Quick thing to note: when I spell it as I do in the title, I’m talking about the album. When only the “L” is capitalized, I’m talking about the song.
I don’t know why, but it’s something I’ve done since my first review.
Anyway… this is sure to be an interesting one.
I don’t know what it was, maybe it was the message of the song “Positivity” I was super excited to get to. This isn’t one of the first albums I think of when I list my favorites, but it’s not one I dislike.
Just to give somewhat a preview, the only song I’m not 100% crazy about is “Dance On”… and “Alphabet Street.” But more on that later.
I’d been pretty hard on Matt Thorne through the course of these blog entries. He knows a lot of things (especially about the outtakes and unreleased tracks) and went out of the way to interview people about him. But so far, he’s come across in a way where he was just another journalist that had made Prince look bad to boost themselves up. [Like a certain somebody Prince dissed in The Gold Experience]
If you’re going to discuss Prince, particularly in a massive volume like this, you need to be as passionate as he is.
And positivity needs to be at the forefront. A little criticism is ok (some is warranted, I’m not saying you can’t be critical) but that can’t feel like it’s your entire platform.
Anyway… it became very clear within a paragraph or two that this was his favorite album. He gave it a glowing review and even took Prince to task about how he doesn’t revisit it anymore. Unless it’s “Anna Stesia” or “Alphabet Street” (which he criticized him for how he transformed it for the live shows in the future- like it became a country song).
He talked about the mythos of the after shows and how they became a big deal during this time and more people should become aware of the fact he did them because [paraphrasing] people can say Prince is a genius, but they have no idea of what that really means without hearing about his after shows. (For me, this was a compliment that felt like it was long overdue… then there was a sentence where he said Eric Leeds was among the band members too exhausted to make it to one of them and he thought it’d be tactless to ask him about what would become Prince’s most legendary after show. So it would seem that he does have some restraint).
He talked about the concerts and how SotT is really a dry run of what the LoveSexy tour was. He used different words, but when I read one thing he said- about how the Dortmund show was never rereleased on DVD- I heard Captain saying “that is a crime.”
I can’t help but agree with that. Cannot emphasize that enough- and yeah, I’m getting right to it. [I know, amazing, right?]
Because “Alphabet Street” was the one song from this album from “The Very Best of…”… like the case was with “Kiss,” it was my only impression of the album it belonged to. And it was the reason that I had no desire to check out said album.
I went into that a bit on my Parade album post.
I don’t know what it was about “Alphabet Street”… the song just sounded weird to me. The music, I mean. The lyrics were pretty straight-forward. (Although maybe his overenthusiastic “No!!” and various vocal things were just turn-offs for me… remember, it took me a little while before I appreciated a good Prince scream ala the Purple Rain material). It’s an odd sounding guitar too.
Just the song as a whole was unlike anything I’d heard from him at that point and it came off as strange.
The Black Album had its own story about how I became intrigued enough to mention on .org about it… and that’s how it came to be in my possession.
LoveSexy was one of those Prince things that came about by complete chance. Just because I came across a certain website at a certain time… this random site I found with all these random rare Prince music videos… it had the whole Dortmund show.
And it completely changed my mind about the album. “Anna Stesia” was the moment that sold me. I’d hear rumblings of this song and about how it was the one that maybe referred to the night he decided to pull The Black Album [Matt Thorne mentioned a night in early December 1987 when Prince performed at a club called Rupert’s and he met or saw Ingrid Chavez perform that night and something happened that made him make the decision].
It was otherworldly, that performance.
Not long after, I voiced that I wanted the album and my fellow purple knight hooked me up with the album [a physical album too… with all the songs on one track as Prince intended it to be].
This first day– to put it mildly– was interesting.
I’m not ready to do any track by track discussion yet because I feel like I need to get to know the album again. I feel like I really need the time and place to wrap my head around it. And I also need to be in the right mind set. [I last listened last year around this time… it might have been among the first albums I played after Prince’s death so I wasn’t fully connected to it– just Positivity at the end, I think].
I just wanted to write this down: I was driving home. We heard at work that there was a thunderstorm warning that’d be in effect soon. And so far, the sky was clouds and a little wind, but nothing drastic.
It got slowly darker around Alphabet Street, Glam Slam… then it started rain a bit during Anna Stesia and it got really heavy at points. But during it, half the sky was dark and half was light. It was really weird, but it kinda fit the song. The rain continued heavy during “Dance On” and for me, it brought the song to life more than I felt it had been.
Going backwards just a bit… my phone interrupted Alphabet Street twice by shooting up flood warnings. Maybe not the wisest move, but I turned my damn phone off. This album, more than any other Prince album, could not afford to be interrupted. It’s meant to be listened to as a whole and it’s a heck of an experience as a whole.
Very unique to Prince- to me, it always felt like a Broadway show. But maybe it’s because I saw the concert before getting the album.
After getting through Anna Stesia and Dance on, I don’t know what happened in my head, but it stopped feeling like a Prince album. It felt like something else entirely. The energy is still there and I know these songs pretty well, but the feeling was something new. And it was incredible.
While this isn’t what I consider among my favorite Prince albums (maybe that could change…), I’m kinda terrified to do this post because I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to do it justice.
Prince is complicated as it is. This is a whole other level of complicated. It’s another level just in general and you have to really immerse yourself in this world to really grasp it. And even then, I feel I like I’m never going to reach that point. And part of me kinda doesn’t want to because the magic just might disappear. Or I just might cease to exist in this world and I’ll be stuck in the limbo of Prince world forever.
The thought I had earlier going though the album… forget Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge… this album feels like “Prince: The Musical” and what that would be like.
But I wouldn’t want to see anyone else try to play Prince in that. Just wouldn’t work.
Whole other level and I can’t even comprehend what that is.
10 years later, I have a pretty fair grasp of Prince and who he is as a person and an artist.
Nothing challenges that more than this album at this point.
Adding to that point, I have eargasms pretty frequently with music. Particularly with a song ending on the perfect note- I tear up because it hits me just right.
There’s one moment just like that on this album. And there are also a couple songs that I can’t describe how I feel listening to them, but it’s an otherworldly feeling. Kind like how I’d feel if there was “Prince: The Musical” starring Prince from 29 years ago.
Before the actual track by track… I might have had this thought years ago when I wrote about this album for a book I was writing on Prince music… the way it’s sequenced, I believe that “Eye No” is Prince at present, saying what he’s learned in his life and the next four songs are about how he gets there, and “Lovesexy” is where everything comes together and we’re back at present tense.
What leads me to believe this- Prince starts “Alphabet Street” screaming “no!!” because after he’s enlightened, he’s saying “yes” to everything.
Eye No- for some time, Prince was starting his albums on a very positive note. Where he wants to celebrate life and party and choosing not to care what the opposition wants him to believe. In a way, this is the final form of the 1999/Let’s Go Crazy message. While the lyrics aren’t nearly as catchy and memorable, the energy is positively infectious.
Rivaling even “Christopher Tracy’s Parade”- I don’t think there’s another album opener that sums up what you can expect from the rest of the album better than this.
I gotta ask, though… who the hell is Frankie? The one they were saying “Serve it up!” during this and the previous album. Was that ever explained?
Alphabet Street- seems pretty straight forward compared to most of the songs on the album. It sounds like just another of Prince’s sex-capades. The line of innuendos and metaphors are different than where he’d gone before. The formula is familiar until the third verse where he says he’s not in the mood and would like to watch [since when has Prince not been in the mood?]. And then there’s a random rap out of nowhere.
In “Prince: The Musical,” the mere concept of having the rap makes sense since it takes us away from the action happening center stage– perhaps to leave room for a costume change.
On another note, I was debating about playing the album at work on my iPod, but I just couldn’t get in the right mindset to do so. Hearing the “no!!” in my head made me feel better about something… I just wanted to blow away whatever negativity was flurrying in my head– I can’t recall what it was by this point.
Glam Slam- this is one of those definite Broadway tracks in my mind. “Eye No” is a great way to kick off the musical, of course.
It’s all about the music. The drums, the synths, the guitar… OMG… I cannot even explain how much I love it.
The note the guitar hits right before Prince breaks into a verse. The synth/guitar melody after the lyric “You really make my day” in the chorus. I love that!
The momentum of the track after two verses and choruses- that massive bridge- all the stuff that happens with the music, how his range is all over the place.
Then after the song part of the song ends- you have this long instrumental break with all these synth like strings… it’s spectacular! Again, cannot say enough how incredible it sounds. I’d do times (like Captain likes to do when describing his favorite bits in a song) except that the album is one long track, so it’s kinda hard.
The lyrics and the story they tell is fairly simple and unspectacular.
But seriously- some of the best music and melodies Prince has ever done are in this song.
Anna Stesia- to quote Toejam, as he’s said on a number of occasions, “this one’s all about the atmosphere”
This song made my hair stand on end when I first heard. The lyrics tell such a dark story and you can tell he choose all of them carefully to bring his vision to life.
It’s about hitting rock bottom, feeling so lonely you’d take anyone just to fill that void, but in the end, you need to get in touch with your higher self.
Some incredible musical moments, again. The first few notes of the song send shivers- two clashing notes that shouldn’t work together, but they do.
I love when they have the “love is God, God is love” chorus and the melody in the background builds on guitar and each go it has, the key goes further up the scale and it builds to a tremendous climax before the original melody from the beginning is revisited in the same fashion.
Prince was very in tune with his craft during Purple Rain and Parade, but I can’t help but feel that he hit his peak with this point of this album. And he accomplished this on his own- whereas on the others, he had a little bit of help.
Dance On- for me, it’s still hit and miss.
The true highlight is the music. Prince’s drumming in particular. Nobody else could have pulled off that performance. Matt Thorne summed this track up perfectly, saying that it isn’t about buffering against the negativity- it’s saying “we don’t care about it anymore” and things will carry on as they always have.
The lyrics are really weird for me, though. They seem very random. Touching on the same points as the title track for Sign o’ the times, but maybe a little too specific for any sort of connection to be had. It’s kind of a mess.
My favorite part is the spoken part that begins where he says “it’s time for new education. former rules don’t apply”
Lovesexy- in “Prince: The Musical”- this song would be the first song to begin the second half. But I think that’s how it happened at the Dortmund show too. The music just screams Broadway to me (and I absolutely mean this as a compliment). I can’t help but be in a good mood whenever I listen to it.
The second part of the 2nd verse where the pace picks up and he says it’s a “butterfly kiss away”- it just reminds me so much of Freddie Mercury and “Crazy little thing called love”. I thought that when I first heard it and I still do.
It’s whimsical and fun. Then it gets nuts when they make love with only words. Only Prince could come up with something like that. And I love how Camille makes an appearance. The first time I heard it, I was so happy.
Whenever I get to the end and he says “I’ll make love to you… tomorrow”… I always feign disappointment.
Can’t quite explain what it is, but if Prince performed this and I was at the venue, I would WANT him after this and I wouldn’t be able to wait for tomorrow.
The progression of Lovesexy-When 2 r in love- Eye wish u heaven… easily one of the best 3-song progressions in Prince’s history of albums.
That was once a question on .org: asking people what their favorite 3 song progression was. I don’t know if I got to say that there, but I’m saying this now. That’s one of my all-time favorites.
He wins me over so much with this song, the next song make things super intimate and the last is about the come-down, the ecstasy you experience after the previous events take place.
I don’t physically get hot and heavy listening to Prince music. But I have eargasms and I experience euphoria when all the factors come together in the perfect way.
This progression is results in one of the best eargasms I’d ever experienced.
I can reach this feeling listening to certain Prince songs on their own, but with those three songs in a row and ending on the note that they do… again, another level.
When 2 R in Love- I sung this song’s praises during the Black Album post, so I’m not going to revisit that. But given it placement on this album and the songs surrounding it, that can only help it.
Eye wish u heaven- I’ll be the first to admit this is barely a song. I first heard part of this song through the music video and it was another weird one for me. Prince’s look in the video- his long hair tied back into this tiny ponytail like he was there during the American Revolution. [But I also wasn’t crazy about Prince’s long hair when he grew it long… that includes the afros]
But the music for this song in particular…it makes up for the lack of length. It’s incredibly beautiful- no other word for it. The lyrics are straight-forward, but have some oddball moments (if I say 11, you can say it’s 7… I never understood that lyric).
I love the instrumental that plays through the last minute of the song, the chord changes the guitar takes… then that ending… OMG… I die every time.
That final “I wish u heaven” combined with the final note of the music…
maybe it’s because I’m on this album at this particular time, but I’m hard pressed to mention one other moment in all of Prince’s music where I have that same feeling.
I don’t think there is any.
If the album ended on that note and there was no “Positivity”… sure, it’d be a little incomplete, but I wouldn’t have minded. I would just die and that’d be it.
Positivity- this is a weird one for me… perhaps more than any other Prince song I have good feelings about.
I love the concept of it, but I might like it more than the actual song.
It has some lyrics like “Dance On” that seem odd and out of place- despite the fact they describe the meaning of the actual song.
The music is so unusual and different- it works, but it also kinda doesn’t.
The chorus has an interesting concept to it, but I hate how the delivery of it changes from the first time to the second. And it sounds more pained, even whiny as it progresses.
Maybe like the whole album- I just need that extra time to be able to wrap my head around everything to really get it.
Yet another reason I wish I could have some of these songs on their own rather than having to listen to the entire album to hear them. Plus I’d like this song for my own Positivity playlist- which I could play if I’m ever sad about Prince not being here anymore. Focusing on the good.
This is an album I’ll definitely need to hear once on my iPod when I’m completely alone so I can really get lost in it and not have to worry about the world around.
Friday night- I think that’ll be the night. And I’ll do my score that note or the next day.
I’m still figuring that out.
As for Peach and Black, I’ll see if I’ll get to them tomorrow… it’s a long podcast so I need a lot of time to get through it.
Gonna say it now- I don’t think I ever liked this album nearly as much as I do now.
To fully explain that… my feelings on the album, on my components scale… they were a 4. Thought it was a solid release and there’s some serious fanaticism for some tracks, but middle of the road for others.
Now- it feels like a 4.5 or even a 5, depending on where I am in the album.
It’s been a pretty incredible experience. All I can think to add to that– my fellow purple knight is going to be thrilled to hear all this because this is his 2nd favorite album (behind Purple Rain- not just because it’s freaking Purple Rain, but there’s a personal story tied into that as well).
This feels like hanging out in Prince World.
I put the album on my iPod and gave it a listen at work during a good point where I’ve found my rhythm.
If anything, the music helped me maintain that rhythm and I got a lot done.
Then I was listening to the podcast and the guys talking about the album and the first couple songs.
I had to leave temporarily because today I finally got around to getting my license renewed. I had to go there directly after work and go off my route, so it weighed heavily on my mind. So glad it’s done.
So I got back on the road and put on the podcast again… I realized that I was in Prince World this whole time and having to go through the process of getting my license photo done (all of 5 minutes- no big deal) brought me out of it. So I was back on the outside enough where I was able to realize that.
It was trippy and looking back… incredible. I’m going to remember this for a long time.
I sincerely hope I never hit that point where I’m going to get sick of this music.
So I think I’m going to give it one final spin Friday night when I’m alone in my room.
…I’m also kinda afraid to listen to the B-sides and remixes I put on my iPod for this period. I’m afraid to upset that balance and that good rapport I have with the album.
I hadn’t felt this good about an album since Parade and in some ways, it feels even better.
And the crazy thing is… as good as I’ve gotten with really explaining Prince and his music on this blog… I find this album particularly daunting and I’m afraid it’s not going to come across completely the way I hear it.
I guess what I mean is– this is an album for experienced Prince listeners only. Because unless you’re open to new things and you’re receptive or in a certain mindset, you’re not going to get it. And you need to find your own way around. Nobody can do that for you. All they can do is just point you in its direction.
The podcast has been pretty great so far (but then, when has it not been?).
Toejam made a comment that on any given day, three of the songs on this album could be his all-time favorite song. Alphabet Street and Glam Slam are two of them.
Eye No got a pretty cool discussion and they went deep. MC probably went the deepest in his discussion and it gives you a lot to think about. Captain said it was one of his two favorite songs on the album and he raved about how it’s one of the best opening tracks ever. Toejam talked about how he doesn’t like when Prince gets specific in his spiritual discussion- preferring when people are able to take whatever they want for it. (Captain elaborated on that- saying how Prince was so inclusive during this time and since The Rainbow Children, it’s my way or the highway– he didn’t say it exactly like this, but that’s basically the idea).
Hearing the discussion of Alphabet Street (so funny how they said it must have been an idea he got from Sesame Street… and Captain got an idea of a music video where Prince is going down the street with a bunch of letters following him) and hearing it again today…
maybe I can understand why I didn’t like the song so much at first.
It’s just different from all the other singles he’d done up to this point. The lyrics draw you in and seem accessible, but there’s an odd energy about it. Unique, but odd.
I also think that… I don’t know if this will apply to all of these songs… but it just doesn’t work without the rest of the album around it. Not in my head anyway.
I think I finally understand why Prince did the one track treatment with this album. It works better as a whole than separately. And it’s kinda hard to reprogram my brain to think otherwise. Even though I’d like the opportunity to have Positivity or Lovesexy separately.
Anna Stesia, it’s… don’t know how else to say it… a blessing that this song is locked in sequence because if I had this song separate, I’d risk overplaying it and losing the magic.
I’m not at that part of the podcast yet- but this last time was pretty incredible. I was getting all kinds of chills. The guitar work reminded me of “3 chains o’ gold” but better. The piano part he played to open the track– it comes back so many times and in so many ways, it’s incredible to hear that going through it. I’d need a whole post to give it that.
I think I already know what score I’m going to give it– but I’m thinking also that it’s a masterpiece on the same level as When Doves Cry.
but back to the podcast for a second…
with the exception of the lack of visuals, Toejam gave “Glam Slam” the “Automatic” treatment where he did such a gripping play-by-play, I was following along in my head where in the song he was going into and the good feeling I got from the song came through. The praise was unreal.
I stopped when Captain was starting to say “can I say it’s the most skippable on the album?” and Toejam said “you can say what you like” and Player added how he trashed “If eye was your girlfriend”… then Captain explained that he has a love/hate relationship with it.
I can understand why not everyone is going to like this song- especially with its nonsense lyrics.
But the musical part of it… omg… incredible. That’s why I loved Toejam’s discussion of it so much. He hit all the points and said how much he loved the instrumental that finishes out the song.
…yeah, before I do any more fangasming, I should call it quits for the day.
Can’t wait to get further into the podcast tomorrow.
…So it’s a couple days later now. I didn’t get to writing yesterday and by this point, I’d finished the podcast.
I mean, every episode has been good. But this is definitely one of the best, right up there with the Purple Rain podcast (which is getting passed around again cuz of the new release).
The material is just that incredible and the guys really did the best they could with it.
And by that, I mean they summed everything up in a 2.5 hour long show, but there’s still a lot more to talk about and they know this bloody well.
At the same time, I feel like I need another extra week. Heck, I’d give anything to have had this trip when I was in college– when I had the free time to myself to really listen to Prince music and let all the revelations wash over me and infiltrate my brain. It’s one of those types of trips that inspired me to write a short story based on the Come album. [Which I’ll definitely go into when I get that album in a couple months].
I’d say this album is akin to a religious experience. But clearly that’s how it all came to be. Prince having a spiritual experience that made him pull the Black Album.
Where to even start with where the podcast took this album?
There was this funny bit where MC talked about Glam Slam being about multiple one night stands and Captain’s flipping out, saying he liked the song even less after hearing that from him. And also: “I don’t listen to what these songs are about”
Kinda sounds like my dad- he’s not one for lyrics either. It’s all about the music and the momentum of it and all the bells and whistles.
Of course I’m flipping a bit myself because… well, c’mon… I’ve always viewed Prince as a musical genius who always wrote from the heart (he more or less told me that in a dream) so I’ve always tried to figure out what each song is about- first from his point of view and second for whatever I personally get out of it. Whether it’s feeling things from his perspective, feeling an emotion for myself (happy, sad or whatever) and making that connection with him somewhere in between… if the song calls for it, of course.
But I will admit there are some Prince songs I simply don’t overthink.
Anna Stesia had some interesting talk from everyone. Player gave his best summation of it, even highlighting certain lyrics to walk us through it. All the die-hard fans pretty much interpret the song the way he said it and he did it as well as I ever could. Probably better because I’d probably ruin my discussion of it by bringing too much emotion into it.
Toejam was close to including it among his favorite all-time songs aside from one lyric: “Save me, Jesus, I’ve been a fool”… the song could have been about anything and meant anything to anyone, but he went and made it specific so that kinda put a damper on it.
Dance On- the guys talked about whether it’s a song or an excuse for a drum track.
I kinda get that. I don’t care so much for the lyrics in this song, but the music (particularly the drumming) stands out so much.
Lovesexy, the actual song got a really lengthy discussion.
Toejam said this was the last of the trifecta that were among his favorite songs of all time.
Captain put this in his all-time top 10 Prince songs. And even though he went for a while on this, it’s clear he wanted to say more. There was a part that I’m going to have to listen to again because he had an interesting take on it- saying that Spooky Electric showed up and everyone ran away screaming and Prince stayed and scared him away with a guitar solo. I never heard that, but maybe I should look for it.
That’d be a killer moment in Prince: The Musical if that was the intended effect 😛
that’s kinda up there with the “flying monkey magic” bit from the Prince:album podcast
Skipping to the end, Positivity had an interesting discussion.
I think the guys kinda summed up how I feel about this song. It’s a weird one. I think I like the idea of the song a lot more than the song itself sometimes. Parts of it don’t quite add up.
MC went on this negative rant about it (yeah, pretty ironic), saying that it’s self-indulgent and such. Then Captain joked that MC did the kind of review he typically does. He wasn’t a huge fan, but he didn’t mind the song.
I think by the time I got to the last half hour of the podcast, I was starting to be over this album. And I’m not quite done with it yet.
I had an epiphany of my own earlier about Prince: The Musical and what that’d be like.
I just thought about “Anna Stesia” and how that could be the first time in the show where Prince is alone on stage and is directly talking to the audience.
“Eye No” is a big group number (for some reason, I’m picturing him talking to everyone as if he was Danny Zuko talking to his buddies in “Grease” during “Summer Nights”), but instead of outdoor bleachers, it’s on a large white sound stage with colors found on the album cover splashed on the walls and there’s a large circle in the middle of the stage. [I imagine much of the album that way, actually… so much happens in it, but I also feel like it makes a great use of white space- a device used in artwork].
“Alphabet Street”- Prince drives on stage with his Thunderbird with his band in the back seat. The stage becomes splashed with various letters in many different colors (while following the color palette from the album cover). He sees a girl on stage and starts flirting with her and the two of them drive away at the end in the car, where the stage gets dark and there’s a lot of smoke. Maybe this demonstrates that “Glam Slam” is a dream sequence.
…I haven’t thought out Glam Slam yet, but I imagine it taking place in nighttime with some soft lighting. The white stage becomes a certain shade of purple, kind of a soft bluish purple. The band emerges halfway through on instruments on stage and start to play. And some of them have glow in the dark. While Prince is on stage dancing to the music while miming instructions to the band.
Then as the song ends, everyone leaves him alone and he makes a statement to the audience ala “Anna Stesia.” Off to the sides of the stage, we see “Gregory looks just like a ghost” and we see the girl saying “we can love for a little while…” (I think the real lyric is “live” but I’ve always heard love). But he’s very self-involved in this song.
He gets up from the piano when he starts pleading to God and to us and it’s a really powerful moment.
I think I can imagine everyone showing up behind him like a choir, but he doesn’t acknowledge their presence.
Then he ends at the piano again and, man, the applause from the audience would be so amazing.
“Dance On” is a full-on band performance as you could expect from any Prince concert.
There are visuals going on around them that depict the lyrics (each gets a spotlight on them as they’re happening), but they continue playing despite that.
“Lovesexy” is this big elaborate production where all kinds of stuff happens. It might be another good time to relate to the audience. And it’s another time for him to have one-on-one time with a girl while the band continues to play.
“When 2 R in Love”… I know what it could be… but I don’t know if that’d be good in a Broadway show 😛 a lot of intimate stuff happens in this song.
“Eye wish u heaven”… I hadn’t gotten a chance to think about.
“Positivity”… another massive group number in the vein of “Eye No” but he encourages the audience to participate to really show how far he’d come in this short time.
these are just some ideas… maybe one day, I’ll have a bigger epiphany and really go all out to develop it.
but it probably would do better in Europe than in America, the whole concept of this 😛
I guess there isn’t much left to do but listen to the album one more time and rate it.
And also to watch a YouTube upload I’d had saved up for ages. 9 minutes of Lovesexy tour footage from a documentary.
I recognized a lot of it from that Prince of Paisley Park documentary that VH1 Classic showed a bunch of times in 2007 and I watched it at least twice that year.
It took a while for me to get used to this look of his and the fact a lot of it was aftershow footage. Not quite what I expected, but soon enough, I slipped back into rhythm with him like he was a comfortable pair of shoes.
It’s amazing to see him rehearsing with his band and telling them how he wants things set up. Then back stage, the sense of humor came out.
I’m not a fan of him with the long hair, but with it tied back, I definitely get that neo-Mozart vibe from him that I saw from the first moments I saw him in Purple Rain.
I entered Prince lovesexy in the search and saw a Pittsburgh show listed. It’s over 4 hours. No way do I have time for that. Certainly not tonight.
I don’t remember how long the Dortmund show was, but I had a whole afternoon with it back in college, so I have no idea. That could’ve been 4 hours too.
Anyway… time to do this again… hope it’s a good trip cuz it’s probably gonna be the last one I’ll be doing for a while with this album.
…phew… that was the fastest 45 minutes I’ve ever experienced. It seriously feels like I just started the album 15 minutes and it’s already finished.
And of all the times I’d done this thing- listening to the albums one last night at night and doing the final thoughts afterwards… maybe it’s because I didn’t have any alcoholic drinks today… or this energy is so strong that it’s impossible to fall asleep to it. There’s just so much going on.
So I had a couple of crazy moments that I don’t think I’d experienced with Prince in ages. Or my memory’s just getting bad 😛
There were a couple of songs where I was completely engaged. I didn’t crank the volume any louder than it was and it was moderate, but as I’m laying with my iPod playing and my ear buds in, my back arches towards the sky as if trying to get the full energy of the music. And let’s just say that’s the indication I need for where I give the big points away.
One last thing before the numbers game.
In Prince’s words: Lovesexy is “the feeling u get when u fall in love – not with a girl or boy, but with the heavens above”.
I had to look up before I wrote it here because I wanted to get it right.
A perfect introduction to the album. Lyrically, Prince establishes his mindset for the album. The blank canvas is given a concept to follow. We know there’s a heaven and a hell and there’s a better way to have some fun. And this album will show us that fun.
[comment from the last listen- I can understand when Toejam said this might be the weakest track on the album… it gets my mindset right for what’s to come, but I may not be as in love with the piece as much of what follows. Also- first time I noticed this, there’s a whispering of “Eye No” before the energy of the song kicks in]
Technical merit- 4.5 (deduct half a point for some indistinctive vocals- I don’t care about learning all the words to this song, but that still kinda bugs me a bit. Really good lyrics. The musical elements are brilliant- my favorite is that stop & go section with the drums and horns with that funky guitar riff, it always gets me grooving. It’s very well put together and it truly is a Prince production from those elements to how it’s put together)
Components score- 3.5 (It sometimes gets so overshadowed by the other tracks that I kinda forget about it until the “rain is wet, sugar is sweet” motif is revisited in the title track. I still think it’s one of the best opening tracks he’s ever done. And for a cohesive concept album like this, it’s the best choice to start it)
Total score- 8
As much as I wish any other song on this album was made to be the lead single, nothing else would work as well as this one does. The other songs are either too short or too specific or even too polarizing. This is easily the most commercial. I could say it’s like having one piece to a jigsaw puzzle and it doesn’t give you the full picture of what this album has to offer… but maybe I’m just trying to find a nicer way to say this song is still a weird one for me. At least it’s weird if I can take separate from the other 8 songs.
[Listening to this one last time- I was tapping my fingers a bit to the beat, which is a good sign]
Technical merit- 4.5 (the lyrics tell a good story, solid music again, good vocals and with all the metaphors, of course only Prince could come up with something like this. The one negative is the over use of the effects- like the car speeding away- during the instrumental after “tell your papa about this”… it’s just annoying to me)
Components score- 3.5 (I think I said everything… before I got this album, I would have given this song a components score of 2.5 most likely… it made me like the song more, but still not a lot. Also- I’m not really a fan of Cat’s rap… maybe it’s because I like the “Music is the key” rap from The Black Album better. Even if that wasn’t an original rap, I found it more compelling. Cat’s rap- I don’t so much like her voice on it and the lyric “didn’t she tell you Lovesexy was the glam of them all?”… I’m sorry, I just don’t buy that anyone would say that other than Prince himself)
Total score- 8
[Yeah, this was one of the highlights from tonight. The music is so compelling and it was really nice getting to hear all of Prince’s vocals on this]
I don’t even know what to say about this song anymore. It’s just so much fun to listen to and it always leaves an impression behind.
Technical Merit- 5 (there are some good lyrics in this and their delivery is killer at points. love the vocals, but the music is truly the highlight for me. It’s otherworldly. It’s beautiful. I find it fascinating and it just kills me every time. It’s something special Prince hadn’t accomplished before and he hadn’t hit anything quite like this since. But that just means he’s gone on to better things. Sometimes I wish it was longer, but I’d hate for it to wear out its welcome. I think tonight I just wished so badly I had this track separate so I could give myself its unique brand of adrenaline)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (this is so incredibly close to being perfect for me… but I just can’t give it that. A perfect 10 is something I reserve for masterpieces. But this is definitely one of my personal favorites)
…speaking of masterpieces, OMG…
[My listen to this one was especially powerful. My back arched so I could just hear and feel everything in this song. And afterwards, I let out this massive exhale and it took a few moments for me to calm down… just incredible].
Technical merit- 5 (compelling lyrics that paint a dark and haunting picture with hope at the end of it. the music is hauntingly beautiful- especially that piano riff. great use of vocals and the delivery is very emotional. nobody but Prince could do something this and it just kills me that this came from such a vulnerable place and he was cool enough with it and himself to share it with us)
Components score- 5 (I hope the magic of this song never goes away- so again, it’s really a good thing this album is all of one track)
Total score- 10
It used to be that anything that followed a song like Anna Stesia suffered from not being able to stand to it. But this is another one that’s grown on me over the past few times. It’s an odd social commentary track thrown in the middle of an album about spirituality and personal revelations. But it’s a great musical performance.
Technical merit- 5 (I would have taken a bit away for some weird lyrics, but they work in the context of the song. If they didn’t, I’d be taking away from Glam Slam for the same reason)
Components score- 3.5 (if I did this when I first got the album, this score would be 2.5- I’d skip it if I could. Now, I don’t mind it nearly as much. It fulfills its purpose on the album)
Total score- 8.5
[I was so happy to listen to this one and I hadn’t felt that way about it this whole week. If I were to take this song from my own perspective and leave out the concept of the album completely… these lyrics describe how I feel about Prince music… minus the race car metaphor and my name on my thigh- that’s all him]
This song builds on the concept of “Eye No”- in that we’re back in the same setting as where we began the album, but now we’re all much more enlightened after going through the harrowing experiences of the last two tracks.
[I did find the bit Captain was talking about- where everyone screamed and ran away and Prince killed it with a guitar solo… I’d never heard guitar in that part of the song before tonight! This really is a headphone album]
Technical score- 5
Components score- 4
Total score- 9 (perhaps in the future, I might upgrade this to a 9.5… assuming I have more moments with like I had tonight)
WHEN 2 R IN LOVE
…so here we are… I gave this song a 9.5 as a total score when I reviewed as part of the Black Album and I was debating about whether to recycle that score or give it its own.
Technical score- 5 (having it on a different album surrounding by different songs can’t change its make-up. but what could change is how I personally respond to it)
Components score- 4
Total score- 9 (I like this song a lot, but maybe not as much among the material on this album where it kinda gets outshined… but if this makes it into the conversation of my favorite Prince songs, it’ll have a slight advantage over all the other 9.0 tracks because it comes with two different ways of experiencing it
EYE WISH U HEAVEN
maybe a little short and simple, but the production of this song is brilliant. some bits are among my favorite bits in Prince music as a whole.
Technical score- 4.5
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5 (as much as I love those bits- the dueling guitars and the final 10 seconds- I can’t give this song too much. especially when it’s as short as it is. but from what I remember of the longer version, it’s best kept at this length
[when I got to this song, it just felt like the album was slipping away from me so fast and there was nothing I could do to stop it]
Technical score- 4.5 (deduct half a point for the irksome female vocals in the chorus. the music is fairly unique. it feels like there’s a lot of blank space in this to maneuver around. the initial beat feels like a precursor of Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. the lyrics tell some interesting tales and also bring us back to why we gathered here in the first place- to find out the outcome of the battle between Lovesexy and Spooky Electric)
Components score- 3.5 (there are days where I really like this song and I’d be willing to give it a 4… but I just had felt out of step with it and maybe I always had… with the exception of the first time I heard it after Prince’s death and all the speculation of what caused it was getting to me)
Total score- 8
All right… now to put it all together… it seems like an extremely solid release. I never gave anything below an 8 per song, and no components score less than 3.5, which means I love a lot of the songs and others I feel stronger than neutral about.
Anna Stesia- 10
Glam Slam- 9.5
When 2 in Love- 9
Eye Wish U Heaven- 8.5
Dance On- 8.5
Eye No- 8
Alphabet Street- 8
Just looking at the technical and components averages, this is going to be a huge score…
Combined total is 78.5… divide by total points possible (90)…
OMG… 8.7 out of 10
that’s freaking incredible…
This isn’t just an album… it’s an experience…
This isn’t music… this is a trip.
And a crazy good one, apparently.
I might just leave this blog open for listening to remixes and stuff.
But for now…I need to get some sleep to really let that sink in.
Not just going to be in my top 10, but maybe even my top 5.
That just blew my freaking mind apart…
Oh and my top songs…
When 2 R in Love
nothing really spectacular to report with the extended remixes and such.
the Glam Slam remix wasn’t bad. the vocals were carried over from the original and some of the musical bits as well. it’s just a different version of the same song, but I loved the instruments in the end where the synth strings from the original came in and offered that extra oomph the song needs.
The “eye wish u heaven” extended version… I have to let go the fact it’s practically a different song by the time it finishes with the original 2-3 minutes. but it’s something different and I don’t mind it too much.
It might sound like an insult, but I felt like they gave it the Emancipation treatment. It felt out of place for the era, is what I’m saying.
My fellow purple knight, ages ago, sent me an instrumental cover of that song because I said how much I love the music for it and wish sometimes I could hear it without the vocals. As much as I love Prince’s vocals on that song, the music is just as good.
Scarlet Pussy is the song’s B-side… and it’s an odd song. Other than a voice pitched lower, there’s hide nor hair of Prince anywhere from a vocal standpoint.
It’s an interesting premise that pushes the envelope a bit more than usual with the innuendo and what Prince could get away with.
So this post finally ends and I can share it.
I am considering watching that 4-hour long YouTube video of a Pittsburgh Lovesexy concert, but I’m not sure I’ll actually do it.
But this album really has been a surprise. One I did not expect at all.
To put it in perspective… I guess to spoil the events so far.
My top three at this point are Purple Rain [which may wind up being the only album I give 9/10 or higher], Lovesexy and Parade– the latter pairing are separated by 2 tenths of a point.
I’ll go further into the analytics once I finish this trek through his music… but it kinda makes sense, really.
There are a lot of highs in Lovesexy. There are also a bunch in Parade, but there’s also some material that’s middle of the road.
All three have in common the fact that they are tight cohesive albums where all the songs fit so well together. What makes Purple Rain special, I guess, is that many of the songs are strong enough to stand on their own.
Ultimately, though… I might give this album one final spin before putting it away… but I get the feeling that Batman is going to feel like a MASSIVE step down.
Someone on Peach & Black said how many die-hard fans (of Prince) see Lovesexy as his last creative peak. Also as the first original album he’d done in a long time- an album he didn’t put out to follow any trends. But he also put it out to prove something and all his best work seems to come out of adversity, where he’s trying to prove something.
Kinda crazy, isn’t it?