2018 Euros of Figure Skating

They’re actually showing the men’s short programs on the Olympic channel tonight, so I’m getting to see the final 3-4 groups of men.

But I don’t feel like talking about everybody, so I’ll just mention my favorites.

Daniel Samohin came back after dislocating his shoulder at Skate America. He seems to be a little gun-shy about doing the big jumps after that. But I’m hoping he’s able to get himself together cuz he’s going to the Olympics along with Alexei Bychenko (who will probably be competing later on).

The best so far was Deniss Vasiljevis. He had a clean skate, maybe a little wayward on the second jump in his combination, but he held it together. His score was 85.11 with more on the technical side than components. It sounds like he will be at the Olympics being the only man from Latvia representing. Oh man, he’s going to be so good there, I can tell already.

Also, there was a Plushenko sighting 😛 this competition is in Moscow and before going to commercial, they were showing Evgenia Medvedeva and Javier Fernandez backstage and Plushenko was in the crowd with his son, Sasha. My mom saw him and asked if that was his son and I’m like, “Yeah” 😛 Sasha is probably 5 now… wow… that’s crazy to think. He was just this little boy barely staying on his feet on the ice. Now, he’s doing it without help, but his steps are a little more solid and confident.
…seriously, if they didn’t show him in the crowd, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned him at all 😛
Something on this channel, whether it’s part of this competition or a commercial, they said how the last Olympics was 2461 days ago… that’s crazy… and I spent much of that time hoping to see Plushenko there. Only to be disappointed. But I’ve since moved on.

Matteo Rizzo from Italy made a good case for himself as well. He’s already earned the one spot Italy has for the men’s skaters, but he’ll be competing in the team event as well. If he skates just like he just did, he’s going to get some people talking about him. He doesn’t have a quad yet, but he has many other things going for him.
78.26- 41 and 36- he’s in 2nd right now. Good job on him.

It’s been kinda cool seeing some junior skaters in this competition. Earlier, I saw Irakli from Georgia. He did all right. He’s had some rough goes, but he’s been getting better.

Moris Kvitelashvili from Georgia (originally from Russia) had a really big program with a triple axel to start, but two quads, one later in the program… he fell on the other two jumping passes. His quadruple toe loop was so good and the jump in combination with it ruined it… he was skating to “Feeling Good” sung by Michael Bublé and he seemed to have the right attitude to perform it. 76.74- 42 and 36… if he nailed his jumps, he’d be in first place without question.

just gotta say… I’m going to miss so much seeing all of the Sochi branding on these Olympic commercials… I get all those warm feelings seeing them and that’s going to go away once these next Olympics start.

so, a million Olympic promos later, and we have the final group… a lot of GREAT skaters here that I really like

Alexei Bychenko, Mikhail Kolyada, Javier Fernandez, Dmitri Aliev and Alexander Samarin.
and there’s someone from Belgium, whose name I recognize, but he’s not among the skaters I typically keep my eye on. If he does anything of note, I’ll be sure to mention it.

Oh man, I can’t wait… and the commentators have finally learned how to say “Javier”… it was driving me SO crazy they kept saying “Ha-vee-ay”… where it should be “Ha-vee-air”

And it looks like all these guys have 2 quads in their programs, so this should be REALLY good. I hope for a lot of clean performances, but I don’t always get what I hope for.

Alexei Bychenko
he fell on his only quad, but the rest of his jumps were great. he really got into his Jewish folk music and kept up with the quick pace of it. And he looked like he was enjoying himself. That always makes it more fun.
74.97- aw, he’s in 4th place… I thought it’d be a bit better than that, but he did fall on his quad. 36 and 39

Mikhail Kolyada
that was kinda rough… he kinda fell on his quad lutz and he popped his second quad attempt… his triple axel is so good… I hope this doesn’t take him out of contention for a medal… supposedly they will decide after this competition which two men are going to the Olympics under the “Olympic Athlete of Russia” banner… that ban is so stupid, I’m still pissed about it…
83.41- 40 and 43- so he’s in 2nd… man, Deniss is holding a great lead so far, but it might finally come down after this next skater… I don’t think he’s out of this yet, he just needs to hold it together for the free skate.

Javier Fernandez
he’s back! he had such an off season so far, and I think some of it had to do with Brian Orser not being at rink side to support him. The old Javi I know is back and other than an extra turn out of his quad salchow, that was an incredibly solid program… he’s probably going to win this competition just based on how good he’s been tonight
103.82- 56 and 47… yeah, nobody’s gonna be able to beat that… at least not in this short program part of it

Dmitri Aliev
he lost one quad that became a triple in combination, but he nailed his second quad and his triple axel… I really don’t like this Masquerade Waltz on him. Combined with the bellhop costume he’s wearing, he looks like he’s playing a character instead of bringing his true character out… which is very passionate and sensitive to his music. But his score looks like it’ll be enough to keep him in the conversation for the podium. Between him and Alexander, I hope he goes to the Olympics with Mikhail Kolyada just based on that. But Alexander has the better jumps. Dmitri is better on the emotion side of things.
91.33- 49 and 42… wow, nice! I’m very happy with him. I hope he does even better in his free skate
(and they also showed Plushenko applauding him from the stands before the commercial break)

Alexander Samarin
oh man, I don’t know what happened with that… he fell on his two quads (and the second one he got NOTHING for cuz he didn’t do it in combination with another jump), his triple axel was solid…but sadly he doesn’t have the components to keep him in podium position… now there’s a slight possibility he might miss out on the Olympics because he doesn’t do well in this competition and that would suck cuz I know he’s better than this. (Even though Dmitri is a better all-around skater, I’ve become a big fan of Alexander on the junior grand prix circuit as well and I want him to have his successes too)
74.25- 37 and 39- he’s in 8th… ouch…

Jorik Hendrickx from Belgium didn’t have a quad and fell on his triple axel. And it didn’t bold well for him overall. The commentators kept saying how he could have pulled ahead in the rankings cuz others before he tried quads and fell on them. He skated to Je Suis Malade and into the music really well… but of course I’ve seen a couple of really good programs with the same music and that wasn’t quite up to par
78.56- 38 and 40- currently in 5th

so it’s the ladies’ event tomorrow…

There wasn’t a lot I really wanted to discuss before this final group of skaters.
Except being annoyed that they had to show Bradie Tennell’s short program again just to kill time… I mean, it was great, it was perfect and awesome, but I don’t need to see it for the millionth time.

Then they were talking about the Medvedeva/Zagitova rivalry and how they both have the same coach. And for the first time, I heard Evgenia speak and her English is pretty good. She was talking about Luna and how she’s her lucky charm 😛 well, Yuzuru has Pooh and it’s well known about his fangirls that Pooh is his lucky charm.

Carolina Kostner was the first in this last group and she had the best skate of anyone so far. It was flawless and beautiful, per her usual 😉
78.30- 39 and 38… definitely the best by far and her score only helps support that.

I think I’ll probably only be commenting on the Russians 😛 not many female skaters really catch my attention these days

Maria Sotskava had one or two landings where I saw some snow fly in the air, so not perfect, but she held on to every element and got them all done, despite having to put the combination later cuz she couldn’t quite get it in the first pass.
68.70- 35 and 33- 2nd place

they showed her coach holding Luna, so I know Evgenia has to be up next 😛
she had her typical textbook skate with all the jumps in the second half and with her hand over her head… but on her axel, she had a little stumble out of it. She was on her feet and didn’t put a hand down, but it was a little off moment.
78.57… 40 and 38… she’s 0.27 points higher than Carolina Kostner and is in first place. She didn’t have a fall, but I can’t help but feel that might be bias cuz we are in Moscow in this competition.

Alina Zagitova is skating to Black Swan
Dang! she nailed it… it has to be this one coach cuz all her jumps was in the second half too.
She did this really fast triple lutz/loop combination and a jump with both hands over her head and it looked so gorgeous… just wow… she looks like a bad ass, but skating to this music kinda helps too 😉 when they left the screen to do replays, her technical score was over 44 points
80.27- 43 and 36… 80.85 is Evgenia’s world record short program score, so Alina is extremely close to that.
For now, though, she’s leading cuz of her technical score. Her components still have a while to go, but I think she’ll get a hang of that very soon.

so it’s been a very emotional night so far…
I thought that I’d wait until tonight to watch the ladies free skate (cuz it aired around noon and 9pm) cuz I thought Johnny & Tara’s commentary would be tonight…
I turn on the tv at 9pm and bloody ice dance is on… I was so unbelievably pissed, I was ranting on Twitter and nobody was answering me when I was asking why the tv schedule wasn’t matching what was airing… all that anger and frustration later, it was only on a delay and they’re not even doing Johnny & Tara’s commentary… that’s not until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I already found out that Evgenia lost to Alina and had to settle for silver… it really sucks!!! that all the coverage happens when I can’t physically watch and by the time I can, all the results are posted online and in times of crisis like this, I come across them trying to find out why the tv schedule is wrong…
I have such a short fuse lately, and I have no idea why.

interesting thing with this group- there’ve been two skaters who have brothers who competed in the men’s event- Michel Brezina and Jorik Hendrikx

there was an interesting skate by a skater from France. she skated to a Grease medley, but the TV said “Greece medley”… her costume was coming undone a little bit before it was supposed to, but it was supposed to flip down to another dress when she went from “Hopelessly Devoted” to “The One that I want”… I saw Plushenko do a flipping costume thing, but it was a very unusual gala performance where he was playing a male and female role… it was a little too weird for me and I never watched it again…
there’s talk about how she and Mae Berenice-Meite are competing for the one spot on the Olympic team and this other skater (Laurine Lecavelier) had a little bit of a sloppy skate in the short and just now. She finished in 7th and Mae is in 3rd currently.

Maria Sotskava
and the crowd’s already into it…
she had one fall towards the end of the program, but it was otherwise flawless and really nice to watch. It was to Clare de Lune and she had nice poise throughout it (with that one exception).
200.81- 65 and 67… wow, she actually got a little better on components when technical is usually her stronger mark

Carolina Kostner
Tanith White made a comment about her costume being distracting… yeah, I think so too… it looks like a neon green sequined jumpsuit- like something one of the Russian men would wear… maybe too many sparkles. Plus all the girls are wearing dresses, so that doesn’t really fit in with everyone else.
Plus, she’s making a lot of mistakes- a fall on her opening jump and some triples that became doubles. I wonder if Johnny is going to make a comment about her costume, most likely yes.
204.25- 51 and 75… so yeah, she got 3rd place overall…

Alina Zagitova
once she actually started jumping, she was flawless… I can’t believe they’re actually doing this crap in the free skate too, putting all the jumps in the second half. That really isn’t fair to all the other skaters…
the commentators were saying how she doesn’t really finish all the extensions in her steps and it’s not as smooth as it is with Carolina Kostner and Evgenia.
238.24- 82 and 75- whoa, the second highest score of all time… that’s almost to the point of some of the guys. Or what they used to be able to do 10 years ago, before the Quad Revolution happened

Evgenia Medvedeva
wow… I think this is the first time I’d really seen her rattled… she didn’t fall, but she was fighting on all her landings. She missed a combination and threw it in later on. That smoothness wasn’t there like it usually is and not all of her jumps had her hand over her head. I was thinking she could use a little competition, but I don’t think I like it like this… not from a Russian teammate and from someone else doing that thing with all the jumps later in the program…
232.86- 77 x 2… so she lost by less than 6 points… wow… I didn’t think it was possible, but it looks like yet another young Russian is making a name for herself and taking over where the last one left off.

I kinda wish the Russian men had this problem and were outdoing each other with new quads… where the hell are the triple axels for the women? Why aren’t they pushing for that to push their sport forward?
So many unanswered questions…

I just hope they show the men’s competition first tomorrow so I don’t need to sit through all this again just to see how everyone did.
I know from Twitter that Javi already won… that’s not too much of a surprise, but I’m curious to hear how Dmitri did and whether Mikahil Kolyada was able to make a comeback to win a medal…

…they did show the men’s competition first and that made me very happy, as did the results

Alexei Bychenko
Probably had one of the best times on the ice. He seemed very focused on the jumps and he got nearly all of them with crisp landings and he fist pumped at the end. So happy with himself and I was as well
238.44- 86 and 76

Mikhail Kolyada
He had a rough program again. I wonder if he’s feeling the pressure or something. He fell on both quads and he seemed to get tired towards the end. Johnny had harsh words saying how he gets on the podium for attempting difficult elements over those who skate clean and lower difficulty. Sadly I kinda have to agree. I think this Elvis medley oddly works for him even though Johnny and Tara don’t. And true by the end I didn’t think he was entirely behind it. Which sucks cuz someone said before he began that he has become the guy in Russian men’s skating and it’s taken so long to find “the guy” in Russia again

Deniss Vasiljevis
He fell a couple times and had scratchy landings on his jumps but his personality started really coming out and his performance was enjoyable to watch because of it
It’s hard to believe that I first saw him as a junior a couple years ago and he’s done really well since turning senior. I’ll be excited to see how he does at the Olympics- he earned the one spot to get an Latvian man into the Olympics

This is really annoying me. They’re not showing any of the scores… how I am supposed to know to know where everyone is?

Javier Fernandez
He started strong but he started making mistakes later on including a quad that became a triple on the landing. Johnny and Tara were saying how he’s lost his passion for skating and might be struggling mentally… Javi lacking confidence? No way… but this program did seem a little labored and he wasn’t “the entertainer” as Tara calls him like he often is
295.55- 96 and 95

Dmitri Aliev
274.06- 95 and 87
He got second place and really deserved it. He skated- as I’d hoped- to a sensitive piece of music so his artistry can really show what it can do. His only issue was a triple flip he doubled. Probably his best score ever and one of his best performances. My favorite will always be him doing Notre Dame de Paris in Lintz Austria where that passion came out on his final spin

Mikhail got 3rd beating out Deniss by maybe 15 points and Alexei was 5th… yeah, Johnny might be onto something, I’m not sure if I like that he got a medal despite some issues he had.
But I also don’t know if Javi deserved to win with his free skate just not having the same energy he’s brought these past several seasons.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Prince Album #37: HitNRun Phase One

Well, with only :gulp: one album left after this one, I, at last, have the answer to at least one question I came into this process with: how many Prince albums do I own?
This is not counting side projects, protégés and associated artists.
(I think I have 4 Time albums, 3 Wendy & Lisa albums, The Family, Children of the Sun, Madhouse 8, Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6, Elixir, and, most recently, Back in Time… I think that’s 14, unless I’m missing somebody… ]

And…unless something crazy happens with the final album, I think I know what my favorite Prince album is as far as my personal math and scoring system is concerned…
Sad to say, it’s probably not going to be this one.

With the releases of Art Official Age and Plectrum Electrum the year before, I really had no expectations for Prince to release another album the following year. It DID take 4+ years for those two albums to arrive, so I figured he’d go quietly back into the studio and maybe stay there forever.
Or at least spend the rest of his time doing this pop-up concerts he called his “HitNRun tour”… none of which I could physically go to because a) they weren’t remotely close to here- the only one that comes to one was one in New York with Judith Hill… and b) they were announced too last minute for me to have any means of going to.
I PROMISE, that is the last time I bring that up in this post. I expect people are just going onto the new website cuz they won’t want to read about me bemoaning that factor for another 100 words.

Any seasoned Prince fan is aware, of course, that the “HitNRun” concept was something he’d started way back in the mid to late 80’s. I believe he started it around the same time as he was doing after shows after the LoveSexy performances. He was just so pumped up with adrenaline and music that he had to keep going into the wee hours of the morning.

I’d hear rumors of this album as it was materializing, but I figured I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on it. At the time, Prince was only releasing his music exclusively through Tidal, a streaming service started by Jay-Z and he liked the fact it was artist-friendly and gave artists their due credit and a fair exchange of currency for product.
I think I still have my receipt for this one, but I think the story was that I went to Target some day after work because I’d heard it might be released in stores.
Sure enough, there it was on display… one of those special moments I probably won’t have again unless the Estate decides to release another remaster or finally releases the Deliverance EP officially.
(Not that my opinion counts for anything, but they could do with a remaster of the first two albums or Sign o’ the Times… if they can find the original “footage” and mix it on analog and release it digitally on CD the way Prince had with the Come album, the sound quality could make all the fans who couldn’t find the vinyl version happy… with the first two albums, they kinda suffered in my scoring system because the sound quality wasn’t as good as it could have been. But a lot might have also had to do with Prince not having that confidence in his voice to do a solid performance at a proper volume)

Now, I’m getting off topic…

I’ve listened to this album… I think… 3-4 times since I got it.
Unlike with 20TEN, though, it wasn’t so much about other things coming up that I just kept pushing back the next time I’d be listening to it, in this case, I think it had more to do with the music itself.

This album is an oddball, to say the least. Half of it is Prince aiming for a more current sound and collaborating with young artists he respects and wanted to offer advice or mentoring. And the other half is either a continuation of the Prince-par-for-the-course, the AOA sound or the next step in his “evolution.” There are also two remixes that I’m debating whether or not to consider songs I could give proper scores.

I’m sure I know what most people, namely hardcore fans, were thinking… WTF is/has Prince doing/done? There are the usual Prince-isms that you’ll find throughout, but to some, it felt like a very drastic turn in a different direction.
I don’t remember what I’ve heard about this album previous to its release, but when I started listening and grasping that this was a twist in a different direction, I think I really tried not to judge it too harshly. I didn’t really want to be like everyone else who was surely going to slam this release, if only for the first couple songs.
But as this review goes on, I’m sure some of that negativity will come out. It’s bound to happen.

Going by first impressions… there are some songs that I love or at least really like. But there are a bunch already where I’m trying to level the scales of justice to give certain songs a fair trial. By that, I mean I’m going to try to find some positives even when there are a couple of things that don’t sit well with me or just feel odd. One or two, I had a similar thought process as I did to the Plectrum Electrum material– that’s a lot that’s good or at least decent, but there are one or two things in a couple songs that I wish I could edit out.

Ain’t About 2 Stop is a good place to start with this train of thought…
I’m not super familiar with hip-hop, as anyone who’s read my stuff before knows… but this sounds like Prince doing down & dirty hip-hop. But the adjectives describe the music more than any lyric. And honestly, the only lyric (or part of the song) I remember at this point is him rapping “I come from North Minni and I never run from any and I ain’t about to stop right now”…
Yeah, Prince is trying to be gangster. And in an odd sort of way, it works for me. I kinda like the song, but I’m not over the moon for it.
Rita Ora guest stars on it. The only collaboration I can remember her doing is her saying “if you’re not a Ritabot, you’re a blood clot”…
Funny thing- 50 Shades Darker was on TV last night and I thought I’d watch it because I hadn’t seen it since in theaters last February. Rita Ora plays Christian’s younger sister, Mia, who for some reason dyed her hair blonde for this movie when she had a short dark pixie cut in the previous one. I can’t quite get used to that, honestly. She was at the Masquerade Ball scene and with the mask, I thought she was Anastasia’s friend Kate.
I don’t know much about her besides being in this movie and I think she has some connection to the Kardashians, whether it’s one or two degrees of separation. I don’t really know or care, to be honest. I can’t adequately judge one way or another.
…I kinda lost my point, so I’m bringing it back… at the end of the chorus or the end of 4 measures every now and then, there’s this REALLY ANNOYING horn that plays that sounds like someone’s trying to charm a snake. That is the one thing about that song that kills any chance of my loving it. It’s going to be one of those things I need to ask whether it was something Prince wanted or Josh Welton suggested it first.

The reason this album has a slightly different sound than all the others before it. Excluding his work with Wendy & Lisa during the Parade era, this was the first time Prince did an album with an outside producer.
The way Matt Thorne’s book went into it, supposedly Josh did his thing with the tracks first in one studio, Prince took the production and recorded his vocal in another studio and he’d listen to the end result and decide whether something else needed to be added.

Speaking of Matt Thorne… I’d been reading his book as a companion piece to accompany all of Prince’s albums. To maybe get an inside look into how some of these albums came together, the history of things of everything in between… it’s been pretty informative and eye-opening.
But as I’ve stated countless times in the past year… it was a difficult read in places. It wasn’t so much that this guy was one of those older jaded Prince fans that actively complains he’s not as good as he used to be. But there were many an occasion where I took issue with his personal commentary. It was almost like he was embarrassed of his own fandom that he had to talk himself out of it. And he spent a little too much time questioning Prince’s motives behind certain moves he made or certain songs he wrote. Almost like he was judging him and taking shots at his character.
To be honest, though, I’m probably not going to be satisfied with anyone’s interpretation of Prince. I know the guy isn’t perfect, but if you spend more of your time pointing out his flaws than celebrating what’s good about him, why are you even here?
On the positive, though, there were those few album chapters where he went into full-on fan mode and that passion really showed. It was also kinda nice hearing from a certain engineer that worked with Prince in the mid to late 90’s. I got some trade secrets about a period in his life that had been a mystery to me for years.
With this album, not a lot he said stood out. He just pointed out how 1000 x’s and o’s was an old song. And he quoted that Rita Ora lyric…

Earlier today, I listened to a podcast from July 2015 that was a bit of a news update. First, the guys had to joke that Prince announced the album the day after they got together for the first time in months to do a podcast… that he’s bugged their laptops or something and found out when they were all online at the same moment.
They talked about a couple of songs that were released or teased- HardRockLover and X’s Face (both found their way onto this album), Baltimore and Stare (found their way on the next one), What If (I think I have that one somewhere… but they really took issue with his lyrics, saying how they were very exclusive to his way of thinking- plus the song was a cover)…
then there was this huge tangent about the state of the music industry and if Prince cares about releasing music anymore because nobody cares about charts and how music’s become disposable. Or whether he’s running out of ideas or his screams aren’t as good as they used to be due to aging… they really went into a lot of stuff in general and it was oddly interesting, taking what transpired a year after that. It was an oddly apt conversation to say the least.

Now back to this album…

I’m going to be listening to it almost every day this week so I can really get to know it better… because I really don’t have a lot of concrete things to say. Just some first impressions. That’s probably why I’m doing so much side-tracking.

One solid thing I had to say from the start of the album, though…

Million $ Show- I remembered how it started with openings from a couple of Prince’s album openers- For You, 1999, Let’s Go Crazy… then Judith Hill kicks into the chorus, does a verse and then Prince comes about halfway through.
The impression I got- it reminded me a lot of the first song off The Vault- “The Rest of My Life”… both were really short album openers. While “The Rest of My Life” feels like it was going somewhere and stopped maybe a minute before reaching its destination… Million $ Show feels like it describes Prince’s HitNRun tour in tandem with what it’s like seeing him in concert or just picking up one of his albums- you’re treated to something you don’t quite expect to find with any regular artist.
Ultimately, I think the song doesn’t quite deliver on that promise. Whether the rest of the album does, it remains to be seen. It’s kinda funny how I remembered that random Vault track when not a lot of that album was memorable (I’d only just gotten the album before doing the post on it)– but it feels like a good comparison. Two short opening tracks. But unlike the Vault track, I don’t feel like I need another minute of this song.

Shut This Down- I read that this was an NPG track without the NPG on it. Prince sounds like he’s doing to the “My Name is Prince” vocal on it cuz he’s shouting the verses.

Like a Mack- there’s a touch too many of those kitschy nuances in this song… this features a female rapper and she does some of the verses or choruses… there isn’t a lot of variation of how they sound and I think a lot of lines are repeated. But it’s a very groovy beat that makes me want to dance.

This Could B Us is a remix of the AOA track… it oddly reminded me of the “Man o’ War” remix on Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic… except in this case, the entire song isn’t revisited. The chorus doesn’t completely finish (it leaves out the cage-to-my-dove lyric). I don’t really like how he sings “this could be us”… but the “us” just trails off… it’s mildly annoying. Did they really need to do that to make this sound different from the original?
But unlike “Mr. Nelson,” it feels like more of a complete song. “Mr. Nelson” feels like one of those random remixes that are hanging around in the mp3s I was gifted… I’m not sure if it’s going to qualify as a song. Even though it does sound kinda nice- I mean, it’s a remix of “Clouds”

Fallinlove2Nite… of course I have a lot of warm & fuzzies about this song because he did this on “New Girl.” There’s the question about why Zooey’s vocal wasn’t in this track like it was in the original release… I think it’s because that version belongs to the show and he’d have to go through a lot of legal crap to put it on this album. I love the show and I love Zooey and I don’t mind the omission. I just hope not a lot of people made a big deal about this.
Anyway- I love this song. It’s gotten a few extra overdubs. I have a feeling that Captain is going to hate them and I’m going to cringe… there’s a barrage of synth strings that just hum and sing so sweetly and this phrase is repeated at least three times throughout the song. I love that part so much that I hope I never get sick of it.

X’s Face- I’m still undecided about, honestly. I don’t really know what the title means and that might get to be annoying to me. But there are bits of this song I kinda like.

HardRockLover- I don’t know if I’d say it’s that greatest thing the way the guys at the podcast did… I mean, they spent 20 minutes talking about it and wondering if Prince can’t scream anymore or if he was purposely holding back. Musically, it sounds really cool and despite what the guys on the podcast said, it really does sound like he’s dissing hip-hop in this 😛 I don’t mind

1000 x’s and o’s… I remember really liking that song. I didn’t know it was an older song (it was so old that at one time, Rosie Gaines and Nona Gaye were on it- two different recordings)… it really doesn’t matter how old it is. I really like it. When I first heard it, it felt like the first time in ages that Prince wrote a love song or a tender moment of a song like this where he’s fawning over his girl and wants a sweet moment alone with her. And it feels like love is valued more than lust… The Breakdown was about losing love, Breakfast Can Wait was about sex… this is just a sweet song to me. The most romantic Prince had been in a long time… I guess U’re Gonna C Me is the last romantic recording he’d put on an album prior to this.
Let’s just say it was a side of Prince I had sorely missed.

June… I think I’m starting to come around with this one. It’s an odd song. Matt Thorne called it a stream of consciousness and compared it to Time and This is What It Feels Like… how it’s a better version of one and a less than al dente version of another…
to me, it sounded like he was talking some random stuff with music going on in the background… but I think I’m getting a little more out of it than I had the first time.

today, I gave Back in Time, Judith Hill’s debut album its first listen…
I don’t want to say that I’m not impressed, but I didn’t really care for the first couple of songs. The first song had a lot of crackling like Prince was trying to go for the throwback “look” and I just found it annoying when her voice came into the chorus under that.
She was one of my favorites on that season of The Voice she was on, but the issue I had with the album at first was that Prince had her singing music that sounded way too old school. In other words, it didn’t sound current or hip. Like something that people nowadays would be interested in. There’s a lot of talk on reality shows about artists sounding too old fashioned or their song choices not being current enough. This issue seems to come up a lot with black female R&B artists. And oddly, the moment they do something current, it’s often too current or too indie for people to recognize and they get sent home. It’s a very cruel game sometimes.
But as the album went on, the songs did get better and hopefully I’ve have more specifics to give tomorrow.
The title track, Back in Time, really caught my attention in a good way, but it was a bit of an odd animal. It transported me to a place I kinda didn’t want to go… and it was looking ahead to 2016. Some of the songs (ok, maybe 2, including this one) were a little too prophetic about what happened to Prince. Namely, the scare that made his plane take an emergency landing in April 14th.

…I’m just going to move away from that… I’m not there yet, dammit!

As for giving this album another spin, there were some pretty cool moments and some strong favorites are emerging.

Like a Mack being one of them. Maybe the one thing I don’t like about it is when he trails off at the end of a phrase where he’s going “like a…” repeatedly. But right after that, there’s this cool lead line with horns. Real or fake horns, I have no idea. But it reminds of me two Prince songs. The pacing of the music in that part reminds me of my favorite part of “Joint 2 Joint”– halfway through, we run through this phrase a couple of times. I think it’s an organ solo and at the end of each go, “joint 2 joint” is repeated. With the horns, it reminds me of a melodic part from the end of “Hot With U”…
There’s a bunch of little things throughout this song that are cool nuances. But I think I like the chorus the best. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Prince or his guest rapping it, it just sounds cool.

I think with Fallinlove2night, I think what I really like about this song… it reminds me a lot of those techno songs I loved in the 90’s. Check out the tracklist of the compilation “Fired Up!” and you’ll find a bunch of them there. “In a dream” is one of my favorites off that.
The synth string part I love from this Prince song reminds me of songs like that where there are these little refrains sprinkled throughout the song that just ring really nice in my ears.
And really, this song is just Prince attempting a dance club anthem ala “Night at the Roxbury” (why am I thinking that Captain would like that movie? It’s one of those so-bad-it’s-good type movies. I’m not sure if I can say the same for “Dude, where’s my car?” which I saw recently for the first time in maybe a decade)
And Prince succeeds at this. However much of it Prince and Josh Welton, I have no idea, but whoever it is, great job.

Million $ Show, I don’t think I’m quite on board with and I’m not sure if I will be. As far as Prince album openers go, it’s probably one of the least good. It gets your heart pumping, but there isn’t a lot there to get excited about. Heck, if that was your first impression of the album and based off it, you decide whether to continue with the rest of the album… this is one of those rare occasions where a Prince album where I don’t think a lot of people would pay to continue playing based off this song.
Underwhelmed is probably the word I’m thinking of… kinda like listening to the first part of Judith Hill’s album. Her voice adds a little something extra to this song, but it isn’t enough to elevate it to where it should be.

the other songs, I think I’ll just add notes if I have anything to add…

I think I might have to listen to the original “this could be us” so I know what’s different between it and the remix. I don’t remember there being a guitar solo in the original, but I could be wrong. It sticks with the song for the first couple minute, but then there’s the guitar solo and the rest is the same instrumentals repeating over and over. With his voice coming in every now and then to say what he said on the original song. The one thing I hate about remixes, though, is when a certain line is sampled repeatedly or it’s skipped over like a broken record… as if that’s hip and cool… it’s not. Just say the damn phrase and be done with it, people!

“Mr. Nelson”- I think I’ll still consider it a song, even though it doesn’t really go anywhere or have a finite conclusion. I think there was a song off Rave In2, one or two songs, where I took points off cuz it wasn’t put together well structurally. A good song has a beginning, middle and end. And this song kinda doesn’t. But it’s a nice listen. Yet, for whatever reason, I can’t remember it hours after I’ve heard it. But it’s a 2+ minute song that goes by so quickly…

“1000 x’s and o’s”… I thought this yesterday, but forgot to mention it… it reminds me of a couple R&B tracks I’ve heard on some NOW CD’s. Either NOW 5 or 6. And it sounds like Prince was going for that particular genre… but then again, this song originally dates back to 1992, so maybe he had the idea of this sound for a song long before any of those dudes did.

And “Hardrocklover” isn’t just a diss to hip-hop, it’s a diss to R&B and every other genre of music that isn’t rock music. Supposedly this song was about having a dream and this girl was really into rock music. But it kinda sounds like she and Prince are getting it on and for her, rock music is an aphrodisiac…

Also, Shut This Down is probably Prince’s last recorded signature scream… I picked that up yesterday and it was kinda sad to think about. I thought about it a few weeks ago, wondering if he just stopped doing them after a point or when his last one was… I think I have the answer to that now.


After a long day of work (it didn’t feel that long, but I spent half the day catching up on work left over from 2nd shift the day before), during the last hour, I listened to Prince’s Rally 4 Peace at Baltimore.
He live-streamed it on Tidal, but my fellow purple knight got me a copy of it and I’m hearing it for the first time today.

It felt like the best Prince concert I’ve heard 😛 he sounded amazing. The crowd was really supportive and that got my heart pumping. It opened with Million $ Show (including all the samples at the beginning) but ended short of where it does on this album.
Other than that and perhaps his live premiere of his song “Baltimore,” all of it was the hits… but it gave me a lot to think about for my next step after finishing the albums. So many of the songs were songs I personally love and enjoy and they are in my top 100 somewhere. He started with the slow version of “Let’s go crazy” and that went into “Take Me with U”… two songs in, I was already grooving in my seat. Raspberry Beret, 1999, Controversy… so many good songs. Then he brought in the ? of U/The One set and that was just so cool hanging with again.
Towards the end, he did a medley or sampler set. He teased Nasty Girl and said “I got too many hits”… and ended with Hot Thing and went through the whole song… man, I was cleaning the snow of my car, ready to go home from work and that was really great music to take me through that.
Just the best time, I hated to see the whole thing end.

So I wound up listening to the album through again… I’ll be podcasting the next couple days, although I might listen to the album on my iPod sometime tomorrow morning at work… we’ll see…

I was kinda unimpressed with some of it the first couple days- on day 3, I’m starting to get into it a lot more as a whole.

While I still remember how “Mr. Nelson” goes, I’ll comment on that first… that more or less becomes a techno dance club song too. I made that comparison with “Fallinlove2nite”… other than a few murmurs of “Mr. Nelson” and the line from “Clouds”- “where u r now, is a place that does not require time”… and “we don’t need no clouds, no” once or twice… after the main beat goes away, a poppy techno beat replaces it. There’s some guitar that aligns with it, a different sounding guitar. Then there’s this Arabian nuance that ends the measure.
I checked the time- it’s only 2:26… by the time I’m really getting into the song, it’s over…
the main hook in that techno part reminds me of something from a song featured in “Night at the Roxbury”- “This is the night” by Amber– there’s an instrumental part that sounds kinda similar to it or sounds like it uses similar instruments.

Another thought I had about this album as a whole- I had it earlier in the week and now I’m just recalling it… expanding on it, actually…
Originality is probably going to be the thing I’m going to critique as much as lyrics… lyrics are kind of a given at this point, sadly… and the main question I’m going to have to answer with this album:

Would I be as interested in this music if Prince wasn’t the artist writing/performing them?

An album like this… it’s not really my cup of tea. Just taking songs like Shut This Down and Ain’t About 2 Stop… if Prince hadn’t done them, I wouldn’t care and I wouldn’t listen to them at all, really… if I wasn’t judging the album as a whole at this moment and I was listening to this album just for fun, there might come a point where I’ll take those songs off my iPod and just not listen to them anymore.

Then there’s my favorite song- “1000 x’s and o’s”… that’s an R&B track, plain and simple.
Would I like this song if Prince hadn’t done it?
Maybe… if the artist singing it brings that same smolder and charisma, I think I would. But it has to be just the right person.
In Prince’s catalog, it’s probably a bit unspectacular 😛 but it’s one I’m always gonna love when it comes on.

And there were songs throughout this where I was thinking… I think it was those 2 songs I mentioned earlier… where I probably wouldn’t listen to them if Prince hadn’t done them… it brought back something that came to mind when I was listening to Rave and songs like “Hot with U”… it sounds like Prince is trying to be corner a certain demographic or he’s trying to embody a certain type of music… to me, it’s something that a guy in his 20’s and 30’s would do… not a dude in his 50’s… it kinda doesn’t come off right to me, but at the same time, he sometimes gets away with it just because he’s Prince and I can’t help but like him even when he’s doing something I don’t think fits him as an artist in this time in his life.

June- there was a lyric I wanted to mention, but kept forgetting… he’s talking about conversation starters coming too hard and nobody wants to be the martyr playing the wrong card… DUDE, I can TOTALLY relate to that. With anyone except my immediate family, I’m not comfortable with starting conversation with people. I usually let others draw attention first and I comment.

there was a song I was sent via email a while that I put on my iPod- it’s called “Da Bourgeoise” and it seems to be Prince ragging on one of his exes cuz he caught her kissing another woman. I think I heard this was controversial cuz he was not approving of same-sex relationships. I think Wendy & Lisa would know a bit more about that than I do, but I heard rumors they had another falling out with Prince because he didn’t approve of their sexuality- and this comment was made after he became a Jehovah’s Witness. He didn’t seem to mind that at all when they were in his band back in the 80’s

Beyond that, I listened to “Clouds” and “This could be us” to prep for the remixes on this album… I still really love “Clouds” and the other song… I was trying to find where the two version vary.

The original “This could be us” is a full song with a couple of verses and choruses although it meanders a little towards the end. It’s good, but not great.
The remix isn’t great either… but there are bits I like better than in the original. The guitar solo makes it a bit better. All it is is the first two verses and two halves of a chorus… the rest the majority is instrumental with some nice touches of piano throughout, not just here, but the whole song.

The podcast started out really interesting, but it often does…
supposedly most of this album is Josh Welton’s doing so Captain offered up the possibility of scoring this as a Prince album or just an album… to me, it really doesn’t matter who did what on it… I’m still going to score as I do the other Prince albums. And I’ll probably still be a bit harsh on this one no matter whose at fault for the things I don’t enjoy…

My fellow purple knight, as I’ve said, doesn’t really consider this a Prince album in the sense that Art Official Cage is his final album… and the HitNRun albums are compilations he put together.
The guys at the podcast put up something to that effect, but it got me thinking… their take on it:

Take HitNRun without the Phase One part… it could have been packaged with Art Official Age as a remix/outtake album… that’s a pretty cool way of looking at it that I probably wouldn’t have thought of. Maybe not for years 😛

at the same time, though, the way this album is sequenced, it seems like Prince had intended it to be read as an album… at least with the first couple songs 😛 after Fallinlove2nite, the songs don’t seem to run into each other the way they had previously…

Another interesting thing that came up- MC (who recently assumed his name Rob Esse, I do not know the story behind it, I haven’t heard why yet) came up with his own playlist for this album. He maintains that the sequencing is all wrong, so he did his own version of it. He didn’t say it on air, but said to check out his twitter account.
I was afraid that a) it’d be so far down I couldn’t find it (he only has 400+ tweets, so it didn’t take long at all) and b) I thought I’d have to sign up for Tidal to see it… I did not…

so it seems like it could work really nice… I might write it down so I can do it myself.
It’s only 9 songs… the first two songs are completely absent and I don’t think I’ll miss them that much.
I’ll say that much- the rest, just go to twitter.com/therobesse and scroll down until you find his custom playlist.

I’d been playing the CD in the car today so I’m kinda doing it in tandem with the podcast. I’m 6 songs in.
They ran a fan vote on this and so far, none of the songs have cracked the top of the playlist.
we’ve found #10, 5-9… kinda interesting. we haven’t found the worst song on the album…but based on Player’s comments that fans don’t like remixes, I think “Mr. Nelson” is dead last.

I was ready for my soul to be crushed when the guys said how they didn’t like Fallinlove2nite… so far, Player’s not into it for the very reason I am- he called it “Euro trash dance music” from the 90’s, MC doesn’t really get it, Toejam says it’s a great pop song, but it doesn’t appeal to him…
I’m hoping so much that Captain likes it simply because it’s a rubbish pop song 😛 I mean, he has to, right?

the guys were pretty harsh on Like a Mack, saying that the horns could have been stronger and a saxophone (I didn’t know there was a sax, actually) kinda kills it… it didn’t rank high in the poll either, I think it was maybe 6 or 7.
There was a laugh out loud moment- and of course Captain was behind it… they were talking about the guest rappers Curly Fryz… and Captain’s like “I like those girls, I gotta find them”…

I got through the first half hour during my last half hour of work and I was kinda dying inside to get out of work. I was just dying to just laugh or talk back to the guys like I’m so used to doing in the car when I’m driving by myself. It was such a relief to get in my car so I could do my usual crap 😛 I swear, it’s gonna be so crazy if I wind up getting to do that podcast with Captain and I’ll be talking to him for real, instead of just relying sarcastically to comments he recorded years ago, lol

Anyway, Captain made that comment and a laugh slowly broke over all of us. MC is like “that’s not creepy at all”… of course he was referring to finding pictures of them online to see what they looked like.
I don’t really care to know what they look like, honestly.
That’s been kind of a thing with me these past couple years. I don’t really want to know what certain artists look like cuz it helps maintain an illusion that they can look like however they appear in my head. If they appear at all.

I looked through the lyric booklet to look at some lyrics. In particular, I wanted to see what the hell Prince was talking about in the chorus for “ain’t about 2 stop”…
it’s a bunch of NONSENSE… I mean, there are a lot of sub-par songs in the first half of the album, but this is probably one of the better ones.
Captain spent a lot of time on the “bloodclot” line and apparently that word has multiple meanings in the urban dictionary… and I don’t think I want to look that up.
Somebody said how the “this could b us” remake is a bloodclot for the album and everyone just lost it… that is kind of a good point, actually.

There was a little more love for that song than I thought there’d be, so that’s kinda interesting.

I’m literally cranking my neck trying to think of what other points they brought up, but nothing’s coming.

it’s a couple days later and I’m done with the podcast. I had to listen to a couple bits again because my routine was completely interrupted by the fact my gas station of choice had all but one of stations blocked off. And the one I used to go to, the parking lot was still coated with snow and ice and it looks like it’s no longer open. I was so pissed I came straight home… I find that I’m very choosy about the gas stations I go to, maybe because I don’t like going to unfamiliar places all that often. Something about that scares me. I did my own way to a Barnes & Noble with GPS to go Mayte’s book, but that’s beside the point. I had motivation for that. This, I’m just filling up my car. There’s no pay off other than ease of mind that my car has a full tank.

ANYWAY… a lot of side tracking on this post…
I’ve finished the podcast and it was a good one. Actually, it was hilarious almost more than usual. But considering this album, you kinda have to have a sense of humor.
Not saying it’s BAD or the absolute worst, but as someone said, it’s not up to the “Prince standard”… the unfortunate thing is that he’s outdone himself so many times, you come to expect that.
I think the issue I have with this album in particular is that it’s Prince chasing trends and, as Captain said a couple times, “trying to be down with the kids”… I swear, I hear that and I immediately think of Billy Black in “Twilight” saying that line and Bella’s dad Charlie is like “oh yeah, Billy, you’re the bomb”…
I also don’t like the fact that this album had remixes on it. I’m surprised the guys didn’t complain that he could have put “Screw Driver” on it or some other song… I’m not sure if that’s going to change sometime next week, but I’m saying out front, I don’t like “Screw Driver” because of the chorus. It is so stupid and cheesy and Prince is better than that. Ok, moving on…

I was a little miffed at the fan vote, as I tend to be a lot… I don’t care if my tastes align with theirs all the time, but I like feeling validated sometimes in not being the only person who likes certain Prince music.
But the survey, in predictable fashion, got the top songs right. “June” being in the top 3 is debatable for me… but the others, definitely agree. They’ll be sure in mine.

I don’t know why, maybe it was because how special his “New Girl” appearance was to me, but I felt like my soul would be crushed if the guys didn’t like Fallinlove2nite… it’s not like it’s the best song he’d ever written or even the most original… but I just like it so much. It just makes me happy.
well, I leave off the other day saying Captain has to like it cuz of what type of song it is, but he’s also the type of guy you can’t really predict what he’ll say about Prince music. I guess that’s what makes him so memorable. To me anyway. I was waiting to be let down, but sure enough, he liked this song and said it’s one of his favorites on the album. I’m like “thank you!”… I don’t know who I was saying that to, but those were my exact words. And it made me feel even better to hear he disagreed about the fan vote putting it in the middle of the pack.

X’s Face kinda split the panel and I agree, it’s a weird song, but I oddly like it for some reason. It’s probably going to be another solid “I kinda like 3.5” song.
I had a thought the other day about the overall sound of it and how unnerving it can be.
It’s not quite the same thing, but for some reason, I got me thinking about a scene in this RDJ movie “Two Girls and a Guy” and in the scene, Robert Downey Jr. goes into another room of his apartment with Heather Graham and this loud pulsing instrumental is playing and it ends up with him giving her oral sex and she’s moaning and enjoying it.
…and then in the next scene, the interrogation of him (cuz she and this other girl found out that he’d been dating both of them at the same time) continues and she says that what happened in the other room meant nothing…
Yeah, ok, right…
It was the tail end of 2011. I was in the guest bedroom close to midnight watching this movie (cuz I’d never seen it and I’d wanted to for a while cuz I heard this role was written for him… kinda as a way for him to work through whatever drug issues he was going through at the time… I think a year later, he wound up in the same prison as Charlie Manson, but in a different part of the prison cuz he was eventually released on parole…
I don’t like talking about Robert’s past issues cuz he actually beat them and has done so successfully. I’d rather think of him in the present- although I admit I want him to do more than play Iron-Man for the rest of his career. That’s not going to get him an Oscar).
yikes, another long rant… I think the point I wanted to make was that it wasn’t that I was completely uncomfortable with that scene, but I was still getting to R-rated stuff in movies at that point. I was 25. Now I’m 31- still a virgin, not in a hurry to change that clearly, but I’m a little desensitized to sex scenes in movies. I guess it just comes down to how they’re portrayed and shot.

ANYWAY, no more side tracking… I like X’s Face for some odd reason. Maybe cuz it brings back memories of songs like “Automatic” and “Computer Blue” where Prince seemed to be on the brink on insanity. He isn’t in this song, but the music is off-kilter in that same way.
The fan vote was kinda favorable of this one, I think top 4, which was surprising.

Mr. Nelson got some praise and some not… Captain liked it a lot, especially the second half. Toejam doesn’t like the second half, but kinda likes the first part. Player wasn’t feeling it, I don’t think.

Then we get to the good stuff… funny thing, I listened to their July 2015 news show where they were talking about new songs and stuff… I almost didn’t need to listen to that podcast cuz they actually inserted the clips of them reviewing Hardrocklover and X’s Face… and later said whether their thoughts have changed.
For the most part, not really… with Hardrocklover, MC liked it even more.
X’s Face got a little benefit cuz it makes more sense within the album.
Captain oddly said he sometimes skips Hardrocklover cuz it doesn’t feel like it fits on the album. I can kinda get that.

I also expected him to trash 1000 x’s and o’s cuz it’s a “bland R&B track”… he really didn’t. He said it was good, but maybe not one of his favorites on the album. “bland” and “R&B” were not even spoken.
and I was happy to find how much a lot of people liked this song.
Supposedly it holds the record as the longest gap between a song being recorded and it appearing on an album. Someone mentioned Xtraloveable, but said it’s not on an album.
If I was listening to this at a table like the one I’m typing at right now, I’d smack my head down on it saying “wait until you get the next album, omg!” THAT is the winner right there.

“June”- the conversation on it was predictably hilarious. And by that, I mean I knew that it was going to be funny hearing this guys talk about. But I didn’t think it’d be nearly this good a discussion.
They got really deep and of course Captain is the one (although going off something Toejam previously said) who had to say that it could be about nothing and he put it on an album to make us think it was about something.
That could very well be true, we’ll never get to ask him about it 😛
Toejam compared it to “Had U” and “My little pill”… I had a “Had U” moment with this song during one of my listens as well. But I prefer this to “Had U” cuz even though it doesn’t reach a destination, at least it feels like it’s heading for one.
It’s funny to me that I’m connecting songs on this album to songs off The Vault and Chaos & Disorder- both are brand new albums to me and I only heard them 5-6 ever and it was in the week I was discussing them. They still feel like outsiders to the whole Prince canon I’ve had configured in my head for 10 years, but suddenly, they seem to feel like they’re fitting in a bit more. And of course I’m connecting them with another album I’ve barely listened to.

Completely forgot to mention this… one of those few times I’ve heard this album before… I don’t know if it was the second or third time… but I put in my car while I was driving to work on a Friday. Earlier that morning (like 3am, I think), we got a phone call and my dad hung up immediately thinking it was some random robo-call (we get A LOT). I go to work and the manager tells me that he tried to call, saying for me not to come in. I was still a temp at the time and they had called me off a few times already cuz there wasn’t enough work for me to do. A couple of those calls came early in the morning and this was the first time. I think I called later to check on things and I tried to say I’d rather hear at 11pm than really early in the morning and the reaction I got back said that it couldn’t happen like that. One of those rare moments where I’ve felt put off by how things are run there. No work place is perfect, of course. Shortly after that, we eliminated 3rd shift and it was like that until this new project (that we’re still working through reprocessing) came up. I could say more, but that’s another stupid rant you don’t want to read.
Point is that the drive home felt like it went by SO fast because I had this album in my car and I listened to the rest of it moments after I’d heard the first couple songs. So I remember that day as a bit of a happy accident… but apparently, I didn’t remember the album all that much from that.

June is memorable because of the pasta reference… that’s freaking hilarious, them talking about that and Captain how that’s not something you bloody write a song about :falloff: that always threw me off too, I gotta be honest (and clearly, I am sometimes TOO honest on this blog). His rants about songs are sometimes the best parts of these podcasts, but they have to be about songs I don’t have any emotional attachment to. Otherwise, I get stupidly offended. But the guy is never going to make me stop smiling or laughing- there’s always something. Seriously, if you don’t get this song, give this podcast a listen for this part alone.

I think the parts I remembered- for the most part, were things I didn’t like about this album. I remember Prince being current and modern and not quite feeling it. I remember the annoying Indian “snake charmer” horn in Ain’t About 2 Stop. I remember how X’s Face left me off kilter. I remember how much I love Fallinlove2nite and how it goes. I didn’t remember how 1000 x’s and o’s went, but I remembered it being one of the few romantic songs Prince has put out in a long time.
The rest, I had to really listen to this album again to remember… unfortunately, I think I blocked this album out cuz of what I didn’t like about or how it was something of a disappointment. I did say that I like to cast Prince in a positive light as often as possible- so that might be why I’ve sidetracked so much through this post. I don’t want to run the risk of being too critical.

To answer another curiosity I have, I’m going to see if he ever performed any tracks live…
I got sidetracked on Princevault cuz they recommended the book on the Purple Rain sessions… I checked Amazon to see how much it is, it’s not a bad price, but I might wait for paperback. I checked Jim Walsh’s book on The Gold Experience and the 90’s and that’s on paperback.
Of course I read reviews and a lot of positive ones.
And I had to check out Matt Thorne’s book to see what people said and there were a few reviews I really should have read before asking for it for Christmas… there are a few who said it was too long. I get that, but I also stretched it out for a year, practically… but there were some I agreed completely with, people saying that he casts Prince in a negative light. another said it was more speculative than fact…
I’ll have to do my own proper review at another point.
Back to business…

Million $ Show- it was played over PA system a few times and also in a 2016 sampler set, but I know it was also at the Baltimore show cuz I heard it there
there’s a clip of an interview here of Prince saying how artists aren’t being compensated for creation or promotion, but to send the music and then wait for money and then are asked to perform for free… and shortly after this interview, the song was written… I don’t know if that’s enough to get me into this song more than I am.
Shut This Down- done sparingly in sample sets…
Ain’t About 2 Stop- sampler set once in 2016
Like a Mack- never done live… why do I feel like this could have been something he could have done in the Symbol era with Mayte dancing with him? The upbeat nature of it reminds of me “The Continental”- both songs kinda get my heart pumping with excitement
Fallinlove2nite- never done live… and the New Girl episode was lip-synched 😛 but to me, that still counts
X’s Face- 2015 and 2016 SAMPLER SETS (I’m seeing a pattern…)
Hardrocklover- NEVER live… which is so sad… but there’s a cool story on it about how Prince told Josh Welton to put it together- he said he wanted it start quiet and then erupt, like a rollercoaster… and June was recorded in the same hour… but this is proof that this album really was a collaboration- Prince telling Josh the kind of sound he wanted and he’d add his own things on top of it… that’s kinda cool… whether the album as a whole succeeds, I’ll find out in a bit

1000 x’s and o’s… interesting… this was written originally for Rosie Gaines to sing lead vocals (I misread this as a duet) and Carmen Electra to rap, but supposedly a bandmember told him not to so he didn’t 😛 (gee, I wonder why… he wanted so badly to make “fetch” happen, but it was never gonna happen… at least not Carmen as a singer/rapper). Then later for Nona Gaye’s album, but that never materialized. He performed it on piano at an O2 show in 2007 as part of 21 nights. And then we have this version… he did it at the Sydney Opera House in 2016 :O wow… I wonder if the guys at the podcast saw him do that. They did do a podcast about the Opera House shows and I’ll give that a listen sometime next week.

June, not surprisingly… never done live…

So now, I need to write down how the songs rank so I can compare them to my own thoughts… and then I’ll listen to MC’s custom tracklist…
there’s no way Like a Mack is in the middle of my pack or Fallinlove2nite for that matter… but we’ll see…

just wanted to mention one other thing- I was lying in bed this morning 😛 and a couple random Prince songs were coming to mind… I think these 30+ Prince albums have finally caught up with me, and I have one left :falloff: oh geesh…

on these first two songs… I can’t fault the music too much even if it’s a lot of digital noise… the beat on Shut This Down, I can’t help but dance to. But these two are already taking a pretty big hit on the technical side of things… I’m not at all sure what I’m going to do for components yet

Now for the Rob Esse tracklist…

it was funny that Toejam said how the fast part of Mr. Nelson sounds like something off a video game 😛 I totally get that and I love it 😛 I actually have to listen to that part of the song twice, I like it so much…

the big peeve from the guys is the implied cursing on this album… yeah, that is a bit much after a while. Almost every song has something like that.

So, I think MC was onto something with this… there seems there’s more of a story in his version of the album. And also, the songs fit a little better together.
I think my issue with it is that it just gets off to such a rough start, that it feels like it’s over before it can make a full recovery.
The first three songs and how they’re put in a row as they are… it just doesn’t quite work. That puts me off kilter more than the music on X’s face, much more.

Let’s put it like this- I’ll do the scoring for this album and then I’ll take the two tracks off it and see how MC’s version would score out of 10 and how it benefits from the absence of those 2 songs.

Here it goes:

MILLION $ SHOW
…probably one of the weakest openings Prince has started an album with… which is sad. It gets me kinda moving, but I’m not smiling from ear to ear when I listen to it. Someone on the podcast compared Judith Hill to Beyoncé with how she sings the song and the hand claps (I was waiting for someone to mention “Single Ladies”… I HATE THAT SONG SO MUCH, I cannot even tell you… and it’s a good part of why I don’t like Beyoncé as an artist- her songs do not appeal to me at all and half the time her voice makes me cringe, it hits some notes that don’t sound good in my ears)… anyway, not the best song for a Prince album to start on and it doesn’t get off to a good start because of it
Technical Merit- 3.5 (some lyrics aren’t great, the originality is lacking and the fact it starts with 3 other better Prince album openers… it’s a wasted opportunity)
Components Score- 2.5 (yeah, I “kinda dislike” this one… never said that about a Prince song before)
Total score- 6

SHUT THIS DOWN
The beat is kinda generic with some cool things in it. Prince’s vocal is a little too grating sung like this, so that takes a little away from it. And it’s just… it doesn’t really go anyway… I like it when I listen to it, but when I actually think about it, I hate the fact that it’s here and Prince thought it was ok to put out on an album. He’s far better than this.
Technical Merit- 3 (I gave originality a 0 cuz there isn’t enough here for me to feel like this is a Prince song)
Components Score- 2.5 (this was a struggle to figure out… I’m looking at other Prince songs I gave the same score and this is worse than a lot of my other 2.5’s… but it is slightly better than Freaks on this side and Push it up…)
Total score- 5.5 (ouch…)

AIN’T ABOUT 2 STOP
this song has a lot of the same issues as the previous song, but it does some things better, so it will get a slightly better score for that reason. the snake charmer horn, as I call it, is the one thing I absolutely hate about it… then there are some lyrics… one in particular is one I couldn’t understand in the chorus and it’s a stupid made-up thing: “rock star salad crusher can-a-trick away” I’m sorry, Prince, but what the hell?!!! (imagine me whining as I say this…). So, scoring business…
Technical Merit- 4 (music & lyrics)
Components Score- 3 (the best I can be is neutral on this…)
Total score- 7

LIKE A MACK
yeah, I admit, I didn’t like this one nearly as much as I did the past couple times… but it’s still one of the highlights of an otherwise weak album… It’s the best musically of the songs so far on virtue of the horn line 😛 and it’s one of the best instances of rap on a Prince song. If more rap was like this, I’d listen to rap… just saying… and I think if another artist did this other than Prince, I think I would like it. But he has a good sense of rhythm. Not great, but good enough to keep up with Curly Fryz
Technical Merit- 4.5 (“my click is hot” is an odd lyric- I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean… and I don’t know about the “club full of thots”- it’s supposedly an acronym for something, but I’m afraid to look it up and have it run the song for me…)
Components Score- 4 (it’s not close to a masterpiece, but I would go out of my way to listen to it)
Total score- 8.5

THIS COULD B US
This will be interesting to see how it compares to the original…
I don’t think I’d go out of my way to listen to either version of it. It’s nice when it comes on, but it does come and go.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (it’s not the most original way to remix a song and there are a couple of extra musical things- tiny moments- that Josh Welton didn’t need to add. They irk me just slightly…and it runs a little long without it going anywhere notable after the guitar solo ends)
Components Score- 3.5
Total score- 7 (the original- I gave it 8.5 and I took off points for originality and some lame lyrics- this version erased some lyrics I didn’t like)

FALLINLOVE2NITE
you know this is going to get a good score… I really like this one… one of the highlights of the album where I wouldn’t like it much at all without it…
Technical Merit- 4.5 (it’s a little too similar to some dance club songs for me to call this a true Prince original… but that goal was accomplished well, his first time doing a track like this… one of the best Josh Welton productions on this album)
Components Score- 5
Total score 9.5 (I think when it does come down to my other 9.5 tracks, this won’t be nearly as high on the list… just cuz it’s more recent and it doesn’t have as much going for it as some others do)

X’s FACE
This is such an odd song, but I oddly like it…
Technical Merit- 4.5 (that stupid thing with the monkey kills any buzz, however odd it may be, and impact this song has… yeah, I let Prince get away with the “purple banana” lyric in “Let’s go crazy’… but I think because it is “Let’s go crazy,” he got a free pass… )
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8

HARDROCKLOVER
Probably the best production on this whole album… and you can really tell that it’s a Prince song on the vocal delivery and the use of guitar and of course the screams…
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (yeah, maybe one day it will be a perfect 10/10… but I’m still not 100% over the moon for it even though I do like it a lot)

MR. NELSON (:facepalm: I almost completely forgot about this one… MC’s tracklisting has sunk into my brain)
I think I’m going to like this one more than most… I just wish this song was a bit longer sometimes… and it doesn’t really go anywhere
Technical Merit- 4 (not the most original way to remix a song and it’s too short)
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8

1000 X’S AND O’S
oh man… I’d easily put this on a playlist with my favorite Prince ballads… it’s so sweet and romantic. It sounds like Prince could have written this about Mayte after she overhears Diamond & Pearl talking trash about her and it’s him reassuring her that nobody works as hard as her… it had to at least have been inspired by her. But that didn’t even figure to my love for this song originally and it certainly won’t change anything about that. I can’t go higher than 5/5 for components, after all 😉
Technical Merit- 4 (unfortunately, I gotta be try to be honest with this one… it’s not an R&B original, I’ve heard some songs similar to this song… and there’s this lyric where he covers up him saying the word “bitch”… it kinda kills the flow of it)
Components Score- 5
Total score- 9

JUNE
oh yeah, this oddity… the guys were kinda harsh on it being the album closer… I don’t think you could put it anywhere else, but yeah, it is a bit of a downer. It’d be even more so if Phase Two never came out and this was the last song on any Prince album… luckily, that isn’t the case… but it does make you wonder if he wrote this knowing (like he did with the Way Back Home/Affirmation Suite on AOA) his time left was running out… well, it makes ME wonder anyway…
Technical Merit- 4.5 (I almost took off for lyrics cuz he said something being born too late and should’ve been at Woodstock… that doesn’t make sense cuz if he was born literally at Woodstock, that’s even later… but taking the podcast into account, MC was saying how someone was referenced that was at Woodstock so maybe Prince meant being born metaphorically as an artist on the stage… I took half off cuz the song doesn’t really go anywhere and there’s really no resolution at the end… that’s a bit of a setdown)
Components Score- 3 (I don’t love or hate it- I’m bloody neutral)
Total score- 7.5

Ok, ranking from best to worst…

1. Hardrocklover- 9.5
2. Fallinlove2nite- 9.5
3. 1000 x’s and o’s- 9
4. Like a Mack- 8.5
5. X’s Face- 8
6. Mr. Nelson- 8
7. June- 7.5 (haha- June 7th is Prince’s birthday… not intentional at all)
8. Ain’t about 2 stop- 7
9. This could b us- 7
10. Million $ Show- 6
11. Shut this down- 5.5

Yeah, I came closer to the fan vote than I did with AOA, but there are still some big differences. And I’m ok with that.

Total score for the album- 85.5/110… 7.8/10… I do have a couple other 7.8 albums… to three digits, this is 7.77

I think it’s slightly higher than Controversy and The Symbol album, but oddly, Chaos & Disorder and The Vault are higher than this… and it’s also better than The Black Album, which I was pretty harsh on too…
but ultimately, HitNRun is going to be near the bottom of the album list cuz certain songs and production choices let it down… not to mention lack of originality and terrible lyrics on some accounts…

so, take out the bottom two songs… MC’s tracklist of HitNRun is…

74 out 90 possible points would be 8.2…
This album would be a 8.2, which is slightly less than I gave for Planet Earth… but that would also put it above so many albums considered as masterpieces… that I don’t think I’d be ok with…

So yeah, some interesting results…

I REALLY don’t want to think about the fact that I’m going into Prince’s last album next week…

so I’ll focus on the positive:

go to twitter.com/therobesse and scroll through the tweets to find the link to the HitNRUn Phase One tracklist on Tidal.com. You don’t need to subscribe to Twitter or Tidal to read it.

And my top songs that I’m taking forward to my top 100 Prince songs:

Hardrocklover
Fallinlove2nite
1000 x’s and o’s

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #36: Art Official Age

Oh boy…
This is gonna be a big one.

My fellow purple knight said this a couple times about this album: that ART OFFICIAL AGE really is Prince’s last album.
We technically have 2 more to go (this doesn’t count the Deliverance EP that’s been supposedly blocked by The Estate, but most hardcore fans already have mp3s of… and this also doesn’t count the 4Ever compilation and Purple Rain re-issue).

However, if you take a look into the material and how this album is put together… it does make one think. There is a chance that Prince knew he didn’t have a lot of time left, so this could potentially be his swan song album. Much like Blackstar was for David Bowie.
There are certain fans, particularly older jaded ones, who don’t like to put a lot of stock in what Prince writes about. A lot of us love to read into his lyrics and connect them to his exes as well as certain periods in his life. But, you know, there are people who suck the fun out of it and say that you can’t believe everything he says.
“I love u, but don’t trust u anymore”- that’s a song I used to put a lot of stock into, but after reading the other side of it, I now know it’s a bit of a fallacy.

However… yeah, I’m using that word again… in the early stages of my getting to know this album, some of the final pieces of it made me think about stuff. And I really feel like it’s one of those rare occasions where Prince was extremely honest with us. I mean, it does make sense, considering his recent history with releasing music.. or not.

So onto the history…
I don’t remember how soon after Plectrum Electrum I listened to this album. I just know I listened to Plectrum Electrum more and liked it more. Or maybe because I read that most fans preferred AOA, I decided I liked Plectrum Electrum more- just because it’s the underdog of the two.
As much as I like The Gold Experience, sometimes I like Come more because it’s not the most popular between the two choices.

I think this one took me a little while to warm up to.
My earliest impressions came from the Yahoo! livestream and a couple mp3s I got from my fellow purple knight- Clouds and Breakfast Can Wait I think were the two.

With the livestream, I remember waiting up late that night- ok, maybe not late by Prince standards, but it was 11:30 going on midnight, I think.
They kept focusing on the stage with the microphone and I heard the first song play. Then “The Breakdown” was playing and the host they had was singing along to it amongst the crowd waiting for Prince and the girls to come on stage.
…once they did, I think I gave them 2 songs and I actually went to bed.
I might have alluded to this on the previous post, but I was dealing with some severe stomach cramps. Probably the worst I’d experienced and PMS has been a bitch to me on plenty other occasions. That, coupled with how long it took Prince and the girls to show up and perform, I guess I just had a lot of painful (pun intended and not) memories where it took me a while to get excited about this music. Particularly the start of the album.
Now, I think I like “The Breakdown” a lot more than I did… but we’ll see with time.

Other people have called AOA a concept album that talks about the Internet and downloading your conscience into the cloud. It’s an interesting idea- kinda like how Lotusflow3r was a concept album about another universe.
I mean, I’m on with a lot of Prince’s eccentricities, but if that’s what he was going for with these albums, it’s just a little beyond me. Almost like my brain can’t expand anymore than it already has with his music 😛

Matt Thorne had many good things to say about it. Even when he says some songs don’t fit in, they somehow work. I was half expecting him to talk crap about my favorite song on the album or say that the realization reached by Affirmation III is precisely what I described earlier- an older jaded fan not wanting to believe in anything Prince says.
But he talked about the livestream and how this girl really didn’t know what her stuff. She read the name on Prince’s thigh from a 1988 photo as “Lovesex”… he goes on to write that it shows Prince values cute girls or big personalities over knowledge of his work. I really don’t believe that. Supposedly she’s the one who did the cover art for the album and that was her ticket to host this thing.
She also hung out with 3rdEyeGirl for a bit in one of the rehearsal spaces and Josh Welton in one of the studios where he played some unreleased material. I liked getting to know the band. But I really wanted Prince to show up, you know, sooner… or at least give us more of an idea what this album is about or why he’d been away from recording so long.

Anyway, letting all that go and just gonna focus on the album now…

Art Official Cage- after hearing this song, you kinda realize Prince meant the album title to be read as “artificial cage”… which might be a metaphor for what the Internet is or what your profile on social media is like.
As far as lyrics go, I can’t pick a lot out, but it’s mostly because of laziness. I hear a lot of interesting sounds. I hear the bass. I hear “c’mon let’s go” with varied voices and there’s a loud sound at the end of it.
So much happens that I can’t make sense of a lot of it, but I almost don’t want to.

Clouds- probably one of my favorite lead lines Prince has written in a long time. The staccato keyboard notes as well as some lush notes and the Linn-drum and the occasional “sproung” of a bass… I could listen to that hook on a loop for ages and just chill… I don’t need no vocals or anything else.
“we’re getting high on something that doesn’t require clouds”… that could be a metaphor for a couple things. It could be “the cloud”- like going back to the Internet or it could be getting high on marijuana…
there’s a female vocal that comes a couple times on this album, where she says that he’d been in suspended animation for 45 years… I heard that on the first listen and wondered if Prince was self-referencing how long it’s been since his previous album release… today, I felt a winge of sadness that was a little hard to shake. Hopefully I can shake it off after a point- I really like this song and don’t want to be sad every time I hear it. It really is quite happy.

The Breakdown- these are some lyrics I need to look up at a later point to really see what he was going for. Because a couple things are coming to mind. One is that he’s talking about an ex lover that keeps hurting him to think about. But today I was thinking if this has to do with the rest of the album, where he’s talking about isolating himself less and this girl is getting to him more than any other has.
One lyric that suggests this: “there’s a door that you can walk through, where there used to be a wall”

The Gold Standard- it’s kinda like the newest version of “Feel Better/Good/Wonderful” and other funky jams in recent history. I didn’t realize before today just how long it was… I thought it wasn’t nearly as long so I could fit it in this morning.
It’s over 6 minutes long and I was in the car in the parking lot waiting through the last couple minutes…
it’s been a little out there and serious and now it’s time to party a bit…

U Know- it’s the most modern of the songs so far, almost nodding to current hip-hop… the one thing that annoys is this female voice says “uh huh uh huh” over and over in the first couple minutes… just take that part out, please… the rest of it is pretty cool and mesmerizing. No idea what he’s going on about.

Breakfast Can Wait- for some reason, this reminds me of “Come On” from NewPower Soul. Maybe it’s the Camille voice. Maybe it’s reference to muffins (one of the first exchanges I had with Captain on Twitter- I said how I didn’t even notice before he said it how many references Prince made to muffins… and then he’s like “omg, the muffins”… something like that… it was a good chat)
It’s easily one of the stand-outs on this album. Should’ve been on the radio- seriously!

This Could B Us- it’s crazy that Prince got the idea for this song from a meme- it had that line underneath a picture of him and Apollonia on the back of his Purple Rain motorcycle. It’s a nice little song.

This is What it Feels Like- this song annoys me because it never explains the title- what does what feel like? I don’t understand. It sounds nice, but that one thing just bugs me

…so, this album has 13 tracks on it… 2 of them are actually segues or spoken parts, and I won’t count them towards the score of the album.
Affirmation I, II and III- but it’s what binds this album together and kinda gives it its underlying message.

Way Back Home- my favorite on this album… it really feels like Prince being the most honest he’s been on record. And it’s not about a relationship or sex… it’s about himself. How he’s felt like he didn’t belong. How most people are born dead, but he was born alive. And power to the one who could raise a child like him. And it’s all about finding his way back home… it’s a metaphor for just getting back to the place you were meant to be.
But as much as I saw Prince in this, I could almost see myself in it as well.

Sometimes I do wonder if I’d always isolated myself by choice or I’ve done it more than I became a Prince fan… but I feel a kinship with the lonely lifestyle he led. But a lot of the time, I just like thinking to myself and I don’t crave companionship. But a lot of it is because I don’t think other people would get me and I isolate myself because it’s easier than putting myself out there and being rejected.

FunkNRoll remix… I don’t really know why he released a remix of this song- it wasn’t all that great the first time. But I almost prefer the remix version- if only for the part where the pace really picks up and his scream echoes and it sounds so cool.
Sounds cool, but the song doesn’t have a lot of substance to it. In either version, really.

Time… this song runs way too long… today I could appreciate that a little bit more because I had the time (ha ha) to take that in… but even then, there came a point where I’d had my fill. Not enough changes in it to keep my attention for 6 minutes and 49 seconds… I’m sorry, that’s a little bit ridiculous.

Which leaves the final Affirmation- I don’t know if it’s the first or second time I heard, but I just had this huge realization hearing it… and I swear tears were streaming down my face… it was an amazing feeling.
Now, it’s a little more than that… it makes things difficult.
First the female voice said that in his former life, he felt isolated from others as well as himself, but that was never the case. “you are actually everything and anything that you can think of- all of it is you.”
…and the final line- “there is only one destination- it’s you.”
…I think I took more out of this for my own interpretation than thinking about how Prince related to it.
I’ve had some pretty incredible thought-provoking deep realizations from hearing Prince music- mostly listens to “Gold”… but this went on to join them.

That’s it for now.

My fellow purple knight replied to me on Twitter and said how he hopes that this album gets a good score. Again, he said the exact thing I mentioned- how it’s his last true album and the last two were really compilations. It’s a fair point.
I have a pretty good idea of what this album is going to get based on first impressions. It’ll definitely be an 8.0, but I don’t see it getting higher than 8.4. As much as I like a lot of songs on here (I anticipate a couple 4.5 components scores), there are 3-4 I’m neutral on or only kind of like. Technically, it is very strong. There aren’t many tracks where there’s this one little thing that bugs me or keeps it from being perfect. Which is kinda what happened with Plectrum Electrum.

With Way Back Home, though, as much as I want to give it a perfect score, I probably won’t because I don’t think anyone would agree that it’s a perfect 10 song. I could go back to .org and write that as a thread. Chances are every other reply would say I’m crazy and demanding I stop drinking the Purple Kool-Aid.
And actually, I don’t think I’d ever been personally accused of that. It had been implied- one person or two said to me that because I was a new fan that I didn’t really know what I was talking about yet. I remember one occasion when someone said I was being stupid for talking about what Musicology has meant to me when I only had the album for 6 months. Yeah, people are jerks, but I’ve met a couple good people from there. One I’m still good friends with. And have mentioned at least 3 times already 😛

So today I was listening to the album and some more pieces clicked into the concept of it all.
And it kinda had to do with some of the Andy Allo featured tracks.

We’re first introduced to the “artificial age” or “artificial cage” in the first song and it’s a place in the future.
This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this, but the first time I’m mentioning it: there’s a scene in this where Prince is interrogated. “You need to tell us what you know!”- the second voice sounds like him mocking them and he gets his head dunked in a bucket of water. (Ok, that’s the visual I get). Why he’s being interrogated or tortured, I have no idea. I need to look at the lyrics.

Clouds seems to be about him getting into this brand new age, and he already seems like he’s adjusted to it. Either that, he’s introducing us to it as a already a long-time member of it.
I think for much of my work day, the main hook from this song was playing around in my head and I was loving it.

Fun fact (well, sort of )… because Clouds was the title of this song, I started really getting into this album while playing video games (because, doesn’t it always?)… it’s Cloudy Domain in Spyro: A Hero’s Tail. In that game, each level takes me roughly an hour to complete. The worlds are bigger and a little more intricate (and there are some mini-games as well) so it takes longer than in the original Playstation trilogy. Meaning, I can get through the whole album before finishing the level. And that’s just fine.
The album overall actually works well with it as a backdrop. As the name suggests, it’s a bunch of platforms up in the clouds and you need to navigate carefully cuz if you fall, you fall forever and die. Good thing about this game- there are no lives, so you never get a game over. Game overs used to scare me when I was younger.

The Breakdown- nothing really new with this one, but I actually heard a reference to it later in the album so it’s all connected.
The “death lasers” (as Captain called them) used to annoy me about this song cuz they felt out of place. Or just came out of nowhere in the third repetition of the main line in the chorus. But this is supposed to be a futuristic album, so they kinda make sense.

The Gold Standard- I was running a little late to work, but I wound up getting to the end of the song before arriving. And the end actually got here faster than I expected. So it really is the right length.
This is one song that doesn’t really feel like it’s with the concept of the album. But we kinda did need a break from what was going on in the album. A little change of pace.

But then “U know” brings it all back… it really fits in with the concept well. And probably the closest song to the opening song in the overall sound of it.
Don’t really know what the lyrics are- I just hear “You know how much I want u, you know how much I care” and then it sounds like he’s saying “when you’re gone, you know I’m gonna flaunt ya”…
I was thrown off by the rap delivery of this when I first heard it. But with more listens, I like it more than I did. I’m not sure how successful it is, but it’s an attempt by Prince to be current. It sounds like something hip-hop, but he puts his own unique mesmerizing twist on it.

Interestingly- the next three songs are ballad or love songs or relationship songs… none of them seem to have anything in common with the rest of the album up to this point.
Breakfast Can Wait is the best out of the three. It’s well written, it’s light-hearted and fun. It has Camille towards the end and the things that voice does- I just love it.

This Could B Us and This is What It Feels like- they sound like they fit together. Because Prince wants to get together with this girl, but she’s fooling around. Then in the next song, he’s saying how she’s dissing him and he wants them to hook up.
So Breakfast Can Wait is almong like filler.

However- the Affirmations kinda bring things together.
The female voice starts by saying “before you have any interactions with the opposite sex, we will need to debrief you”… something to that effect- it’s odd that the three relationship tracks come before this and not after… like he’s explaining his concept out of order.

Way Back Home… this song is only 3 minutes and 3 seconds long… maybe 5 seconds… but it sometimes feels like it ends as soon as it begins…
But I had a time with this song… like I’m falling further down the rabbit hole and this is the epitome of a rabbit hole Prince song… I’m just being led along and my mind is reeling, trying to connect the dots quickly so I don’t miss out on any other ones along the way.
I got stuck on one lyric and a few instances of that train of thought kept coming back in those 3 minutes.
He says something about his bed being made because in his dreams, he roams… it makes me think about how he’s a night owl and he doesn’t really sleep and he’s recording into the early hours of the morning… and the dreams where he roams… that’s him in the studio writing or recording songs.
It brought me back to something he said before he started writing Slave on his face- he said how he was writing so many songs because he was searching for something. Some called it “panning for gold” and the song Gold is one of the results of that. But he said something to the effect of him writing and recording to find the answers… searching for some great truth from God.

Ultimately… I think this song was about that. And some other stuff.
I had a thought when it ended and went right into FunkNRoll… that comes so abruptly… and he also had this on the other album. Either he REALLY liked this song… or he put it here on purpose to hide something. To maybe disguise how serious and how truthful the previous song was.
Or he maybe wanted me to think that and he just stuck it there randomly.

Time… I’ve made my feelings clear on this.
But I noticed something new… this song actually mentions “This is what it feels like” and “The Breakdown” but Andy Allo is saying how she’s breaking him down and she says “down down” kinda like he does, but slightly differently.

Yeah, it’s all connected.
And then the final affirmation came and I turned all the music in my car off for the rest of the trip. All 5 minutes of it.
I could almost hear the echo of the music and the voices in my car even when it was quiet but the engine running. But I couldn’t quite remember what Prince’s voice sounded like. Like I lost him for a bit.

But now, I have him back and he’s talking about this same song.

“I’ve heard about those happy endings, but still a mystery…”
some bits of that song sound like some other hip-hop song I’ve heard. It’s not a wholly original concept. But whatever it is, it’s amazing.


I’m starting to think I can’t not give it a perfect score… but I have a week to figure that out.

I gave the album a listen during my last hour of work and I strategically did it so I’d be doing the final track in my car while I’m sitting in the parking lot… but after today, I don’t think I’ll be listening to this album (at least not the whole album) at work again. I’m thinking there’s going to come a point where I’m not going to be able to disguise my emotions with “way back home”…
I mean, there was a point halfway through where I almost couldn’t feel him anymore. It was pretty crazy.

Earlier in the day, I had one of those “I really miss Prince” moments that I haven’t had in a couple months… and I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with the album I’m on right now.
So my remedy- playing one of the unreleased tracks I got through email, then “White Flags for White Chimneys” and ending with WHITECAPS and TICTACTOE… it worked.

I have three from this period. The other day, I played them all back to back.

“That Girl Thang” was what I started things with today… it’s Prince on acoustic guitar where he seems to be plucking it instead of picking it. And it seems to be about him crushing on a girl, like nothing’s changed in nearly 40 years… the cool thing about this song is that it feels timeless and I picture him much younger than he really was when he recorded it.

“White flags for white chimneys”- I think I’ll have to give its own blog post at some point because I’m getting to know it a lot better.
It has a really good start, but I find that I lose my attention span after going through “Red Bike”… nothing against the song, but I feel like it’s one too many slow songs in a row.
“Balloon” has a really nice lead line on keys, Lisa’s voice is a nice listen.
“Invisible” and “Salt & Cherries” are such fun rockin’ tracks.
Then after a while, it kinda meanders. There’s a nice song that’s part vocal, part instrumental and I think it brings back some instrumentals from “Balloon.”
Then there are bonus tracks like an acoustic version of “Niagara Falls” with some cool percussion effects on it. And one “Viste” that has a little demo on the back end of it, but it sounds like one of them is ad-libbing all these random non-words and they made it into a song.

So I get to the album and it was a REALLY good listen.
The first song got me thinking that Prince had been pursuing something like this over the last couple albums (There’ll never b another like me; Compassion– and music on both their corresponding albums) and this is the end result of that… it’s kinda hard to pinpoint what I’m trying to say here, but it was like he was pursuing, more modern direction for a while and he’d finally succeeded in nailing that.
There’s a lot of talk how Prince’s albums come in threes and how the first two are the works in progress towards a new direction and the third is the accomplishment of that.
In this case, Plectrum Electrum doesn’t really count… or really Lotusflow3r- take those two out of the equation and we have MPlSound-20Ten-AOA

It’s hard to tell if Prince is doing a commentary on people being obsessed with social media or it’s self-referencing his hiatus from releasing studio albums. But it could almost work as both.
It’s almost like the first 5 songs reference the concept of the album and the others are on something else. The “way back home” formula.

One thing I wanted to say about the song “Art Official Cage” I kept forgetting to bring up: there’s a guitar in it that wails and there are some Egyptian sounding stuff right after that.
the guitar made me think of the LoveSexy album (and considering how theatrical this first song is, it almost sounds like another incarnation of Prince: The Musical) and the Egyptian effects reminds of “Thunder” from Diamonds & Pearls.
It’s been a while since Prince has used any Mid-Eastern flourishes in his music and it was kinda nice having that back. If only for one song.

“The Breakdown”- I heard a lyric clearer this time than I had in the car… he said something about having a diary full of numbers and he wants to trade it for this girl he’s fixated on… it’s pretty obvious, but I realized with a gasp that he’s talking about a little black book.
I’m sure it’s a metaphor, but at 50 something, it’s hard to believe he was still holding on to a little black book or that he even had such a thing.

The Gold Standard almost feels like the final destination of the journey he started with Musicology- talking about rekindling how music felt back in the day and how it used to lift you up.

If I really had anything to say about this album, most of those thoughts went out of my head by this point.

I think the one issue I have with this album… it’s a personal thing…
“Way back home” is so good and so personal… I feel like I’m never able to get back in touch with Prince after that.
“FunknRoll” is just a remixed dance groove and it’s just him being funky and having a good time. And then “Time”… :yawn:… Prince does nothing for me in that song. So I feel like I’m never able to touch base with him on any level after “Way back home”… almost like the walls come back up and he’s going into hiding again.
I found that to be something that felt off to me in the first listens I had with this album. But after the fact… it’s a really sad thing that I find.

If I could, I’d take those two songs out… and find some other song or two to wedge between “way back home” and the final affirmation… but I really have no options that’ll allow me to do that.

Oh, and “this is what it feels like” sounds like something from Musicology. “If I was the man in ur life” might be the song I’m thinking of… but if it not for the sucky chorus and title, it’d be a great song.
Also- I gotta say- who the hell are David and Saul? Is Prince making a “Breaking Bad” reference?
…nope, I’m an idiot.
I never saw “Breaking Bad,” but I know there is a character named Saul who got his own spin-off “Better Call Saul”… David and Saul are references to the Biblical figures, the first two kings of Israel, if I remember right.
I still don’t get what he means by referencing these guys. He’s saying how she’s not treating him David, but more like Saul. And then she says his name isn’t David and sure ain’t Saul and says he doesn’t have any right to write on her walls because the jack rabbit needs to stop doing tricks.
Kinda funny how “This could b us” was about her playing around and she’s accusing him of the same thing in this song.
I vaguely remember one time where Prince was talking about the Bible and reading about Solomon and liking that story because he had all these women.

…I think that’s all the random thoughts I have for now.
Luckily tomorrow I can start the podcast… I think I need to give myself a little break from this album while I go through it.
The truth is starting to break through a little bit and it doesn’t feel good.
I’d been listening to his music a lot just to revisit all the albums, but I like to keep him nearby because he’ll feel real to me that way. As well as the way he makes me feel. Much of this journey has been really good at pushing all those sad feelings out of my head so I can focus on the good… but I think there’s going to come a time where there might be no stopping it.


My updating of this post has been pretty sporadic this week.
It seems like whenever I get home from work, besides dinner, I devote at least 2-3 hours to my Animal Crossing game. I’ve been played it for 2 weeks and still enjoying it.
But the past few nights I’ve been too tired to turn my laptop on. Last night, in fact, I went to bed at 9:30 when I’m used to being up until 11. I mean, getting up at 5:30 during the week can take its toll.
But I think the monthly case of PMS might contribute as well. I’ve found that the first day or so, I’m not feeling well or I’m in numbing pain… or I’m just so tired I’m yawning all the time. And turning in early did feel pretty good.

I also think that those extra hormones swirling around are also creating an unpleasant cocktail of emotions that are connecting with this album…
so I listened to it at work the other day and I just felt like it was making me feel more and more vulnerable to being sad about Prince no longer being here.
I wrote a tweet that said something like “an unfortunate side effect of listening to Prince’s AOA album is missing Prince” and I mentioned something about spending the next two days with the podcast. I didn’t tag Peach & Black specifically (I used the initials), but sure enough, Captain liked my tweet. And my fellow purple knight did also- but I think they both had a different reason for doing so…

Anyway, so the podcast was a lot of fun, as it always is.
Captain has a couple issue with the album and it goes into one of two categories:
1) that “annoying British woman”
2) “bland R&B”
yet he oddly said that “Time” is a grower… and everyone on the podcast either liked it a lot or was ok with it. That annoys me… I was expecting at least someone to say that it runs way too long or it doesn’t do anything. I know now that isn’t the case. Some stuff does happen, but it’s much later. And after a certain point, I typically check out of it.

The FunknRoll remix just got slammed entirely. Someone, I forget who, said that they put their own version together where it puts “Time” after “This is what it feels like” and sandwiches “Way Back Home” with the Affirmation tracks at the end. I guess what song is missing from that configuration? 😛
And it’s an interesting one– but I somehow get the feeling that it could have a similar effect on me as “Sometimes it snows in April” does when it’s at the end of the Parade album. That might sound odd of me to say, considering it’s the last song on the album, but I had the mp3’s for so long where I’d burned them to a CD with 2 B-sides (and the long version of Mountains) tacked on at the end… to me, the Parade experience ends with “Alexa de Paris” and pretty much always will. The significance of “Sometimes it snows in April” is just too damn much that I can’t handle it being the last thing I hear on that album.

Earlier today, I did the same thing I’d done the last two days: I’ve taken an unreleased Prince song and played some other music after it.
Today was Live Out Loud (the song is back in my head as of me turning my laptop back on)… and I just did a string of #GirlPower tracks all in a row. And it went something like this:

1. I’m So Done- Alexis Grace
2. All Or Nothing-Mystified-Evangeline- Juliet Simms
3. What You see is what you get- Britney Spears
4. Done- Blue Eyed Lie- Jessica Meuse
5. Forgiven-Wake Up- Alanis Morissette
6. Miles Away- Madonna
7. Monster- Alejandro- Bad Romance- Judas- Telephone- Lady Gaga

So it was an estrogen fest, basically and nearly all of the songs (but not all) were kiss-offs to men.
I was not in a particularly pissed off mood today as I typically am when I string songs like this together… but it just came out and it was a pretty cool high.

Then I got back from lunch and played through Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” album. The second time I’ve heard it ever… now I’m getting a bit more out of it. Not to say that it was bad. It’s just different. I’m just glad to find out that not all the songs were about Taylor hitting back at the haters.

And I am now WAY off topic…
ultimately, I think I’m doing all of these distractions because I don’t want to sit with the fact we lost Prince almost 2 years ago now… I listened to “Kiss” and “When Doves Cry” on the radio the other day and I felt that winge of sadness that I hadn’t felt since it was still kinda fresh in my head and in my heart and pit of my stomach.
I could check the records of this very blog- I can’t be 100% positive that I actually stopped listening to Prince for a while because this particular album made his death a little too real for me.
…nope, I didn’t leave evidence in this blog. I just see that towards the end of 2016, I did something on Lotusflow3r and MPLSound and then a post talking about the Peach and Black podcast overall…

Anyway, today, it was to the point where we were getting to the “way back home” discussion… I stopped listening and had to start the podcast up again when I got in my car.
…yeah, these shaky moments are not good. I’m not feeling good when I hit them.
It’s kinda unfortunate too. This really is a good album, but after I get towards the end… the whole album becomes about that unhappy feeling.
And despite Little Red Corvette being the song that came on the radio when I heard the news, I don’t feel nearly this bad listening to that.
Well, not bad… it doesn’t take away from how much I like this song and the concept of it… but the feeling left behind that stays with me… that’s the thing.

Overall, the feelings are very positive on this album.

They opened with Art Official Cage… and Captain quoted someone’s .org post talking about what the song is about. And he ultimately said that he doesn’t listen to songs to get something out of them and this is way behind anything he could have come up with.

I don’t generally do that with most music I listen to. I do like to relate songs back to my own feelings and experiences, but that’s usually only with artists I’m really close to.
With Prince, though, I feel like I need to get things out of his music cuz his musical ability is far beyond what your average human is capable of. If you’re not going beyond just enjoying Prince’s music for what it is, what’s even the point?
But then again, you could ask Captain why he likes Prince when he does like R&B and some think of Prince as an R&B artist? And you could ask me why I like Prince when I’m not really into explicit stuff like his older stuff was?

…there’s just something about this guy where we look beyond what we’re into or comfortable with and we just enjoy him in our own unique ways.
Prince, I think is the one artists, where his fans are the most varied in what they get out of his music or why they return to his music as much as they do. It’s just not because it’s an enjoyable listen.

Ok, enough of that… I’m going way off the grid on this stuff. More distractions, I think…

The funny thing is that I didn’t think too much of this as a concept album (beyond just the “way back home” concept with the affirmations) until hearing the podcast, but I forgot what I heard on this podcast despite hearing it one previous time.
But now I’m getting a bit more out of it than I did before.

Because there were a few comments about how these songs would sound great live… I’m looking up (which I hadn’t done in ages) if they were ever done live…

Art Official Cage was done once- as an instrumental- in Australia in 2016…
Clouds- done live three times… SNL, at Paisley Park and in 2015… that’s kinda sad, that song deserved better
The Breakdown- probably was done the most live… a few times in 2013, 2015 and 2016
The Gold Standard- a couple times in 2015
U Know- a few brief times (mostly in sampler sets) 2014-2016 (the 2016 was in Australia like Art Official Cage was)
Breakfast Can Wait- 2013-2014… the last time was at the Koko in London- maybe Niki saw that show
This Could B Us- ONCE… January 21 2016… on solo piano
This is what it feels like- NEVER
Way Back Home- NEVER…. I can understand why that might be… the guys on the podcast were saying how this would be cool looping it with Little Red Corvette because the opening chords sound like the opening strings in that song…
FunkNRoll- a few times between 2013-2016 (the last was a sampler set)
Time- once… February 2016…

yeah, that’s kinda sad… so much good stuff on this album and it was barely played…
but considering what was going on with his health and the change in direction he was doing with the solo piano and microphone thing, I get it…

and I figured that “way back home” was maybe too personal to really do live anyway… the guys didn’t figure out why FunkNRoll was added after it… I’m sticking with my suspicion that he threw that in to maybe disguise how personal that song might be. Or distract us from dwelling on it too long.
But if that was the case, the Affirmations wouldn’t be there…

The muffin talk came up in one track and I nearly lost it…
and Captain also criticized the “cage to my dove” lyric, saying that didn’t make sense… I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be innuendo for something… but the song is so sweet and pleasant that it’s hard for me to be snapped out of that song by it.

I also learned that “U Know” was basically ripped off from someone else’s song… I’d never heard of “Blinded” or Mila J.
I have no idea how these guys had even heard of her and a lot of these other people Prince has worked with or what songs some of his sounded like…
these guys really do their research or their palette of music is WAY more varied than mine.
I mean, I listen to the mainstream pop radio a lot… but I only know the popular acts in pop music. Not R&B or urban or hip-hop or any of that stuff… it makes me feel like my tastes are lacking…or that the people I listen to aren’t good enough… I dunno…
these days, I have very little energy for anyone else but Prince in music.

I’m trying to think if there’s ANYTHING else I want to bring up for this post tonight… there’s not a lot else I can really add…
as much as I really like the album, I don’t want the side effects to overstay their welcome. Especially when I only have a couple albums left…

I’ll give myself a little rest… physically and mentally… and then tomorrow I’ll give the album one last go… and then I’ll find out how much this album scores…

my gut is saying it’ll go higher than Planet Earth, but not nearly as high as Around the World in a Day… which was around 8.5


there was one thing Player said about a song that I wanted to write down, but I can’t remember now 😛 it was from the first couple songs.
OH right, it’s Clouds… he said how the lyrics in the verses and the chorus don’t make sense with each other… I was thinking the exact same thing sometime during this past week… not that it really bothers me all that much…

there was a point in the Plectrum Electrum review where the guys just went really long on some lyrics that didn’t make sense or some people took offense to it.
FIXURLIFEUP- I think Toejam started it and Captain expanded on it- how some people aren’t in the position to fix up their lives or there’s this lyric “you only get the dream that you deserve” and he said that some people deserve the crap they get in their lives?
It was a thought-provoking discussion for sure- it sounded like it was in the same vein as what Matt Thorne said about “Pop Life”- how Prince is attacking people’s ideals… in both cases, I don’t see it that way at all. But leave it to me to keep things positive with Prince, trying not to assume he means anything negative or is attacking the character of good people.
There was a line in “way back home” some people got up in arms about- how some people are born dead and others are born alive… I didn’t think that to mean anything bad. Certainly not about those who were stillborn or anything like that. He means this in a metaphorical fashion where some people don’t have that ambition and others actively strive for greater things throughout their lives.

I gave the album one last listen… with some interruptions in between, but I got through it. Leaving a few tears on the kitchen table by the last song, but I got through it.
I scored it the best I could. Some tracks I had to look up lyrics for because I’m still not sure.
If I took any points away from anything, it’s lyrics… yeah, it’s not as if I’m doing this on purpose, but when a lyric doesn’t make sense or it seems out of place… yeah, I am holding Prince to an impossible standard sometimes 😛 then there are a few times where originality comes into play… or one song (you know that one) that goes a little too long.
But I have come around a bit on some songs, so that’s something… this is going to fetch a decent score.

The album is 13 tracks, but since the 2 Affirmations are technically segues… I have 11 songs then… and 11 is my favorite number.
Not that it’s going to mean much of anything…

Honestly, I thought about ending this album with Time and just not going forward… I’m afraid there is going to come a point in the future that I’m just not going to listen to the whole album anymore because I can’t handle it. I don’t want to be sad every time I go through it… that being said, it is kinda nice having the FunkNRoll remix after it just to break me out of that sadness.
Time just isn’t satisfying enough an ending for me, though… so I’m at a bit of a crossroads.

Anyway, my table is all set, so time to start with the scores.

ART OFFICIAL CAGE
Even with the lyrics, the visual of this song is very murky. But part of me likes the mystery- as if dissecting it would ruin the overall effect… I’m not often I go into a Prince song with this mentality, but I think after this point, I just want to go into it not caring what it’s about and just getting swept away by the sheer madness of it all. For some reason, the visual that come to mind, for me, is something from a Philip K. Dick movie like Blade Runner or Minority Report or (going off in a different direction) The Matrix… Prince is a cinepile so he might have gotten inspiration from that and just social media in general. Funny enough, he was conceptualizing “Princetagram” around the time he was writing this song.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the lyric bug draws blood for the first time- some lyrics don’t quite add up and that’s what keeps the song down a bit… but it really doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of it)
Components Score- 4 (it’s a cool listen, but I wouldn’t give it a “short of a masterpiece” 4.5… it’s also not a song I’d listen to on its own- I listen and I just have to go through the whole album)
Total Score- 8.5 (which kinda puts it on par with several of Prince’s opening songs in this century… they’re decent, but they aren’t killers like what he used to do… that being said, this feels like one of his best openings in this century. So much happens in such a short time, but it leaves an impact greater than 3121 and Planet Earth… ok, maybe greater than 3121… Planet Earth still holds more power over me from that musical perspective)

CLOUDS
Oh man, do I love this song? The whole vibe of it is something I can only get from Prince… that’s what makes it special. The music and the sound of the vocals- just that alone makes me smile. Between song one and two, you have a good idea already of what you can expect from the whole album. Some futuristic modern vibes and classic Prince elements like dreamy synths and Linn-drum. But yeah, it’s great, love it.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (lyric bug again… there’s one lyric that gets under my skin a little bit– where the female vocalist says “no wonder there are so many guns”- I looked it up and the previous lyric is “bullying just for fun” and “maybe we’re better off in space” connects it back to MARZ on Plectrum Electrum… but just saying “no wonder there are so many guns”… it feels like it’s out of nowhere and random… and I find it personally jarring. Not just lyrically, but it’s a weak rhyme- “fun” and “guns”…)
Components Score- 5 (did I already say how much I love this song?)
Total Score- 9.5

THE BREAKDOWN
I had one too many distractions going on during this- I was actually 90 seconds away from finishing the song and I had to stop and scroll back to the start… it’s something I wound up really needing because it was the best experience I’ve had with this song ever. It’s not that I haven’t liked it- I just wasn’t in love with it the way everyone else was. Now… as cheesy as it sounds, the song is starting to break me down and make me a huge fan. I’m just maybe not ready to fully commit to that (see my components score).

ironically, my laptop actually crashed while writing this and I’m here after the reboot… THANK GOD… this page actually saved what I was working on even though I didn’t hit the “save draft” key… that is INCREDIBLY lucky cuz there was no way I’d be able to recall this mentally. Not in the same fashion anyways.

So back to scoring this thing… before my computer breaks down again… (I swear, that’s only happening maybe twice before and it’s been a long time since the last time… I didn’t do anything to cause it- unless the page that had the “clouds” lyrics had something to do with it.

Technical Merit- 4.5 (“I used to want the house with the biggest pool”… really?! …that’s the one lyric keeping this from being a masterpiece… it feels like it’s something completely unrelated to anything else and it’s just there to rhyme with the next line about him being a fool)
Components Score- 4.5 (see above)
Total Score- 9

THE GOLD STANDARD
I had so much fun with this song… such a sick beat… I don’t know if there’s anything more I can really say about it.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the lyric bug seems to be insatiable, but I’m slating this as something else… I don’t know why, but the chorus seems a little clunky… “the gold standard” doesn’t sound terribly original- and “crazy amazing”… ye-ah… ok…)
Components Score- 4.5 (I’m not over the moon for it, but I like it a lot whenever it comes on)
Total Score- 9
(Side-note: it’s funny how he says “24K hashtag”… Bruno Mars wrote “24 karat magic” sometime after this… I doubt he got the idea from Prince, but Prince came up with the 24 Karat thing first, so, ha-ha!… I think I also took a little away from originality cuz Prince talking about hashtags… really?!)

U KNOW
so, if this album tanks like a lead balloon… you have this song to thank… not that it’s terrible or bad… Prince has just done better. I actually followed along with the lyrics on my phone to see if I could get something out of it… there’s a lot going on here that I’m still figuring it out. But it sounds like this girl is a bit of a player herself. Almost like someone Prince should stay clear from cuz if she married him, she’d probably divorce and take everything he has.
Technical Merit- 3 (there’s nothing really about this song that screams Prince to me, so originality takes a whooping. The lyrics have their weak points- probably the weakest on this album. And “uh huh uh huh”… enough said)
Components Score- 3 (there are parts of this song I like- the vibe is very dreamy and cool at points, but there are other points where I’m just not feeling. The best I can be is neutral)
Total Score- 6

BREAKFAST CAN WAIT
This is a fun one I always enjoy. But maybe it’s because I didn’t play it to death the way everyone else did years before the album came out… in a battle with FIXURLIFEUP, I think FIXURLIFEUP would probably win. But I really like both songs.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (one lyric- “I just think you’re great” being the line that rhymes with the title… he says this more than once and it seems like he had no other ideas… as brilliant as his songwriting is even at this point in his life, there are these weak points that kinda show he’s still human.)
Components Score- 5
Total Score- 9.5

THIS COULD BE US
This is another nice listen, but it doesn’t quite have that same effect or impact. The odd thing is that it being on this album is that it’s in good company and I wouldn’t probably like it as much if it were on another album. But it’s also one of the weaker points on this album cuz it’s outshined by so much around it.
Technical Merit- 4 (in addition to some lyrics being less than perfect, “this could be us” is something Prince got from a meme and he’s not the only person who wrote a song with that title or about that same thing… )
Components Score- 3.5 (I had a change of heart with this one… and I decided that if I give a song a 4+, it needs to be a song I want to skip to or I don’t but I admire it enough where I feel like it’s a good song… I can’t see myself really skipping to this song)
Total Score- 7.5

THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
This is one of those songs I’m actually starting to soften towards a bit… but really, I could only take off half a point for lyrics anyway… but it’s such a nice vibe and the two voices compliment each other really well. And I didn’t get to mention yet- I love the notes the song ends on where the synths almost hits “dog-whistle” octaves.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4 (the music has really won me over. I don’t think I’d really skip to this one… but someday, I might)
Total Score- 8.5

WAY BACK HOME
I listened really intently to this one to see if there’s anything I could take away from it… anything at all… maybe if I were more familiar with hip-hop, I could ID a couple of songs where a similar thing was done where the person would have some vocals, but some of it was spoken word on the verses… but this song is pretty dang current with a lot of nuances that Prince brings with him. Layered vocals, uncharacteristic drum patterns that almost simulate a heartbeat, dreamy synths… phew…
Technical Merit…
Total Score- 10
…I can’t take anything away from this song… since the first time I heard it, I knew it was something special and that feeling’s never left.
While listening earlier, I had my hands over my earbuds trying to take it all in. And in my heart, I was saying “talk to me, Prince,” like I was trying to feel his spirit next to me so I wouldn’t lose him in all this… he was there…
I don’t know if I had this exact thought with this particular song when I first heard it, but now I’m thinking how I’m in wonder of the fact Prince put out something like this so late into his career. Original and special and thought-provoking and honest.

FUNKNROLL
It’s kinda funny how I can’t help but kinda like this song… I know it isn’t great… but it’ll probably score higher with me than it will for most fans.
Technical Merit- 4 (lyrics again… I thought they were kinda weak on the other version as well, so that’s in common with both… but the originality comes out of the best part of the song where it just kicks into overdrive. Prince isn’t the only one who can make music sound like that.)
Components Score- 3.5 (like I said, kinda like this one and I kinda can’t help it. And I like it more than the original… that one part in the music I don’t like… it doesn’t sound too jarring to me in the remix, but maybe it’s because it’s marred by the quality of the music where it feels like it fits in with the overall scheme more than it does on the original… that makes sense, right?)
Total score- 7.5

TIME
There was a criticism that came up with this song in the podcast- and it’s something the guys didn’t say, but heard from someone else and actively disagree with… supposedly the bass takes over the song later in the album… I never even noticed that and I really don’t mind it. I had the lyrics on the computer to follow along with as I took it all in.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (…one lyric I couldn’t pick up was actually “sugar, well”… I thought he kept saying “sugar wow”… but now that I know, that’s not going to come into play. Nope, this song just goes a little too long… )
Components Score- …I didn’t come up with a components score during my listen, so this is happening now… this could decide the score for the whole album… I kinda like the conversation that’s going on… the dreamy synths are starting to win me over a bit on this and the bass helps make it stand out. I think the best I can be with this song is neutral… so…) 3
Total score- 7.5

ok, so scoring it from top to bottom:

Way Back Home- 10
Clouds- 9.5
Breakfast Can Wait- 9.5
The Breakdown- 9
The Gold Standard- 9
Art Official Cage- 8.5
This is What It Feels Like- 8.5
FunkNRoll- 7.5
This Could Be Us- 7.5
Time- 7.5
U Know- 6

it’s a very strong effort overall… but there are misgivings…

very strong on both marks with just a little more on the technical side…

Total- 92.5/110…

moment of truth…
I’m kinda nervous now…

oh wow, I think I predicted this perfectly…. I said I don’t see it getting higher than 8.4…

AOA just got 8.4 out of 10… wow! I’m really happy with that.
and I think my fellow purple knight will be as well… it won’t make my top 7 albums most likely, but it could be in my top 10…

and I kinda think it’s going to be the last album that will make that much of an impact.

Going forward…
Way Back Home will be in the conversation for my top 100 Prince songs from its perfect score…
but even though I have two 9.5 tracks… I think I’ll give Clouds first crack and Breakfast Can Wait, I can come back to further down the line.

Now to compare my list to the Peach & Black poll…

I hate to say it, but SCREW THE FAN VOTE… we have absolutely nothing in common… it pisses me off that nobody likes the same songs I do as much as I do…

I mean, I’m not one to go along with the crowd anyway, so it really doesn’t matter… I just like to feel like my feelings are validated because some people agree with me. :shrug: is that so bad?

I think I have a couple of things left to talk about, as far as videos left to watch… but I’m winding down with everything relating to Prince…

I think all I have for this particular album is some footage of The Breakdown (probably from Montreaux 2013)… and New Girl… I figured it was good to leave it for here cuz a song from New Girl wound up on the next album…

but all I have besides that is his SNL afterparty appearance and the couple of times he appeared on awards shows…

and I actually missed one and it was when he gave Gotye the Grammy for Record of the Year- I love how he said “I love this song” before announcing the winner and then they were all over themselves, flabbergasted that he said that when they were inspired by him.
And I love this song as well, so it felt really nice to have that in common with him.
I mean, I had hoped he’d say Taylor Swift won so they could have a moment together (me being huge fans of both of them… or just me wanting to hear Prince say he liked Taylor Swift, when so many people give her crap for the stupidest reasons… but likewise, Taylor never said anything about Prince so I don’t know if she really knows who he is or why he’s so special. She was one of the few people who didn’t tweet how they were sad about losing him, but I don’t hold that against her. She’s doing enough with her own music and her brand that I can take her as her own thing… I don’t think I’ve said this yet, but she was the kind of artist I spent a lot of the 2000’s waiting for. Prince helped me get through the latter part of that period where nothing on the radio was really registering with me… now, it’s kinda back to that, but Taylor is one of the few bright spots I find. Her and Ed Sheeran at the current moment).

Yeah, that was incredible… it’s so nice seeing artists appreciate one another like this…
I don’t know what it was, but seeing Prince come out and him taking the shades off so I could see his eyes… I feel like I got this burst of energy, like I was so happy to see him, but I felt this twinge of sadness that I tried to push down and I succeeded.
The guy from Gotye said how he listened to Prince growing up and he was inspired by him to make music. And Kimbra, who featured on the song, said how she felt blessed to be chosen to work on this song with them and also thanked Prince.

Nobody gives me energy like Prince, I swear. I would put on his music after a lot of time away from him, whether it’s a couple of hours or a couple days… and it feels like I’ve been dropped into another world or universe and I’m breathing his air. And this was just another example of that.
So… yeah, so few of these moments are left with Prince… I’m trying to stave this negativity off as much as I can…

I just hope I don’t have that emotional breakdown at the end of two weeks from now when I’m doing this wrap up of his final album…

yeah, this Breakdown performance was the last night at Montreaux in 2013… and one of the last songs, it seems like, maybe before he starts doing encores.
But I really liked this format for it. He was on the piano and he poured himself into this, but also held himself back a bit on vocals. Sometimes he goes a little overboard and for me, maybe it’s too much. But this was just right. I also like it was just him on vocals, no back-up. 3rdEyeGirl was playing and the 11-piece horn section was as well.
At the end, he was even wiping his eyes from the corners back… so I think he got a little emotional too…
I think if his performance on the album was more like this, I’d have given it 5 on components…

Great job, Prince! Seriously… wow…

I think I can just leave the New Girl discussion for the next post… oh man… I’m so glad that Fox decided to re-air that after Prince’s death. I feel like I needed that. But like everything else, it was everything… and then when it was over, it was really depressing

Well, at least this album got its due justice. That’s worth noting for sure. One of the nicer moments throughout this journey is finding out that my thoughts on where the album would fall on my scale wound up exactly where I thought they would.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #35: Plectrum Electrum by 3rdEyeGirl

As I’ve stated on prior posts in this series, I AM considering this a Prince album.
In my mind, I see this as an album Prince had recorded and released to highlight three bad-ass rock chick musicians. And I’ve heard/read a few accounts recently how much Prince worked with his bands at this time and on several occasions, he would step back and let them do their thing and he’ll look on like a proud parent/mentor. This is a continuation of that period in his life he mentioned to Tavis Smiley- where he could step back and enjoy himself. A lot of people think of Prince as someone very selfish and self-absorbed. Sometimes, that may be true, but that’s not all of who he is. And it’s cool to get to know this side of him on this album.

As far as I’ve heard, Prince found about Hannah Welton, Donna Grantis and Ida Nielsen on MySpace or YouTube and decided to recruit them because he admired their gifts. I mean, he was all for #GirlPower before that was even a thing. Wendy & Lisa are a prime example. As are Vanity/Apollonia 6, Jill Jones, Mayte and many others. With the exception of Wendy & Lisa, the main criticism with all his associated female acts were that their clothing that allows them to be objectified.
With 3rdEyeGirl, it was all about musical ability. Not that they’re bad looking, but looks were not the emphasis. It was talent. And I’m kinda sad that this is the only album they put out together as a group.

Not that anyone carries or keeps track, but I’m starting this post on the second day instead of the first. Part of it, I can blame on Animal Crossing. (I got New Leaf Welcome Amiibo for Christmas and have been working on since last Thursday– wow, almost a week already). But I think part of me also wanted to hang back and reflect on the album. Or at the very least, “keep it to myself” for a little longer. Not that it’s super personal to me the way Planet Earth is, but this is an album I kinda like keeping to myself and not letting other opinions in. Because, of course, not all of them will be on board. Then there’s the whole comparison to Art Official Age. The majority will probably say AOA is the better of the albums. Some days, I can agree to that.

More rehashing– this was Prince’s first album release in 4 years- the longest drought he’d had in his life. And I was beyond excited to hear he was putting out new music. The day it came out (September 30), I knew I had to go. My dad’s rolling his eyes and I said “this is your fault, you know.” He, of course, said nothing after that.
This whole Prince thing started with him pushing me to see some of Purple Rain… yet he didn’t really partake in any of this stuff himself. I’m still confused about that.
But because this was a protégé album, I didn’t think I’d actually be able to find it… yet I did. Best Buy had this and Art Official Age- plenty of copies.
I put Plectrum Electrum in this very laptop, put on my headphones and cranked it up (although not to deafening volumes… that’s not how I roll). I really liked the vibe of it. It’s not a perfect album, but I liked a lot of it.

Maybe it’s because I hadn’t heard this in a while, but not only am I enjoying it more than I had in ages… but things that used to bug me about the album… some don’t anymore and others, I’m better at compartmentalizing.
This isn’t true of every song, but with a few… maybe most, actually… there’s one or two things that I wish I could take to the editing bay to take out.

I mentioned on my 20TEN review during one of the songs that he did a multiple vocal thing throughout the song and it reminded me of something off Art Official Age… it was from STOPTHISTRAIN- right year, wrong album 😛

The interesting thing about this period- Prince wrote his song titles in all caps. On this album, they’re all one word. I’m not sure if he decided to do so because that’s how he was responding to tweets at the time or vice versa.

Probably the coolest thing about this album- other than the bad ass rocker chicks playing on it… it sounds like a series of jam sessions that wound up being recorded. And I think on one interview I saw from them (I think it was the Yahoo! music exclusive launch party at Paisley Park), they said that Prince worked with them for months with these songs and they were always recording. Ultimately, I’m just trying to say it has a cool live rock concert feel to it (without the audience noise… unless you count the final song- and that might just be Prince doing multiple crowd noise vocals on his own).

WOW- from a couple people, I’ve heard comments/complaints that this wasn’t the original version of this song. Originally, it was called “The Unexpected” and it was performed by Liv Warfield. I’d never heard the original version, so I really hate any negativity this song has gotten.
As has been the case, opening tracks are difficult for me… it helps define the sound of the album and is often a taste of what can be expected from what’s to come. But I rarely get so excited about an opener where it sticks in my head or it manages to shine as bright as all that follows.
I was thinking the other day that the verses remind me of “Boom”- the overall vibe more than anything else. Today, the first few lyrics sounded like the opening dialogue from “1999”… Matt Thorne complained, after saying how this song could be Prince addressing the audience after being away, that it wound up becoming a come-on track. (He praised most of this album, by the way… but some of the littlest things still tick me off).
The chorus is maybe a little metaphor-by-numbers, but after a while, I really don’t care anymore.
This song is nothing super extraordinary, but I just like hanging with it for as long as it lasts.

PRETZELBODYLOGIC- it sounds like a very kinky metaphor for sex… I think I remember the chorus more than anything else. Not to say that’s bad, but I think after WOW, this feels like a step back for me. It’s interesting to me sonically how the chorus is put together- it’s all guns blazing for the first couple lines, then they stop singing for a beat and then begin again for the rest of it. It’s one of those little things you don’t expect and to me, that’s kinda cool.

AINTURNINROUND- this is the first song led by any of the girls. Donna, I think, sings lead on this one. Along with the music being played, her voice sounds so cool, so throwback to 70’s rock.
Ok, according to PrinceVault, it’s actually Hannah. I guess judging by how she ends the verses with the second “no we ain’t”, I guess I should have figured that out on my own. I don’t know why, but this comes off more bad-ass with Donna with half her head shaved in my head than Hannah. I mean, I love her drumming on this album, but Donna is the most bad-ass of the three rocker chicks on this album. Although I hear Ida plays a pretty mean bass. I guess because Hannah is behind the drums, you don’t see her quite as much in the performances.
I guess my point- the whine in her voice on the second “no we ain’t”… it’s just too much, she could have reined in a bit. Then when the chorus (which is all instrumental, I think) comes in, the first several times I didn’t like it because it just didn’t go off the way I’d expect. Now, I think Hannah’s voice on the end of the verses is the only thing I’d change.
For whatever reason, this week felt like the first time I really listened to the lyrics… I know get what the title means. It’s about coming to a realization about something and there ain’t no going back to what you knew before or a previous life you led.
Actually, there is one other thing… this song goes off a little towards the end and there’s a slowed down voice that comes in and the music fizzles out into a weird end. It makes me think that this album might have been part of a greater concept or rock opera or something. If anything, it helps the transition to the next song. But I could have done without it… it keeps the song from reaching top shelf for me.

PLECTRUMELECTRUM- the title track- and PrinceVault has Donna as its creator.
This is going to be a tricky one for me because I don’t know if I can call this a song. Maybe I need one listen when I listen intently and block everything else out… but right now, it sounds like playing the same line repeated over and over. It’s a killer line, I like how it sounds, but the song doesn’t really go anywhere. It goes from almost 5 minutes, the longest song on this album… I’m sorry, it’s just too damn long. There’s not enough here to keep my attention.
I might not get it personally, but it’s a great showcase for these girls and what they can do.

WHITECAPS- alongside one of other song, might be considered by some as the weakest on the album…
but this is probably my favorite- with maybe one close competitor (and it isn’t WOW)…
Hannah sings lead on this. The Peach & Black guys have ragged her for her singing on this. I mean, it might be at the same level as Mayte and Bria Valente on how she ends her notes… but I never let that take anything away. I love the title and the metaphor it presents.
Not all of the lyrics quite work, but the whole vibe of it makes up for every little nit-pick I could have.
And this was also one of those tracks that helped me… yeah, it’s one of those moments where it’s hard to believe… It’s getting close to that point where Prince no longer being here will make some songs (or albums) harder to listen to. This helped me get through those first couple weeks.
I think it’s the only song on this album I know the words to 😛 but it’s the only one I really want to sing along to because I could probably do a cover of it :shrug: maybe one day. Melodically, it’s really nice to listen to. The harmonies on the chorus with her and Prince are really nice. And just the sentiment: it’s windy now, but it’s gonna be ok.

FIXURLIFEUP- I think this was the only song on this album I heard before the album (PRETZELBODYLOGIC, maybe…as part of that Yahoo! music event- but that mostly had AOA songs). When I first heard the beginning, I was immediately reminded of “Just what I needed” by The Cars. Hannah’s drums on this are great- I’m always tapping along with them and tiring out my right pointer and middle fingers 😛
Of all the songs, this probably has the most potential to be a radio single. It’s very catchy. I’m sure as I go deeper into the lyrics, I’ll find some interesting points. I like the bridge where he says “don’t worry about what the crowd does- just keep doing what you love”… that was the one thing I took away from that first listen and it still resonates.
Every time I listen, though, I’m like “aww!” cuz it feels like it ends much too soon. The song is only 3 minutes and 12 seconds… I need like 5 minutes of this song 😛

BOYTROUBLE- probably the most hated song on this album… for some reason, I don’t mind it so much.
Of course, it does bug me that I can’t understand what the girls are rapping about, whether it’s through the verses or at the start and end and whispering so fast I can’t pick anything out.
The rapper on the verses- her delivery reminds me so much of Karmin- that duo mixes pop and rap so well. But of course the female rapper stuck with me. I’m not big on rapping, but I like her singing voice and her street cred on her rapping. Great sense of rhythm. This song reminds me of her, but it almost sounds like something Vanity 6 or Apollonia 6 would sing about. That might be why I like it.
And the shout-outs that start in the second chorus- yeah, I can’t hear this song without them immediately coming to mind.

STOPTHISTRAIN- I think I like this song a bit more than I did, but I’d probably still call it the most skippable.
If I could take this song to a mixing desk (and I knew what I was doing), I’d like to take a bunch of things out of it. Starting with that keyboard part that just goes up and down the scale- it sounds like something a kid would play on their toy piano- it’s way too cutesy and it annoys me. Then the barrage of Prince vocals simultaneously going “ooo ohhh”… it feels very out of place. Hannah’s taking lead vocals again and Prince backs her up with his lower register- it’s a nice combination. But having him add that vocal thing into it- it makes it more of a Prince production when this is something that sounds geared more towards the girls. The lyrics especially. It’s about debating whether to let go out a relationship. She’s saying that if she’s still hurting past dawn, she’s getting off this train and never leaving him again.

ANOTHERLOVE- I think when Peach & Black set up a poll for songs on these albums… this was the top voted song… and I completely disagreed. It had nothing to do with the fact it was a cover. Heck, I had no idea… as I often don’t… I’m not super knowledgeable about older music. (Don’t get me started on all the times I got annoyed by finding out another song was a cover)… I think it was the transition into the chorus or the chorus itself, but it just didn’t sit well with me. Maybe because it was another case where the music didn’t play out the way I expected it to.
Now, my mind has changed. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite on the album or the best. But I do like it. I especially like when the tempo picks up and the girls keep singing “‘Nother, ‘nother love” and Prince is basically doing The Beautiful Ones where he was, not screaming, but crying out about how this girl never appreciated him and he could do better. It’s almost like a rabbit hole thing where I just keep going in deeper and deeper, following him along and it’s crazy and I’m enjoying every second of it.
Like with AINTTURNINROUND, listening to the lyrics more closely helped me get into this song more.

TICTACTOE- this song doesn’t really go anywhere… but I really don’t mind it. The vibe reminds me of WHITECAPS and both give me a very oceanic vibe. Like I feel like I could listen to them and feel like I’m near the beach or the boardwalk.
It’s another song about the vibe. The lyrics are kinda meh in places. I don’t quite get how “blind people playing tic tac toe” relates to anything else in the song.

MARZ- it’s a really fast song where, if you blink, you’ll miss it. I think he performed this live on SNL along with ANOTHERLOVE… I get as far as the first verse where he says he got fired from McDonalds’ for giving away food for free and how he doesn’t want another black child going to school with nothing to eat. And by the end of the song, he says something about moving to Mars and it comes so abruptly and without explanation. At least when he says “we’ll trade bank accounts and move to Neptune” in The Truth, he gives us a few extra seconds to take that in than this.

FUNKNROLL- this was one of the biggest songs out of this album, but of course, there were two version released… the other is a remix version, oddly enough released on the Prince release AOA and the normal version is on the 3rdEyeGirl album…
personally, I don’t care for that part that begins the song and replays a couple times throughout… it just doesn’t ring true in my head, like it doesn’t quite work. But I don’t know what I’d change about where I’d make it work.
I really like the verses where the drums are going nuts and the bass has its back and they back off when Prince comes in with the Camille vocals… the chorus- it’s ok- it doesn’t really get me pumped up.
There is one part of that breakdown riff where Prince makes all these weird sounds with his Camille voice- for some reason, it reminds me of the ad-libbing he sings at the start of “Rockhard in a Funky Place”
Last I listened to both version, I preferred the remix to this… but we’ll see what happens further down the road.

Meanwhile, I’d been doing a podcast a day. Although I only go through a couple minutes of their London 2014 podcast. The previous one about the Welcome 2 Australia tour- that was a lot of fun, hearing about the shenanigans the guys got into getting into these shows and rushing to get to the aftershows… it’s just funny hearing about what they’re doing in real life, beyond the virtual round table.

I think I will start some of the album review podcast on the drive home tomorrow… I think I do want to get one listen in before that, though. Hopefully at work, I’ll be able to. Today, I wasn’t really in a position to listen to anything.
Part of our department also deals with reception coverage and today was the first time I’d been out there for longer than just covering a lunch break… and I actually survived it. It’s a position in the rotation that everyone kinda dreads (some more than most)… I’m not really good with communicating with people, but I managed better than I thought I would. Couldn’t help but think about the old saying about how God never gives you more than you can handle. I’m not super religious or anything, but sometimes I do feel like I am being guided through some things that would have made me panic normally.

Anyway, I hope I won’t have to worry about that tomorrow and just do my invoice validation like I always do.


yeah, I had to do the reception desk again, but thanks to the snow we had, there was very little activity. Only three phone calls, a couple of deliveries (why people chose today to order out for food, I have no idea)… I’d say how I wish it was like that all the time, but then again, we are a business and we kinda need activity to keep it going.

So I only got to listen the album those two times early in the week… I spent the last two days with a couple of podcasts.
One was with Niki (who is really from England, I thought she was Australian like the other guys) and she was talking about Prince’s HitNRun shows in England in 2014.
Now, England seems like a good place for that because everything is relatively close together. But in the US, I really hated when Prince did that because none of the venues he hit were anywhere near me. And I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make one in time. As great as the idea was, looking back, I REALLY HATED IT… because it prevented me from seeing Prince in concert. Of course, my fellow purple knight suggested a couple times I fly up to MPLS to see him in Paisley Park. Especially when the shows were announced with enough time to go… I didn’t want to ask permission to go… as much as I love Prince, the idea was too ridiculous and I knew it wasn’t going to be agreed to.
He did do a show near Washington DC and my aunt in Delaware mentioned it to me, but I shot that idea down as well because DC has terrible traffic and I didn’t want to put my family through the agony of driving me there. Ultimately, that was the last mistake I made of not going to a Prince show. (Honestly, I regret the Welcome 2 America Meadowlands and Madison Square Garden shows a lot more because those are at least proper concert venues… yet that hesitation still lingered)

Anyway… enough of my own stupid regrets and melodrama, those London gigs sounded like the best time. There was one intimate one where Prince was strumming acoustically and was taking questions. Of course they were pre-approved and taken from the audience, so no really good questions were accepted by him.
Also, he played Endorphinmachine at three shows and of course Captain is jealous and MC had to rub it in that he saw him do it at Montreaux. It isn’t quite a Peach & Black podcast without one Montreaux mention.
Niki talked about standing in line (or in Britain and Australian, queues… I don’t know where I picked that up, but I’ve heard it before). One time, she did for 6 hours and Captain groaned and she straight up said “shut up, Captain”
…I was laughing so hard at that. Sometimes I say that out loud when I’m listening to a podcast and someone is talking about liking a song and he’s groaning in the background and he’d already said his piece.

Side-note: the guys posted a picture on Facebook of themselves…
I gotta say: they’re some good looking Aussies, MC and Toejam especially. I never pictured Toejam as a ginger.
However, the thing is that I don’t think I’ll ever watch a live video of them (even though they posted one). Cuz I don’t really want to imagine their faces saying stuff when I’m listening to the podcasts, cuz it might take away from the experience. Although Captain’s facial expressions when he’s groaning or complaining might be hilarious. I don’t want to be mean 😛 but I’ll quote Morris Day in Wild & Loose- “you sure don’t look how you sound”… MC and Player look how they sound. Toejam, I gotta say “damn”… of the 4 guys, I believe (not 100% positive about this), he’s the one I have the most in common with as far as taste in Prince music goes. Not that actually seeing these guys is going to change anything about how I feel about them. But at least with time throughout their podcasts, I have a little more of an idea of what Player’s personality is like.

So then they did the Plectrum Electrum podcast… that was a good one. One of the first ones I picked out last year when I started checking out the podcasts. I thought maybe it’d get me into listening to some albums I haven’t in a while.

I doubt that they’d recommend this, but you could make a drinking game out of this particular episode.
But all I have so far is:
1) take a drink every time someone has to remind MC that they have to mention fan vote results for an album track
2) take a drink every time someone uses the word “chunky”… seriously, Player and Toejam, between them, have used that word at least 5 times throughout the review.

But everyone was laughing so hard whenever they had to remind MC about the fan vote… they had this posted on their site, asking people to mark if they loved/liked/were neutral/disliked/hated a song and where they’d rank it in the album… towards the end, I actually had to get in there and say it and I think I said it at the same time as them. I know this was recorded 3 years ago and I’d heard it once before 😛 but I can’t help but interact sometimes. I mean, I feel like these guys are my friends. And on Twitter, Player and Captain at least follow me, so I think we might be acquaintances at best.

Oh, and you could take a drink every time Captain lists a number of one-word phrases to describe the songs 😛 at the start, they did a quick round-up of the tracks and each guy gave a one word summation of it. And after they finished, one of them was like “believe it not, there are some people who actually wish we said this stuff about this album”… with a hint of irony. It had to be Captain 😛

so yeah, it’s a really fun episode. I’d totally recommend it.

But now I wish I’d gotten to listen to it another time before this podcast… but I think I’ll probably listen to Plectrum Electrum a couple more times before I shelve it for an undetermined amount of time. I mean, it’s kinda from the same time period as Art Official Age, so it wouldn’t be out of place.

From the fan vote, I remember being disappointed that Anotherlove was #1 and Boy Trouble was dead last… and that Fixurlifeup is in the middle when I’d probably rank it towards the top.

I remembered a little while ago that I used to rank the songs in order after I score them… I have no idea why I stopped doing that. I think I just forgot about it… much like everything else 😛 but I’ll bring that back for these next two albums so I can compare them to the fan vote…

probably the funniest moment from this podcast (aside from reminding MC of the fan vote)… when the guys were doing the fan vote results for “Wow” and they found out it ranked #2 on the album… I think MC and Toejam said “wow!” at the same time and I think I did as well… it was such an obvious pun 😛

…this is totally unrelated… but I had a realization the other day… this journey through Prince’s albums is almost over… I have no idea where my mind is going to be afterwards. I wonder if I’ll be able to say anything conclusive about it. I’m half afraid that with the way I’ve been going through, trying to take each album on its own, that I’ll have no deep thoughts to do a post on 😛 or worse, that I’ve forgotten where I’ve been with all this music…
all the better that I’ve documented everything on this blog 😛

Meanwhile, I checked through old emails I had saved from my fellow purple knight. Live Out Loud was one I remember really liking (hearing/reading other comments, I might be in the minority of people who like it… maybe I like it cuz it’s a pop/rock type of song). Boyfriend and That Girl Thang, I don’t remember if I’d ever listened to them, but I will now.

…so I decided… I’ll bring it back to how it all started… I’ll listen to it in headphones on my laptop…

WOW- I don’t think I’ve really heard most of these lyrics before. I’m so wow’d (ha ha) by the music and tuning into that. But it really does sound like a come-on track. He starts kinda speaking in the third verse and it brings me back to those older ballads he did where he was maybe a little self-conscious. It’s pretty cool that he still has that. Whether it’s genuine or acting, I really don’t care 😛

PRETZELBODYLOGIC- man, Hannah is killing it on those cymbals 😛
…I might be in trouble, I think I might need another listen tomorrow before I really score this album. I need more time. And also, I’m liking it a little too much to stop just yet.
Prince’s voice almost sounds like he’s trying to imitate singers from the 70’s, really fitting in with the music.

AINTTURNINROUND
halfway through, there’s this wailing guitar solo that almost brings me back to the end of Computer Blue going into Darling Nikki
I don’t know what that deep voice is saying, but I just hear “rock on, Donna, rock on”… then the next song starts, so it’s kinda fitting.

PLECTRUMELECTRUM
halfway through, things do change a bit… it goes with this main groove through the first couple minutes. But then it starts to break down and do some other things… interesting things… for some reason, it’s making me think about some music on the SuckerPunch soundtrack… not sure which songs, though 😛

FIXURLIFEUP
Peach & Black got SUPER philosophical on this ones and raised a lot of interesting points. Of course, Toejam took issue with one lyric, going by the literal meaning and I think the guys spent 10 minutes on that tangent…
Prince probably laughed so hard at all the interpretations.
I just noticed that there was this cool bass work at the end of the song… yeah, it’s just too damn short.
There’s one lyric about how a girl with a guitar is better than boybands, but they’re not able to break through as stars because of this “misogynistic wall of noise”… it’s an interesting thought. I mean, One Direction was pretty big around this time, so maybe that lyric was in response to them being bigger stars than the girls in this band before Prince started working with them.

STOPTHISTRAIN
I should clarify that this is a duet between Hannah and her husband, Josh… I still think that wall of Prince vocals feels out of place.

TICTICTOE
I think I need to really sit with these lyrics to see what it’s about. It’s a really nice listen, but I really don’t know what it’s about. Never really cared, but there’s a lot here. A lot of ore to mine. I really can’t score lyrics if I don’t know what the heck they are 😛

MARZ
I just heard, the last lyric is “if a rocket ship didn’t cost more than a car, this brother might move to Mars”… I guess he’s saying that this world doesn’t make sense no more so he wants to move to another one… ok, now I’m starting to get it.

..yeah, I think I might need another listen… maybe two… to figure out where all these songs rate.
I looked through some lyrics while waiting for the free skates at the US Nationals in figure skating.

…figured I’d end the night with some Prince clips I saved on YouTube to watch for later.
One was James Cordon taking a selfie with Prince at the Brit Awards. Niki mentioned that and how people were asking who he was and she said how he’s an actor/comedian. I didn’t know who James Cordon was before he did “Into the woods” and then he got his own show… Prince and 3rdEyeGirl were announcing the nominees for best female artist. Other than Ellie Goulding (who won) and Jessie J., I didn’t know any of them. I don’t know if it’s cuz I’m out of touch or because they’re prominent in Britain and not the US.

then I wound up with some Arsenio clips… I kinda realized that this might be the last interview Prince ever did. I remember watching Arsenio just to see Prince and it was a heck of a time. He was there the whole show. He took questions. I found a video where he broke up with someone’s girlfriend for him. As often with interviews, every other thing he says gets screams and applause and more time ticks away… and it bugs me, not gonna lie.
He was asked what his favorite song was and he actually gave a solid answer- they’d just finish recording “The Breakdown”… that was a huge track on Art Official Age that I will get to on the next post. One thing that stood out was that he was asked what else he could have done if he didn’t do music. Later, he came back and said he’d maybe teach. I just had a vision of Prince being a college professor of musicology or at Julliard or Berklee School of Music… he’d have been amazing at it. Charisma for days.

It’s always kinda nuts when I spend a lot of time with the albums and then I actually see him. Sometimes I separate the man from the music. And then I’m floored when I get to know him from the visual aspect.
It’s been a long time coming, and now that it’s here… I really don’t know what to think. But I’m probably gonna be sad a lot over the next few weeks when all of the “last time Prince did” moments start flying by.

Oh, and he also performed Mutiny. Different lyrics in the chorus. The girls were in the band, but there were so many horn players on stage. It was nuts. Yet bits and pieces brought me back to the 80’s when he did this song and even some Time stuff kinda came to mind.

He talked about The Vault and he said how he doesn’t know how much is in there. Also said a lot of the bootlegs were unfinished and unmixed. Gives us a little something to think about. But I kinda like the raw quality of a lot of the stuff I have. Without the huge or glossy production, I can appreciate the little things a lot more.

I guess it’s time to call it a night… hopefully I’ll be able to properly score this album tomorrow…

…ok, I’m ready now.

I just had to wait for the house to empty a bit so I can listen to the album on my iPod with zero interpretations.
And I found myself scoring the album as I go, so that’s pretty cool.
One thing I noticed- it’s technically very good, but I couldn’t quite give any song a perfect score. There’s always one little thing (sometimes two or three) that keeps it from getting to that point.
So, without further delay (after finishing the album, I turned on my laptop and came straight here)…

WOW
yeah, I really like this song. A LOT. I’m not sure if the “wow’ would describe the song more than it does the fact it starts the album with a bang. it’s pretty cool how Prince can still write stuff like this and play like this and even sing like this. Some vocals bring me back to his younger days, so it really makes him seem ageless.
Technical Merit- 4 (ok, so I took into account one comment Captain made- that bees are not attracted to honey, so I took off a bit for that one lyric. And the bees and moths metaphors, it’s not super original)
Components Score- 5 (I already made my point..)
Total Score- 9

PRETZELBODYLOGIC
It tells an interesting story, this song. It sounds like it’s about Prince and a lover getting it on, but they’re also tired and want to sleep… I don’t like this nearly as much as most people, I don’t think.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (some lyrics don’t quite make sense– and they have nothing to do with the title. I know exactly what he’s going for there)
Components Score- 3.5 (I kinda like it, but I’m not head over heels)
Total Score- 8

AINTTURNINROUND
I like this a lot more than I did in the beginning, but it’s not without its flaws. Rock on, girls. (I think I also heard more of what Prince’s voice is saying at the end… something about “this is the ultrasound inside of Donna’s brain”)
Technical Merit- 4 (that second “no we ain’t” is too shrill… it also gets a little weird towards the end and this is easily a groove that could have gone for a little longer)
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8

PLECTRUMELECTRUM
I listened to this song a bit more. And yes, I am going to count it as a song. While it starts as a repetitive groove, it does go places and eventually settles back down to where it began.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (runs a little too long and it fades into the background sometimes if you’re not paying attention)
Components Score- 3 (I’m at the point where I’m neutral on this song- I kinda like parts and other parts… it’s not my thing)
Total score- 7.5

WHITECAPS
This is definitely one of my personal favorites because it’s more of my style. also, I have a little bit of personal history with it. But as a song, it has flaws so I can’t score as high as I’d like to. I’m probably in the minority of people who like this song better than some of the others on this album 😛 but I don’t care
Technical Merit- 4 (yeah, I gotta take a little away from vocals. Not perfect, but they are nice to listen to. And some lyrics don’t quite add up. Like what does the black butterfly have to do with anything? And the last verse kinda sounds like they ran out of ideas…)
Components Score- 5
Total Score- 9

FIXURLIFEUP
This really should have been a radio single- seriously! This song is so good. And today, I was actually catching onto some lyrics and was singing along without even realizing. It was pretty cool.
Technical Merit- 4 (the America vs. London lyric- I don’t get what he means by that… and it’s also too damn short 😛 )
Components Score- 5 (I gotta say, it’s really disappointing that this song wasn’t higher in the Peach & Black poll… unlike the really hardcore fanbase, I didn’t get to hear this song a million times before the album came out. I mean, I had the mp3, but I only listened to it once. Not cuz I didn’t like the song.)
Total Score- 9

BOYTROUBLE
so… I actually Googled the lyrics for this song so I could kinda follow along. NOBODY has any effing idea what this girl is saying in the really fast spoken parts. OMG- so many of these lyrics are terrible. This is why I don’t like rap or hip-hop- so many stupid lyrics and they have the nerve to call it “music”… at least one has a killer bass line, but that’s pretty much it
Technical Merit- 3 (I gave 0 for lyrics- one or two lines are good, but the rest is garbage. Other than the chorus, all the vocals are hard to understand– anyone who knows me KNOWS how much that annoys me. And originality- I don’t know what Prince was thinking with this one… was he trying to appeal to the female rap audience? The bass is the only thing that suggests this as a Prince production)
Components Score- 3.5 (this is a track that DEFINES my “kinda-like” 3.5 rating. Despite the flaws, I kinda like it and I can’t help that)
Total score- 6.5 (I think this is the lowest scoring song, but I’m probably far more generous than most)

STOPTHISTRAIN
I like this more than I did originally, but I’m still not 100% on this train (ha ha). There are two glaring things that annoy me about this song, as I’ve previously alluded to.
Technical Merit- 4 (bits and pieces hint it’s a Prince production, but other things seem below him. And that stupid cartoonish barrage of notes- the one thing that keeps the music from being a solid work)
Components Score- 3 (the vocals and the storyline save it for me… but the rest, I can take and leave)
Total Score- 7

ANOTHERLOVE
This is a cover, but it sure doesn’t sound like one. That’s kinda insane. It’s a really great performance from this band. Not sure what else I can say…
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5 (yeah… maybe one day I can give this a perfect score, but I think I’m a little prejudiced that this is a cover, despite how great a Prince production and re-creation it is.)
Total Score- 9.5 (as far as covers go, I think I’ll still have it in consideration for the top 100… it might be his best ever, so it deserves something in recognition of that)

TICTACTOE
I sat with these lyrics for a little while last night when I had time to kill. It’s a nice easy-breezy song that makes for an interesting introspective. It’s also a nice throwback to the Wendy & Lisa days back in the mid-80’s.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (lyrics… I know Prince can mince words together sometimes, like it’s his thing. But there are bits and pieces of that that don’t quite work. I think one in the first verse is “Unclecleopusha”… WTF? Also, I don’t really know what this girl putting streaks in her hair has anything to do with Balletina (from 2nd verse) and the third verse (which seems to continue from the 2nd)… not all the pieces on the board line up)
Component Score- 3.5 (it’s growing on me a little bit, but I’m not 100% on it cuz, like I said, lyrics)
Total Score- 8

MARZ
I’m still figuring this song out. It rocks out really hard, but it seems to go all over the place. If he’d made it a little longer, maybe more sense could be made of it.
Technical Merit- 4 (some lyrics don’t make sense. And it’s too damn short)
Components Score- 3 (at this point, the best I can be is neutral. I’m still not sure yet)
Total Score- 7

FUNKNROLL
yeah, I’m not sure if this song was good enough to warrant two versions on two different albums… and it doesn’t seem like the Peach & Black crowd is solid on it either, so at least I’m not alone in that
Technical Merit- 4 (some lyrics are throwaway and there’s one part towards the end where Prince screams as part of the crowd… that REALLY annoys me- and he sounds like some cartoon character. Yeah, I love the Camille vocal, but there’s just one scream that makes me shudder)
Components Score- 3.5 (I kinda like the music in the verses and the Camille vocals for sure. But the rest, I could take or leave)
Total Score- 7.5

All righty, that’s it… now time to add everything up…

96/120… it’s another solid 8 out of 10… so it’s in the same company with a lot of major Prince releases.
that’s pretty impressive, I’m happy with that.

Now to rank the songs from top to bottom:

1. ANOTHERLOVE- 9.5
2. FIXURLIFEUP- 9
3. WOW- 9
4. WHITECAPS- 9
5. AINTTURNINROUND- 8
6. TICTACTOE- 8
7. PRETZELBODYLOGIC- 8
8. FUNKNROLL- 7.5
9. PLECTRUMELECTRUM- 7.5
10. MARZ- 7
11. STOPTHISTRAIN- 7
12. BOYTROUBLE- 6.5

all right… now, to compare to the Peach & Black poll…
I’m going to write it down elsewhere cuz the guys made it clear they don’t want me to share their rankings of songs cuz they want people to listen 😛

the top song and some of the bottom ones were identical (PURE COINCIDENCE, I promise)… but the middle is completely different.

Yeah, so this is my stuff… you can agree or disagree… I certainly do with what the so-called “majority” says about it.

Toejam- 7.8
Captain- 6.5
Player- 7/7.5

but I’ve got a few I’d like to offer up for my top 100….

Anotherlove will probably get in somewhere. 9.5 is kinda hard to ignore for a cover
whitecaps
wow
fixurlifeup

but considering these other ones are 9/10, they might be lower on the list.

so I think I might keep this post up for a little bit longer so I can put thoughts of the SNL performance cuz they did Marz and Anotherlove and it was a single 14 minute set instead of 2 separate ones as often is on SNL.

…ok, it’s a 7 minute video… probably a little longer, but it was slightly altered and sped up to escape copyright infringement.
Yeah, I remember being somewhat disappointed by this performance just because none of the songs really resonated with me. I don’t know if this was before or after the albums came out… Google is suggesting it was early November. So I’ve heard Plectrum Electrum a couple of times previously… I don’t think I know what I was expecting, if anything.

So it was a medley- 8 minutes proper- Clouds (where another woman was singing co-lead with him and he’s playing beautiful music on keyboard, which is something I don’t think I’ve seen him do on a live TV performance. The concerts had their piano medleys, but maybe nothing quite like this)… then it shredded into Plectrum Electrum, blistered through Marz and went full tilt on Anotherlove…
Nothing against The Revolution, but I don’t think he ever rocked out with them quite like this. Not in this rock concert sort of way. I felt like I was at a concert and it was mind-blowing rock music. So cool. And he and the band were so tight. Nobody put a note wrong. He taught them well and their gifts are out of this world.
But what do I know? I have very little experience with rock, certainly in this day in age where rock music isn’t much of a thing anymore. (Part of me hopes that Chloe Kohanski, who won The Voice recently, can help change that… even though the show has never put out a superstar. The fact Billy Idol wanted to duet with her speaks volumes of her talent).
And of course I will be sad that these girls never put out another album together cuz they really should.

This brings the end of this post… and that brings me to a point that I have kinda been dreading since this journey of rediscovery began…
Art Official Age- as great an album as it is, it was a particularly difficult listen after Prince died.
I know I listened to it once, around the time I was checking out the Peach & Black podcast and what they said about the two albums- I thought I’d get the albums out to compare my thoughts with theirs.
I don’t remember if I heard it twice- I think I did. I just know that by the end of it, I was wrecked. And I’ve shelved it ever since.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 US National Figure Skating Championships

all but the final thoughts were written on my iPhone…

I thought I could get through this without having to write notes… but I just couldn’t help myself. I turned on the men’s short program Thursday night and felt this huge burst of adrenaline. Being back among old friends (that I’ve only been away from for a couple weeks). Can’t wait to see which of these guys make the team

After seeing these first 2 guys, I might just save my comments for the skaters that matter or that I really enjoy watching. Other than Max Aaron nobody in this first group really has a chance to make the team.

This 3rd skater, Daniel Kulunkemp- has a lot of things going for him that I like in my male skaters. The costume with the bits of bling on his shoulder and waist is one thing but
he chose interesting music (Fragile by Kygo and labyrinth) that he breathed emotion into. He has good skating skills and nailed his jumps. But he just needs more technical difficulty in his jumps
60.15- 30 and 29- 2nd place

Max Aaron
Geesh, Johnny and Tara are impossible- every year they say Max picks music that doesn’t fit him. This Les Mis program is his best that I’ve seen. I’m a real fan. Which is why I really hope to see it done perfectly. He had issues with his two quads and had to fight to land the triple axel. Towards the end, he just gave so much emotionally and had a great final spin.
I don’t care what score this is. I’m not going to be so quick to write him off like they are. Because I know how much he wants this, especially since he missed Sochi cuz we only had 2 spots for the guys to compete
74.95- 37 36- it’s still doable, I think, for him to get a bronze medal and that might be all he needs for that Olympic Dream to come true.

With Kevin Shum, johnny and Tara are freaking that a judge incorrectly marked his axel attempt as a triple when it was really a double. Like they were asking if they should tell someone and how these are people’s lives at stake. A little overdramatic… but they have a point. And it was eventually fixed. A million commercials later.

No huge names in this next group but some familiar ones. Alexei is here! But for some reason they’re billing him as Alex. Why? Do we suddenly hate anything Russian here cuz people think they fixed our election? I don’t care, I’m still calling him Alexei.

They just interviewed Max and he’s already given up… no, he can’t. It’s not over until it’s over…

Sean Rabbitt I’ve seen a couple times. He had a really nice skate. Not a lot of difficult elements but he nailed all he had and he just had so much fun with it. In the end, that’s all that matters
73.22- second place at this time

Emmanuel Savary I’ve seen on the junior level. He killed his combination with hands over the head but the other jumps had issues. Despite that it was hard not to be thrilled by the pizazz he had on the ice with this upbeat music. It’s always nice to see a great performer like him in these competitions.
64.65- 29 and 35

Alexei Krasnozhon
Oh, he had a back injury and his coaches lost interest in him and he fell out of love with the sport. That’s why he left Russia for the us. I never found why he came here- thanks Terry.
So no quad. Apparently trying to skate clean and saving the difficulty for the free skate. But Johnny and Tara really liked him and his choice of music and how his step sequence felt more like a transition.
Kinda cool seeing him fist bump Timothy Dolensky as he left the ice and Tim for on the way on. But it sounds like they’re good friends too
82.58- woo, go Alexei! In first place

Timothy Dolensky
He didn’t nail all the jumps perfectly but he did this really well. Skating to Mumford and sons and getting the crowd involved. That was pretty cool to watch. And he did a one handed lutz in place of a quad.
85.06- Whoa he beat Alexei… things are getting very interesting…

Halfway through they showed Bradie Tennell’s brilliant short program. That really was wow and without Evgenia in this upcoming Olympics (due to injury) she could potentially win
73.79- 40 and 32

Mirai is 2nd, Karen Chen 3rd and Ashley is 5th… I’m so glad she’s competing. I was worried she still might be having issue with that foot injury. I hope she can bring it in the free and make the team. Cuz she’s so good and I love her so much.
And Scott Hamilton was being mean, saying how he could see in her eyes doubt and fear and he didn’t believe she could skate well

Dude, I mean I can see when some skaters are hesitant or off but when they’re among my favorites, I will them forward whether they have a shot or not. I’m never fully ready to give up on them.

Dick Button and Peggy Fleming are being honored this week by us figure skating.
I’m going to be annoyed if nobody can win back to back Olympics like dick button did. He skated way back in the 40s. We have freaking quads now.
But at least he’s hoping that Nathan wins Olympic gold for us figure skating- like it’s really huge that we make our presence known in the skating world.

Finally- intermission over

Grant Hochstein skated the perfect program. I cannot nit pick anything. He nailed his opening quad combination that I’ve seen him fall on so many times. This Your Song program is one of those I think demands one perfect performance and I got it. By the end, I was almost balling. He supposedly dedicated this to Caroline Zheng, his fiancée and he sold it so beautifully. Oh man, I’m going to remember this forever. Could be a game changer… stay tuned
92.18- 50 and 41- definitely in first time place. And he’ll be one to watch going forward

Ross Miner
No quads but when he got on the ice and I came back in the room- I saw we locked eyes (even though I’m watching on tv) and I knew he was going to do a killer program. He had his game face on and the crowd was so into it. He impressed me once with a Billy Joel program and every time I’ve seen him after that, I’ve watched and waited for something just like this.
88.91- 46 and 41- 2nd place

Vincent Zhou
This is the closest he’s come to a perfect program all season- just that triple axel but he nailed a quad lutz-triple combination beautifully and a quad flip. Tara was totally fangirling over those jumps. Oh man- can’t wait to see these scores. Even with one fall he’s going to be way out in front.
89.02- dammit 2nd place- cuz he underrotated a quad and had a fall.
That is not right!

I have to get up early for work but I figure I’ll finish this group and I’ll call it a night depending on when Nathan skates. If he’s first or second in the group I’ll stay up. If he’s almost near the end, I’ll go early.
And I’ll write down skating order so I’ll know which order to watch the YouTube videos in.

Ok, Nathan is first. Tomoki and Andrew Torgashev are juniors and are in this group along with Adam Rippon and Jason brown.
Well, this is good. Cuz I’d be agonizing all night and tomorrow about not knowing how well he did. And I’d freak if I found out he injured himself or he did bad…
I almost want to close my eyes and just listen to the screams and cheers to know if he hit the jumps. He’s been a little off these last few competitions

Nathan Chen
Phew… it’s been a long time since I’ve been this nervous for anyone… I exhaled so loudly when he nailed his first jumping pass- a quad triple combination. He might get some points off on his triple axel cuz he fell out of it. If he doesn’t break 100, he’ll at least get 98 points, i think
104.45- 57 and 46
Woo-hoo!! Now I can sleep

I think Adam and Jason follow one another and Andrew is between them and tomoki is last…

I was hoping they’d show the short programs tonight before the ladies free skates and I got my wish
They started with Tara’s dark horse Amber Glenn who did a really nice skate to Send in the Clowns. She fell on a Rippon lutz but the rest looked really nice.

So my picks for the team are Bradie, Mirai and Ashley. If I get 2/3 I’ll be happy. I’d be sad for Ashley if she misses out but if Mirai gets to go I’ll be very happy for her and hope she’ll wind up with an Olympic medal.

Mariah Bell had an issue with her opening combination, mainly the second jump. But the rest of her Chicago program was so much fun and all the other elements (except maybe one transition into a spin) were solid
65.18- 3rd place at the moment but
two behind Bradie
Tara is on her side but Johnny called her an “also-ran” cuz she didn’t sell the program… well she did for me…

Mirai Nagasu
I know she fell on her triple axel but the rest of it was really beautiful To watch. She was on and ready to play for this. This year she’s had more determination and drive and has gotten more consistent than I’d seen her these last few years. I forget where I saw her but I was familiar with her before 2014. Maybe cuz I saw her at Vancouver and she was so so good back then. But for whatever reason I didn’t keep up with skating up until the next cycle came around… can’t believe it’s almost been 4 years since Sochi
73.09- 41 and 31- 2nd place

Ashley Wagner
Her one issue was an under rotation on the second jump in her combination. The rest was really good like always. She looks a lot better than she did the last time I saw her where she was struggling with pain in her foot. I was really worried she might miss this competition because of it but it’s also been a month or so since she withdrew from skate America in the free skate. Last I heard she was debuting a La La Land program for the free and skate America was the swan song of her Moulin Rouge program. Which will go down as one of my all time favorites by any skater. It’s iconic and it also got her a world silver medal
65.94- 5th place overall
I think she can do it. She’ll always have me in her corner.

Karen Chen
Last skater of the short program
Many of her elements are under review. Her combination started good but was off on the second jump. They compared her program and Ashley’s and said Karen was in it and Ashley looked rehearsed.
Yeah, okay… even if that is true, I’m only going to see the best in Ashley and block out as much negativity as I can
69.48- 35 and 33- 3rd place

Yeah, now for the live stuff…

They did a piece on Mirai being left off the Sochi team interviewing her and her coach. He seems like a great guy.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s any animosity between her and Ashley or not… I know if it were me, I’d kinda hold a grudge but then, it was someone else who chose one over the other.

Courtney Hicks is first
Her style doesn’t appeal to me but I still felt bad for the series of mistakes she made. But she fought to keep it together and she got through it. I hope that one fall she had looked worse than it really was cuz it looked painful
165.48

I think for this first group, unless I’m really impressed or it’s someone I know I probably won’t comment

During Caroline Zhang’s program they mentioned Grant is in 4th place… I can get Adam Rippon pulling ahead of him but not Jason Brown. Unless he had a quad or had a flawless program, I just don’t see it. Grant’s program was perfection.

Starr Andrews is a junior turned senior who skated to her own singing of a Whitney Houston song and she hit every jump. One or two bobbles in footwork things. But by the end, I’m crying, she’s crying, we’re all crying… wow, what a powerful magical moment that was. So moving…
189.91- 67 and 59- she’s in first place. She was floored and the crowd cheered so loud. Wow

Amber Glenn
She started really well but she popped two jumps and might have given away any chance of making the podium. This red violin program looked so good on her and she has great artistry. It just didn’t fully come together
166.68- 2nd as of this point

And the final group is warming up now.
Ashley looks like Emma stone in that costume. So beautiful. She’s skating 2nd in this group after Mariah Bell and Bradie is skating last… she hasn’t felt pressure yet, makes me wonder if it’ll change her dynamic
Karen Chen and Marai skate before her.

Mariah Bell
She really likes her musicals. This was west side story and other than her last jump that she fell on it was really well done. She really brought it and made me believe she could make it to the Olympics
192.34- 65 and 62- first place

Ashley Wagner
I’m usually very nervous and excited when it’s her turn to perform. But I had a feeling things would be ok. It wasn’t perfect. She had a three jump combination where she did a single on the last jump and she was two footed on her last jump. But she looked comfortable in it and was so happy by the end of it. She might need a little help to stay on the podium but she’ll be in first I think for the moment based on components.
196.19… and she has 4 skaters to wait though…

Mirai Nagasu
Some issues with under rotations but as she was getting toward the end she started really believing she could do it and the crowd responded. On their feet before her program ended. I think Ashley’s program was cleaner but both did programs they were proud of and that’s the most important thing
213.84- she’s on the podium for sure now. Ashley has to wait through two more skaters… oh boy…

Karen Chen
A couple of jumps might be under rotated. Only one major mistake that I saw and it was another emotional finish. A lot of those tonight. She won’t get first place but she might beat Ashley and that worries me a bit…
198.59- 2nd place

Now it’s down to one…

Bradie Tennell
Yikes… not even a mistake. That’s just insane. I think Mirai won this on components but this was unreal how clean that was. Almost as perfect a skate as Grant did last night
Honestly I spent some of that so sad that Ashley won’t go to the Olympics. I hope she’ll at least get to compete in worlds… cuz not all skaters come in the Olympics and world championships
219.51… I didn’t get to see the components but she won…

Answering my other question earlier, Ashley and Mirai were embracing and smiling and hanging out back stage. Yeah, no bad blood there. That’s great to see.
And it was cool how many clean programs there were with these top skaters. Not too many mistakes. It was all down to under rotations.

So with the guys, they started with Max’s short program. I left the room cuz I couldn’t watch it again
So Jason is in third… I don’t get it, I guess I’ll have to see it. It needs to be perfection like Grant’s performance was.
I’ll compare the two scores between them closely and see if I agree.
Grant had 50.64 and 41.54

I hope they get to Adam and Jason before Nathan. I’m sick of sitting through (or leaving during skates I’d seen already- makes me glad I didn’t YouTube this to see what I missed late Thursday night
… i had to watch Vincent again cuz he’s just so good, despite the mistakes.
They just showed Nathan in the milkbone lounge with a couple puppies. That’s been big this competition, almost like they’re therapy puppies to keep the skaters from stressing out too much

Wow!! Adam had no quad but that was another perfect skate in this short program. He must have gotten a really components score cuz of his flair for performance
96.52- he got slightly less than Grant on technical cuz of +3s on how his jumps were done. His components score was over 46
Yeah, that was so cool and confident. I can’t be mad about the quad omission. Just, damn…

And then there’s Jason- probably the us skater I’m harshest on.
Him being lower than Adam makes sense cuz his jumps were not clean. And Johnny and Tara are going nuts cuz Jason under rotated this triple axel and the judges didn’t mark him down for it, pretty much saying he’s being favored. I completely agree, omg
93.23- 45 and 47, he’s ahead of Grant by 1.05 points by virtue of his components

Yeah, that’s not fair. I’m sorry.
Grant was perfection and with a quad- he should be in third.

Oh man, Nathan is skating last… yikes, it’s gonna be a long night.
And Adam is 3rd to last
And Alexei is in this first group. And I’ll also get to see Andrew Torgashev- they didn’t show him.
Yikes, they’re not going to show max cuz he’s not in the top 10. That’s so sad.

Not sure what’s going on with Alexei but he just seemed off today. He got winded really early and by the end, he was so tired, panting heavy. Makes me wonder if he’s not feeling well or he’s actually kinda nervous. Johnny didn’t like his music, thought it was too methodical. I can kinda agree with that. His transitions need a lot of improvement. His jumps, he had a bunch of under rotations plus a fall. He’s not the Alexei I’m used to seeing. But at least Johnny and Tara like him
223.58- 3rd place right now

Andrew Torgashev
He had a very rough start but he got a little better later on. He actually waved the crowd to cheer for him before starting his step sequence. It was so cool with him spinning quickly in both directions. He might have gained a few fans tonight cuz this is his first time at a big competition like this
Tango Roxanne fits him well. I just wish I could see a clean version of it. Hope he’ll be at junior worlds and I’ll get to see that
217.01- aww 6th place. Maybe next time

Timothy Dolensky
That was another rough skate. He had a bunch of jumps he fell on or had to fight for. One fall in particular looked like it hurt
…and they didn’t show his score. I know it must not have been that good but I hate having that inconsistency

Side note- it’s cool how Johnny and Tara are teaching me stuff. I didn’t know before tonight that triple axels have two types of takeoffs. An edge or a skid- where you skid to a stop and then jump. That sounds really hard. I think that earns more points but following the edge has to be easier cuz it carries your momentum through the jump

Vincent Zhou
This thing will be up in the air I think. He had some great jumps but also a fall and a couple under rotations but he really brought the emotion later on and the crowd cheered so loud for him. I don’t know if it’s enough for a medal but it’s definitely enough for first place currently. I think they had his technical score at over 100 points.
273.83- 98 87- yeah definitely first…

This is gonna get so tough

Grant Hochstein
He popped his quad and had a rough go at the start but he really brought later on with cleaner jumps and of course emotion and interpretation with this music. It’s les mis and he sells it so well. I guess we’ll see what happens. I really can’t call anything at this point as far as placement goes. I liked Vincent better tonight. That’s all I know for sure
255.31- 78 84- yeah he’s in 2nd right now

Ross Miner
Wow! That was the performance of a lifetime for this guy. He had a quad salchow at the start and nearly all of his jumps were flawless. He skated to queen and freaking killed it- what a performer and the crowd loved it. Heck, I loved it… wow, he might be the new leader.
274.51- 96 89- yeah he’s leading now… phew this is getting good…

Adam Rippon
Oh man, don’t know what’s gonna happen there. His quad lutz was under rotated and he popped his final 2 jumps. His artistry is so good that I think he should hold on for the lead but I’m nervous for him. I know how much he wanted this- more than anyone here and he’s worked so hard to get to this point
268.34- 80 92- oh man he’s in 3rd… oh my god…

Jason Brown
That was another rough skate. He fell on his quad and had some silly mistakes on his jumps and combinations. His spins were the best parts but with his jumps burnt what they are… he’s not better then Vincent. Adam had more of great moments with his artistry… I don’t know…
253.68- 69 91- wow, 5th place… considering all the jump issues, that’s not surprising

One skater left… phew here we go…

Nathan Chen
Oh my god, I was so nervous for this I was shaking and my stomach is in knots. He had several quads and nailed them. His only problem was a triple axel that he singled. Just wow… he definitely won. Just don’t know how high it’s gonna be.
5 quads and it’s a “watered down” version of this problem cuz he’s actually sick right now. That’s insane
315.23- 115 94

Now the question is… will this really determine who else goes with him? Will it be Ross and Vincent? Or will they give a spot to Adam?

Who knows? Anything can happen…

…so I’m posting this officially now because Johnny posted who is going to the Olympics, and it’s what my gut predicted.

Nathan Chen was a given.
Johnny kept saying that Vincent Zhou is the future face of US figure skating (which is kinda crazy cuz he’s a year younger than Nathan… ) and that’s why he has to go– I thought he had to go because he has 5 quads and he’s a junior world champion. And he also was 2nd in last year’s nationals.

then the controversial point…
Adam Rippon got to go in place of Ross Miner.
I can explain this through international experience and previous successes. While this was a break-through performance for Ross Miner (heck, I was floored and almost on my feet applauding- it was so good), he doesn’t have many other successes under his belt to give him that street cred.
I could say again how much Adam Rippon really wanted this and worked hard for it, but he’s also had more success. He made the grand prix final the last couple years. He was a US champion 2 years ago. And he has two different quads, although he’ll probably only do one quad lutz and it’s in his free skate. He was perfection in the short program at Nationals, but he gave a little away (perhaps too much) in his free skate. He took his eyes off the ball for a few seconds too long and made silly mistakes at the end of his free skate. That kind of thing can happen to anyone.

So the three going to the Olympics, I’m very happy with.
But of course I’m sad for Ross Miner who might be severely disappointed he was passed over (despite a Nationals silver medal) and also Max Aaron who didn’t even make the top 10– he came 3rd 4 years ago, but the US only had two spots for the men… I really hope he doesn’t give up competing because of this. I know he’s disappointed, but he can’t give up.

So, that’s that… there are still a few competitions left before the Olympics, but until then… that’s it for now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Depeche Mode Playlist #1

I’ll do my best to not make this another super ridiculously long post about this band. I’m not as big a fan of theirs as I am of Prince. Not by a long shot. But after getting through the albums I’d been gifted and figuring out my likes and dislikes, I’ve since been listening to them in a stream of consciousness sort of way. Where I’m trying to follow the vibe through the different songs, across albums and it’s really an otherworldly experience. I’d totally recommend it if you need to escape reality for a while.

So this Friday, after a shortened, but seemingly long week… I was physically exhausted from the added responsibility of handling the reception desk. Which I did far better than I expected, but like nearly everyone else who covers it, I don’t want to do it all the time. At least at this current time I don’t… I have my suspicions that God brought this in my path because something bigger might be in store. If anything, it’ll help me get better at interacting with people.
…anyway, it was maybe 7:59am and I decided that since I had one of the Depeche Mode songs in my head, I’d start listening and see where it takes me…

Two hours later, this was the result.
Sometimes I will think a couple of songs ahead and the next song will come to me when I’m at the end of that train of thought… this particular day, I actually changed my mind a few times about what songs I was going to follow up with. And I don’t think I put a single foot wrong.

My method went kinda like this:
1) I didn’t want to put too many songs from the same album together
2) I connected songs either by lyric theme or how they’re constructed instrumentally
3) I tried to mix and match albums as much as I could so I wasn’t stuck with a whole bunch of ones from the same at the end…
4) there are a couple of songs that, quoting Captain from the Peach & Black podcast, “blow my head off” so much that I try not to put too many of them together.

As far as I can tell, there are two categories of songs I chose:
“Strangelove” (as in the actual song and other “strange relationship” stuff) and politically based- where it’s not so much introspective, but talking about other people or situations outside of lust & love. There’s also some “sexuality meets spirituality” tracks… not quite at the Prince level where sensuality is concerned, but some of them (related or not) that feel like a complete & utter eargasm.

Just to preface before going into the actual playlist:
there were a few songs I’d already put together a few times or was well aware that they’d be put together… and I also knew that “Walking in my shoes” and “Precious” would follow one another because that’s often how that’s gone for me with the Greatest Hits album. And I knew that “Policy of Truth” and “Nothing” would be very close together. I’ve put them back to back nearly every time, but this particular day, I put “Useless” in between them because it felt like the right thing to do at that point.

I think I’ll put the playlist down now and if I have additional comments, I’ll tack them on at the end. That way, the playlist is easy to read (and feel free to borrow it and use it for yourself- I’d recommend it!).

1. Higher Love (Song of Faith & Devotion)
2. Policy of Truth (Violator)
3. Useless (Ultra)
4. Nothing (Music for the Masses)
5. Lillian (Playing the Angel)
6. Everything Counts (Greatest Hits)
7. Shake the Disease (Hits)
8. A Pain that I’m Used to (Angel)
9. Strangelove (Hits version- not the original Masses version, the production is slightly different)
10. Sacred (Masses)
11. Personal Jesus (Violator)
12. Halo (Violator)
13. In Your Room (Faith & Devotion)
14. Home (Ultra)
15. The Things You Said (Masses)
16. Mercy in You (Faith & Devotion)
17. Rush (Faith & Devotion)
18. It’s No Good (Hits- although the original version on Ultra sounds identical, so either works)
19. Nothing’s Impossible (Angel)
20. The Love Thieves (Ultra)
21. People are People (Hits)
22. Walking in my Shoes (Hits- the Faith & Devotion version doesn’t have the record scratch in the pre-chorus and I’ve gotten so used to hearing that that I miss it too much when it’s not there)
23. Precious (Hits- Playing the Angel version is the same)
24. Never Let Me Down Again (Masses- this version has an extended ending, the Hits version fades out sooner- either one works when transitioning to the final track…)
25. Enjoy the Silence (Hits… it has a quicker fade out and I prefer it to the album version)

***

Further Comments…. feel free to skip this or just check back after giving these songs I listen, in case you don’t want my thought process to interfere with your experience.

Okay, so I may have failed to properly integrate the Greatest Hits tracks into all the others, seeing as I put so many at the end of this… but it just felt right. 21-23, I’ve put together before because they could be the backdrop of Plushenko being improperly judged and given the silver medal at the Vancouver Olympics (21), him defending himself and maybe coming off badly in the eyes of some people… I was one of them (22), and all that he’d gone through in his career with injuries and such (23).

The funny thing about this particular day… maybe it was because I was a little irate about some stuff or part of me thinks I was asked to do too much (but really, I was only asked to do it because there was no other option- and really, I don’t have as many responsibilities as the other Imaging Operators do… I may not fully enjoy it or feel comfortable with it, but sometimes I worry I’m not doing enough and that’s my way of staying valuable. After how my previous job ended and how long it took to come back from that… remaining valuable is never far from my mind)

…the point of that was that I put a few songs together with a sense of irony behind my motivation 😛
My original plan for halfway through was putting “Mercy in You” after “Halo”… because “Halo” impacts me so much that I like to add “Mercy” to halfheartedly ask for them to relieve the emotional impact. But then I decided to follow through with another emotionally charged song (although not nearly as much)- “In Your Room”. And both songs really do build the tension throughout so they fit.
The irony kinda came in when I figured that I’ll put “Home” after “In your room”… cuz the lyric goes “and I want to thank you for bringing me here, for showing me home…” the song seems really genuine and sweet. But then I follow it up with a song with a lyric “I heard it from my friends about the things you said”… and from there, he says “I thought I would find some mercy in you”… and then the mercy doesn’t come because “Rush” comes in… and it’s blow-your-head-off time.
And the time had is so good that I flip things around with “it’s no good” where she seems to be the one saying she’s happy without him, but he says how wrong she is.
But truthfully, a lot of songs have that wry sense of humor to them so it fits really well.

“Higher Love” was the first song that came to mind and it started that train and it went for a long time… also, I listened to a live version on YouTube (I really don’t want to see these guys perform the songs because I don’t want to picture them singing every time I listen- I want the experience to remain my own) and the comments said “that’s how you start a concert!”… so I thought I’d start with it and it set a really great precedent.

I followed up with “Policy of Truth” because both of these songs have a similar endings where it breaks down and finishes up, but there’s one huge synth note that happens and… :shiver: it’s so cool, I love it.
Thematically, this song and “Nothing” fit together so well that they’ve literally never been apart since I started doing these experiments.
But “Useless” often isn’t too far behind… “policy of truth” is spent berating someone for seeking the truth about something, only to be disappointed with what they find. And “Useless” could continue that storyline cuz he says how he gave advice that wasn’t heeded and he says how this person should learn to keep their feet on the ground.
“Nothing” is about seeking something, only to find nothing… “Lillian” often went with “Useless” because those lyrics could fit this whacked out relationship he has with this girl. But on the other hand, “Nothing” and “Lillian” are both quick-paced songs and the percussion has some strong similarities.

“Everything Counts” and “Shake the Disease” are the two oddball tracks on the hits that don’t belong to any album I have. And the latter really doesn’t belong to one. But the synth parts sound very similar on both that they feel seamless.
“Everything Counts” is kind of an intermission because it’s a politically charged song that doesn’t have anything in common with the others… except “People are People”… those two fit together really well.

“Shake the Disease” meanwhile begins the “Strangelove”/”Strange Relationship” part of the playlist… where the relationship is kinda toxic and potentially abusive, but it’s like they can’t help themselves. I’ve put “Lillian” before “Shake the Disease” a couple times because they seem to belong to the same storyline.

Funny enough- there are three “Strangelove” tracks I put together- Strangelove being the last one… but then it changes over to 3-4 “sexuality meets spirituality” tracks… so it almost fits in a weird sort of way.
I’ve put “Sacred” and “Halo” together a few times, because, why not? But I didn’t want to jump the gun with “Halo” (because that song often wrecks me… in the best possible way, of course… but I do get self-conscious that maybe someone will see my face while listening to it- my eyes are often closed as the chorus builds and builds at the end)… I decided to break it up with “Personal Jesus” because they all seem to fit.
And of course “Strangelove” and “Sacred” follow each other on the album they’re on… they sound very similar, so it’s a super smooth transition between the two.

“Halo” and “In my Room” are super intoxicating… but they have one thing in common where the ending just builds and builds, the chorus repeats three times and the instrumental coda plays it out to a strong finish. The way they are written (and much of the “Faith & Devotion” tracks- at least the 4 I really like have this in common), they sound like aural sex where there’s penetration, building of tension and emotion and there’s a huge orgasm at the end of it. Or in this case, an eargasm… the funny thing is that Prince has written so many songs about sex, but I can only think of a couple where this happens… for me, it actually happened with “Insatiable”… “International Lover” attempts it, but the song is so comical that nobody’s gonna get high on that. “Do Me, Baby” is probably the only other one that really does that. And despite it being early in Prince’s discography, it’s probably still the best. Actually… “Shh” does this as well where the guitar solo at the end builds so beautifully and by the end, blow-your-head-off time…

I’ve had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to end with playlist for a while… but it’s hard deciding which note I want it to end on. “Never let me down again” is the final song on the greatest hits, so it’s tempting to leave it last, but it almost feels like this was the best choice– putting “enjoy the silence” as the finale because it was the first Depeche Mode song that blew me away and if I was going to get a greatest hits album, I HAD to have it on there.
I’ve also had “Home” towards the end and even though it works… it also doesn’t just because it’s so different from all the other songs. And I’ve felt like wanting more after ending the playlist with it.
Somehow, it just occurred to me somewhere in the middle of this that I should put it after “In your room” because the titles work together pretty well.

“Home” makes it seem like the relationship has it a good place and finally plateaued… but of course, that wry sense of humor came out in me and I just couldn’t help but throw a wrench into the works with “the things you said” and asking for “Mercy” and ‘when I “Rush”, I rush for you”… “it’s no good” just felt like the perfect calm-down track to follow…

Ultra and Playing the Angel are almost a decade apart, but it’s interesting to me how much they have in common with the songs. “It’s no good” and “Nothing’s impossible”- I can’t explain how or why, but to me, they work well together. and “Nothing’s impossible” is an oddball track that doesn’t really fit with anything else. “Love Thieves” is another one. (And there you have it, “Nothing’s Impossible” between 2 Ultra tracks because it just felt right).
I also feel like “Love Thieves” was a good way to end the come-down part of this playlist… it has a cool end where it has dreamy synths, but also 7 notes that repeat, but each time they play in a cycle, it goes down half a step.

The rest… it just works out as I said…

I hope you take this playlist for a spin. And if you enjoy it (or not, whatever)- feel free to leave a comment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prince 2011-2013… and beyond

So, my original plan for this week was to go through Plectrum Electrum. While it is *technically* a 3rd Eye Girl album- the only one to their credit as of this point- I’m still considering it a Prince album because he sings lead on some of the tracks and his vibe is all over the album. It’s a hard thing to explain…

But there was a change of plans when I found out that I could use my remaining personal days as vacation days. (I was under the impression I could only use them for emergencies- like a random blizzard came out of nowhere and I couldn’t get out of my driveway)… long story short, I was given Thursday and Friday off.
As much as I do love my job (no joke- no matter how many times I may say it, it’s not to convince anyone including myself) some weeks drag long, so Prince’s music helps me get through it and the podcasts give me something extra to look forward to at the end of the week.
And seeing as I’d only have 2 work days this week instead of 4 (with Christmas being off on Monday)… it was better overall to wait.

I didn’t take a break between the previous decade as I had with the others- between the 80’s and 90’s and 90’s and 2K… but taking everything about this time period into account, it feels right.
AND- adding to all this- we had a crazy power outage last Thursday that went the power finally came back, the surge killed our modem. Ergo- no Wi-Fi. I could still access Twitter and Facebook on my phone, but I was missing one thing that I wanted to do before starting into 2014.

I had to watch some Prince footage on YouTube, plain and simple.

And I just had so many thoughts going into this that I couldn’t not do a little write-up about it.

This was another odd period in Prince’s career. Everyone was really thrown by the name change and when Prince kinda went underground through much of the 90’s. At least Mayte’s book was able to give me some insight into what was going on with Prince during this time period. It used to be so full of mystery that I could never piece anything together. Even with all the albums at my disposal. Much of it is him figuring out new ways of album distribution, getting stuff from his Vault to be released and finding himself within a new religion.

Then came the 2011-2013 period, and for me, that kinda included 2010 as well. (Mainly because I didn’t really consider 20Ten part of his discography. Despite having it, it didn’t feel as real to me because no physical version was ever released in the US). Where I felt like I lost touch with Prince and didn’t really know what was going on with him. Unless someone else puts a memoir out, I doubt I’ll ever find out.
Listening through a couple of podcasts and reading Matt Thorne’s book, I realize that more happened than I give Prince credit for. But it doesn’t mean I’m still not perturbed about the fact he didn’t release any music for that long time.

It’s been argued that Prince was still recording and releasing music. It just wasn’t in a fully comprehensive album. They were released as singles and only the hardcore connected fanbase could access them. Even if I was into iTunes at that point, he wasn’t giving “Xtralovable” or “Screwdriver” or the slowed down version of “Let’s Go Crazy’ to iTunes.
My fellow purple knight sent me a couple of these mp3s through e-mail, although I only listened to them the one time. (I didn’t like “Screwdriver” and I think that’s still true… I’ll see when I get to the album it’s on).
“Rock n’ Roll Love Affair,” I think I actually heard on my radio when I was in my room. I think I heard it was coming and turned it on. I think it reminded me a lot of “The One U Wanna C” and that’s enough for me to like it. Just going back to the Planet Earth era (if that’s even a thing) sound that I missed so much.

It was just, after a while, there was this disconnect to the point where Prince was leaving my mind and going very deep into my subconscious. Which is a place he hadn’t been in several years (the previous time: between the first time I caught a glimpse of Purple Rain and him appearing on American Idol)… It’s not like I missed him terribly, but I was feeling a tad frustrated with him. Heck, with that period in my life, I was frustrated with pretty much everything and only binging on RDJ YouTube clips and watching lots of movies could lift that gloom.

Ultimately, the TV appearances Prince made during these times were the only indication… I kinda hate to use this phrase now… it was the only indication I had that he was still out there. And every time I heard he was somewhere or was going to be somewhere, I was overjoyed and saw the footage as soon as I could get to it.
The George Lopez show specifically, I remember seeing live. Looking forward to seeing live and it was great seeing him in an interview situation. And doing The Beautiful Ones… that’s just wow.

With Peach & Black, I’ve listened to a couple of concert reviews.
Mainly, shows MC has gone to.
With this last one about the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2013- I couldn’t believe what I was hearing- Toejam going through the history, and saying how MC would say after seeing Prince after however many times that he didn’t have to see him again, he was done, etc. But Prince would do something and he’d be pulled back in and the cycle would resume. Being on the other side of Prince being somewhere here on Earth, of course I’m going to be a bit annoyed at anyone who downplays Prince’s awesomeness or says that they’ve seen him enough to last a lifetime. Dude, I never got to see him ONCE and there are people who’ve seen him dozens of times. And say that they’ve reached a limit.

But I guess, if it was me, I’d see him as many times as I was able, but I don’t think I’d say a million times that I was done with him.

Anyone who’s heard even a handful of these podcasts, they know how MC saw Prince at Montreaux and hasn’t stopped referencing it or saying how awesome it was or saying he’s still waiting for the DVD cuz he saw cameras there.
The 2009 show, I heard Prince did “Empty Room” because there was a video I had saved on YouTube of him doing it… however many months later when it was finally time to see it, it was removed… I did find another video where he was performing it in 2010 or 2011… I could see why the guys said Planet Earth was basically Empty Room… I heard a lot of similarities. But damn… that magic was so palpable, it almost knocked me out of my chair.
For MC’s experience… there were 3 nights… the first night was horrendous. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, Prince is the ultimate professional. I don’t know how he didn’t see to it beforehand that the sound was mixed properly. It was so bad that MC thought he’d lose his hearing.
And major credit to Shelby J. She was chatting with people on Facebook the day after the show and MC told her about the sound issue and she was very apologetic and it might be because of her that Prince got word of it and he made sure things were taken care of. There was also this story of a guy taking a friend to see Prince for the first time and it was that first show and I really hope that didn’t turn that guy off from Prince forever. Not just the sound, but the fact Prince played very few of his own songs.

Yeah, that would turn me off too… I hate when Prince does covers because I feel like it’s unnecessary. Why would a guy who can write his own songs and has written 100’s, if not 1000’s, play other people’s music? I dunno…

Then with the 2013 shows, the podcast actually got a guest on the panel. A female named Niki. She’s either British or Australian. But either way, it was so great having a female represent on the panel. That’s something I always felt was missing 😛 it always seems like the later shows were the best ones. It sounds like there were 2 NPG shows and one 3rd Eye Girl show. Prince didn’t pick up an instrument in those first two shows- that’s mind-blowing. I’d hate to think along these lines, but I couldn’t help wondering if maybe some personal struggles he was going through contributed to that… or he was just so proud of these bands that he was cool with taking a back seat to them.

However, hearing about him doing Slave Era songs like Dark and Endorphinmachine was mind-blowing in itself. I didn’t think he’d ever play those live again. And I’m sure MC just lost his shit over Endorphinmachine- one of his favorite Prince songs EVER. And apparently there was a dude in the band who played the cowbell and was wearing a T-Shirt that referenced the SNL sketch that has the line “I gotta have more cowbell!”… like it was really taking a swing at all the fans that hated the final version of that song on the Gold Experience.

Then there was the Christmas podcast (I thought they’d just be talking about “Another Lonely Christmas”- they just recorded it Christmas 2011) where the guys just talked about recent Prince events and there was a “one song” portion where each guy brought a non-Prince song to the round table for discussion. I didn’t know any of them but Toejam’s Stevie Wonder song… I don’t get all the hype for “Master Blaster”… I don’t like it, I never did.
One thing I DID get out of it… all of the sound bites at the start of the shows…
MC and Toejam were talking about the new release of “Xtralovable”… and I thought MC had been saying “he’s got all those classic Prince albums”… it’s “Prince ELEMENTS”… and Toejam said “either version, I love both versions”

And funny enough, Captain and Player were talking about the same thing when they said theirs.
They were basically talking about Prince recording so much that he had to put stuff in a Vault.
Supposedly, the idea for “The Vault” came about because Prince found he and his band were on a roll recording and putting out songs that he wanted to have that recorded for the future in case he needed them. Ergo “why wouldn’t he record just as much as he could” and the Vault is a “storage house of ideas”…
It’s just crazy to think about that Prince thought ahead about this idea of recording when all the pieces are lined up and why not have this stuff in case he, God-forbid, ran out of ideas… I’m not sure if that’s more amazing or the fact Prince kept having ideas where he almost didn’t need anything from The Vault.

Which brings me to the point I ultimately wanted to get across… even though this has been a very clunky random post…

It’s even crazier to think how I’m still coming up with new stuff to discuss about Prince. I mean, I can run out of albums (and within a month, I will… sadly). But I just found so many different angles that I really see no end in sight with all this.
Of course now that I say it, I’m getting nothing specific 😛

So on YouTube, I previously watched a video where Prince was giving Halle Berry a NAACP award and how the crowd just cheered so much for him. One comment said how he always manages to overshadow the winners of the awards he’s handing out. So true.
I don’t know what it was, though, but seeing him- I was close to getting choked up. Maybe because it registered he’s no longer here. I try to keep that idea out of my head by keeping him close by- even if that’s just an iPod with one song on it. But sometimes, it’s difficult. And I’m really going to miss the fact he’s not going to make any of those surprise appearances at awards shows. That was always such a nice thing. And of course when he gave out awards, there was always a reason behind it. [Prime example- him at the Golden Globes to give “Glory” from Selma the award for best original song… that was so obviously a set-up- he wouldn’t be there if it was any other song winning the award]

The one thing about this project that I regret not doing… or thinking about sooner… I could have ended every week with a letter to Prince that just encompassed my thoughts of the past week.
That doesn’t mean I won’t do that at the end of this, though… but considering it’s several years of several albums, there’s a lot to account for. And I might not account for all of it 😛
Just to reiterate, going through all the albums (ok, most of them) in 2017 was the plan all along. Whether Prince was still alive or not. And there are times I do think that if he was, if I had written him a letter after each album… I do think about what that could have led to. Whether it was a few kind words or more… I hope that he would have found this flattering, instead of what happened with Julie & Julia where Julia Child didn’t appreciate Julie’s blogging through her cookbook.
This wasn’t just chronicling Prince’s career through his music or rating his albums like I was a critic… I try to be subjective and objective with all this, but ultimately, it’s about following through what one fan suggested I do at the beginning- start with the first album and go forward- but also reliving all the things I loved about Prince in the first place and discovering new things.
And I also wanted to answer the questions about what my favorite album was and my favorite songs were (after Gold, obviously, that’s always going to be #1). Ultimately, it’s about appreciating this amazing talent who is absolutely irreplaceable.


before watching the George Lopez appearance, I thought I’d spend a little time with someone else who’s had an impact on me. Going off topic just a bit, it’s getting close to the next winter Olympics, which absolutely means more figure skating blogging and of course name-dropped Evgeni Plushenko left and right…
I don’t spend as much time with Plusehnko as I did the first couple years, but getting a little separation is good because I get to appreciate things more. It seems like every couple years, I’m drawn to someone new, someone who brings something out in me I didn’t know I had or forgot I did. Plushenko reawakened that love of figure skating I used to have and now I’m a serious die-hard fan. But I’m also never going to stop missing seeing him out there- as I only had to the chance to once (that I can remember anyway). It’s a little demented that it took what could have been a tragic event for him that give me the reset button I desperately needed at that point.
RDJ may have gotten me through 2011 and a little of 2012, but for 2013 and into early 2014, things were not good with me. I’m insecure enough as it is, but I’d never felt worse about myself until before the Sochi Olympics. And it was a welcome distraction.
Then the event happened and my mind was completely off myself and it was about him recovering from the injury he’d suffered. And he has… it might not have been enough to get him to this next Olympics, but ultimately, he’s going to be helping a lot of people with his new school.

The funny thing is that Plushenko, my admiration for him was so great that I started learning some Russian just to follow articles and tweets about him… yet with Prince, it wasn’t great enough that I put a serious effort into learning how to play my keyboard beyond just randomly pressing notes and being able to follow a chord progression.
On a spiritual level, both of these guys… men, really… really made an impact on me. I’ve felt like a better person around them or at least I’m closer to becoming the person I was meant to be.
Of course, between the two, Prince is going to win that contest just because he’d been there longer. And with all that he’s gone through, many more hills to climb (numerically and categorically), there’s more to learn from him. He was also one of those people who came around at the perfect time when I needed them. At first, it was just giving me some decent music to listen to because hip-hop was driving me out of my mind and that’s all I was coming across. But then it became about finding myself as a writer, I guess. Not enough to get published, obviously, but on this blog, he’s at least helped me find a voice.
If anything, that’s the greatest thing I got from knowing him.

And, of course, go figure… that all the people who’ve had this great impact on me, that have made me a better person or closer to that level of inner perfection… I never met them and they’re certainly not in my life in any physical capacity.
I’m hoping very soon that in real life, I find someone who could be the physical manifestation of that. And hopefully I’ll be lucky enough where they’ll be my best friend and someone I marry.

…yeah, when there’s a void left behind by Prince’s absence, a lot of other things come out… if you’re still reading by this point, I applaud you and apologize simultaneously 😛

Anyway, to the George Lopez stuff… and I’m hoping that all the footage is still there on YouTube- it wouldn’t be the first time it’s gone missing…

I don’t think this was the number where I was balking about the fact he wasn’t singing lead vocals… it was either Shelby J. or Liv, the comments wouldn’t say anything (did not appreciate the one saying that if he married Sheila E, he’d still be alive because she’d take good care of him… like Mayte and Manuela didn’t? Give me a break… the way things were with him, he had to help himself first and that didn’t seem to happen). But I was grooving and not even a minute later, I’m getting a cramp on my right side… like, damn, Prince 😛 I can’t completely say he’s the only one who makes me dance (even if it’s just in my chair) to music… but it’s hard not to move listening to anything that’s going on.
Sheila E was killing it on the drums and Prince got his own band team drum on out and the two of them killed it… and he joked about tossing that thing like his guitar, but he decided not to at the last second and his expression to that person in the audience was totally “syke!”

Geesh, it’s almost 12:30am? Damn u… anyway, a couple more videos to go.

Laydown to keep the continuity with the albums going… I’ll do the interview after and The Beautiful Ones to finish.

it’s a slowed down version of the song… for some reason, it’s been reminding me of this mash-up in the movie SuckerPunch between “I want it all” and “We will rock you” and a rap song… it’s that same dirty sound…
and I forgot to mention… he says “funknroll” in this song… and he makes that a song title a couple years and releases two versions on two different albums that came out at the same time
it was kind nuts at the beginning cuz two of the girls, the dancers, they had the pilot hats on that he had in the “Automatic” video and the drummer had some Linn-drum in there, so it was a total throwback.

I don’t know how much I really got out of this interview 😛 that’s the problem with these shows sometimes, Prince will get a couple words in and the audience will scream for 5 minutes or the host will talk on too much… it’s a 9 minute interview, but of Prince speaking, probably only 2 full minutes… it’s kinda annoying. George Lopez talks way too much, but he did have some funny points. Asking if he’s taking credit for Internet texting language (Prince would rather not- that sense of humor coming out). Of course more industry talk, about people getting to cover his songs without his permission or thinking he stole songs from Sinead O’Connor or Chaka Khan when he wrote them.
And as of this point, he’s vegetarian and eats no red meat. He brings up hot dogs as an example why. Dude, I don’t want to know what’s in them, but I don’t think I could give them up- they taste too good no matter how bad they are for you.
And I could be wrong on this, but he seemed just a tad off, maybe a little tired… or something else is going on. I really don’t know. I don’t want to think too much on it, but there’s a little bit of a difference, I think, between here and the Tavis Smiley interview a couple years before this.

I got to thinking, also, whether his New Girl appearance was 2014 or 2015. My gut is saying 2014… yeah, it’s 2014. I think I was the only person in my house still awake at that point 😛 it was after the SuperBowl and everyone else was partied out. Meanwhile, for Prince, I’m wide awake and having the time of my life… kinda like right now. With maybe one exception, I’ve never stayed up later for anyone else with any sort of consistency like I had for Prince.
I guess I’ll have to find that New Girl episode over the next couple days, then… cuz it’ll be my Segway to the albums.

Other than recording the vocal alone, I don’t know how Prince nailed The Beautiful Ones like he did in the song’s recording. This live version, it doesn’t cut it musically because everyone else is playing the instruments. Vocally, he isn’t as strong as he once was, but damn, that charisma just makes the whole thing work. Other than some piano playing at the beginning, it was all vocal showmanship and working that mic stand and playing off of Misty Copeland. There was this ballerina on stage with him and I’m wondering if it’s her because I know he worked with her for a while, but I didn’t think they were at the same height. Thought for sure she was taller, but sure enough, he introduced her and yeah, she’s great.
And look where she is now- principle ballerina at the New York Ballet. I mean, she is mega talented, but I think her getting noticed had a little to do with her working with Prince.
It was another of those cases where it’s a 5 minute performance, but it felt like 10 and I ate up every second of it.

Yeah, there are a bunch of New Girl clips on YouTube… I think I’ll just go through a bunch of them and go wild. Even though that was a great episode overall, it might be easier… not to mention cheaper than buying season 3 of New Girl, lol
plus, I really liked the season before it where I was dying for Nick and Jess to get together… I had a crazy ass dream about it ages before they actually get together…
man, I’m gonna miss that show, even though it hadn’t really been as good these last couple years. I’m not gonna say that Nick and Jess getting together ruined it cuz it didn’t for me, but afterwards… I don’t know, it wasn’t quite the same after that.

So… it’s been a long time, it’s almost 1am… I should get some sleep… unlike Prince, I ain’t a night owl. At least not that extreme he was.


it’s another day and I’ve found a lot of footage… the Empty Room performance is on another site…
what do I even say about that? I don’t know if I even liked his guitar playing all that much or all the faces he was making while he was soloing (but he did make a LOT of faces during the 2006-2009 period where I was seeing live TV performances as the same time as everyone else)… but the energy he had- he was so into this. Never mind all the Whammy bar- the vibe on its own was enough where after this ended, I didn’t want to move for the first minute afterwards because I didn’t want to lose how that felt. He’s just something else…

So…this brings me to a point… where it’s kind of a point of no return, which makes me sad…

I’m going to go into some 2012 footage now… and it’s where Prince changed his look for the final time.
It’s funny looking back, how I observed in 2009 how he’d grow his hair out at the end of every decade and then he’d cut it all off in a couple years. And that he didn’t grow his hair out in 2009 or 2010. He had the same hairstyle, practically, from 2005-2011.

Then when he appeared on The View in 2012… he went back to the old school where his career all started… with the afro.
And I think I’m in the minority when I say I hated it… It was ok for the first couple years, but when it grew all big and poofy, it drew my focus away from him so much. Often times, he’d be wearing sunglasses inside, so I never saw his eyes. And for me, that was important. Eyes are the window to the soul and I couldn’t make that connection when he wore the sunglasses.
I know that it probably wasn’t a fashion choice, but a means of self-preservation. Perhaps blocking as away from the fact he didn’t look good behind those eyes, that something wasn’t quite right and it wasn’t getting better.
But on top of everything else, with the return of the afro, Prince seemed to abandon the sexy love songs and ballads that really drew me to him. Particularly the first couple years of my fandom. As happy as I was to have him back releasing albums again, something was still missing for me and I figured out that that was it. His songs weren’t about love and his presence wasn’t about exuding sexual energy. It was about the charisma and the whole mystique of his character. Not that that’s a bad thing- I just missed a lot of the elements that drew me to him in the first place. If I was able to see his eyes, then maybe that connection could have remained a factor.

Anyway- I think I’ll end the post for the day with comments on his interview with The View in 2012.
I remember it pretty well- how he was there to promote a few concerts in Chicago for a charity organization that was going to help this city. I don’t know how much help he and Van Jones and Rosario Dawson did. I’m not up on a lot of this stuff, but I’m under the impression that bad things still happen there and nothing’s being done about them.
After his death, a lot came out about how charitable Prince was and because of his religion, he didn’t come out and admit to it. He liked to do it behind the scenes most of the time. So to me, it wasn’t a huge surprise to hear that.
I think he also just talked about how someone else will release songs from The Vault and he said he didn’t think he was particularly shy, but had his quiet moments.
Yeah, he really had that Gemini thing down- where he was outspoken on stage, but personally, he was quiet.

I try to stay out of politics, but I couldn’t help but think how much my dad hates The View. Not that he’d ever watch it, but when it’s come up, he’d say how it leaned so strongly one way politically that it’s not worth listening to. I think I’d only ever watched it for Prince (when he appeared once or twice) or when Lady Gaga gave an interview in 2009 promoting her Born this Way album (still my favorite by her).
And watching this… I just wanted them to shut up and let him do more talking. He didn’t get to do a whole lot.

So I guess I will go into 2013 stuff tomorrow and maybe some early 2014 stuff on New Year’s Eve… we’ll see what happens.

…so it is now the first of 2018… 2017 was so much about getting through Prince’s music- I mean, 17 is a fitting number. And I thought it was a great year. Certainly better than 2016. I actually kept a log on my phone where I’d write something down every day- one thing that made me smile or that stood out. I actually managed to do it every day except maybe one… but I was NOT feeling well November 15th… PMS was being a real bitch that day.
I know a lot of bad things happened in the real world. It’s not that I’m unaware of them or I’ve become desensitized, but I don’t spend my time wallowing in all the ills of the world. It’s freaking exhausting… I’d rather focus on my own happiness and being positive in what I do in my life- because I certainly spent enough time being down on myself or being angry at the world… which oddly segues back into this entry.

I promise that the rest of my Prince-related posts won’t be nearly as self-involved as this was.

Back to videos:
first one I picked out was Billboard Music Awards (something I think I only watched ONCE and it was for a Prince tribute) from 2013- maybe his debut with 3rd Eye Girl. It started with the slowed-down “Let’s go Crazy”- then he stepped aside for Ida to do a bass solo (rocked it!) and then he was up there with Donna and Ida, soloing. Then it just switched gears with FIXURLIFEUP… I remember really liking the drums on this. Just this whole set-up with these girls, it’s so throwback and so rockin’ and so cool, I loved that whole vibe and I can’t wait to go into it with the album.
Then during this second song, Prince actually took his sunglasses off. One of the few times I saw him without sunglasses during these last few years (his Arsenio interview was another) and his face was so lit up like he was a proud parent and mentor.
I think I also read about this performance in Matt Thorne’s book where he liked this song, but balked at the video behind them where one lyric was “London will b toast” and it was a video of someone buttering a piece of toast. Hey, Prince had a weird sense of humor, what can I say? He just took issue because he’s from London.

there’s a video from Montreaux titled “Prince doesn’t need a guitar”… it was a mash-up of “Days of Wild” and the “get freaky” chant from NPS and I caught “Ain’t nobody” and a certain Mary J. Bilge song I like (although I can’t remember the name of it)… it’s cool hearing “days of wild” with a horn section, but it feels weird having another female dancer doing the wave for the crowd that ISN’T Mayte- it’s just weird having this song out of that time period of his career. Also kinda nuts that he managed to bring it back and cleaned it up so he could actually perform it… it was pretty cool.

And I believe the last video I picked out was also from Montreaux- from the third night where it was Prince and 3rdEye Girl… it was 9 minutes of them working out “She’s always in my hair”… Prince took off his shades for this one as well. He did a killer guitar solo without any Whammy (Captain would be so happy 😛 ) and then let the girls take over. He told Donna to cool it a bit so people could hear Ida on bass and then everyone came back in. But seeing him at the mic and hearing him sing these lyrics with this cool beat in the background… it was another of those moments with Prince where I just got so lost in everything he was doing that nothing else in the world mattered. And that’s why I love him so much. I mean, seeing him perform those two songs at the end of Purple Rain- that’s where the love affair started. But it took a few extra years to make it official.
…yeah, so good…

And I think this is a good place to stop. The rest of what I have to get through are 2014 performances. The one exception is “The Breakdown”- probably from Montreaux as well, but I want to save it for the next album.

Hopefully this post wasn’t too tedious to get through… I just felt like I needed to keep the narrative in my mind going and I’ll have this at least for myself to look back and remember what happened. Because for a while, it felt like nothing did.

Starting tomorrow- Plectrum Electrum.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #34: 20Ten

Only a couple of albums left to go… even then, every time I start a post, I always have to double check that I have the number right 😛

So, here’s the thing…

I have a really terrible track record with this album. And by that, I mean that I’ve had it since (according to this blog) summer 2010. I think it was another of my fellow purple knight’s contributions to my Prince album collection. (And the last… so yeah, we’re getting to the end). The post dates back to August of that year and it’s “very early” impressions.

So… this is an album I’ve put on my iPod a couple of times, taken it off, put it on again… I’ve listened to it maybe 3 times EVER. I kept putting it, thinking I’d get around to listening it, but I was never in the mood or something else would come up and I’d take it off to make room for something else.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the quality of material… listening to it again, I like nearly every song, which is something hadn’t happened in a while.
I gave MPLSound one last listen earlier today and I really got into “There’ll never b another” and “U’re Gonna C Me”… a little of “Here” when he was speaking in his normal voice… “Better with Time” felt longer than 4 minutes…

“No Candy 4 U” almost feels like the perfect bridge between MPLS and 20Ten. It was still kinda in my head before I put the album on.

I think I know the main reason why I just never listen to this one… I’m really good with listening to new Prince albums when they’re on CD. But I only have this digitally.
Yeah, Prince had to be REAL creative with the distribution of this. Including it as a giveaway with the Daily Mirror magazine… ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE UK. It was never officially released in the US. So just in general, that annoyed me. Was that annoyance enough to stigmatize this album? I don’t think so.
However, it did add insult to injury when this was the last album Prince released for FOUR YEARS and I thought he’d never release one again.

…I’m doing all caps A LOT today. I swear, I’m ok 😛 Only three more work days until Christmas (I have a four-day weekend coming up, so of course I’m super stoked for that).

For an album I have a terrible history of actually listening to… all of the songs- how can I describe this… the sensation was like reaching out blindly and whatever surface I came in contact with, the pattern had a vague familiarity to it. But the patterns kinda felt like home and I just settled into them like I’d heard them more than I have.
To be honest, all of the songs had that vague familiarity to them except Laydown… cutting ahead, it was the only song out of the set I (wait for it…) DID NOT LIKE. That female vocal saying the hook throughout the song just annoyed me so much. I’m here to listen to Prince, not Shelby or whoever the hell was backing him up. Even with the Star Wars reference, I didn’t like that this was a rap. (Back when I really hated when Prince did rap… I’d only been a fan for 3 years at that point).
Adding to that point, in the recent times I’d listened to it (this time and the previous time- I think it was within the last couple years), I’ve liked it a lot more. I don’t mind the hook. I didn’t mind the rap (heck, looking forward a couple albums ahead- it has a bit of a similar feel to “Ain’t About to Stop” from HitNRun Phase 1 and I don’t mind that song too much). The crazy thing about it today… the song is only 3 minutes 3 seconds long. I actually wanted it to be longer to really drive the whole vibe home.
And according to Princevault, Liv Warfield sings the hook. I remember her appearing with Prince, I think, on Arsenio’s show when they brought it back in 2014 (yeah, he had the show back long enough to have Prince on it and then it just got cancelled, which kinda sucks cuz he’s a cool dude). And it annoyed me so much that she got a number all to herself. Again, I’m here to see Prince, not one of his side acts. It was like Tamar at GMA all over again. So what if he had the whole show to himself practically, I wanted all the performances to be his as well.
…on second thought, that might have been the George Lopez show… I can’t remember anymore. I saw both appearances when they aired, but not since.

So… back to this album…
I went through Matt Thorne’s chapter on it, and of course I remember very little of what he wrote 😛 maybe I skimmed it too fast.
I think he hated Compassion and dismissed it for being annoying or too electronic or something.
And of course he and every other Prince fan called “Laydown” the best song on the album… I’m pretty sure the whole Peach & Black crew will agree. It’s a cool groove, yes, but it’s not the standout BEST song on this album.
What that standout best song is for me… I honestly don’t know…
I’m betting some cynic is gonna read this and point how it was the only song I remembered from an album I barely listened to… yeah, I know… leave me alone.

As far as my scoring goes, my first gut instinct right now… the technical marks will be very strong for this album. With every song, they’re pretty solid, but there’s maybe one little thing I would change about most of them. Whether it was a lyric that didn’t make sense (yep, I always gotta have one, it’s like I can’t help myself) or the music is better than the lyrics…

So, it’s been more than 5 hours since I finished listening to the album… unfortunately that means I’m not going to remember a whole lot.
Maybe the issue with this album, as good as it sounds, the songs just might not be terribly memorable.

Matt Thorne said one thing about this album that I remember… he called it “the most coherent” of the last 3 albums Prince put out (if you count Lotusflow3r and MPLSound as two different albums- his words, not mine)… he has a point, but I don’t think “coherent” is the right word. In fact, it sounds like an insult. It’s like saying the ones on the albums didn’t make any sense. For the sake of argument, “Here” really doesn’t make sense and “Chocolate Box” to me is a bit of an overlong mess.
But I think the phrase he SHOULD have used was “the most cohesive”- because listening to it, a lot of the songs bleed into each other and there are some distinct similarities.
What’s sticking in my head at the moment is the first two songs- Compassion has a bombastic rhythm section with a series of Linn hand claps. Beginning Endlessly sounds very similar (where I almost thought it was a continuation of Compassion), but that bombastic section was in a synth line that repeats through a song but in a different key.

Compassion is another opening track I like a lot. The lyrics might be a little generic. And the instrumentation, like “There’ll never b another” before it- helps set up what you can expect from the album. But with 20Ten, it really seems like Prince has gone back to square one with his old instruments and breathing new energy into them. And he succeeds. In almost every case (I can’t think of any at the moment that says otherwise), the music is really good. He doesn’t put a note wrong.
Compassion actually reminds me of “Can’t stop this feeling I got”… except that it DOESN’T SOUND LIKE “FOOTLOOSE”… seriously, how am I the only one hearing that? So I like Compassion a lot.
Beginning Endlessly- I think it might wind up running too long, but I think I like the main hook enough where I’m not going to mind it too much.

Future Soul Song is the prime example of one thing I said before… about songs where I love the music, but don’t like the lyrics… to be more exact, I really don’t like the chorus… maybe even the title for that matter. The music is SO GOOD and harkens back to older Prince ballads like The Beautiful Ones- I’m sure that’s what everyone is going to bring up in their reviews. But the chorus just feels generic and uninspired. While the rest of the song is just so good.
And actually, it reminds me a little bit of a future song (haha- no pun intended, I promise) from Art Official Age- I forget the song, but it’s the second to last track on the album (and, by the way, it’s a song I don’t like- maybe the only song on the album I have any measure of dislike for).

Sticky like Glue- I’m trying to recall what it sounds, but all I can think of is the horn/sax lead line of “Sexual Suicide”… I have no idea why, I hadn’t heard that song all that much and it was months ago since I had.
Matt Thorne said that the metaphor of this song wasn’t taken far enough… I thought it did ok. In fact, the innuendo that goes with it might be one of the racier thing Prince had gotten past the JW censors since he converted 😛
Can’t remember much now, but I really liked it.

Act of God… I think my only issue with the song is the title. I have no idea what the hell he’s going for. All this stuff is going wrong for all these people. It’s THE political track of the album, but it really doesn’t come off that way. It’s not super preachy or specific. But it is indicative of the time it was written- whether big corporations are getting bailed out or the housing market collapsing… but what it sounds like he’s saying is that “the man” is causing all this heartache for these people and they’re the ones saying that an “act of God” is the reason why they’re repossessing houses and such. When I think “Act of God,” I think of people trying to claim insurance money for when a business burns down and “acts of god” (like the place got hit by lightning and burned down) are not covered in that insurance.
The rest of the song is really good. I like how the music answers the vocals. He says the title and then there’s this musical thing that oscillates back and forth. It’s some guitar thing.
I think it reminds me of something off the Chaos & Disorder album- The Same December or Right the Wrong- musically and lyrically between those two songs.

Lavaux… I can’t remember what was going on in this song… and maybe I’m thinking about the title when I’m saying this, but I think about it and I get warm and fuzzy vibes like I’m just chilling in a toasty hot tub. I really liked this one.

Walk in the Sand… this is one of the few songs I wasn’t super impressed with. It’s a nice sentiment, but saying how there’s nothing better than a “walk in the sand hand in hand with you”… it’s nice, but I just can’t picture Prince doing that. It might be another music > lyrics song.

Sea of Everything has a few suspect lyrics and by that, I mean they’re a little generic and cheesy by Prince standards… but it’s another “toasty hot tub” song… I think I could spend some time getting lost in this song. He’s talking about the whole grand scheme of things and whether this girl will choose him in this sea of everything.
I see the title and can only think how Prince is a sea of everything within himself and his whole discography.

Everybody Loves Me… :sigh: it’s funny how I could remember some of the names of these songs as I was hitting them, but this was the one that escaped me.
The music is really good, but the lyrics are maybe a little too self-referential and cheesy and egotistical where I might not be able to get around it.

Anyway… that’s the initial thoughts… I think I’ll be playing this album a lot this week so it can finally sink in 😛 things are looking good so far.


day 2

Compassion was sticky like glue on my brain. Specifically, the bridge… the music picks up speed and gains more energy and it’s almost like… actually, the whole song is kind of “Play in the Sunshine”… it might have more of than that “Can’t stop this feeling I got”…
the bridge says something like “no matter the skin you’re in” and the stanza on lines 2 and 4 has a rhythm of “nothing” and “something”… some may see it as pedestrian for someone like Prince, but I really like it. But the “skin you’re in” line just makes me think about a couple jokes from his movies- about someone saying that another person was in their skin when someone else asked where they were (Morris said it about Jerome and Tricky said it about Christopher Tracy). Just how the lines are sung and put together and with the music… it almost feels like the best part of the song. It’s certainly THE part that’s sticking my head.
I’ll be surprised if Captain says he doesn’t like this song because he doesn’t listen to lyrics (and these aren’t the best Prince lyrics) and it’s a good old pop song. It’s very poppy and that’s why I like it so much.

Beginning Endlessly- that synth hook is still in my head. It seems to be about Prince getting together with a girl (or woman, either way) and it’s kind of like starting from the beginning all over again and so on. It might be a thickly veiled Garden of Eden reference.

Future Soul Song- yeah, it’s just that bloody chorus that I’m just not feeling. The rest of the song has a really nice sentiment about it and everything about it sounds so good. It’s going to be so close to perfect, but just missing the mark for me personally.

Sticky like Glue- this is a song that I don’t think I can really fault… other than the fact that anytime I’m writing about it, I can’t remember anything about it 😛 but it’s very catchy and poppy and while it runs a little long, I don’t mind hanging with it for that extra length of time.
Oh right, this was one of the “time machine” type songs that felt like they were transported from a previous time in Prince’s career. The rhythm of delivery in the verses almost reminds me of a bit of timing in “Sexy Dancer”- it’s all instrumental, stop and go and after it, you hear all the Prince voices in unison going “ooh!!” in that 70’s disco sort of way.

Act of God- almost every song on this vibe echoes this vibe… except for certain lyrics that reference certain timely events, Prince would have released them in 1982 and they wouldn’t feel at out place at all. And I really like that the music isn’t indicative of any particular era in his career or life. I mean, minus some lyrics, anyone could pick up this album right after the Triple Threat era with The Time and Vanity 6 and 1999 and it’d be a smooth transition.
About this song in particular, I have no idea what song it is, whether it’s a Prince song or a protégé album… there’s something about it that it’s so familiar that it’s driving me crazy (even 3 hours later). The “Act of God” guitar lick that happens after every time he says that line- that’s really cool and it’s one thing I really remember about this song hours later. But there’s also this pulsing beat in the background, I don’t know if it’s from the Linn drum or a bass line or what, but it’s steadily beating way in the background. I like it so much and I have no idea what’s making that sound.
Again, this is another super catchy song. I really don’t mind the lyrics (as this whole series has shown, I get pretty bent out of shape when Prince dabbles in politics because he’s overly serious and I can’t appreciate the music with my brain thinking too loud about what he’s saying)– heck, the lyrics might as well be secondary. I could sing along to them (once I learn them) and not be affected. I’m just enjoying the ride.
It’s political and funky. It’s political funk and it’s so good.

Lavaux is another of those really cool time machine songs (omg, a hot tub time machine! going with my last comment). I have no idea what Prince is going on about, but the way the song it put together, it sounds like it was right off the For You album. Throughout the song, these bright synth lines out of the late 70’s are batting back and forth across my headphones. That’s the only thing I can seem to remember about it.

Walk in the Sand and Sea of Everything almost go hand in hand because they both have a single criticism from me. Two different criticisms, one for each song.
There’s nothing wrong with either of them. I’ll just say that. But something different about each of them doesn’t register in me.

Walk in the Sand- everything sounds really nice. Prince’s vocals, the music… but the chorus… don’t know what it is, but after hearing this song, I feel like I need to get drilled for cavities. Vocally, he sounds good, but with the lyrics (mainly the chorus)… it’s just so saccharine that it kinda ruins any chance me fully liking it.

Sea of Everything… it’s an R&B ballad almost in the vein of “Call my name”… musically, that’s what it reminds me of. But throughout the song, there’s this wonky sounding guitar that slowly puts up the chromatic scale. I don’t know why it bothers me so much… maybe I’m just expecting the song to go somewhere, but it just plays those few notes and then there’s “wa-wa” starburst moment like you hear in the old Motown ballads. Maybe it just feels pedestrian or predictable.
Actually, I had this thought earlier, Prince could have traded the guitar for a piano and this song would sound amazing. I mean, it’s already really good. But I think it would make it sound even better.

Everybody Loves Me is very similar to No More Candy 4 U- both sound like they took the hot tub time machine back from 1981. The music just sounds so reminiscent of that era in his career.
Other than the titular lyric, it’s another nice sentiment and one of the better closing tracks he’s done in a while. It’s certainly better than Resolution (but then, almost every album had a better closing track than Resolution… poor Planet Earth)

Laydown feels like it was recorded very close to “Ol’ School Company”… but while it uses a very similar hip-hop beat, it sounds so much better on Laydown. There’s a lot more going on. And it is such a sick groove that the end just comes way too soon.

day 3

Good thing I only have one day of work left this week. Between Christmas coming and the mornings being kinda slow, it’s been hard to maintain my attention span for any great length of time. But of course when there is work, I still give it everything I am major OCD about making sure all the data is right.
So I decided that I’d skip a little ahead of myself and listen to a 2011 Peach and Black podcast about MC and the North Sea Jazz Festival. I’ve heard about it in passing through the various podcasts, but not much other than it being another place MC saw Prince. He lucked into the circumstances where he was not only there already and Prince happened to be coming, but he had connections that helped him get really good seats.
It was over 3 nights. The first night made me shudder. I’ve heard Matt Thorne complain about a handful of Prince concerts he went to or saying that he was waiting for the concert when he’d just fall out of love with Prince (seriously, who does that?… as much as he fanboyed over certain albums and eras, I really hated how jaded he sounded or like he was deliberately trying to dissolve the mythos of Prince)…
well, anyway, the first night of the show- not only was it “cover-heavy” but the sound was so messed up that MC almost lost his hearing over it… I actually went through a moment like that at the Revolution concert I went to. When they did “Automatic” and got halfway through, when Bobby Z was crashing cymbals stuff, I heard just loud buzzing and nothing else and it really hurt my ears. THANKFULLY, that was just for that one song. And I feel bad for anyone who had that as their first Prince concert. As someone who never got to see him (and this podcast brought those feelings back up), I’d be upset if that was my only concert experience of his too.

Anyway- nights 2 and 3 of the show sounded like concerts I wish I had been out, they sounded out of this world.
It was kinda funny when they were talking about concerts in general and Captain asking if he got seats or had to stand. And it was almost like Captain wanted to start a fight cuz they were arguing about what is better. Captain pretty much said he hates standing at concerts. I can’t help but agree. Both Jesse McCartney concerts I went to, I stood and it was taxing. Not just for the concert itself, but the second one where I had to wait for him and the opening acts to show up.
And it was really nice sitting down at the Revolution concert (well, except for my sister, two girls stood up in front of her and didn’t sit down so she missed a lot of the visuals of it).

Anyway- it was all good and the podcast really got me through those last 2 hours. They went by so fast.

I decided while listening to the album a third time today, I’d look up the lyrics later and start to get to know them better.
Three days in a row, a couple of the songs are losing their luster for me. That does tend to happen. But there are some standouts still.

Sticky like Glue- I was unconsciously trying to sing along with the chorus and some other parts.

Going back to the podcast a little bit, MC mentioned how he heard Future Soul Song and Laydown were performed live and how he liked the songs. And after the Jazz Festival, on his iPod, he put Laydown at the start of it and says “do it and see what a difference it makes”… I might do that tomorrow at work.

Compassion- the lyrics are mostly very vague. they sound good and catchy, but there’s not a lot to them. It alludes to some current things, like polar ice caps melting and the rich getting richer and stuff like that. And I guess the title alludes to trying to have compassion despite all the wrongs in the world. The song sounds a lot cooler than it really is, I guess. That’s kinda disappointing.

Beginning Endlessly- that synth hook sticks in my head and it doesn’t even matter that this song runs a little long, I could listen to it for a few extra minutes and not get bored.
One lyric that’s been catching my attention since the first time- “my reputation precedes me…you want me just the same”… it’s kinda odd for him to acknowledge his reputation while not coming off as a complete egotist (which he often does with a whack sense of humor like in “Prettyman”).
There are a few songs on this album like this where I feel like I’m being led by Prince down a rabbit hole and I have to follow the song through to the end to see where he’s going with it… and that’s a cool feeling.
the part of the chorus where he talks about them opening their dirty hearts, I don’t know if it’s that lyric or how he says it or the music, but it’s giving me a vibe like it’s something from a 70’s song. Like by the Rolling Stones or something. It’s kinda trippy.
The one thing a little off in this song for me- the first part of the chorus where he says “Why should you be satisfied with just heaven and earth? When if you look around there’s so much more to the universe”… that second line, not only is it a weak rhyme, but it feels like too many syllables being squeezed into that line… it doesn’t quite work. But today, I didn’t really care so much. Some really good lyrics in this song, very creative and cool

Future Soul Song
I misheard a lyric- I thought he was saying “I sing it like you got that ride”… like saying she has a great ride or something stupid like that (“She love me 4 u” had the lyric where he says “I like to ride her”… bleck!)… but yeah, other than the chorus, I don’t take issue with anything. This song was positively hypnotic. Extremely positive.
Actually, it was getting to the point- he was leading me so far down that rabbit hole, I got to the end and he took my breath away. There’s just something about this song… something special he really has had with him in some time.

Sticky like Glue
I love how the lyrics are done in this song- a sick sense of rhythm. Again, this song is not sticky like glue when it comes to my brain 😛 I keep forgetting how it goes. But I actually managed to remember after reviewing some of the lines.
There’s a rap in the middle of this song where he’s almost got a Morris Day type of personality going on… it’s really cheesy and kinda lame… but I oddly don’t mind it… I can’t explain it 😛 I hate when Prince does this kind of stuff.
He was talking about them watching a movie, how they saw less of it as time passed and he’s pretty much boasting about his abilities.

Act of God
this song kinda has the “1+1+1 is 3” funky thing going on… a lot of his funky songs from the 21st century have a very similar sound to them. and I like that. And I kept forgetting to mention that this song has a current reference as well- saying how the bombs were supposed to keep us safe from Saddam… I totally forgot when we had him executed… which year that was, but I think it was prior to this album’s release…
the final verse talks about how everyone has a God of different and why we all can’t get along… he’s been on this thing a lot in these last couple years where he was talking about religion and how putting God first will save society. (Kinda ties into today’s attitude, where a lot of people think that all these bad things are happening because God is banned at school and government buildings… that’s one rabbit hole I’m not going down, I’ve spent too many of these Prince posts going into politics. I half agree with this idea and half don’t. I’ll just say I don’t think God would allowed Donald Trump to become president if he was really as terrible as everyone in Hollywood is saying… but I’m also not saying he’s perfect… I’m just leaving it there).
This is another of those songs where it’s all about the rhythm of delivery that’s selling it.
I still don’t quite get the title- I know what it is, but I don’t know how people are calling something an Act of God when it clearly isn’t- I think that’s the point… like Future Soul Song, I think the song is great, but it’d be much better without the titular lyric.

Lavaux
I really need to look at these lyrics because today didn’t feel like a hot tub time machine… something was off… but maybe it was because two cars were coming up really fast behind me (out of nowhere too) and I had to move aside for them to get through… people are freaking maniacs.
This is a political track disguised by those really cool synth waves… talking about how freedom isn’t free (like the last song did) and how the roads will lead him back home and something about slavery… I think I’m better off not listening to the lyrics cuz I really like the sound of this song overall.

Walk in the sand
I think I’ve summed this song up pretty well… it’s a nice sentiment, but it’s just so sickeningly sweet… I just can’t get into it…

Sea of Everything
this is another song I kept forgetting to bring up a point about… this seems to be inspired by a real person… he’s saying how she’s been busy and how they haven’t spoken in a while and how nobody writes a letter like she does and she seems happy but maybe it’s a charade… they seem to have a history. Anyway… other than the music not quite doing it for me, it’s a great song.

Everybody loves me
other than the egotistical title, it almost feels like a better song than Resolution to close an album. not much more to the lyrics that I didn’t already pick up

Laydown
one lyric I don’t get… saying if this girl didn’t have the surgery, she’ll see what he sees… what kind of surgery is he talking about? it just makes no sense.
and them talking about the “purple bounce bounce”… anyone else could have written that… with him it sounds so lame… like he’s trying to be down with the kids or something…

so I’ll give the album another listen tomorrow morning/afternoon and then do the Peach and Black podcast review… and then maybe I’ll review it Friday…

…it’s Friday…
and I’ve finished the review.
It was another early review, so it’s a good one.
Captain is in rare form and MC is still bringing up how much he likes The Morning After.

So, here’s the thing: the last time I was going through the album, I was making predictions about which songs Captain would like and hate.
I was pretty accurate. You can take that however you want 😛 but I guess it shows how much I’d been paying attention to these podcasts or who’s most likely my favorite cast member. Not like I’ve made a secret of it :shrug: the dream’s become maybe doing a podcast together because he has a platform. And there’s a possibility of putting a member of the Peach & Black podcast and the Purple Knights podcast together for a little something after this whole purple journey ends… and by that, I mean all the albums and getting in order my top 100 songs and top 7 albums (cuz why not 7?)

Cutting to the chase, his top 2 were “Compassion” (which I thought he’d love cuz it’s very poppy) and “Act of God” (didn’t think he’d pick this as his favorite, but with all it has going for it… hell, I think it might be my favorite too… I mean, I’m overlooking a lot of political garbage cuz the groove is just THAT good. He called it “funk on a stick”)
“Act of God” got a few talking points thrown into the fray. Captain’s review mirrored mine practically, but Player brought up the key issue I’d been wanting so badly to explain but just couldn’t. He took issue with the title because “Act of God” implies something out of man’s control and all the events in the song were man-made. A huge thank you to Player for putting that to words for me!
Captain’s review of “Beginning Endlessly” mirrored his “Valentina” review a bit. And his impression of the “Future Soul Song” chorus- that alone is worth listening to this podcast for. That is the one thing about that song I just don’t like and he put it into words so hilariously… and even more hilarious, everyone else praised the song so much he was clearly dying in the background. I think MC called it the “future heart attack song”
Toejam’s favorite is “Sticky like Glue”… I like that one a lot too.

Sea of Everything was universally disliked and Captain got completely left out of the loop cuz MC didn’t want to “do that to him”… especially after he trashed “Walk in the Sand” before it. Player said that song didn’t fit in the album cuz it was acoustic and the rest of it is electronic. Fine point- I wouldn’t have picked that up myself. MC said someone else could do this song and make it better than it is. I don’t know if Captain was serious, but he said “you’re thinking Miley Cyrus, right?” later Justin Beiber…
back to “sea of everything”- MC was so obsessed with this one lyric- Prince talking about reading a letter she wrote, but it’s one of the best he’s heard… he’s like “you can’t hear a letter!” and the other guys were just laughing so hard on that. I know what he meant by it…

Everybody loves me- I had a feeling Captain would like it. Toejam doesn’t get the hate, calling it this album’s “No more candy 4 u” or “Prettyman”… oh yeah, totally agree. MC mentioned the “Dirty Mind” synth in this song and he had a time stamp “3:43″… cutting ahead, I HAD to listen to the album after hearing the review and I found it and I’m like “OMG, yeah!”… I think it would have taken me months of listening to this album to pick that up myself.
And to describe Laydown, Captain said that it was one of Prince’s few hits (compared to many misses) of trying to do a modern sounding song. And of course everyone liked the song…

so closing remarks by them…
I nailed Captain’s score- 8… don’t know how, honestly… I think this is the second time I’ve nailed his score for an album. Maybe because he has more distinct tastes than the other guys and certain songs fit into certain categories, so it’s easier to nail than with the others. But then there are the oddball songs I don’t expect him to like or dislike.
I thought MC would give it 8.5, but it was a 7

and Toejam made a comment how he was happy to get an album this year cuz he didn’t think after a 3 disc Lotusflow3r set he would… ahhhhh…. if he only knew…
that makes me so sad to even think about… even though I did have this album since it practically came out, it still felt to me like 5 years since Prince released an album and it was to the point where I was afraid he never would again.
It certainly didn’t help that this album was not released physically in the US. I mean, yeah, the Welcome 2 America tours were around this time and I’m still killing myself for not making that effort to go… I mean, I’m still not physically driving myself to concerts and stuff cuz it’s almost like I have to ask for permission… so I still felt like this pitiful person where it’s like I had to ask my dad to get tickets for one of those NJ/NY Prince concerts and as always I’m afraid he’s going to say no, so I just didn’t ask. Meanwhile, fast forward years later, I didn’t hesitate when The Revolution came… I had a feeling he couldn’t say no that cuz, dammit, it was important. I’m still confused by the fact he didn’t want to see it with us- seeing Purple Rain was HIS idea. He had the album and put the two songs on a mix of songs… clearly my dad isn’t a huge Prince fan, but he certainly respected what he did.
My whole point with that, other than mentioning the obvious yet again… Prince felt very far away in that point of time. No album, beyond Welcome 2 America, really no touring…

and going even more off track… and personal…
20Ten came in 2010, obviously… I was fired from my previous job that fall after I’d been there for a little over a year.
by SHEER coincidence, I could not get another job until 2014… later that year, Prince finally came back and released more music… I mean, it was a temp job, but by the time this new album came out, I was a month from being brought back a third time.
Anyway, fast forward, I’m now full time with this job and got one promotion within that first year. Things are going better than I ever expected.
I just found that gap for both of us oddly coincidental…

anyway, interlude over…

a lot of the time when I’m listening to the podcasts, it makes me want to listen to the album again. and sometimes I do and the album feels a little less special… it has nothing to do with the guys and what they said about it, but it’s usually my 3rd or 4th listen in the span of a week. And I’m kinda over the album by that point.

with 20Ten, it may be because it’s still new to me… not that the podcast was boring (it rarely is), but I found myself with maybe 5-10 minutes left just dying for it to end so I could listen.
and the album still felt really good, in some places, almost better…
while listening this last time, I actually was scoring the album as I went through it, so I have the scores up ready to add together…
I kinda hope that this album doesn’t get too high a score right away 😛 but I think at least 3 songs will bring it down just a tad…

here we go…

COMPASSION
I don’t know what it is, but I have an odd thing about not wanting to rate opening tracks of albums too highly… it seems like every time I get to the opening song of an album, I underscore intentionally. Or because it’s the first song I hear off the album, it’s the one I’m quickest to get sick of. While it is memorable in its beat, it’s not as strong as some of the other songs of this album. But for an opening track, it’s another good one. There also aren’t many bad opening tracks on Prince albums.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (lyrics- keep forgetting to mention one cool lyric where he says “if you have the passion, bring it back in fashion”- something like that… it helps explain why the song has this title, pretty much Prince saying that today’s music doesn’t have passion it)
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

BEGINNING ENDLESSLY
The more I’m listening to this song, the more I’m really liking it. MC’s comments might have sold me on it even more than that. It’s very hypnotic, like going down a rabbit hole. But it’s also unlike most Prince tracks I’ve heard. Very unique.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (trying to squeeze too many syllables into that one line in the chorus)
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9

FUTURE SOUL SONG
If not for that dang chorus, it’d be a perfect song… it got to the point where it works as a chorus, but I just personally don’t like or get it… but it’s another of those great mesmerizing Prince songs I really like. It took me a little while, but it eventually won me over and it’s a nice feeling. That Prince can still do that however years into his career
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5

STICKY LIKE GLUE
I don’t know if it’s the best on this album, but I really like this song… I had a thought today that this song reminded me of “If you love somebody” from NewPower Soul, but a stronger song overall. The rap is cheesy, but I don’t mind it.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (it meanders just a little towards the end)
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9

ACT OF GOD
yeah, when it comes to Prince, I’m pretty harsh on the political tracks. A lot of the time, I don’t agree with what he’s saying or I hate how he’s bringing us down with his dogmas and such… it says a lot that I’m willing to work around some of the stuff in this song because the music just sounds so good…
Technical Merit- 4.5 (it doesn’t bother me so much… but the use of the titular lyric really doesn’t make sense… this made me think about how I do my scoring and how I should take it from the technical if it keeps the song from being sound and from components if there’s an aspect that takes away from the song’s enjoyment for me… I don’t think I always do that 😛 )
Component Score- 5 (nothing can take away any enjoyment of the song from me)
Total Score- 9.5

LAVAUX
I’m kinda sad to say this, but I liked this song so much… and now I don’t as much. Maybe one day I’ll come back around, but listening to the lyrics kinda took away from it… I think it might be a little more political than he lets on… or I’m just too preoccupied with the lyrics that I can’t concentrate on what I used to like about it
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5

WALK IN THE SAND
(it’s probably walk in sand, but I don’t really care…)
So…there’s not a lot wrong with this song, but it’s just hard for me to get into it. Just too sweet and I usually like sweet things
Technical Merit- 4.5 (not exactly an original sentiment and I doubt Prince is the only one who could come up with something like this)
Component Score- 2.5
Total Score- 7

SEA OF EVERYTHING
I think I’m giving this song a little more than most would… I don’t know… usually when Prince does songs like this, I yawn and want to skip them. But for the moment, I kinda like it…
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

EVERYBODY LOVES ME
It’s kind of a goofy song and I don’t really care for the title and sentiment of it, even if it is a joke. I like the music, but not all the lyrics work. It also meanders a little bit.
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5

LAYDOWN
I’ve come around with this song a bit since the first time, but I’m not going to sing its praises like everyone else. Just because it’s not really my type of song, not my type of music. It’s a little too much in that modern R&B sound. I’m half and half on R&B myself… it depends on the artist. Let’s just say I don’t listen to a lot of it. Prince is pretty good at being gangster sometimes, but there are some weak lyrics in here… like he’s talking about the “purple bounce bounce” and “come on, boo”… seriously, boo? I hate that when R&B singers, black or white, use it… it’s such a stupid pet name…
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5

Ok, time to add it all up…

Yeah, I really do like this album… I don’t know if it’s because it’s still kinda new to me, but there’s just so much I like about it…

yeah, I gave this album 8.55 out of 10… might wind up rounding it up to 8.6… but that’s higher than Planet Earth and a couple other albums… I think even Parade… I have mixed feelings about that…

if it weren’t for some weaker lyrics, Planet Earth would have been much higher than this album… but part of me also thinks that 20TEN is the follow-up I would have preferred to Planet Earth… sonically, it all shakes out with Lotusflow3r and MPLSound… but I just prefer this album to both of them… not just by my own math, but in my heart too.

So I couldn’t give any song a perfect score, but there are a bunch I like a lot.

Future Soul Song
Act of God
Lavaux

…I think Act of God will probably get first go at the top 100 and I might come back to the other two later. It’s the one I have the least qualms about.

So to everyone, Merry Christmas… and I’ll be back in another week for the next album…

it took over 4 years, but he did eventually put out more music… in two albums, in fact… the next one might not be technically considered a Prince album, but I am personally considering it one.

In the meantime, I’ll try to watch through all the appearances I can find… The View, him accepting some awards… and him being on the George Lopez show where he did Laydown and The Beautiful Ones… trying to bridge that gap in time where he put out no music…
and I do remember him showing up a few times and I was always excited to see him. There was just no clear pattern or idea of what he was going to do next…

if I have anything to add, I’ll probably add it to this post…

but I think I’ll post it down just to have one less thing to worry about on Christmas vacation… which I really should be spending away from Prince 😛 I mean, he didn’t celebrate Christmas

although with these Christmas blocks I’ve had for 6 years, I’ve been trying to make his songs into Christmas songs by changing different nouns or doing before & after stuff… it’s been difficult to say the least. I have at least 12 good ones.

Anyway, this has dragged out long enough. Merry Christmas 😛

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #33: MPLSound

Not sure what the hell is going on with this site lately, but it seems like whenever I start a new post or I’m going to a different one, it’s been glitching out and this area keeps disappearing and I have to keep scrolling to find it… maybe I need to ditch Internet Explorer… I think the only reason I’m keeping it is cuz I can right-click and automatically translate Russian text. Chrome seems to be doing ok.

And of course I’m way off topic, but time to be back on track…

This is the second Prince disc in the Lotusflow3r 3-disc set. I don’t remember how long I was listening to Lotusflow3r before I finally got to this. Although I think my fellow purple knight sent me the tracks he got with the website’s subscription so I did listen to them both within a day of each other.
However, I think it took a little while longer for me to get to this album and pay it a lot of attention. And to be honest, I don’t think I have 😛 I still don’t know all the words. (A lot of Lotusflow3r is the same way… and actually, every album after Planet Earth, I really don’t know all that week).

Some people call this MPLS sound or Minneapolis sound… but we all kinda know what Prince was going for with this one. He was one of the pioneers of the MPLS sound, which is mainly defined by using layered synths in place of horn sections. He and the band Flyte Time (which he took under his wing and converted into The Time) are the two most associated with that sound. This album is coming back to that so it has an 80’s sound, especially with the first two songs and the final one. But it’s also an update of that sound with some more modern experimentation.
I’d say that compared to Lotusflow3r, this is the party record of the two, but that’s not 100% true. It has more upbeat songs and it’s certainly less political. But in place of political content, we have ballads. Three of them.
Of all the songs, the only one I’d heard beforehand on Jay Leno was “Ol’ School Company.” I don’t remember the performance all that week because, unlike Dreamer, I only saw it once and that was the day it aired. I just remember there being a turntable and DJ on the stage. I don’t remember if Prince did the Camille voice as he did here… later in the week, I’ll try to find it and confirm it for sure.
Before I go around to really getting into the album (at the degree I did), I heard rumblings on .org about a couple things. Firstly, there was rumor of a song called “Disco Jellyfish” that was supposed to be on this album (matching the cover art)… princevault doesn’t even have it listed, so I don’t know if it’s a real song. Secondly, I heard people were complaining about there being a rapper named Q-Tip (WTF is with these rapper names?) that ruined “Chocolate Box.” And there was this song “No Candy 4 U” that people were saying Prince wrote about his fans. Dang, that really would have been something if he didn’t release 20TEN and it was really 4 years between this set and the two 2014 albums. (For me, though, it might as well have been 4 years… I’ll explain on 20TEN). I also heard a few things about “Valentina.”

It’s a little weird that other people were informing my thoughts of Prince songs that I really should have been experiencing for myself before getting thoughts from other people. Especially since we were experiencing these at the same time- a little different from all the older albums where I was asking for advice on which ones were good… I think I now have ALL of the albums people recommended. With a couple of these songs, I still can’t help but think of those comments right away. “Chocolate Box” and “No More Candy 4 U” immediately come to mind.
But in my defense, it was 2009 when this came out… I was busy making sure I graduated college 😛 not that my grades were terrible, I had all A’s and a B+ (which was kinda the story for every college semester except 2 outliers- 2 B’s one semester and another was my only experience with straight A’s). So I didn’t spend a lot of time with the new music. The older stuff, for sure.

Now for the actual songs… Man, I’m doing a lot of side tracking today. It’s not like I’m avoiding the discussion on purpose. But while on the subject, I may have a few issues to raise with this album. Issues, songs, same thing, really…

Some songs run pretty long: 6-7 minutes. I need to listen to them in a way tomorrow or later this week where I’m not too concerned with running out of time and really determining if they go too long or I don’t really mind. Aside from Q-Tip on “Chocolate Box,” they all seem to be solo efforts. Unlike Lotusflow3r, where he had a few different bands with him.

There’ll Never B Another Like Me… trurer words have never been spoken. SERIOUSLY!
I really like this song and how it opens up the album. I like the thickness of the groove and how it sounds. He also tells kind of an interesting story. A little like “Moviestar” but not quite as tongue-in-cheek- it’s not super quirky, but it’s still in that vein of self-referential and poking fun at the image of being a star. Another thing I really like about it is when the beat kinda stops, but then how it gets going again, it’s always the same way. It reminds me a bit of a belly dancer shaking the bells on their waist.

Chocolate Box… I’m not sure if it was intentional (knowing Prince, most likely yes), but he sung this song in such a way that when Q-Tip came in for that guest rap, the two voices sound so similiar that I almost didnt know where he started and Prince began. The only lyric from it I remember is him saying “the bitter is better, take advice from the box”… and then Prince has some line that goes something like “you can’t make chocolate cake if ain’t nobody ever showed you how.”
Some lyrics work and some don’t. Prince seems like he’s trying to be as current as the rappers are and speaking in that same language. There’s some auto-tune on his voice (he experimented with different effects on his voice across both albums… and I have mixed feelings on it… I’d rather him not have any vocal modifications, but I also love the Camille voice. It’s not just nostalgia of a different period in his career. But whenever Camille comes out, he/she’s got something important to say so you pay attention).
It’s only 12 seconds longer than the last song, but it feels like an eternity sometimes.

speaking of Camille… Dance 4 Me was universally voted (not officially, but all comments seem to convene on this) as the best song from this album. Maybe even the whole Lotusflow3r set.
So when I read Matt Thorne refer to this as a “watered down” version of themes Prince previously explored on “Alphabet St.” and “319”… if I said I wasn’t a violent person, would you seriously believe me? But yeah, this was another thing I wanted to wring his neck about. EVERYONE loves this song and saying anything less than it being awesome… just stay the hell away from me, I don’t even want to know you.
The sound on the first song is really good. Chocolate Box- I think my main issue is going to be how Prince created the musical content for it. I believe I heard it was all ProTools opposed to actual instruments. With an actual Oberheim synth and Linn-drum machine, it would sound amazing.
This song, while it might be ProTools (like every song on this album might be), it still sounds really good. It doesn’t sound fake. The groove is just too good to ignore. You’re gonna dance whether you want to do or not and I don’t know why you wouldnt. I especially like how the Linn-drum sits on this and how there’s a synth hook after he sings “Dance 4 Me”- almost like it’s responding to it. Me, I hear it and sing “Dance 4 me” following that melody.
There’s a weird part at the end that I always forget about when it comes. There are layered vocals that sound like chants (almost like it’s from another decade… oh wait, I’m thinking about the end of “Lemon Crush”) and then he says the title one last time. So cool.

U’re Gonna C Me… over a month later, we’re back here again. But with the version I know a little bit better. I previously reviewed this as part of “One Night Alone…Piano”
Both have their charms. Getting to know the Piano version (which I will call it from now), I’ve gotten to like how the piano feels spontaneous. But compared to this, the song felt unfinished. He just says the first line of the song again and it just stops… here, we get quite a bit more.
Listening to it again, I’m going to say that he gave this old song the “Arms of Orion” treatment. And no, I don’t mean turning the song into cheesy cap (as a lot of fans seem to thing “Arms of Orion” is). The synth strings stand in for where Clare Fischer strings were on that older song. And I love the sense of class it has. But I also love the sweet synth moments where it just hums at a certain frequency- once, it happens at the end of the revisit of the first two lines of the song. And then how it ends… I am a sucker for songs that end on the perfect note.

I also find it kinda funny that Prince followed this song, yet again, with a song with “Here” in the title. Except this time, instead of “Here on Earth,” it’s just “Here”… and I’m still figuring this song out. I don’t really know where Prince is going with it- first he says that he doesn’t want this girl here and by the end of the song, he does. What the heck changed? I guess I’ll have to study the lyrics to find out. (And I believe I looked them up the last time and it still hasn’t sunk in). I really just remember there’s a part where he talks and says something about “if we can learn to see underwater, then we won’t drown without each other”… that’s very poetic, I like that. But yeah, gotta look up the lyrics.

Valentina :sigh: …it’s good to have this on the album because it keeps the album from having three ballads in a row. As much as I like Prince ballads, they slow the album down too much. But I think I’m so used to him doing great ballads that anything less is a bit disappointing. Nothing on this album is at the level of “Somewhere Here on Earth” for sure.

But my problem with this album, besides too many ballads and ProTools being favored over real instruments… :sigh:
I still can’t believe Matt Thorne called this song “extraordinary” and gave it more praise than “Dance 4 Me”.
To its credit, Valentina has one of the best modern beats Prince has ever laid down. It’s clearly adhering closely to the current hip-hop sound and it doesn’t sound too put-on or ingenuine.
Nope, my problem is with lyrics. As they often are. And it’s another of those weird personal things that is just me being… weird. I went into this a little bit on another song and went on a longer rant that I cut down because I knew I’d be bringing up the point here. And it comes down to a single lyric that completely ruins the song for me. I know the song is about Salma Hayek’s daughter and Prince is telling her to tell her mom to call him for a “rock’n’ meeting.” The previous line mentions- I’m not even comfortable typing the actual lyric- being worn out from feeding the baby in the middle of the night.
I mean, I give credit to Prince for not letting the fact she has a baby deter him. Most guys, they start dating a girl and find out she has a kid or two, they immediately bail out because they can’t handle it. But this lyric- I don’t know what it is- I mean, thinking about it a lot [editing this paragraph a day later, in fact], he doesn’t mean any disrespect by it and says it very matter-of-factly. I guess I just think of it as a very personal thing between mom and baby and it doesn’t feel right being broadcast in a song. Being sung by a guy. Him being Prince doesn’t change that.
…and I had some creepy visions that either had to do with Christian Grey in the last 50 Shades book or if he wrote this song, not about a mature woman like Salma Hayek, but a 20-something year old single mom. I’m sure there is some rapper or hip-hop artist out there that would. Heck, The Weeknd has this song “The Hills” that just totally does me in, it’s so good. But there’s a lyric that unsettles where he says he screwed two bitches before he saw this one girl. I do not want that image in my head. If this dude wants to turn a girl on, he doesn’t say that he laid two girls before her that same day.

Anyway… going WAY off track, I am so sorry.

Yeah, I think that sums up the song in a nutshell. It’s nuts that I take such issue with it and it’s the shortest song on the album. And it’s all down to a single lyric.
It’s like “Animal Kingdom” all over again, but I still do listen to “Valentina” even if I cringe away from that single lyric ever time.

Better with Time… I remember Captain making a great comment on this. The other guys on the podcast said how the lyrics weren’t bad. And he’s like “oh clap clap for the handicap”…
but I’m thinking the title might be onto something… I think the ballad I hated the most, that put me to sleep, it’s getting better in my ears. Maybe because the piano reminds me of Under the Cherry Moon or at least “The Life” from Wendy & Lisa’s first album. It sounds really nice. The lyrics- I’ll get back to them later.

Ol’ School Company- Camille just goes totally gangster on us and it is awesome. It’s kinda about how times is hard and how music from the old school can lift you up.

No More Candy 4 U- it’s kinda like Jack U Off meets Proud Mary. What a banging way to end the album. And probably one of Prince’s last good screams ever.


day 2

I’m not entirely positive about this- but I could have sworn Prince’s spirit had been hanging around me today. I was listening to the rest of Peach & Black’s interview with Morris Hayes of the NPG and I felt this warmth inside, like maybe Prince was hearing all the things he said about him and warmly reflecting on it. That was such a great podcast too- one of the best. The guys just gave Mr. Hayes free reign and only interrupted to make a couple comments here and there and to ask their questions. Mr. Hayes relayed tons of conversations with Prince and he’d imitate this Tricky voice he liked to use with him. I swear, he sounded just like him and I could almost picture him in my head saying these things. So hilarious!
Then while listening to, I think, “U’re Gonna C Me”… even though it’s a rehash of an older song, it’s the best ballad here. I’m singing along (I think the only song I’m really singing along to cuz I know the words- 99% of them)… and I felt like I was singing it to Prince like I had with “Somewhere here on Earth”.
And then during “Here,” it started raining. I don’t think there was rain in the forecast anymore at this point… you make of it what you want. I think something was up. Or someone.

I wanted to say this about the first song yesterday… but the whole vibe of it reminds me of a couple different songs. Maybe it’s the crowd atmosphere and the “woo!” that we hear at the top (and at the start of every chorus), but I think of “Jam of the year”… the verses, something about how they’re sung, they kinda remember of “Slave”… the drum pattern makes me think of the start of “Mountains” with the hand claps. So many different things. And the synth hook throughout this, the guitar solo halfway through… there are bits and pieces of other Prince songs that I’m hearing, but I can’t quite identify. But I mainly wanted to say those Emancipation tracks, only to extend on that and say this song might be better than both of those songs together. And I like them all right.
As for this song on its own… I think it’s one of my favorite opening tracks he’s done in a long time. I’ve been pretty stingy with my scores these past several albums. Prince did set a pretty high standard for himself in the 80’s. Although he did do good with Thunder and Come. (I don’t like My Name is Prince and P. Control- it sets the tone for The Gold Experience, but it’s not the best the album has to offer).
I’m genuinely excited with “There’ll never b another” comes on and I go full in and it doesn’t feel too long.

Chocolate Box kinda does… feel long, I mean. I think it could have had a few minutes trimmed off. The drum pattern- just the sound of how it’s played- it actually makes me think of a Maroon 5 song off the deluxe edition of their second album where I noticed it had Linn-drum pretty early on. I swear, whenever I pick up Linn-drum in any song, I squee a little bit cuz Prince is the reason I know what that is.
I gotta admit that the titular metaphor is reaching for Prince… what the heck is in this box of chocolates? Is it his many personalities or Mr. Goodnight experiences? Or is it just a catchy lyric?
speaking of catchy lyrics- I LOVE the “b-o-x of chocolate everyday” hook after the chorus, but this one lyric– where he says “this discoteque is about to make me a wreck”… I don’t care if there are no more discoteques in the world, it just sounds so good when he says it- that sense of rhythm and timing.

Dance 4 Me- there’s something in that song that is familiar. I’m not sure which Prince song it reminds me of, but there’s a shimmer type sound and there’s a piano riff… I think I’d have to pick up the time frame to really explain it, it happens a couple of times throughout the song, actually.

Ok, I’ve got the lyrics for “Here” in front of me and I’m going to explain what the heck he’s saying and then I can decide whether it’s a good song or not from that particular criteria.
First he’s saying how beautiful this girl is and how she’s a wonder of the world- and then he says he doesn’t want her here… then the second verse is about things he misses without her, how the bed feels big without her (might be why he brought back “u’re gonna c me” cuz there’s a lyric where he says they bought this bed for two and what good is it if I’m not with you) and red wine tastes different when you’re drinking alone.
Then the bridge where he’s speaking, he does the line about opening eyes underwater and they won’t drown, and believe in him and trust this ride… then he says he just doesn’t want her here, but then changes his mind…
man, these lyrics are weak… I really don’t like the chorus. It starts ok. Then he says something like “I haven’t seen any tears not lately” and, if this is right- “I don’t wanna land not even maybe”… WEAK!! I’ve given Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call me maybe” grief for similar reasons (the whole song is a train wreck yet everyone else seems to love it)… rhyming baby and maybe… it’s just wishy-washy sounding.

Valentina… all my issues aside… the chorus is the weakest part by far.
the first lyric is fine… then “when she gets tired of running after you down the hall”… it’s just too plain. The first time I heard it, it just didn’t sound right to me. Like a teenager could have written it. And then “rock’n’ roll meeting”… really? That sounds so trite and lame.
the only lyric I really love, other than him singing “hey valentine” in the background, that sounds cool… I like “curvier than a fender Stratocaster guitar”… another cool rhythmic delivery.

Better with Time… yeah, so many good lyrics on this one… probably the best part of the song, but the music is growing on me a little more. The vocals… um… there’re good, but maybe nothing special.

Ol’ School Company is another song that might run a little long and some fat could be trimmed. I love gangster Camille. But that’s not enough to keep my attention for all 7+ minutes.

No Candy 4 U… that’s just a fun one.

I don’t really have much more to add, really.


a couple days later…

breaking away from the album for a bit, so sad to hear Tavis Smiley being added to the list of names associated with sexual misconduct… I was just saying how great his interview with Prince was the other week. Man, if Prince was alive to see this, I honestly don’t know what he’d do. I mean, the two of them are such good friends. I don’t know all the details, really, but I’m hoping it’s not anything like what people have said about Charlie Rose.
I still say his 2003 interview with Robert Downey Jr. was one of the best interviews he ever did.
I’m just praying that allegations don’t wind up coming for someone I REALLY care about. Not so much because it’ll change my perspective of them, but everyone else’s. With every person that something bad has been discovered about, all of sudden, people decided to just blacklist them and not like them anymore.
But then there are some I wish were never spoken of again and are still brought into the spotlight (Cee-Lo Green is a prime example… The Voice keeps bringing him back for guest appearances even though they don’t let him be a coach anymore)… it’s become so damn ugly, man…

so, for whatever reason, while listening to the podcast, based on the guys’ discussions of the different songs, I’ve been giving mental high-fives to the guy whose opinion of the song best fits mine.
For the first two songs, Player gets a high-five.
For Dance 4 Me… MC… really, everyone but Captain- just cuz he had one negative thing to say about the song 😛 (but I gotta find that synth “that never goes anywhere” that bugged him cuz I have no idea what he’s talking about… I don’t know the song that well)
U’re gonna c me- MC again… it was 3 vs. MC situation cuz everyone else thought there was no reason for a rehash of an old song. And of course Captain didn’t care for either version. The only good thing he had to say was it was the best of the bland ballads.

my favorite part so far was just MC saying “she want a box of chocolate all de time”… like he said it in a Jamaican accent… and everyone pretty much agreed that was the best line in that song.


A HUGE thank you to the guys for this podcast episode. It helped me get through a pretty taxing drive home from work. We got 2 inches of snow and for whatever reason, people were going 20 miles an hour on major highways. It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get home and the trip usually takes me 50. They just about kept me from losing my mind for at least one of those hours. I don’t know how the hell I made it the rest of the way physically and mentally.

I’ll be listening to the album, for sure, tonight and maybe I’ll come up with my score for it and the 9 tracks tonight. That way, I’ll be freed up the rest of the weekend to see the new Star Wars movie Saturday and my grandma’s memorial service on Sunday (she passed away a week ago today at age 94… considering all the health scares over the past 10 years, dealing with diabetes and the fact she had 12 kids- my mom and her 7 sisters and 4 brothers… that’s pretty dang amazing. They sure don’t make them like that anymore).

The general consensus was this album was 7.5-8.5. I’m pretty sure my score will fall between those marks 😛 but then again, the majority of Prince’s albums have. Whether it’ll score more than Lotusflow3r and Planet Earth, I can’t be sure.
Everyone liked No More Candy 4 U a lot and stacked it up against his Controversy material.
I think when I first heard this podcast, I was dismissive of how much they praised this song. It’s not like I hated it, but I also didn’t think it was the best thing since, I dunno, Days of Wild seems to be the Prince equivalent of “sliced bread”… except I don’t really like that song at all. But the more I’d listened to the song, the more I really like it.

Ol School Company kinda divided the room a bit. MC and Captain didn’t care for it at all. Toejam didn’t completely dismiss it and I don’t think Player did either.
The guys also went into a huge thing about Valentina. Even after listening to several podcast episodes, this still feels like the most epic Captain rant where he said 5 things in a row he didn’t like. Not just the things themselves, but as he went on, his voice just got more hurried and exasperated. It was excellent 😛
And MC actually thought the best lyric was the one lyric that ruins the song for me. Of course he offered up the “Let’s pretend we’re married” line as a comparison cuz why not.
Craziest thing is that I used to take issue with SO MANY Prince lyrics and these days, there are only a few. This one, I’m not quite able to get around, which is weird because I’m all in favor of the idea of it, but just not hearing about it in a pop song. Oh well, women are given a hard time for nursing in public (and I hate all the grief some of them have to go through… oddly, there was a recent story in the news that one was kicked off a plane cuz she supposedly didn’t cooperate with the flight crew), I’m just going to drop it
There was also another comment that actually made me think… I didn’t even think that Salma Hayek was married or was with another man. MC’s exact words were “stuff the baby, she’s married”… don’t know why, but Captain repeating “stuff the baby” with an obvious laughing smile on his face. Didn’t even think of that.
Not to mention- Salma Hayek directed the “Te Amo Corazon” video… Prince doesn’t need to write a song that ask her to come over, I thought they were already good friends anyway.
And another oddly random current story- she’s another person who’s come out in the Harvey Weinstein case and it sounds like he treated her like crap because she wouldn’t accept his advances. Even saying that something to the effect of her not being a person, but a body.

In the whole Valentina discussion, I think Toejam got the high five. He liked the music, but the lyrics spoiled it. MC for sure thinks Prince wrote it to shock ala “Dirty Mind”
Player made another hilarious comment that was in the same school as something he said in the Indigo Nights. This time, he said something like how it doesn’t come across right to tell a baby that their mom is a MILF. (Swear to God, I never heard that phrase until I was 22 and one of my friends had to explain it to me… obviously, I don’t get out all that much where most of this stuff in Prince’s music, I didn’t know about until I heard him discuss it.)

Better with Time, I have no idea who I’d give it to because I don’t know which side I’m on anymore, honestly. Captain was bored. MC said it was a nice song, but it doesn’t fit on this album. The consensus was that it slows the album down too much.
And Ol School Company got the shaft for the most part. Anyone who liked the song at first listen, they’ve liked it less since then. I think Toejam was the one who fit that most. Some lyrics got praise, but the issue was the lack of melody and beat and it’s too long. I’m not sure how or where I’d edit it down, but it’s too long.
I did find the Jay Leno performance, so I’ll give that a spin later. I don’t remember my initial thoughts on it. It was just something different I really hadn’t heard Prince do before and the lyrics kinda reminded me of what he did with Musicology, kicking it back to the old school.

…ok, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do the whole scoring thing tonight 😛
I wound up binging some InuYasha (I’m hoping to get through most of the series within the next few months so I can watch the boxset I got of the second series that came out) so it’s almost midnight.
And I registered to some random website just to watch that Ol’ School Company video… yeah, only Prince, man…

I didn’t remember all that much about this performance, like I said before. The funny thing is: earlier today, some NewPower Soul tracks were coming back to mind. The first couple songs, Push it up, Freaks on this side… just in pieces…
crazy thing is: this performance, don’t know what it was, maybe it was the sound of the horns, but it just reminded me so much of that sound.
Can’t say the same about the album version- which is Camille voice with nothing but a blah hip-hop background that doesn’t sound like it was created with real instruments the way this was. And what the heck was with this harmonica guy? Prince had him at the Dreamer performance as well.

Ah, anyway… yeah, another good trippy Prince performance… and it comes back at a point where I realize that he isn’t here anymore… it sure don’t feel like it, man. I listen to him so much that that feeling of being around him never goes away. And that’s kinda the point: I really don’t want it to. If the magic disappears, what am I left with?

So, it’s been a long day… I’m going to settle down with this album and hopefully sometime tomorrow, I can give it a score.


Yeah, I hope I can score it today. Some tracks, I’m still kinda undecided on, if I’m being honest. And I try to be honest when it comes to Prince and his music. If I don’t like something, I ain’t shy about letting anyone know about it. But I will sometime sugarcoat things. :shrug: It just depends on the material. But I also know when I can’t really fight tooth and nail because I like something that most don’t- Planet Earth is a big example of that.

For this album in particular, I honestly don’t know where it stands. Heck, I didn’t know that Lotusflow3r had a lot of fans. Maybe because I dropped away from the fan community after that point. I didn’t really hear anything from anyone else about all the albums that followed Planet Earth. In general, though, I think the Peach & Black guys are a pretty good indicator of what’s considered the popular vote. Well, except Captain, he’s just going to like or dislike whatever the hell he does and he’s unapologetic about it. Sometimes I wish I was like that… but I also like the way I roll too.

Ok, enough stalling… man, I’d been doing a lot of stalling with these last two posts.
Final thoughts…

THERE’LL NEVER B ANOTHER LIKE ME
As far as opening tracks go, this is my favorite that I’d heard in a long time. It has great energy and the sound of the instrumentation we can expect. The past few openers, I’ve respected what they’re put together and I like them. But I don’t get super jazzed up about them. I’m not saying there’s a personal connection with this song, but I feel more personally invested in it than I had in an opening in some time. “Sex in the summer” might be the last one I really got behind. “One Night Alone” might be the next closest- but I’d only heard that song a handful of times.
Also, there’s something to be said about a 6 minute long Prince song where the time flies by and I almost wish it were longer sometimes. The lyrics are very “Movie Star” and tongue-in-cheek (as MC would often say), but he doesn’t play it up so much that it comes off obnoxious (“Prettyman” is a primo example of that).
Technical Merit- 4.5 (lyrics… this had to have been written around the same time as “Mr. Goodnight”… he reused that lyric about change… “all pennies should scatter”… :sigh: Prince, I’m sorry, but what the hell is up with that? and I honestly don’t know why it bugs me, it just seems oddly random)
Components Score- 4.5 (I’m not absolutely head over heels over it, but I really enjoy it a lot- like I’ve said)
Total score- 9

CHOCOLATE BOX
The Linn-drum is back, but with the instrumentation around it, it doesn’t sound as good as it could have had it had the instruments Prince used back in 1982. I don’t care for the autotune on his voice. The lyrics are super cheesy and even lame at points. The rap with Q-Tip is one of the few highlights in this overlong song and somehow, the title and premise of said title feels like something Prince would be above doing. It just doesn’t quite work.
Technical Merit- 2.5 (dang, that’s gotta be a new technical low…)
Components Score- 3
Total Score- 5.5

DANCE 4 ME
One of the best songs he’s written in a LONG time. And it could easily stack up against the rest of his best songs. Which is pretty amazing in of itself. Great beat, great Camille vocal… it’s just so good.
…yeah, it’s a 10/10…. I ain’t beating around the bush about this one 😛

U’RE GONNA C ME
like I’ve said a couple times already, I’m a sucker for a Prince ballad. I really like his vocal on this one. The “Arms of Orion” treatment might be a little too cheesy at points- when he hits the notes you expect him to. But there are some really sweet moments that make me warm and fuzzy inside. And unlike the ONA version, it has a better ending. It properly winds down. And that alone, I think, will place it higher than the original. But I also know this version better cuz I’d heard it first and more frequently.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5 (I have a feeling I gave the original version the same score 😛 …ok, I didn’t… it was a vast improvement… or maybe I’m more lenient cuz I have more history with it than the other version)

HERE
I kinda like this song, but the lyrics kinda bring it down… there are a couple of good lyrics that keep me from detracting completely. The music is nice and I like how he has spoken part towards the end. I’m always a sucker for that.
Technical Merit- 3.5
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7

VALENTINA
:sigh: …I don’t want to talk about this song anymore…
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 2.5
Total score- 6.5

BETTER WITH TIME
I think this song is getting a little better with time… I’m liking it a little more than I have. But of the three ballads on this album, it’s probably the most forgettable, but it might have the best lyrics. The guys at the podcast, some of them, thought that it might be better stripped down to just a piano and voice or an acoustic guitar. I think the vocals might be a little over done, especially in the end of the song. But there’s a nice synth bit to close the song after that 😛 the warm and fuzzies come back.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 3 (I’m still kind undecided on this one… sometimes it bores me and sometimes I’m into it)
Total score- 7.5

OL’ SCHOOL COMPANY
going over the lyrics, most of them are pretty well done. The music, there really isn’t much to the beat other than Linn handclaps and a little hip-hop beat. Camille is totally gangster. But the song runs a little long and could do with some editing.
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 3.5 (there are some bits I like, but I’m not super in love with this song)
Total Score- 7.5

NO MORE CANDY 4 U
With the massive gap in time before the 2014 releases, there were moments where I was afraid this song was prophetic and he really didn’t want to release any more music cuz maybe he felt he wasn’t being appreciated. That aside, the music is really good. The attitude he shows in this is uninhibited and it’s refreshing after a few albums where he was maybe holding back or was still figuring how to proceed with lyrics and such after his conversion.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 9

…all right, time to add everything together…
70.5/90…

whoa… 7.8/10… this is one of the lowest scoring albums in some time…
but true, it isn’t perfect by any means, but it has some good highlights to it.

Well, anyway… I think that’s that.
Only a few albums left to go… I’ll try not to think about that too much.

Dance 4 Me will be going forward for the chance to be part of the top 100. And I think it has a very good chance to be there 😉

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan

So, for starters… :sigh: the page is not cooperating with me. I hate when WordPress has the page scrolled down like this when I’m trying to type. And I kinda need to see what I’m typing even though I know what keys I’m pushing.

In response to the doping allegations that came out of the Sochi Olympics, Russia has been banned from the next winter Olympics… OH MY GOD AM I PISSED! If Plushenko was making his comeback here like I hoped he would (he unfortunately won’t be able to- he’s recognized that he’s had too many bouts with injuries and surgeries that he can’t physically do it. Not to mention- guys are doing all kinds of quads now. He’s only mastered the top loop jump, so he’s outclassed in that regard. It was kinda cool seeing him attempt quad lutzes, but I agree- it’s too much. I even said to myself and maybe on Twitter that he should retire cuz if he did try to learn those jumps, another back injury could happen and he could be potentially paralyzed, which wouldn’t be good).

Anyway, if he was going to do it and I didn’t have the job I have now… I’d be in bed for days crying my eyes out. All the hopes and prayers I had for him wasted because of politics. I’m annoyed on a daily basis that people think we have President Trump because of the Russians. Totally ridiculous. People need to seriously move on.

But I feel bad for all the Russian skaters- who can compete if they want under the banner “Olympic athlete of Russia” and all gold medalists won’t hear their theme played… I know for a fact that national pride is everything to the Russians. News like this, if there wasn’t this exception where clean athletes can go under a different flag… I had this terrible image of a bunch of them committing suicide because their whole lives have built up to this point.
I don’t know how the different athletes will feel about this, but I really hope I see some of them come to compete. Plushenko even posted on Instagram urging them to take part because it might be their one chance to have a voice. Not just cuz of this ban, but also because for most athletes, they can only do one Olympics. Not every skater can be like him and skate in 4 Olympics… never mind medaling in every one of them. Skaters like Mikhail Kolyada (who learned a Quad Lutz this year), Sergei Voronov (who is peaking late in his career) and Evgenia Medvedeva (injured now with a broken foot, but should be back for Olympic trials) who is the picture of “perfection” in ladies’ figure skating. They’ve worked hard to get to this point and I don’t want to see that all for nothing. Not to mention the guys- I don’t know what this will mean for how many spots they’ll have for competing in the Olympics, now that I think about… last time, they only had one spot and Plushenko got it. I hope to see them get some sort of redemption. And also show the world that Russian figure skating isn’t dead for the men.

Now onto this competition…
it sucks that all the coverage is being shown live so I miss a lot of it because it’s so dang early in the morning. The guys, I can see their free skates, but not the short programs. I will do that on YouTube now. The girls, I’ll get to see tomorrow, I think. And the free skate for them is Saturday night.

I thought about this this morning… of the guys in the competition, how I predict they will rank at the end of the short programs?

Just based on technical capability alone, here’s what I’m going with:

1. Shoma Uno (home country advantage for starters and he has artistry on his side- something Nathan doesn’t quite have, or at least not as strongly)
2. Nathan Chen (his technical merit is unmatched, but artistry will let him down a little bit. I hope he’s used to the new blade on his skate cuz that tripped him up at Skate America)
3. Adam Rippon (he might have an advantage due to artistry, but certainly not technically)
4. Mikhail Kolyada
5. Sergei Voronov (just because he doesn’t have a Quad Lutz in his back pocket)
6. Jason Brown (the first alternate- cuz Boyang Jin had to take time off cuz of his ankle issues… what is with this season and skaters having foot/ankle issues? He’s one of 4- Yuzuru Hanyu, Ashley Wagner, Evgenia Medvedeva… Jason doesn’t have a quad, so I put him at dead last, assuming everyone else skates cleanly)

And I will watch these skaters in reverse order to see if I’m right…

Holy crap! I completely forgot about the junior men. They’re skating too. And there’s a full video up of all of them.

From memory…
Camden Pulkinen
Igor Murasov
Andrew Torgashev
Roman Savosin
Alexei Krasnozhon
Mitsuki Sumoto

..it’s been so long, I can’t remember for sure 😛 I know a couple of those are right. I knew there were a couple Americans, a couple Russians and one guy from Japan

I had the two Russians completely wrong: Alexey Erokhov and Makar Ignatov were their names

Andrew Torgashev is up first.
he had a rough go of it. on his triple axel, he stepped out and put a hand down on the ice. The other jumps had similar results.
It’s really cool- they added a new graphic in the top left corner where they show the base value of every element performed, what’s taken off/added for grade of execution and the running total. He might have suffered from nerves a bit cuz he didn’t quite pull himself together. But when he had his feet on the ice, he was as good as he always is.
64.73- 31 and 33… yeah, for the juniors, you have to be 70+ to be considered good and he was well below that. But he has a great free program, so I hope he can get some points back with that.

Makar Ignatov
he has some nice musicality like Dmitri Aliev. Josh Groban is a good fit for him. His triple axel got better on grade of execution than Andrew did, but he actually got points taken off of his combination. His second jump, he touched a hand down. But his artistry was really impressive to see. I don’t see that from a lot of the Russians, at least not at the junior level.
Oh, that explains a bit. He and Dmitri have the same coach, no wonder I saw the similarities.
75.78- 40 and 35- a season’s best for him. Yeah, that’s more like where the scores should be. For the senior men, 80+ is the standard and anything beyond that is extraordinary. The Quad Revolution gets those scores, but so did Patrick Chan and it’s for components more than technical, even if he doesn’t land all his jumps)

Mitsuki Sumoto
I’m almost crying, that was so good… he was just skating to “Singin’ in the Rain”- he didn’t put a foot wrong. All the jumps were solid and he just moved so easily through the music. It kinda felt like seeing Yuzuru for the first time at the team event. Mitsuki didn’t have any quads, but he had confidence and every element was… man, so good. I’m so happy for him. It’s nice for him to have that moment in front of his home crowd.
77.10- 41 and 35- another season’s best- he’s in first place. Unless something dramatic happens, he might be the leader going into the free. …again, wow!

Camden Pulkinen
wow, with his artistry, he just matched “Fix You” by Coldplay so well. He put so much of himself into it and that made me love this so much. I saw him get some points taken away on grade of execution- on the combination in particular. He was a little wild in some places where I thought he might lose control and fall during his footwork. But, wow… that was inspiring to watch. Anyone can watch that and no matter where they’re at, they’ll be inspired by it for sure.
70.90- 35 x 2- he’s in 3rd place right now. I think he can still make a run for the podium, maybe even win. Nobody’s doing quads so far so it’s an even playing field. He seems happy with that. (Another season’s best- as his coach pointed out to him)

Alexei Krasnozhon
nailed it! he looked like the most confident of all the skaters there, like he’s really ready for the senior ranks. He had tremendous technical content. No quads, but he had the best grade of execution I’d seen from everyone. The best combination and best triple axel. This was a Russian folk dance and his choreography matched that. Wow… this is going to be a really good competition…
81.33- 45 and 36- ANOTHER season’s best… what a great combination… wow, he’s way ahead in first place. Yeah, that felt like the best skate of anyone today so far. Of course I’d seen Alexei lose it in the free skate and that’s why he hadn’t won any grand prix finals. I think it’s still anyone’s game.

last but not least- Alexey Erokhov from Russia… there’s too many Alexei’s in this competition 😛
ok, he had the best triple axel- 2 points on grade of execution. He didn’t put a foot wrong. He’s a very quiet artistic type. He’s not as expressive outward, but he has really good lines.
78.39- 42 and 35- yeah, he got a little help cuz of how his program is put together. He had two jumping passes in the second half, so that helped him get into second place.

So right now:

Alexei Krasnozhon
Alexey Erokhov
Mitsuki Sumoto
Makar Ignatov
Camden Pulkinen
Andrew Torgashev

again… it’s an open field. it all depends on who skates clean for the free skate.
but this is really exciting, so many good programs from these guys. I’m so happy for them.

Now onto the seniors, starting with Jason Brown
omg, the Olympic Channel’s broadcast is on YouTube 😛 yeah!
dang, the grade of execution on his elements is amazing… the only issue was turning out of the second jump in his combination, but he nailed everything. Dang… so good…
89.02- 44 x 2… dang, that’s not even a personal best? That’s crazy to me. I didn’t think he got anything over 86.

The difference between him and the juniors- none of them had quads, so they were on an even playing field… confidence in his jumps and his performance. He did everything so effortlessly.

Ok, next…

Sergei Voronov
he wasn’t as clean as he’d been this season- I was nervous about his quad combination cuz he looked a little off coming down from the air, but he held on and got a triple at the end of it. The biggest issue is his triple axel where he lost 2 points on the grade of execution cuz he fell out of it. He has Jason on technical, but of course, the components aren’t quite there. But I literally gasped when he did the triple axel cuz it came out of nowhere and it was so huge.
87.77- 45 and 42- boo! He did a triple axel in the second half, it wasn’t perfect, but that plus his quad combination should count for something!

Mikhail Kolyada
oh wow- I didn’t know he had two quads… I knew he was starting with a quad lutz, but I forgot about the toe loop… it came out of nowhere! and it had a combination and it was so solid. The lutz, he kinda fell on and lost almost 3.50 points on it- might as well be a triple axel. But his technical score was outrageous- over 50 points last I saw it. He needs to be in first place with those two quads alone.
99.22- 55 and 44- HOLY CRAP! I know he got over 103 when he nailed the quad lutz, but this is fantastic. Seeing any Russian getting this close to 100 points on a short program makes me so happy. This kid is so good!

Adam Rippon
Dang! …again, confidence. He sailed through this program. He swung a little on the landing of his last jump, but other than that, everything was solid. Not a care in the world, he was here to put on a show and he gave it to the Japanese crowd. No quads, but I think he has a quad in his free skate.
86.19- 42 and 43- so of everyone I’ve seen so far, he’s actually last… I think he was better than Jason, actually, but both gave solid performances.

Now for the two monsters, the faces of the Quad Revolution… I put Shoma first because I figure he’s the complete package and Nathan sometimes isn’t as good with his components scores. But we’ll see… everyone talks about the Nathan-Yuzuru rivalry and how Yuzuru fans are very vocal about how he’s better than Nathan… but because they have the same jumps in their short programs, Shoma and Nathan is an even fight, I think. Yuzuru is in a class of his own, but he needs to nail his programs. As good as he is, he’s not always perfect.

So I’ll watch Nathan first and hopefully he’s not the last skater in the broadcast 😛
ok, so Nathan skated last and Shoma got a pretty dang good technical score…
Nathan’s edge was off on all his jumps, but only slightly. He stood on every jump and didn’t turn out of any. I hope he’s shaken off his Skate America free skate cuz that was the first time in a while I really saw him have issues throughout a performance. Usually it’s just the triple axel that causes issues. On the quad flip, I saw points deducted, but it was less than a point, so he’ll still get a lot of points just for that jump.
103.32- 58 and 45… ok, so he beat Shoma… but he had to have put out an equally amazing score.

Shoma Uno
ok, I learned that Shoma is from Nagoya. I was thinking the whole time: how the hell is Nathan ahead of him?
…he fell on his triple axel and it was very awkward… kinda like he fell into a split or something, so I was hoping he didn’t injure his groin with that. But everything else… omg, so good! He got 2+ on his opening quad. I’m sure he’ll get better than Nathan on components, if anything. Oh, ok, his landing foot slipped out from under him. It was a solid jump until that point.
101.51- 57 and 46- yeah, the best artist among all these guys by far.
It’s so cute how he’s able to laugh off the mistake on the triple axel. It’s hard to believe sometimes he’s only 19. He’s so mature for his age, it’s crazy.

Ok, so the order…

Nathan
Shoma
Mikhail
Jason
Sergei
Adam

…the only thing I got right was Sergei being in 5th place going into the free 😛
but Nathan and Shoma were a toss-up. Either of them can win this and I’ll be very excited to see how that plays out.
Everyone else too- I hope everyone has a solid performance in the free cuz that will just be great.

…another day, and the page is all good…

It is so weird not having Evgenia here, but the even playing field is kinda nice.
And this gave Satoko a chance to shine as the first alternate. She was leading much of the competition until the final two skaters.

Satoko Miyahara had around 74.61, I think.

There wasn’t one person who had a bad program. The only mistakes were Carolina Kostner getting only a triple-double toe loop combination and Alina Zagitova stepping out of her second jump. Otherwise, very solid.
Kaetlyn Osmond is leading by 2 points and had a flawless program. Although to me her combination looked under rotated on the second jump (I saw snow fly, dammit! that means under rotation). But while she’s consistent in the short program, her free skates are mixed bag. Alina Zagitova could possibly win if she makes a mistake. She doesn’t have it all there with components, but she does have the Medvedeva strategy- putting all her jumps in the second half (they have the same coach, so no surprise there… still annoying, though).

Wabaka Higuichi, I think this is the first time I saw her short program this season. I thought it was seasational. It was to “Gyspy Dance” which sounds (and looks, judging from her outfit) like something from Carmen. She really got into it, full-actress mode. And I loved it. I thought she should have scored higher than she should have.

Maria Sotskava didn’t go good on components, but technically nailed her program. To me, it looked like a Medvedeva program (jumps with the hand over head) with Elena Radionova’s flow, where it doesn’t flow seamlessly through the jumps.

The range is from 78 to 72, but I think depending on who skates clean, it’s anyone’s game. And that makes for a nice competition.


Adam Rippon
he had a hard fall on his quad lutz and maybe one combination had issues on both jumps maybe being under rotated. But he didn’t show any distress at all, didn’t break character and he did really well overall.
254.33- 81 and 87

Sergei Voronov
oh my god, that was so good! the one place that might get him in trouble is him landing two footed on his second quad. But everything else was solid. I felt like I was watching him in slow motion through every jump, watching him as he comes down, looking to see if he’ll land on his feet. The best part was the end where he broke into footwork and waved the crowd to join him and they clapped along with him. He was really channeling Plushenko, putting on a show. And his finishing pose- not sure if it was homage or stealing, but it was identical to how Plushenko ended his Godfather program. I cannot wait to see this one again. I just can’t believe he’s this good, looking almost like Plushenko did in his Olympic gold medal season. But Sergei is 30- Plushenko didn’t look this good at 30-31, but he also had injury. The best I saw him in his late career was 2012 Europeans and he was 29 then.
266.59- 91 and 86

Jason Brown
he’s the type of guy who always gets great components scores and the grade of execution on his jumps are really high. that’s how he’s able to stand in contention without a quad. This was kinda sad to see cuz he fell on his second triple axel (which had to be in combination) and a lot of his jumps were just under rotated.
253.81- 75 and 90… I think that components score got buffed a little too much considering all the mistakes he made.

I really hope Sergei will get bronze cuz after his performance today, he really deserved it. But Mikhail Kolyada also is a Russian skater I like, so he’d better bring it.

OMG, Nathan is up next?! Wow… ok.
I can see why there are a lot of Yuzuru fans who don’t like him that much. He has all these really difficult jumps with not as much artistry and the base value of his jumps is really helping him coast through and he really needs to be a more complete skater. Not quite there with the artistry and I don’t really like this music- it sounds a little too much like “Rite of Spring” and “Jaws”- a little too intense.
He nailed his quad lutz combination, the flip was a little off, popped his salchow into a double, he got a great quadruple toe-loop half loop salchow combination, but I’m hoping he’ll one day nail it and make the salchow a triple. He then threw a 6th quad attempt out of nowhere and just fell and I just got so nervous. I really don’t want him to do that again cuz that could injure him and take him out of the Olympics. He needs to stay healthy. I think Shoma can beat him if he skates perfectly- it’ll be close.
286.51- 95 and 88

Mikhail Kolyada
phew… I commend him for getting through that. The first half of the program was a disaster. Every jump had some sort of issue, including two quads where he fell. He has three kinds of quads (he’s in The Revolution!), although his lutz and salchow had falls. But in the second half, a toe loop triple combination was super solid and except one jump he popped, every other jump after the halfway point was so good. And he really threw himself into the performance. I really do like this Elvis program on him.
282.00- 95 and 89… dang it, he beat Sergei and Sergei skated much better than him… anyway… a medal will be very nice for him. I just hope he can pull it together for the rest of the season because I know he can be better than this. Way better.

Shoma Uno
oh man, Shoma has to have this… he had his mistakes too, but he had so much fight in this. I think he even threw in a second toe loop when the first didn’t go well and kinda failed with both- two footed. He added the quad loop, but it didn’t go well. But he nailed a lot of jumps too. And his artistry has to count for something. His components edge out Nathan and on that alone, he should win.
286.01- 94 and 91… oh no! he still lost… dang it! I don’t think I’ve seen it this close before. That’s just insane to me.

It just kills me that neither of these guys skated a clean program. I wanted the win to be an easy one and I didn’t want Nathan to win just because he has more technical merit on his side. It feels almost like an unfair advantage, kinda like female skaters who put all their jumps in the second half of their short program.

This is tough… I mean, Nathan is our best chance to win Olympic gold and I want a quad jumping man to get us a gold medal. But I don’t want there to be any doubt that he’s the best. He needs to skate well and everyone else needs to make mistakes.
I’m kinda disappointed also that Sergei had the only clean skate today and he finished in 4th place. He deserved a medal, dammit! He qualified for this so that has to be for a reason. I really hope it’s to get him to the Olympics…


Next day- I’m going to be pulling double-duty. Watching the junior men’s free skate and then the ladies’ free skate. Some might overlap.

They’re actually showing all the elements each skater has in their program, which is cool. A nice way to compare everyone.
Andrew Torgashev has one quad, Camden has none, Makar opens with a quad, Alexey has two- one in combination, obviously, Alexei from the US only has one quad but it’s the quad loop- high risk, high reward, Mitsuki has no quads. They’re going over all the skaters in a nutshell. Both Alexeis are undefeated this season.

Muting the free dance while I watch the guys, but I had to see Alex & Maia. They are literally the only ice dancers I watch. I really love how they complement each other, how they do their own choreography and their choices in music. “Paradise” by Coldplay is a good match for them.

Andrew Torgashev
something needs to be wrong with him, an injury or something. Every jump had problems. He fell, under rotated on his first two jumps and he never shook it off. He popped the next few jumps, afraid to try. Then he started to have some success, but it was jumps in combination and the last jump always tripped him up. I felt so bad… I mean, he’s skating to Tango Roxanne, it has to be good and he just couldn’t get it together. He has the technique, but it’s just having the confidence, I think. Or just getting over the bad falls and having them on the really difficult jumps, it can’t be easy to get past.
160.49- 38 and 60- they gave him a lot on components because he still had good skating skills, spins and passion.

Camden Pulkinen
He popped just one jump toward the end… but such a good skate from Camden. That just flowed so well and every jump looked easy for him. With some skaters coming up having quads, I’m not sure what his medal chances are, but I hope he gets something. I like to reward clean skates, particularly when they’re skaters I really like.
217.10- 75 and 70- a season’s best- oh man, he’s so surprised and happy with that. So happy for him.

Makar Ignatov
he fell on his quad, under rotated. But for a while, his jumps were very solid. Then he started making silly mistakes. He had a three jump combination that didn’t flow between jumps, so it looked very sloppy. And he had a few triples he doubled. I think that Camden will still maintain the lead.
211.99- 70 and 67 (I had a feeling he wouldn’t have the components)
ok, I was right, he’s in 2nd for the time being.

They started the ladies’ broadcast, so I’ll break halfway through for the junior men.
Unfortunately I caught spoilers on Twitter, so I know the results… but I’m excited to see how the winner won it.

Carolina Kostner
She had some nice jumps and artistry, but she had maybe one too many triples that she wound up doubling, including her opening combination.
Dammit- I went up to put PJs on and I missed her scores…
66.87 is her technical score that is being followed by the next skater:

Maria Sotskava
She made Clair de Lune look so pretty. Such a nice skate overall and she’s rewarded very well for it. This is only her second season as a senior, but she’s grown so much since last year. A real contender. One of the commentators said Caroline Kostner was her idol and how she liked competing with her
216.28- 73 and 68- season’s best for free and total score

Wakaba Higuichi
oh man… she started out so well. The crowd got so behind her during her step sequence and for whatever reason, it was at that point she was giving points away. She doubled some triples and missed a second triple-triple combination and had to add combinations on other jumps. Johnny and Tara said once during someone else’s skate that when the crowd started clapping with the program, it distracted the skater and they started making mistakes. I thought that was usually the thing that motivates more than anything, but I guess it depends on the skater.
202.11- 62 and 66- 3rd place

Kaetlyn Osmond
she skated well except for a double loop and falling on a salchow. But I really like this Black Swan program on her. The costume suits her overall look well. There’s a moment where they play that signature line in the piece and she does a little pointe work… it’s hard on normal feet, but on skates? She had to have some ballet training. So good.
215.16- 66 and 72- 2nd place

Alina Zagitova
that wasn’t perfect… she had a couple of tough rotations where she was maybe a little under. But I have a huge problem with this- ALL of her jumps were in the second half. I’m sorry, but that feels like an unfair advantage. And it seems like it taxes her after a while. There’s talk about lowering the value of quads and triple axels to shift the focus back to artistry- they NEED to have a rule change saying you can’t do this. I mean, you could say that Plushenko or junior men having a quad or two in their programs is an unfair advantage because not everyone is jumping one. But having one difficult jump should be a requirement. Having a complete balanced program should be a requirement. Plushenko got grief from people for doing all his short program jumps in the first half- why is this one Russian coach getting away with backloading ALL the jumps in the second half of the programs?
223.30- 76 and 70… yeah, she’s going to win.

Satoko Miyahara
she might have a couple under rotations, but that was another nice program from her. I’m really loving her as an actress in these programs. She just lights up the ice. Now I’m just thinking she HAS to be at the Olympics. She’s the best skater in Japan- a little star.
213.49- 67 and 71
so she lost 7 points on the review screen with the under rotations- there are 10 points between her and first place.

I gotta ask how many extra points Alina got for having all the jumps in the second half… seriously, how much of a difference does it make? Cuz if it gives you a 10 point advantage (or something like that)… I’m sorry, I call shenanigans.

Now for the junior men, finishing with that…

Alexey Erokhov
for such a consistent skater, this was rough to get through. He started with a great quad, but his combination became a double. He fell on one jump, he actually was about to pick into the ice for a toe loop and he just mispicked and fell- and that looked like a hard fall. Then the rest of it kinda fell apart after that- triples turning into doubles. Ted Barton said he looked tired halfway through the program too.
207.04- 65 x 2- 3rd place overall.

Well, Camden is getting a medal. It’s just a question of what color.
…well, after this, it’s definitely not going to be gold

Alexei Krasnozhon
He had his quad loop where he got a lot off on grade of execution- I guess cuz it was under rotated. He stood so to me, that’s good. Every jump, my whole body gasped and prayed unconsciously and he nailed everything. He had his last difficult jump and he fist pumped. A couple landings were a little sloppy, but no falls. At the end, he was so pumped- I was pumped. There were American flags everywhere. It was great.
236.35- 82 and 72… first place. Oh man… so good. So happy. If he wins this, it would be the best thing ever. Especially after coming to the grand prix final last year and not quite getting it together. I really love his technical score cuz that’s the standard of men’s skating in seniors. Although these days, it’s the minimum you need to hit to be in the conversation, but winners have 90-100+ on technical.

Mitsuki Sumoto
he fell on his triple axel and that kinda sealed the deal- he’s not going to win. it sucks that the video was glitching out during some of it, so the continuity was a bit lost for me. He had a couple other jumps where the landings were a little sloppy. The crowd got behind him on the final song of this Les Mis program- which is always an emotional affair 😛
214.45- 67 and 70- a season’s best for his overall score, but a third place finish here.
So great for him.

Super happy for Alexei and Camden for finishing 1st and 2nd here. Both great skaters I really enjoy watching.
They had interviews with some of the skaters and I’m watching now. Alexey wasn’t sure what happened to his program cuz it started well. They had to translate, but at the end, he did say thank you in English.
Mitsuki- I liked this interview cuz the interviewer speaks English and Japanese very well, so it ran really smoothly with the two of them.
Camden- he said how he was in the zone and didn’t really remember how he did in the program and is very happy with how it went. The quads are coming, maybe for junior worlds if he makes the team, but it’s a secondary thing compared to solid programs. OMG- I just love his personality so much. He seems like such a nice guy. And of course I have to remind myself he’s 17 and 31… I really can’t wait for him to join senior ranks so I can see more of him.
Alexei- that sense of humor is still there, but he’s coming off a little more serious and put together than he has in the past. Some people might see that as arrogant. I think one commenter on the free skate video called him conceited. I mean, he did call this “another day at the office”- I don’t know if that’s arrogance or sarcasm. I loved his comment when asked how he felt after the program, he said he felt like a gladiator and it was a long difficult fight, but he got it done. I’m not sure how long he’s been in the US, but it seems like he’s become a better speaker, really getting his thoughts across in a precise way in English.
His goal is top 6 at four continents if he can go and gold for junior worlds. Considering this playing field, he has a really good chance. With Alexander and Dmitri in seniors now, he’s the best skater in juniors right now, I think.

And that’s that, another competition down. And then there’s a break for a month… bleck, I hate having a break from this sport 😛
But that also frees me up to catch up on other things.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment