider the fact a lot of the material here was old, re-used and re-worked. The likes of 'Tick Tick Bang' and 'Can't Stop This Feeling' date back as far as 1981/1982 in their original origins. Still, the album isn't as bad as it's made out to be in the same way that 'Sign O The Times' isn't as good as it's made out to be. These things are often sent to try us and certain listeners will follow blind, like sheep, or weak-willed as lemmings one after the other. 'Graffiti Bridge' is an album that begins very strongly, for example. 'Can't Stop This Feeling I Got' is simple, unpretentious party-music. 'New Power Generation' wasn't a huge hit when released as a single, but in the context of an album, this slice of danceable funk is enjoyable and works very well indeed. 'Release It', written by Prince, performed by The Time, is superbly funky in a very 'up' manner. Pure, unadulterated fun of a kind Prince hadn't produced in many a year, actually. Fast-forwarding to 'Theives In The Temple' then for a moment, one of the rare, genuinely new compositions contained on 'Graffiti Bridge' we find Prince still able to craft clever and hook filled pop compositions that stick in your brain. 'Theives In The Temple' is one of his finer singles for my money, subtle enough to be clever, catchy enough for you to find yourself singing it at work in the middle of the afternoon. Of other songs not performed soley by Prince then? Well, the George Clinton collaboration is less than you'd expect given the class Prince and George Clinton posess between them, it's a fairly directionless track. The remainder of the tracks performed by The Time are enjoyable enough if somewhat lacking in distinction which leaves the Mavis Staples performed tune, 'Melody Cool'. 'Melody Cool' is a prime slice of Prince funk very entertainingly sang by Mavis Staples.
Back to the purple one. 'Tick Tick Bang' has mighty melody and suddenly it all sinks in. 'Graffiti Bridge' is a really uptempo fun album to listen to. Prince spent a good portion of the mid to late eighties making 'art'. Perhaps he believed his own hype? 'Graffiti Bridge' as a strange ragbag of left-over songs thrown together, giving airspace to artists Prince wanted to promote? It works better than any description of it would indicate. 'Still Would Stand All Time' is a typical Prince ballad perhaps, but it sits in amongst all this varied material, not all of it good. 'Graffiti Bridge' sounds like a sound-track album. A funny thing to say about a soundtrack album, but it's not something you can say about 'Purple Rain' which just sounds like an album, albeit a great one. Prince does a great vocal in 'Still Would Stand All Time', by the way. Oh, a final point. I often reach for 'Graffiti Bridge' when I can't decide which other Prince album to put on, and when my mood is fairly even. Does that make sense?
Diamonds And Pearls 8 ( 1991, UK pos 2 ) Thunder / Daddy Pop / Diamonds And Pearls / Cream / Strollin / Willing And Able / Gett Off / Walk Don't Walk / Jughead / Money Don't Matter Tonight / Push / Insatiable / Live 4 Love
Prince gets himself a new band, which is all very good as 'Diamonds And Pearls' sounds like a natural, organic product as a result. You had to go back a long time to find a Prince album consistently strong from beginning to end, 'Diamonds And Pearls', even with a couple of mis-steps along the way, is purely and simply an accomplished and very listenable pop album. It's varied enough without losing sight of itself or disappearing down stylistic blind alleys. Prince reclaimed a mainstream audience he'd started to lose with often bewildering album releases that lacked cohesion. A slight concern is the number of guests that star, as was a concern of 'Graffiti Bridge'. 'Diamonds And Pearls' doesn't do this as obviously, but does features rapping parts, nearly always not by Prince, whilst the funky 'Jughead' seems to feature no Prince vocals at all, thus becoming characterless. Still, we'll discuss the singles first. 'Gett Off' surprised nobody with it's "23 positions", etc and so forth. 'Cream' and 'Diamonds And Pearls' weren't as funky as 'Gett Off' but both are surpreme pop songs, wonderfully well constructed. They may have suffered from radio overkill at the time, but both still stand up when listened to today, more so with a fresh pair of ears. On the otherhand, the opener 'Thunder' is typical Prince although certainly a fine enough way to open the album with only 'Daddy Pop', the second tune, sounding particularly dated and awful. Still, gems pop up all over the place. I love the cool, jazzy vibe and falsetto of 'Strollin', in particular. A delicious tune that's so nice to listen to. It doesn't scream and shout, or obviously try to impress. I like it when Prince sounds this natural.
'Willing And Able' is a fine mid-tempo soul tune, 'Push' ventures into Micheal Jackson territory, 'Money Don't Matter Tonight' is a finely accomplished ballad, 'Walk Don't Walk' a bunch of ideas in search of a tune. Still, as I stated at the beginning of this review, all 65 odd minutes of 'Diamonds And Pearls' forms a listenable whole, even with the odd tune not quite making it. Prince moves around and flirts with different genres, as he generally does, but 'Diamonds And Pearls' still retains a cohesive sound. You can confidently place any one of these tunes, should you hear one on the radio, as early nineties Prince. A good album, not an astonishing one, not the best album he ever made, but does that really matter? Drop your predjucies and hear Prince in fine ( and yes, commercial ) form.
John, County Kildare email@example.com Baby, I just love "Strollin'" Musical cappucino...... The album gets a hard time, which is a real shame, as it's one of his last TRULY brilliant recordings, before his recent revival.
Love Symbol Album 8 ( 1992, UK pos 1 ) My Name Is Prince / Sexy MF / Love 2 The 9s / The Morning Papers / The Max / Phonecall I / Blue Light / I Wanna Melt With U / Sweet Baby / The Continental / Damn U / Arrogance / The Flow / 7 / And God Created Woman / 3 Chains O Gold / Phonecall II / The Sacrifice Of Victor
With the CD age in full swing, 'Love Symbol' arrived merely a year after 'Diamonds And Pearls'. Did we really want three hours of new Prince material in just over 12 months? The public voted with their feet and 'Love Symbol Album' ( Yes, this is where all the name change stuff comes up, too ) became another big seller for Prince, following on from 'Diamonds And Pearls'. So, is this merely a case of getting product out there because it made commercial sense to do so? Well, Prince clearly had material as well, although the album, like many Prince efforts, is frustratingly uneven. Still, Prince and his New Power Generation sound very well integrated together here, Tony M from NPG filling in many of the rap parts Prince doesn't attempt himself. Prince can rap, but doesn't seem to be a natural at the art. He's succesful on 'Sexy MF', less so during the terribly dated 'The Flow'. Prince was taking in trends rather than setting them. 'The Flow' is one of the worst offenders, a basic Prince funk groove sits underneath numerous rap parts and DJ scratching. Scratching may have been cool and innovative ten years previously, but it was hardly considered cutting edge by 1992. Prince seemed keen to prove he was still relevant in the 90s, I guess. Ah, what else? Well, the album as a whole does sport a fairly distinctive sound in places, Prince layering on the funk, with brass horns, with hip-hop beats. Going for a harder hip-hop based sound than before. Hit single 'Sexy MF' is indeed the standout track. An impressive groove, a track that still seems modern even when listened to today. Acheiving such quality over a near 80 minute long LP was never going to be likely. Prince confuses the issue with fillers, with a never fully realised rock opera concept which explains the odd lyrics in places and little interludes with Kirstie Alley.
Despite the odd mis-step and typical Prince biting off more than he could chew, 'Love Symbol' remains an impressive beast. Despite the 'of their day' productions gimmicks, the overriding new jack swing crossed with rap/hip hop, crossed with, well, Prince.... works remarkably well for the most part. 'My Name Is Prince' is all of these aspects and more rolled into one, a song that lyrically is as daft as a brush, yet can you help but be entertained by Prince and his proclamations of 'being funky'? Of course not, but it's not as if we couldn't have guessed, mate! 'Continental' rocks hard, 'Damn U' is a Prince ballad with subtle jazzy elements and quiet strings. It's absolutely beautiful and provides needed relief. An album filled with funky moments attempting to chew your head off can get a little wearisome, after all. I'd love to see Prince do an album of jazzy ballads, MOR complete with strings. He could write 9 or 10 killer tracks, record them properly, stop trying to be hip and make a great album as a result. It's something that's befallen both Michael Jackson and Madonna. Sometimes, ageing simply catches up with you. You can't turn back the tides of time and always be hip and relevant. 'Love Symbol Album' is perhaps one of the last times Prince was 'current', it covers a lot of ground musically, musically it's very tight and satisfying. Two good Prince albums in a row, then? Well, yeah and it had been a while since he'd done that.
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com i agree with most of what u are saying on this review . The Flow is like TECHNOTRONIC on steriods . its always been a song i skip when listening to the album . it comes in so abruptly dont it . lol.. over all this album has alot of killer songs on it . id say MY NAME IS PRINCE, SEXY M.F, 7, BLUE LIGHT, THE MORNING PAPERS, THE MAX, DAMN U, THE CONTINENTAL, THE SACRIFICE OF VICTOR would have been a killer set list.. less is more ect.. i think THE MAX could have been a big hit back then if it was a single .. but as u will find when u review the albums from ''THE LOST DECADE''.so many of his potential BIG HITS aint been heard by many people apart from diehard fans
Come 8½ ( 1993, UK pos 2 ) Come / Space / Pheromone / Loose / Papa / Race / Dark / Solo / Letitgo / Orgasm
The years on the front cover are intriguing, Prince clearly indicating the death of, um, Prince. Ok, fair enough, mate. The iron-gates of Paisley Park are firmly shut and Prince stands ghost-like with piercing eyes glaring right into your soul. ‘Come’ is actually a much maligned release. It’s supposed that this is purely a contractual obligation album, which partly it was. It’s assumed Prince raided the vaults for material, which he probably did. There wasn’t a strong radio hit from the album, which means record store browsers are likely to overlook the LP, not recognizing any of the material. Plus, other Prince albums seemingly not only offer hits, but also value for money, being double the length of ‘Come’. ‘Come’ nestles comfortably in under forty minutes. This has it’s advantages, but more of that later. More experienced music followes, shall we say, the kind who research an artists catalogue before spending their hard earned pennies are also likely to overlook ‘Come’, put off by the swathe of mediocre, to poor, to downright scathing reviews it’s attracted throughout the years. Almost like Prince deliberately wasn’t really trying. The truth is actually very different indeed. The length of the album means that there’s absolutely no filler. Well, one mans gold is another mans folly, yet judged through my ears, and I can’t use anybody elses, this is one of the very few Prince albums that’s good from start to finish. Beginning the album with the lengthy ‘Come’ can be seen as a brave move, but then again, why not make a fairly uncompromising LP when you know the record label won’t promote it, because they know and you know this is the last LP for that label? He could have placed the title track at the end. No, it forms an unbridgeable challenge for some, a sheer delight for others. I place myself firmly in the latter category. The squelchy slice of jazzy influenced funk ( horns aplenty! ) is pure honey from beginning to end. It’s repetitive in a good funk way, the music contains an addictive groove and persevere and you may realise what an accomplishment the track is, both musically and lyrically. Sure, the subject matter is rather to taste ( um……. er…… ) but nevermind that. It’s not like Prince is inviting you into his bedroom or anything. You know, relax people!
The sound of lapping waves interweaves between the various tunes. It becomes apparent by the final track, the very literally titled orgasm, what the point was. A track even Frank Zappa wouldn't have placed on an album because you know, it's not funny. We don't want to picture Prince
in our minds, 'making love'. Well, I don't at least. It seems an attempt to give an album without a concept a concept. It didn't really need one, the songs all go together stylistically anyway, whilst at the same time touching upon soul, rap, r'n'b, house, funk, rock and ( probably ) more besides. Let's take 'Race' and 'Loose'. 'Loose' features Prince having a go at house music. He doesn't know the conformity and downright dullness of the UK scene where everybody has to do the music a certain way,
because that's the 'correct' way. In his ignorance, he's created something far more interesting instead. Funk, swirling guitar and much fun and nonsense. 'Race' appropriately speeds by along it's strong funk groove. The bassline is the key. It's an excuse of a song, but attached to this mighty fine bassgrove it becomes enjoyable anyway. Hooray. We've got 'Solo', which is Prince acapella. He can do that stuff in his sleep, but it's still nice to hear. We've got the mighty 'Pheremone', which is
Prince soul at its finest. R'n'B with the only thing close to a hit, 'Letitgo'. The fine 'Dark' and the faintly strange 'Papa'. 'Come' is an excellent record, you see! It may not have very much depth underneath the great groove and soul, but Prince has great and soul. 'Come' sounds a very alive record, in complete contrast to indications on the iron
gates the front cover shows.
Rob I'd class this as an EP because of the short length and because the final track and Papa are skippable, the rest showcases the smooth R&B grooves that Prince would frequently use throughout the decade and into the millenium. These songs have a menacing sound and Prince looks ghoulish standing in front of the cemetary gates on the album cover, his voice is cocky and defiant and a little rougher than what we're used to. The vibe of Come sets the tone for the rest of his 1990s output where most of his music was a unique fusion of R&B and techno sounds. Definately worth checking out.
Gold Experience 8 ( 1995, UK pos 4 ) P Control / NPG Operator / Endorphinmachine / Shhh / We March / NPG Operator / The Most Beautiful Girl In The World / Dolphin / NPG Operator / Now / NPG Operator / 319 / NPG Operator / Shy / Billy Jack Bitch / Eye Hate U / NPG Operator / Gold
Prince by now has had more combebacks than Rocky Balboa. I'd also suggest that he's one of the most misunderstood artists in entire history. We all want to place him in a little box of our own depending on when and which Prince hit we got into first. 'Sign Of The Times', being hugely flawed, is still routinely hailed as the mans best work, causing thousands to be turned off Prince forever when an album like 'Gold Experience' is actually an amazing work and apart from the interludes, one of his most consistent releases. It's also an album for those that like Prince Rodgers Nelson playing his guitar. He does that a lot here and he's still a fantastic guitar player. 'P Control', short of course for 'Pussy Control' lets rip from from the outset. Well, aftert a minute or so of speech. The funk grooves come in, Prince prowls around the funk/soul backing and goes for the falsetto as if 'Pussy Control' was sent down from the heavens via Satan. As if James Brown lives inside Prince really and they are infact the same person. Oh, but wait for 'Endorphinmachine' for Prince really rocking. The guitar wails and scribbles all over the tune, the melody threatens briefly to get buried, but Prince rides it well and keeps it up there. A lot going on, including a wonderful guitar solo. True, 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World' is the mans biggest hit of the 90s. A fairly tame and soppy ballad, although Prince's vocal performance utterly rescues the song. He does amazing things with that voice of his, truly he does. 'Dolphin' follows in this r'n'b vein, a nice intriguing ballad.
Side two in old money. 'Now' absolutely pounds you into submission with it's funk groove, '319' sounds like old Prince, 1980s Prince, only with added guitar actually audible and zigzagging across the beats. 'I Hate You' is superior Prince falsetto ballad material and the closing near title track a wonderful commercial vocal melody and with guitar solo towards the end, circa the five and a half minute mark. Another great Prince LP then and if you believed certain people his career ended with 'Sign Of The Times'.
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com hey man . i agree with you this album is in my opinion one of his very best an 'better than SIGN O THE TIMES' it has so many good songs on it . every song is pretty good really SHY is delitious .GOLD is a big anthemic track kinda like Purple Rain . but fresher .. an FRESH is the word . i don't think princes music every sounded so fresh as it does on this album . from WE MARCH to DOLPHIN . its all magic .. lee
Chaos And Disorder 7 ( 1996, UK pos 14 ) Chaos And Disorder / I Like It There / Dinner With Delores / The Same December / Right The Wrong / Zannalee / I Rock, Therefore I Am / I Will / Big U Better Dead / Had U
If you believe certain stories, Prince merely dipped his hand into a hat, had a rummage around, picked out the ten songs at random out of the barrel scrappings that were left ( the 'Crystal Ball' box disproves this theory ) and recorded them in a couple of weeks whilst having a nice time with his guitar collection. Well, he did record this in a couple of weeks as another contractual obligation, but the songs are generally strong. As one that likes Prince playing his guitar, the first couple of songs please me greatly. They flow together well and at the very least, the very least you understand, are better than Lenny Kravitz trying his very best. Dig the guitar solo that sails through 'I Like It There'. Really enjoy the playing from The New Power Generation on both tracks, who certainly don't seem to be coasting. The drummer if you enjoy drums is a good man to listen to, he's having a great time and doing very good work. Moving onto 'Dinner With Delores', the hat marked 'potential singles' was clearly used. It's a nice, mellow pop ballad, mid-tempo and very well sung. I don't like the keyboards on 'Right The Wrong', they date the tune badly. 'I Rock Therefore I Am' sounds like an escapee from the 'Love Symbol' sessions, complete with obligatory guest rap spots. Prince trying to sound dangerous very rarely works at the best of times.
A couple of good tracks enrich the end of this album and whilst its not a major work from the man, there's enough here to quietly enjoy an average Saturday morning. 'I Will' is a lovely ballad with some beautiful piano playing. A soft tune with delicate, heartfelt vocals that simply don't sound like the work of a man who didn't care about his albums and were happy for Warners to release any old rubbish. Neat little guitar solo too. Wonderfully sympathetic playing all round. A very nice tune, indeed. The brief minute and a half that comprises 'Had U' is a somewhat spooky closer to the set. It's an album set that won't teach you anything, apart from perhaps the fact that Prince/Love Symbol and the guys were a tight little band of musicians, but then you knew that already, hopefully.
Emancipation 7 ( 1996, UK pos 18 ) Jam of the Year / Right Back Here in My Arms / Somebody's Somebody / Get Yo Groove On / Courtin' Time / Betcha By Golly Wow! / We Gets Up / White Mansion / Damned If I Do / I Can't Make U Love Me / Mr. Happy / In This Bed I Scream / Sex in the Summer / One Kiss at a Time / Soul Sanctuary / Emale / Curious Child / Dreamin' About You / Joint 2 Joint / The Holy River / Let's Have a Baby / Saviour / Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother/Wife / Slave / New World / The Human Body / Face Down / La, La, La (Means I Love U) / Style / Sleep Around / Da, Da, Da / My Computer / One of Us / The Love We Make / Emancipation
Jazz, Blues, Hip-hop/Rap, Techno, Rock And R&B. A 3cd 3 hour set from Prince, finally free from his Warners recording contract. Those expecting a wonderful set free from filler can look elsewhere but then, Prince always had a problem with filler as far as I can tell. Yes, you could edit this album down to a double or even single set, but that's kind of defeating the point. For all the poor reviews, 1996 was a great year to be a Prince fan. What kind of record critic was going to sit through 3 hours of new Prince material enough times to get to know it all, anyway? We just enjoyed all the material coming our way. Better than not hearing anything. Better than being a Madonna or Michael Jackson fan. I'm listening as I type and i've got to song four. Varying tempos, four songs of rhythm and blues mixed with funk and soul. 'Get Yo Groove On' is very danceable and generally a fine Prince track all round. Every track so far has been flawlessly performed by Prince and his backing group. After three/four tracks of slinky r'n'b, 'Courtin Time' arrives like an after dinner party. Light, frivolous Jazz and still somewhat funky. Make stupid moves on the dancefloor with a knowing smile as all of your friends grin as you make an idiot out of yourself. You all feel better afterwards. Yeah, 'Courtin Time' is that kind of track. 'Betcha By Golly Wow!' is a superior Prince ballad complete with falsetto parts. We love the higher vocal range of Prince employed during ballads, don't we? We pass through the uptempo, eighties sounding 'Damned If I Do', but it sounds like superior eighties Prince. True, the track could have been trimmed by a minute or so, but that's just being picky. It has a strong hook, as does the opening tune 'Jam Of The Year'. All in all, disc one is a superb album in its own right. A few songs do tend to run together but that's only to be expected.
Disc 2 starts well with the r'n'b of 'Sex In The Summer' but soon tails off towards a run of mediocrity only getting itself back on track with 'Curious Child' and 'Dreamin About U', two soft, quiet tracks, spiritual sensual soul, especially the latter. Disc two I rarely enjoy as much as disc one though, not enough strong tracks. 'The Holy River' is a good album track though, it has melody rather than just slow groove. Disc three is funkier again and gets the interest flowing again. An '8' for disc one then, a '6' for disc two. It all rests on 'Disc 3'. 'Slave' is so-so, 'New World' is a dancefloor monster with a huge whipslash of a beat pacing out the tune. 'My Computer' is a solid tune, Prince's version of 'One Of Us' preferable to the Joan Osbourne version, it's safe to say. 'The Love We Make' is definitely a superior track, spine-tingling, indeed. Layers of slow melodies to build the song upon. A seemingly studied, professional Prince vocal rarely stretching itself, yet proving Prince is a fine singer, all the same. The closing title tune returns us to funk, James Brown and Stevie Wonder. You're probably just glad the album has ended by now though. A word of advice, don't listen to the discs individually, they vary too much in quality. Don't listen from start to finish, you'll grow old. Just place all the tracks on random play and listen until you get bored. Disc three gets '7' by the way and so does the album. As good as 'Lovesexy' then? Well yeah, more good songs here but more bad ones too. It all evens out in the end.
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com cos of the sheer length of it .it is overwhelming an tracks get less attention as we know in music sometimes less is more .. but i do firmly believe that if these 3 discs were edited an EMACIPATIONS standout tracks were put together on one disc . this could infact have been one of his very best albums . if not the best .. theres alot of magic on here .
Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic 6 ( 1999 ) Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic / Undisputed / The Greatest Romance Ever Sold / Segue / Hot Wit U / Tangerine / So Far, So Pleased / The Sun, the Moon, and Stars / Everyday Is a Winding Road / Segue (2) / ManOwar / Baby Knows / Eye Love U, but Eye Don't Trust U Anymore / Silly Game / Strange but True / Wherever U Go, Whatever U Do / Welcome to the Dawn (Commercial) / Prettyman
You may if you are lucky have a copy of this album with a sticker on the front proclaiming 'guests: Chuck D, Sheryl Crow, Eve, Ani DiFranco, No Doubt, Maceo Parker'. Some strange and bizarre combination there, Prince me old fellow! Prince hooked up with record label mogul Clive Davis at Atlantic Records but failed to resurrect his career commercially. Indeed, in my homeland of England the album failed to even breach the top 40. 'The Greatest Romance Ever Sold' was the lead single and is fairly weak for a Prince single he was resting all his commercial hopes on. It was played live at the time on a UK television show and I remember just shrugging my shoulders and wondering how the hell Prince had lost all of his talent. In truth, he still had an appetite for making music and his band were still very talented indeed. 'The Greatest Romance Ever Sold' was pitching for the soul / r'n'b scene but falled flat on it's face due to a near total lack of hook or melody. The lead title track had previously been considered but rejected for several other Prince albums and dates as far back as 1988. It has a decent winding guitar line, but seems to come across rather desperately, an attempt at funk whilst just trying far too hard. You shouldn't need to try this hard. 'Baby Knows' which features Sheryl Crow of all people is actually one of the better tracks here, a guitar/rock tune that doesn't sound lumpen, doesn't sound like it is trying too hard and one that features a fine, prowling Prince lead vocal. Chuck D enriches 'Undisputed' no end by providing easily the finest rapping ever heard on a Prince LP. Ani Difranco provides delicate acoustic guitar to the mournful 'Eye Love U', one of the most affecting tracks on the LP.
'Everyday Is A Winding Road' is on this album, a Prince cover of a Sheryl Crow tune. When Prince has to rely on Sheryl Crow to provide tunes for him, you know he's down on both his luck and his creativity. So, what else is here? Not a lot, to be honest. For a much vaunted 'comeback' set, this album can only ever have been a disappointment for those expecting another '1999' or 'Purple Rain'. God, Prince even had that publicity with the millenium and all, and couldn't even turn a once in a thousand years event to his advantage!
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com yeah this is by no means one of his best albums even though it has one or two of his best songs on it 'I Love You, But I Don't Trust You Anymore' is produced like SOMETIMES IT SNOWS IN APRIL .an has a fine vocal an lyric . an i actually like The Greatest Romance . i think alot of these songs are where he was at emotionally at the time .splitting up from the love of his life Mayte . The Greatest Romance is the whole splitting up an then ending up back together situation which is the album in a tee . has pain .anger. love. self pity an freedom on these tracks. but at the end theres the final farewell WHEREVER U GO,WHATEVER U DO is putting the rubbish aside an been able to let go in a civil way an still carring .. so Maytie got this album an Emancipation . call me sadistic but i prefur this one lol ..its an album which anyone who has been inlove an broke up will get . it also has prince(PRETTYMAN) back on the pull on a few tracks haha .. all in all i like this one .even though! it aint one of his best . it still strikes me as an important an essential album which he had to make . to get it out of his system .even though alot of these tracks are pretty bland an dont strike u straight away an UNDISPUTED is just awful. id give it 7 an half outta 10 an i still spin it every now an then . even if i do tend to use the skip buttom a few times .lee
Musicology 8½ ( 2004 ) Musicology / Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance / A Million Days / Life O' the Party / Call My Name / Cinnamon Girl / What Do U Want Me 2 Do? / The Marrying Kind / If Eye Was the Man in Ur Life / On the Couch / Dear Mr. Man / Reflection
His first proper album release in five years at the time. Did he need the break? Well, he didn't even take a break, he released live albums, best of's, an album length instrumental EP of Prince directed jazz music. He recorded and released 'The Rainbow Children' project. I shan't be reviewing any of these projects here, mostly because I don't have them. Partly because I have no interest in having them but really because I want to stick to the mans main canon of released work. 'Musicology' peaked at number 3 spending 17 weeks in the US album charts, which isn't bad. It's gone multi-platinum, so whilst Prince may not be seen to be at his 80s heights, he still sells plenty of records. 'Musicology' even gathered plenty of good reviews upon release, many calling it a true comeback. To me, this record sounds focused, it sounds tight. It doesn't reinvent Prince or present any new sides of himself. At forty eight minutes long, he seems to have realised however that less can sometimes be more and this is a consistent, listenable LP. Comeback? Perhaps not, for Prince fans he never really went away in the first place.
The opening title track is a fine slice of impressive funk music that makes me appreciate it more every time I listen to it. It's just over four minutes long, yet could be ten minutes long and I wouldn't mind too much. Following the stuttering funk that doesn't flow of 'Illusion, Coma...', the commercial melodies of 'A Million Days' is welcome relief. Prince proves he can still pen a tune. 'Life O The Party' sounds like 'Outkast' or Kelis or any number of today's hip-hop acts. Prince's influence can still be felt and 'Life O The Party' is a welcome reminder of where such sounds came from. Such a track and several others here nod also to Prince's influences, James Brown for instance. 'Call My Name' arrives and is a fine example of a Prince ballad. 'Cinnamon Girl' isn't the Neil Young song but is an uptempo slice of 80s sounding Prince pop for the nostalgics among you all. So, 1st half of the album down, i've somewhat amateurishly mentioned every single cut, but then, why not? Every track with the possible exception of 'Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance' can be said to be a good thing and even that would only fall into the 'average' category and not below it. The 2nd half, surprisingly, manages to continue the quality of the 1st half. This is one fine Prince LP and yes, call it a comeback if you want to, although it isn't one. He's just dropped some of the sillyness that sometimes mars Prince album projects, some of the self indulgence. He doesn't seem to be trying too hard to impress, he's just recording and releasing decent tunes. That's why we all liked him in the first place!
'If I was The Man In Ur Life' is classic Prince but it's not a tune that's likely to make you go 'wow', rather just nod your head along in appreciation. So, 'Dear Mr Man' is quality soul/funk and the closing 'Reflection' a sweet soul tune of some distinction and quality. Well done that man called Prince. We always liked you, really.
3121 8 ( 2006 ) 3132 / Lolita / Te Amo Corazon / Black Sweat / Incense And Candles / Love / Satisfied / Fury / The Word / Beautiful, Love & Blessed / The Dance / Get On The Boat
That journal of excellence the N.M.E. closed their review of '3121' by saying It doesn't really sound like Prince at all. Well, it does though. It sounds exactly like Prince only with a somewhat improved effort in the studio console room, getting a good, modern sound. 'Musicology' returned Prince to selling records, over two million of them, thanks to bundling the album in the price for his concert tickets. Well, Prince is always looking to bypass the record labels if he can. Good reviews also helped sales. '3121' has acheived even better reviews than 'Musicology' and sees Prince make his own modern 'RnB' album. He's allowed to, you know? Some of the tracks are just plain exicitng and it's been a lifetime since Prince was exicitng in any modern sense of the word. Yes, this is new. Were the NME correct? Partly, i'll give them that, but that's a throwaway dismissal of the kind I used in my 'Sign Of The Times' review, one designed to attract attention. It's a standard record reviewers trick when you're feeling either lazy or want to make a particular point and for no one to miss it. The Prince catalogue is vast enough that the hyping of 'Sign Of The Times' as the mans finest work has done nothing but damage his overall repuatation. How many would-be Prince fans bought that album never to buy another Prince effort? Ah, back to the production here. 'Love' sounds somewhat like Michaeal Jackson should sound like these days were he ever to acheive a miracle and become relevant again. It's a funky hip-hop workout, heavy on the production yet it really does swing. 'Fury' is delicious old-school Prince with sterling guitar work. Good stuff indeed.
After opening with a grind, 'Lolita' returns Prince to familiar funk/soul territory, man this song has a great groove. It's a really great party track, nothing heavy you understand? Then we need a ballad of course and we get one. 'Te Amo Corazon', not one of his finest ballads but this is a sweet sounding tune that fits the album well. 'Black Sweat' completes a strong opening sequence to the album, all funk and grind and very James Brown, pleasingly so. 'Beautiful, Love And Blessed' you'll be unsurprised to know is a ballad, but we link Prince ballads when they're done well. This opens with female lead vocals, Prince joining in during the 1st chorus. It's again, nothing groundbreaking, it's just Prince but 'just' Prince when he ensures his songs are well produced and arranged is still pretty good. The closing 'Get On The Boat' is an exiciting musical track with trumpets galore, tight funk bass lines and more besides. It's one of his better album closing tracks actually and leaves a good taste in the mouth, so to speak. Prince is on a roll and '3121' is a fine album.
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com what can say?. this album got me an most prince fans SATIFIED. one of his most satisfying albums too date . if not the most . only thing that woulda made it better is if SONG OF THE HEART replaced Incense And Candles an maybe a reworking of Vavavoom replaced THE DANCE .. largely an uptempo/funky album which is fun to spin .. an 3132 / Lolita / Te Amo Corazon / Black Sweat / Love / Satisfied / Fury / The Word & Get On The Boat are without a doubt capable of standing up with any of his finest songs ..love the crazy title track as the opener an can just imagine the shock of the musical sound an production of the song that people would feel .if this was there first introduction to prince
Planet Earth 8 ( 2007 ) Planet Earth / Guitar / Somewhere Here On Earth / The One U Wanna C / Future Baby Mama / Mr. Goodnight / All The Midnights In The World / Chelsea Rodgers / Lion Of Judah / Resolution
Well, Prince giving his new album away free with the Daily Mail appears to have acheived what he wanted it to acheive. He's gained publicity that money can't buy, but giving away your music for free apparently can. He's acheived radio-play for the catchy 'Guitar' single, although only nominally a single as Prince now doesn't have a UK record deal. It'll be interesting to see if he even gets another UK record deal. A lot will depend on the knock on effect for back-catalogue sales and whether that is enough to restore some of the damage in the reputation between Prince and the UK music industry. Not that Prince is too bothered about that right about now. UK reviews of 'Planet Earth' have been generally positive, although when focusing on the fact the music has been free, using that to denigrate the albums overall status. Non-Prince fans are now selling the 'free' album on E-Bay for upwards of £5 plus postage and packaging. The newspaper itself was only £1.40 and of course, I bought myself a copy first thing on the Sunday morning it came out. Listened to the album three times straight as is my reviewing habits and have subsequently listened a few more times and now i'm ready. I'm ready to say that Prince is on something of a creative roll, perhaps not equal to his eighties best, but certainly the best run he's had since then. Perhaps having used up the majority of his backlog of songs and being forced to rely on his muse has had a positive effect?
'Planet Earth' is a fairly straightforward Prince album on the face of it, quite in contrast to the means of it appearing ( or not, as the case may be ) in UK stores. It has a few typical Prince ballads, it has plenty of catchy and impressive guitar parts aka something like the '1999' or 'Purple Rain' LPs. Wendy and Lisa even appear on a song or two for the nostalgics amongst you all. If you haven't heard a Prince LP for fifteen years, 'Planet Earth' may well come as a pleasant surprise, although the nature of the LP probably won't be enough to actively astonish you or make you feel like it's 1987 all over again. I'll discuss 'Guitar' first of all. Apparently cribbing the guitar part from U2's 'I Will Follow', although only really the first part thereof, this is one of the most determinedly commercial songs Prince has released in some time. The other 'potential single' could be 'The One U Wanna C', which although so eighties sounding it almost hurts, is also undeniably catchy, featuring Wendy and Lisa as it does. The title track is rather bombastic yet makes its point all the same and the entire album flows by without you having to get up and skip any of the songs, always a good sign. Prince is in fine voice throughout the ballads, he's kept himself in fine fettle it must be said. Another decent album then? Well, yeah. You wouldn't put money against Prince reclaiming his superstar status unless you were a psychic. I don't have that strong a feeling that he can't reclaim his crown. Anyway, he's certainly giving it a damn good try, at least.
Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com I think a hell of alot of people bourght The Mail On Sunday for the 1st time .. what can i say as a big prince fan .this is a beautiful album which makes me smile from start to finish .an he definetley been trying real hard for the last few years to get big again an i really hope u manages to have a big hit single with guitar or the one u wanna c . on a few of these tracks its like he caught the vibe of the superbowl performance an put it on record . only duff track for me is FUTURE BABY MOMMA . where i was thinking 'nice' but aint u done 101 tracks pretty similar? Mr GoodNight is kinda fun an has a kinda Morris Day humour to it . RESOLUTION is a nice closer an even though its still got the nieve belief of music changing the world. it made me think 'bless him' this guys been doing his thing for years an always done his best COME ON EVERYBODY .ALL OVER THE WORLD . lets hope he manages to get everybody all over the world to listen .. love it!
Stephen firstname.lastname@example.org It probably is his best since Lovesexy. Nice and short (44 minutes) with admirable variety and focus. The songs are more memorable than on most of his 1990s efforts and All The Midnights In The World could be his most lovely song since Raspberry Beret.
Todd Waters email@example.com The first screening of the record was a bit of a dissapointment. I was very impressed with the first track Planet Earth very imaginative and other-worldy. On Guitar, Prince returns to his mastery of writing some killer jams. Somewhere Here On Earth is a very nice jazzy sultry number that I would have liked to had a complete album of similar tunes./ The One U Wanna C, does remind you of the pop music of the 80's. It's missing something, maybe some dirty guitar here and there. / Future Baby Mama is good but begins leading the record down a path of filler material/ Mr. Goodnight is a rap tune. My first thought was that Prince should stay away from rap altogether. It didn't sound natural coming from him. I can listen to the tune now, and it's good but seems like he's imitating instead of creating music. / All The Midnights In The World. This one sounds like he is singing to a bunch of children at day camp. Sorry, but I think of this every time I hear it. It's soft and swe! et. / Chelsea Rodgers, Sorry didn't like this one. A noisy funk jam that's not very catchy. Also I thought the female vocals were over the top and distracting / Lion Of Judah. Another slow song. Seemed kind of weak. Like it's missing something / Resolution was another slow song that seemed weak. And not memorable.
After I hear this record I immediatley put on 1999, Purple Rain or Around the World in a Day. Planet Earth makes me thirsty but just doesn't satisfy.
Lotusflow3r, Mplsound, Elixer 5 ( 2009 ) From the Lotus / Boom / Crimson And Clover / 4Ever / Colonized Mind / Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful / Love Like Jazz / 77 Beverly Park / Wall Of Berlin / $ Dreamer / ...Back To The Lotus / (There'll Never B) Another Like Me / Chocolate Box / Dance 4 Me / U're Gonna C Me / Valentina / Better With Time / Ol' Skool Company / No More Candy 4 U / Here Eye Come / All This Love / Home / Something U Alreday Know / Everytime / 2Nite / Another Boy / Kept Woman / Immersion / Elixer
Bria Valente is the vocalist for the Prince album by any other name, 'Elixer'. So, Prince writes, produces, arranges, performs and Bria tries vainly to injerject some of her own personality into proceedings. This isn't helped by the fact she sounds very generic r'n'b. You can also only imagine what happened, 'hey, want some purple loving? what do you mean no? will it help if I write and produce your debut album? Well, come on baby!'.
'Home' is a decent track on which Bria overdubs her own backing vocals, it's a mellow tune with nice melodies coming through. 'Everytime' indiates that somebody here has been listening to the likes of Bebel Gilberto. Doesn't do much for Bria but it does demonstrate that Prince can sit down and produce another artist properly. If only Bria had a more distinctive voice, this track could really soar. 'Another Boy' is good enough to deserve to be a hit and overall 'Elixer' by Bria Valente is a well put together, unambitious, easy piece of plesant listening. We need four tracks to unmemorably pass by before 'Lotusflow3r' gets going with any kind of Prince pop nous. 'The Morning After' is simple, bouncy, upbeat and just the right side of good. '4Ever' continues with this run of melodicism before 'Colonized Mind' reminds one unpleasantly of Lenny Kravitz. Most of the songs across the two Price albums proper have impressive guitar playing from the diminutive purple one, yet he often forgets to write either hooks or an actual tune. Thank the lord then for '$' which rolls along in prime Prince dance-pop fashion. The rest of the album is largely forgettable.
'Mplsound' has actual tunes in places and sounds like Prince is committed to the cause. 'Chocolate Box' for instance deserves to be a Prince single and it's been far too long since we had a genuine Prince single that got played all over the radio. This is funky, tight and melodic and Prince uses modern sounding production techinques. Too often, the songs across this three album set, sound like eighties left-overs. 'U're Gonna C Me' is a rare (these days) quality Prince ballad and we need more Prince like this. The feeling remains though that this set of Prince recordings is utterly unimportant and not as good as his recent work. Tapping into the 80s when you're Prince, for some kind of inspiration, is surely against everything Prince used to stand for?
dave jackson Atherstone shed elixir and condense the 2 albums into 1 and we have his best albums since the gold experience. best thing about being a prince fan though is he releases an average of an album a year, but you just have to muddle through the crap to find the gold.
20Ten 7½ ( 2010 ) Compassion / Beginning Endlessly / Future Soul Song / Sticky Like Glue / Act of God / Lavaux / Walk in Sand / Sea of Everything / Everybody Loves Me
Released only as a physical product free with the Daily Mirror in the UK, Prince has come out disowning the internet saying the 'fad' for the internet will soon pass. Well, I suspect t'internet will evolve over the years but to say it's irrelevant is a strange, albeit typically Prince thing to say. Anyway, for his latest free LP 'Compassion' kicks things off sounding like a good 80s Prince track. It's got clean production, 80s styled beats and it's also got lots of energy. The female backing vocals are firmly pop backing vocals and if Prince were still interested in such things, 'Compassion' could have been a sizeable hit. So? Well, so far so good for '20Ten'. Yes, yes, I do realise I ended my previous Prince review saying he shouldn't be dipping back into the 80s for inspiration. Do I feel silly now then?
The closing track (ignoring the hidden track) sounds like Prince has regressed all the way back to 1988 or something. It's a simple track - too simple perhaps - but this slice of party-prince is something we've not had too often recently, at least not presented in such a straightforward manner. It's almost as if that old Prince sound is back in fashion again and I guess we can forgive the man who did that sound in the first place for going back to it. Another notable aspect of this album is the fact Prince plays everything himself except horns. This results in a tight and cohesive set with the music being taut and sparse, relying on grooves and synths. True, there is little to please fans of Prince the guitarist but he's been there and done that quite recently. Yeah, Prince played large swathes of his previous set himself but was joined on a number of tracks by a rhythm section - presumably to get that 'live' feel. '20Ten' doesn't have a live feel it has an eighties pop feel - I feel the need to stress this, for some reason.
I really like 'Beginning Endlessly', it's a slow groove with interesting lyrics and funk guitar and cool sounding 80's synths that don't overwhelm. In 'Future Love Song' we get a superior Prince ballad where he sings really deep and up close, double-tracked, then backs himself in his more recognizable vocal style. It's a romantic tune, no doubt and no doubt, one of his better ballads in recent years. Well, it could have been a massive hit in 1988, i'm sure of that. 'Act Of God' treads familiar Prince themes but it's so darn funky we don't mind at all. After this, the album starts to tail off a little though. 'Walk In Sand' is another ballad, decent one, but we've heard all this before from Prince, on this very album let alone on earlier ones.'Sea Of Everything' is another ballad before the cheesy if fun 'Everybody Loves Me' wraps up proceedings. 'Lowdown' is a bonus track that's a little dirty and funky but doesn't really seem to fit in anywhere, perhaps that's why it's a bonus rather than an 'official' track.
Is Prince resting on his laurels? Is Prince just happy and calm and the music matching his mood? Perhaps he feels he's nothing left to prove and in that respect, he'd be right. '20Ten' contains 3 or 4 tracks of genuine quality, 2 or 3 tracks that are merely good and then a couple of forgettable numbers that may as well not be here. The album is less than forty minutes long and feels like a lesser moment in his catalogue, simply for the blinding lack of ambition. Yet, he doesn't always need to fly to the sun and come back burnt, crashing to the ground. Sometimes, just a nice set of songs is all we need from Prince and in that respect, he's succeeded.
PJ Perkins Greensboro North Carolina
I first have to say that ist is refreshing to have a Prince album that is not to overdone. I really love his work, but He can be do "overproduced." 20Ten is a good record. I really love Beginning Endlessly. I want to hear it over and over. The hidden track is good too. I like his reference to himself as the Purple Yoda! He is truly a genius. The only problem with geniuses is they can have some real stellar work and duds. 20Ten has became so sought after. I don't have the real copy myself, but when I saw it online I new I had to have it. I like Compassion and Act of God as well. Everybody Loves Me seems like it resembles the old Munsters soundtrack which is fine by me. It really is a fun song. Future Soul Song is a very smooth record that has some of the Purple Rain type of drum beats. Sticky Like Glue is also a fun pop soul fusin song that feels like classic Prince to me as well. A lot of this album sounds like it could be on Crystal Ball 2 if that is ever released!
. Sea of Everything continues the groove that Future Soul Song started. Overall, I believe this is an enjoyable record that is very easy to digest and it is not mean to be a loaded or critically acclaimed record. Prince said in many interviews that he talks with his music. I think that Prince wants to say that society sould chill out and just enjoy life. Overall, this record helps you to do that.