Ahem… umm… let’s put it this way. Haha…
I’m gonna give myself one more listen through the album before I put it on the shelf for a while.
Cuz… its starting to get old.
The doubts about the album started coming in this past listen. The whole format of the album and just the way the first couple of songs sound, especially Eye No and Glam Slam, I’m getting this whole “theatrical” vibe. While Glam Slam does remind me of the “Around the World in a Day” sound taken to the next level (remarkable sounding), it gives me the sense of a musical number where the song is sung and the music continues to play long after the lyrics are finished. Somehow, it just reminds me of the musical “Mamma Mia!” and some of the musical numbers in it.
So naturally, I’m asking “Did he really mean for this to sound like a musical? And if so, WHY?” That’s not typical Prince. But that’s the trickiest thing. Nothing about Prince IS typical and when you think you know what Prince is “typically” capable of, he turns around and does something out of the category you’re thinking of. Prince will never be described by the word “typical” because there is no such thing as typical Prince. At least not in the musical sense. Though people think he’s typically arrogant and aloof… he can be that or he can the complete opposite depending on what day you catch him on. Prince being a Gemini makes things pretty difficult to call typical.
So my answer to that question came to me just a little while after I asked myself it. The album is theatrical, almost Broadway-ish at times. Some people say that the tour itself was cheesy and Broadway-ish and that’s why they weren’t too thrilled about it. And if that was Prince’s intention, why make it sound that way?
He will never confess to whatever brought this on, drug-related or not. Regardless of either, he had a revelation and when he did have this revelation and his mind was reeling about it while writing the music, what came out of his head WAS in this particular tone. Again, I can debate whether he sounds so enthusiastic as to atone for his sins (in other words, putting on a façade) or he truly was enlightened and is sharing his current vision with the world. I often wonder why he shares such personal stories with his audience, but what he writes usually comes from conclusions he draws from his own experiences. He takes his experiences to the next level so the truth is somewhat obscured and not as detectable as it originally would.
Honestly, the Broadway nature of some of the songs in the beginning of the album had me cringing because it was just plain cheesy and overdone at some points. Though I think he could have toned down some of the theatrics and brought some of the other songs up to “live” standards. I could swear that if he ever released an album called “LoveSexy… Live!” like he did with the “One Night Alone” tour, it would not only outdo this album, but… could very well be his highest selling of all time (well, maybe not all time, because “Purple Rain” had the infamous movie to coincide).
I’d like to go in order, saying what I thought of each song one after the other as they came into play. But I just have to get all of my thoughts on Anna Stesia off my mind before I can move on. Luckily with Dance On, I was able to listen to the song without the distraction. I don’t think that particular piece has anything to really hide or figure out. “Bad stuff happens to you, but you have to keep on going and live life to the fullest” is the basic motto.
At the start of Anna Stesia, I was thinking all about how I felt about the songs that came before. How I really wasn’t thrilled with the theatrical approach and was fearing that the album was getting too old too fast. This song, I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking on lately. Haha, its kinda silly, but one night, I had the piano keys echoing in my head and that was part of the reason why I couldn’t fall asleep for at least an hour.
But in my defense, I had a LONG and HARD day at work. I got a call at 12:30, asking if I was available to cover the late shift that day (which ran from 2 to 10pm). I really didn’t want to work on my 2nd day off, but I figured that it would show off my reliability if I responded to the call of duty. This week, I should get my first paycheck and if its over $200, I know what I’m going to spend it on and it’ll make things so much easier for me and my music. I finally made it through that day, I got back home around 10, had dinner & a Pepsi, listened to the album and went to bed. I cannot say how sore I was all over and with the caffeine and the musical adrenaline in my system, you could call it a recipe for disaster.
I want to call this song a “pivotal moment,” but its nothing like that. It’s not really a trendsetting track where suddenly, Prince churns out a bunch of impressive numbers just like it. I’ve called it a series of confessions, but even more than that, it’s where he comes to a realization about himself. It starts where he’s in the worst of places, confronts [and gives into] a vise (the drugs), and embarks on a revelation about “learning to love the right way.” It seems that he’s unable to find a girl who’ll stay with him and he believes that he’s not loving the right way since it drives them away from him. My conscience gets clearer and clearer halfway through. I feel like I’ve embarked onto another plateau. Under the influence, he is confronted by his Creator (or vice versa) and possibly, learning how to love, he must learn from the one who loves unconditionally. Following the example of God’s love is something he must do from now on. At least that’s what I think he’s getting at. I’m still figuring things out here.
At the beginning, recalling the previous night, I was thinking how I didn’t want to get too deep into the track or I wouldn’t find my way out again. I made it out the best I had in any of the listens yet. I was able to break away once the song ended (at which time, I was already starting to break away from the spell-binding nature of the song). When he got to the 2nd verse, I just got swallowed up into the song, trying to see what else I could get out of his account. Any more clues he could lay out for me that would explain further what happened that night.
Haha, this sounds bad, but I think this song has convinced me, without a doubt, that he had taken drugs the night he had that “spiritual encounter” and decided to withdraw the previous album.
The song feels like he’s holding back somewhat, but aside from that, there are few others that have this spell-binding nature. Something about them that can suck me where I can’t escape the realms of his mind until the song ends.
The song, Lovesexy had me cringing because it brought back the theatrical nature of the album. Some of the lyrics are just plain cheesy, so much its not even funny. The rhythm of his vocals around the 2nd verse or so actually make me recall a song by Queen. I don’t know which song in particular, but it just reminds me so much of that group’s music.
It’s a very interesting concept, though. “Tonight, we make love with only words.” And he said nearly 20 years later that “I ain’t talking about nothing physical cuz foreplay starts in the mind”
Except for maybe one or two instances I can’t think of right now, Cat is a major player in this album. She brings so much to the table and makes things really interesting at times. It’s always good to have a couple of different artists’ perspectives in these albums.
Though when I was listening to When 2 r in Love, I think of how the album has the edge of a group album and not so much of a Prince album. This song, however, except for the back-up vocals, has the feel of a solo project and probably was recorded alone (with the vocals added in later). I feel like I somewhat lose sight of Prince as the album progresses. A lot of the time, he’s either got the band picking up a lot of the slack for him or he’s putting on an act as his Gemini nature takes over. This song and Anna Stesia are the only two songs that really feel like close-to-home Prince tracks. One where its him very raw and very real and the other is where he’s being as intimate as he can be with his audience.
With Lovesexy, he gives the girls first chance to talk the sweet talk. So naturally, he’s going to follow up with his version of “sweet talk” and tonight, I don’t think its sounded sweeter in a long time. I think this song is starting to come into its own on THIS album and find its place in my mind while listening to this album. There seems to be a storyline that begins with Lovesexy and ends with Eye wish U Heaven. That alone is my favorite segment of the album, aside from the track that stands out the most in my mind.
Eye wish U Heaven, the lyrics I might have to look more into as I don’t really understand them yet. I know that I do love the musicality of it. The vocals and definitely the chord changes in the latter portion of the song, that’s what makes Prince an amazing musician.
Another issue I was having with the album was that moments before giving it a listen, I was just thinking about “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.” Not just the album that was released in 1999, but also about the title track. The beginning of Positivity reminds me of that song. The amazing thing, actually, is that SoTT is an album that sounds like THE Prince album, where all of the preceding albums appear to have lead up to. That’s the 80’s as a whole.
But with LoveSexy, this album seems to sum up a lot about 80’s Prince as well, but its slightly different. When I think of the name “Prince,” I think about the man who did Purple Rain (the movie) and the image/sound he had at the time. SoTT is full of that person and more.
LoveSexy feels like a completely different person to me, but there’s a tricky part to that. I feel like it sums up pieces of Prince’s work from “Around the World in a Day,” “Sign o’ the Times” and (of course) “The Black Album.” I also feel like pieces of it foreshadow of what’s yet to come: “Diamonds & Pearls,” “O(+>” and “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.”
Things seems to work perfectly. “Diamonds & Pearls” feels like a natural follow-up to this album. Its my newest belief that if “Graffiti Bridge” hadn’t tanked the way it did, Prince would have released the album he was currently working on “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1989).” Elements of LoveSexy back this up and if he had continued in that same vein, “Rave…” could have been a huge success. “Graffiti Bridge” remains the final album that people will keep trying to talk me into until I simply stop keeping in touch with people who listen to Prince. Although people have done it, being a “completist” of Prince’s music isn’t possible for me. Knowing myself, I get a lot of something I’m currently into and in a year or two, I’ll have moved onto something else and what I’ve accumulated will be neglected and won’t mean as much.
I went to a lot of work to collect the right albums and listen to what other people think are must-haves for my collection. By being selective, I’m more likely to appreciate my collection for years to come. It might sound a bit shallow and bad to say it like this, but ultimately I don’t want “Graffiti Bridge” because I don’t want to burden my collection with sub-par material (whether his newest stuff is sub-par is up for debate, though I don’t believe its bad like many hardcore old-school people believe). This sounds bad, but I’d rather my collection be full of Prince’s triumphs and less of his failures, so I’m at least surrounded by the illusion that Prince hasn’t made many mistakes in his career when it comes to the music itself.
That’s a reason why I really don’t want to get “Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic” because doing so would say that I think the original album is worthless and not good enough on its own.
Now I’m just getting off topic here. WAY off-topic.
Eye No and Positivity are a good start & finish for this album because the first sets up the stage for the album as a whole, while the 2nd connects with what the first song said (at least it does in the segment where the band is chanting together the morale of the album).
Eye No just blew by. It seems like a lot less than 5 minutes long, but I think the album as a whole went by really fast because I was enjoying it so much (once I got past my doubts and such).
Alphabet St, I don’t know how the title configures into the song, but the whole rhythm and percussion of the song is probably its highlight. There’s just something about the beat it keeps that just works out so well.
It further confirms that this album was one that Prince put a lot of work into it to make sure that it was his idea of “perfection” and its definitely a better follow-up to SoTT than “The Black Album” was. Unlike TBA, it keeps the bar raised and at some points, even surpassed it. But I still prefer SoTT to this album because it has so much more to offer and it has the likes of “Strange Relationship” and “If eye was ur Girlfriend,” two songs that are really hard to compete with, especially the latter.
I’m going to pack it in for now, but come tomorrow night, I’ll try to sum all of my thoughts up and wrote a concise review that I’ll be able to look at when I come back to this album and build up on.