Emanci-Disc II: Review #1

This is probably the first time I’d gotten to listen to this album in its entirity without interruption since the first time I picked it up back in late August. Of course I had to multi-task while listening to it. An hour of mindless games to accompany an hour when I’m mindlessly listening to Prince and nothing else.

Given that I share an apartment with three other girls, its a rare moment where I can have THAT much time to myself so I’m able to listen without losing my train of thought.

Overall, I enjoyed this hour a whole lot. It’s not quite the same as Disc I, of course, because there’s more of a theme here rather than tracks of various subject and genre are mixed together like Prince’s albums typically are.

“Sex in the Summer” seems to symbolize the kind of life Prince lived before he found love. He was always looking for a good time with the ladies. The lyrics suggest how he’s commonly interested in one-night stands. How does this not bother me? I don’t know. There’s something enjoyable about this song. It’s got a fun beat and its easy to sing along with. Either this track gives you the feel of summer or what he means by the title is enjoying sexual relations in the summer of your life, which he currently is (38 in the year 1996).
The one question I still have involves a certain something that provided the initial beat for this song. Did this heartbeat inspire the song or did he want to write a song around the hearbeat so this certain someone could truly be part of the work dedicated to him and Mayte.

“One kiss at a Time” probably has some of the best falsetto Prince has ever done. It’s FLAWLESS and absolutely gorgeous. This R&B track’s music was constructed with such precision and everything seemed to be in place just because the song wouldn’t be complete without it. The lyrics are just as incredible, especially the 2nd bridge and the bridge towards the end of the song that begins with “if every man could love their woman the way that eye love u, time would stop and the sky would fall…”

“Soul Sanctuary” is one I’ve heard a few compliants about, people saying they don’t like it and in some cases, makes them gag. Sure, the lyrics at times might be a little mushy, but you can’t really blame him for this one because he didn’t write them. It has a nice flow to it and I agree that the lyrics especially in the bridge towards the end are pushing it a bit. The main problem I have with this song is how his falsetto doesn’t quite hold as well as it usually does. At one point towards the end, it sounds like his voice cracks or something because its slightly painful to the ear.

“Emale” is guilty for being the most addictive song on this entire disc. It gets stuck in my head so easily that its not even funny. It’s easy to sing along to, the beat is contagious and the rhythm in the second verse makes it to die for. At least in my case. Not many seem to enjoy this one as much. What I can figure so far about its meaning is that there’s a gang war and the gang leader is trying to use the lover of the other gang leader to get even with him for robbing the local cornerstore. Towards the end of the 2nd verse, he promises the girl that he’ll kill her unless she dumps her current lover and becomes his.

“Curious Child” is part one of my favorite of this album. I’ve said before that there’s a bit of a Romeo & Juliet Shakespearan vibe with the harpischord and saying she’s on a balcony. The atmosphere this song creates seems to transcend time and take your mind away so you may be able to dream. I’ll admit that this song creates a very dreamy atmosphere and its probably one of the most beautiful things he’d ever written musically.

“Dreamin’ about you” is part two obviously. It’s always cool when he has two songs that segue into one another like he did here (also on Planet Earth when he goes from “Future Baby Mama” to “Mr. Good-night”, like this like was a pleasant surprise I never expected). He uses two different persona here that he creates with his voice. His falsetto, singing voice is beautiful and creates the atmosphere while his speaking voice maintains it and makes you feel it from another angle. Of course I’m always a sucker for him speaking on his songs.

“Joint 2 Joint,” aside from the back-up vocals, is one of the grooviest dance tracks he’s ever written, though the lyric suggest its more of a sex romp, haha. I’m not so much bothered by the lyrics here because the music makes the song way too enjoyable. What I find cool about this song is how it has three different parts. It begins with a couple of verses and the chorus. Then the music picks up and you just wanna get up and dance to the beat. The tap-dance number isn’t too bad either . It sounds more like a one-night stand he has to get away from his current relationship, but at the end, he realizes that he needs some time to think about where he’s going. The lyric where he’s saying that this girl thinks she’s his soulmate never fail to make me laugh.
“U don’t love me, ur a faker. U just want me for my acres.”

Surprisingly when I listened to “Holy River,” I knew a lot of the words already. It’s probably one of those songs where if you listen to it a couple of times, the lyrics fall in place really easy. Based on the track before this, it sounds like this is where Prince goes to figure out what he’s going to do. Spend a little time on one’s own, get yourself together and come to a realization. Here he realized that he loved this girl so much that he asked her to marry him. That verse almost makes me want to cry because its so romantic. No doubt, that verse was based on true events.

“Let’s have a baby” is such a mushy track. It’s so sweet and the lyrics are just simple enough that you can’t help but fall in love with it. As beautiful and gentle as it may be, towards the end, I have to remind myself what happened later on and overall, its a sad reminder of what didn’t come to pass and how Prince had been denied one of his biggest dreams. He’s in a good place right now after all that’s happened, but I wonder sometimes if he still has that dream even though he hasn’t found the right one yet.

The last three tracks are all interrelated where Prince paints a picture of what his relationship with Mayte was like. “Saviour” alludes to how she helped him through the hard times he was having with WB when he felt enslaved by them and how she helped keep him sane. At the same time, it says just how he believes they’d met before in a past life.
“The Plan” I can’t quite figure out its meaning, but its more or less a segue from Saviour to the last song, which seems to reemphasize what he’s already said.

Interestingly towards the end, he says “Te Amo”… who knows, Te Amo Corazon could have been about Mayte and he brought  it out of the vault for that occasion. Who’s to say really?

My overall reaction is that this album is very sweet and beautiful throughout. There isn’t really a track that doesn’t fit in here, though given the storyline, I doubt “Emale” fits in, but it doesn’t mean I want to take it out of this disc.

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