First Impressions: Art Official Age & Plectrum Electrum

For the past week, the purple community has been absolutely abuzz with the arrival of TWO new albums by Prince.
Most of which come from my fellow purple knight, reviews he’d shared on his Facebook page and so on.

I may have mentioned on a number of occasions how I severely slacked off regarding his previous album: 20Ten. And to be fair, should it even quality as an official album? It wasn’t released where music is sold as was the case with the recent releases.
Anyway, I’d listened to it less than 5 times and don’t remember it all that well.

Part of it may be my fault, my own laziness, the extra distractions I have in my life as of late.
But maybe as a whole, it just wasn’t as good as some of his most recent efforts.

Lotusflow3r at least had a great scheme of things.
MPLSound… I don’t even know. I still don’t know that album as well as I probably should.

I got both of these brand new albums rather easily on the day they were released.
I can’t remember the last time I’d been to our local Best Buy, but sure enough, as they promised in the Sunday flyer, both of these new albums were there.

Maybe it’s the story I’d been brainstorming/writing for 2-3 years now, where almost all of the main characters are female, but I felt compelled to listen to the *protégé* album first. PLECTRUM ELECTRUM, which was credited to 3rd Eye Girl. Despite the fact Prince is still very much a presence in their music.
I gave the album a listen that same day and found myself very much in love. More so early on, but I kept finding bits and pieces that charmed me to no end. I can only describe it as a dream, thinking Prince would never release another album again.

Part of this mindset goes to the fact I’d been writing about him in the past tense only recently.
Discussing the year 1998 and the best music he released in that given time period that had otherwise dispelled into chaos. I still have no idea AT ALL what kind of person Prince was in the period after Emancipation was released up until when he took his name back. Roughly 3 years where he defies description when I’d otherwise been able to explain something about him.
All that I CAN ascertain is that his marriage to Mayte was starting to collapse and he started his journey in the Jehovah’s Witness faith with Larry Graham as his co-pilot.

Since Lotusflow3r was released, I’d fallen away from Prince and any notion of him being around in the present. I only had the knowledge of his past music and the best was likely behind us.
Plus I found more things and people in this life to love and devote my time to… with some cases, I’m still figuring out whether or not my time is being spent wisely :shrug: but the most recent person of interest I have is something I only have (going on) 8 months of experience so it’s too early to know for sure.

Anyway, regardless of all this (ah, the good old days when I rambled on this blog before I actually GOT to my point)…

I enjoy PLECTRUM ELECTRUM quite a bit and I didn’t want to rush things by playing the second album right away.
God forbid I listen and have my head so full of those amazing girls that AOA (which I will henceforth use to be in place of ART OFFICIAL AGE) doesn’t make a scratch on my psyche or subconscious.

I think I would have gotten things moving sooner if I didn’t have to contend with a horrible bout of stomach pain… goddam PMS…
I stuck it out through most of Prince’s Yahoo! album release party, but I really wasn’t feeling well. Went to bed around midnight and didn’t fall asleep for a couple hours.
Don’t get me wrong, seeing the inside of Paisley Park was AMAZING but there were a lot of awkward moments with our hostess Maya that it was hard to get fully invested. [No offence, but she didn’t sound very knowledgeable about a lot of stuff relating to Prince].
Plus, I was starting to get a little paranoid… paranoid that I’d hear too much of the music from this other album before giving it a spin as a whole.

This unusual attitude I developed continued onto all of the album reviews I kept coming across on Facebook.
I don’t want my mind to be made up about anything until I experience it myself…
and I’m not just talking about a lot of Prince’s cynical fanbase that are just going to be negative from the get-go…

I just want to have my own experiences before I interface with other opinions. I don’t want biases to set in prematurely.

I’ll get around to AOA first just because these thoughts are fresh and I don’t want them to go unforgotten.

First off, I’d heard that it’s a cohesive album where there really isn’t a track that can be left out of the line-up.
That is very true. I have maybe two PLECTRUM ELECTRUM tracks that, to me, ran a little long, got repetitive or whatever…

AOA, I think there was only one time where I felt things ran long. And it happened to be the longest track on the album. But “Time” and the album as a whole will get another chance… another several of them.

You’re talking to someone who listened to Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic once a day for an entire week to determine for sure that I really didn’t like the album… the verdict: it has its moments, but as a whole, not one of my favorites

Second of all, “Way Back Home” kinda stole my heart. I’d consider it the biggest stand-out moment of an album with a lot of great moments scattered throughout. The drumming genuinely felt like a heartbeat and I felt this connection. That connection furthered when it was revisited in the final track “Affirmation III” where it was sung by the girls from 3rd Eye Girl… some of the things the female voiceover said moved me deep down, as someone who still feels lost, not really knowing their niche in their world (aside, of course, from supporting my favorite musicians, actors movies and so on)…

There were maybe 4-5 moments throughout the album where after a song would end, I’d lay back in my seat and exhale. As if I’m taking in something that really amazed me… I can’t even describe what that feeling is. It’s one of those moments, I guess, where if I was standing up, I’d have to sit down afterwards.

When the album ended on the note it did, I audibly exhaled and started to tear up.
Sometimes there are just no words for these things. Music’s just that amazing a medium, particularly when it’s in Prince’s more than capable hands.

Other than that… some songs were familiar and I had heard them before.

“The Breakdown” was one of the reasons why I waited almost a week to listen to this album. During that Yahoo! album release party, I heard it TWICE… maybe it was the uncomfortable state I was in, but it was depressing the HELL out of me.
Now that I’m feeling so much better, I can appreciate it more. I get the feeling, though, that it might not be wise to listen to it when I’m in a depressed sort of mode. The heartache in the falsetto is so powerful… Prince hadn’t lost his touch at all… not there was any doubt in my mind about that 😉

“Breakfast Can Wait,” I’m sure I’d heard once before, but it was easily one of my favorites… really enjoyed it 😀 a lot of fun

“U Know” sounded like it had a lot of rapping in it, which is usually a deal breaker for me, but over time, I just didn’t care anymore… won me over as much of the album has.

I found “Funknroll” a little overlong on the previous album, but I like how it was remixed on AOA, how it was handled differently… again, opinions that can be assessed and remedied over time.

as for PLECTRUM ELECTRUM,

it started out as AOA did, on a pretty amazing note where it felt like Prince was coaxing his fanbase back to him after he’d been away for ages, and did it in a pretty huge way.

I loved the retro rock edge it had. Loved the female vocals.
The first 2 tracks were great, but then things started to shift in my head a bit… still trying to figure if that’s for a reason or that was me getting too confident too quickly with the first 2 tracks or it’s a question of consistency. My question: it’s a tough shift to make- from Prince led tracks to the girls taking off and it’s just getting used to that… which is strange… cuz when we made the transition from the girls back to Prince leading, the same thing happened… my mind got all confused 😛

The tile track is a great instrumental track
“Whitecaps’ has some of my favorite lyrics because it really helps paint a picture of the situation.
One of a bunch of tracks I found to be very easy-going and enjoyable
“Fixurlifeup” is a standout for reasons similar to and different from “Breakfast can wait”… I’d heard the song once before so it was a nice ‘feels like home’ sort of feel, despite them representing 2 different types of music

I’d said a couple times before how I saw other influences in this record. We get retro rock one minute, then the next… I was oddly reminded of the vocals on Vanity 6… the rapping on “Boytrouble” brought me back to Karmin… just other things were coming to mind… the consistency starts to fall off a little bit here, but I’m willing to move past that because I do enjoy some of these later tracks

“Anotherlover” is the only one (other than “Funknroll”) that I’m still kinda unsure about.

Eventually, I will do a full length review on both.
But for now, I don’t really want to pick favorites. They’re so different from one another and have their strong points. And unique vibe, so to compare them just sounds unfair to both parties.

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