I’m giving myself a slow start with this one… I listened to the album through only once this week and it’s the day after that.
And it isn’t just because I actually liked Graffiti Bridge so much that I needed to drive songs like “Thieves in the Temple” out of my head before getting to the next. Plus I didn’t want to burn out as quickly as I got the spark back.
But there’s something else too…
I don’t know how many people reading this had followed my blog at all in 2016- those people, if you’re still with me, might have an idea of where I’m going with this.
When I first got Diamond & Pearls [according to my receipt, Sept 1 2007]- firstly, it was one of those key albums I wanted for my collection. It was a huge success and it also produced 4 songs that ended “The Very Best of…” (3 of 4, I liked a lot).
And it was a moderate success, I thought. Some tracks I really liked a lot and others I really didn’t like or care too much about.
After a while, I got to like it more, but it was never among the first albums I’d listed as personal favorites.
Maybe because I didn’t find that personal connection until last year.
It was either March or April 2016 when I started listening to Prince again for the first time in a long time. Started picking up albums and trying them out like slipping on jackets, seeing if they still fit all right.
I had been meaning for a while to listen to D&P and give that another try. I figured maybe I needed another time or place to see if there was something extra special there.
That day was April 21st. It just felt like the right time to put it in the car.
I got through 4 songs that morning.
“Thunder” blew my head off with all the different nuances and bits and pieces of it.
“Daddy Pop”- I read into the lyrics and understood more about what it’s really about.
“Diamonds & Pearls”- the harmonies, Prince’s baritone, the instrumental break halfway through- they sang almost like I was discovering them for the first time.
“Cream”- I just had fun with it, more than I had in a long time.
Work came and went. I turned on the car and the radio… I discover shortly after what happened to Prince…
Cut ahead to 15-20 minutes down the road… I finally turned the album back on because I had enough of the radio.
So “Strollin’ ” was the first song I personally played after learning that Prince had died… and it wound up being the perfect song to offset all the shock and sadness. The songs went by and every now and then, the news would cross my mind and I’d try to push it away and push it down and get back to the music.
I don’t remember the last time I decided to play “Jughead”… it was often a track I skipped. But I decided at the last second to just let it play- I decided I needed to get Prince off my mind, so the best way to do that is let Tony’s rapping drown all that negativity out. And it was actually a big help- strange as it sounds.
“Money Don’t matter 2 night” was a solemn moment where I absorbed everything and got into the song just as I always did (one of the highlights from “The Very Best of…” and also the final track on the disc).
I get to “Live 4 Love”… I’m within 10 minutes from my house. I crank the volume in my car up to 31 and fist pump and scream at the top of my lungs with his screams to really savor that energy. And it was a good release.
But I was out of sorts for at least the next 3 days (and I had to go to work the next day, which wasn’t great- but at least I was set up away from the open air department so I didn’t have to be around anybody). Throughout this time, though- I did bring out The Gold Experience and Parade and The Truth, but D&P was the album that I kept close by like a security blanket.
Even listening to it yesterday, some of those feelings resurfaced, but I didn’t spend nearly as much time being sad. I had a great moment with “Insatiable” the 2nd time I listened to it last April. And I don’t know if it’s something I’ll be able to replicate.
It was the first time I listened to any Prince song where my brain just had this tremendous dopamine rush- an eargasm.
…anyway, I thought it might be a nice move to open this post with a personal touch so I don’t get stuck in the rut of routine.
I’m reading the chapter in Matt Thorne’s book throughout the week and that approach has gone well.
But again, that moment happened where he said something that just turned me off.
He said that it lacked edge and innovation or just plain wasn’t interesting. He pressed the hell out of LoveSexy and Sign o’ the times, so I guess there’s no more praise he can dish out of any other album.
When I stopped today, he was about to say that Cream and Gett Off are the only two gems on the album. “Daddy Pop” isn’t the best song, I agree. He also said how Prince wrote 8 songs in this time period about playing cards. Well, at one time he was also “obsessed” with ponies because they kept showing up in lyrics. So what? “Willing & Able” and “Jughead” also got some shade thrown their way (but who HASN’T thrown shade at “Jughead” is what I wanna know… ok, I don’t care to know that badly). And “Push”… yeah, I agree that it sounds like its about self-empowerment and it’s very non-coherent in its messaging.
He said “Live 4 Love” had too much thrown in that the heart and soul of the song (paraphrasing here) was lost.
That might be true… I only have this version to go by.
I’m sorry for doing what I usually do with this guy… but I hate the notion of crapping all over something and coming off as someone not willing to give it a chance.
Especially with Prince music. I heard so much of it on .org, people saying how Planet Earth was his worst album ever or he’d release a new song and it got bashed immediately because it’s not the next [insert single name here].
it’s now Friday… I hadn’t been on my computer or this post since Monday. Since then, I had a trip to the dentist that ended with having to make an appointment for filling cavities. No fun.
Anyway- I’ve listened through the tracks twice. Once Wednesday and then split the album between Thursday and Friday, listening to the Peach & Black podcast after hearing the tracks again.
But one last comment about this chapter the book, I promise that’s the end of it…
I spent the better half of that afternoon after finishing the chapter absolutely fuming.
In a nutshell, he said the album wasn’t anything special and it’s one of the few that doesn’t “get better with time” (that’s me paraphrasing a future Prince song).
I don’t think he had a single good thing to say about any of the 13 songs.
Money don’t matter 2night was especially infuriating because he revisited his commentary on “Pop Life”… I don’t want to read the damn paragraph again, but it’s basically him calling Prince’s integrity into question. This song is supposed to be about social commentary and he takes it as Prince telling people not to moan about how unfair your life is.
I’ve always taken these two songs as in this lyric from “Free”– “there’s others doing far worse than us so be glad that you are free.”
It’s gotten to the point where I’m wanting to ask “what the hell did Prince do to you to make you hate him so much?”
and I know he doesn’t hate him, but his fandom of his music is very selective.
He knows all this history about his songs and all these unreleased tracks, but he’s too damn critical.
I’m sorry, but despite all the time and effort he put into the research and all that, this feels like an essay he was assigned to do in high school and just did not want to do it. Or someone higher up saw an opportunity to capitalize on Prince’s death by publishing such a book and he didn’t personally want to do it.
This is a really good album, not perfect or excellent, but it’s not a punching bag [and after what happened with Graffiti Bridge, I don’t know if I’d have a candidate for that].
So I got through all the podcast except for the final track.
And I probably should unveil some more thoughts on the tracks.
“Thunder” is a helluva start to the album.
I don’t know how long I’ve thought this, but for some time now, I’ve imagined it as being another song he wrote about “the night”… when he pulled the Black Album. Particularly the 3rd verse.
when he talks about Love, I think about “God is Love”… how he found God in music.
The second verse involves sex and again, finding God… but maybe there comes a point where he overindulges, mistaking lust for love and falling into temptation.
“Only the children borne of me will remain”– that’s his albums, and that’s something he might have realized on “the night” and it’s why he pulled the Black Album.
The musical aspect of it is really impressive. I always loved that about this song, where he’s just going to town in the studio, putting all of his skills to the best use and creating such a cool vibe.
Peach & Black loves talking about “interplay”– there is so much good interplay in the final couple minutes on this album, it’s ridiculous.
“Daddy Pop”– one thing I’ve really noticed these past few times… this is one of the funnest choruses to sing along to. Just so catchy.
I could’ve freaking used it as a catchphrase on .org– Pop Dreamy, Dreamy Pop… I need more lyrics 😛
I recently described it as something you’d find at Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro. Kinda like this big parade number with a float and everything.
All about the positivity and maybe pushing back at the critics who don’t want to follow along with Prince’s new direction. Also a good way to introduce the band.
“Diamonds & Pearls”… such a beautiful video. The videos were what first introduced me to this, Cream, and Gett Off.
I recently read that Prince wanted Mayte to be in it, but the director didn’t think she had the sultry sexy thing they were looking for.
there wasn’t a lot about this album in her book, but there will be plenty for the next few albums. Definitely looking forward to that.
I’ve always kinda liked this one. It’s hard to believe there was time it wasn’t a duet. Just recently read that. I like how Prince does the low end between the two of them and in the verses, he sings in his normal register with some low notes thrown in there.
I always thought of this as “All I have to give” by The Backstreet Boys, but executed WAY better. I know the BSB song came out years later, but it’s the same concept. Prince just adds so much to it musically and vocally that it doesn’t come off cliché or cheesy. It feels genuine and beautiful.
I always like it when it comes on, but among all the ballads he’s done, I don’t know if it’s one of my top favorites.
“Cream”— again, I’ve always liked it a fair bit. It’s a fun performance video as well. But I don’t get as excited about it as some of the non-commercial hits (particularly the beginning and end of the album).
I like it a little more than “Kiss” but I have the same feeling about it. Where maybe I don’t get why it was so huge with people.
But when I get into this, I REALLY get into it.
Captain has raved about the Cream maxi single “Do Your Dance- KC’s Remix” on the podcast. It’s unfortunate that Prince’s death had to come to pass in order for it to make its way onto YouTube and stay there for a year so I’d be able to find it.
It sounded so cool in those first few seconds and then for the first minute or two. But after a while, it maybe gets a little repetitive, but that’s just me. I love that synth line, it’s so operatic and open and full of energy.
if I remember right, there was a poll on Emancipation Radio with DJ Jedi where they had the voted 5 worst Prince songs of all time…
three of the songs were from this album and two from Graffiti Bridge… I don’t remember the exact order, but they included Strollin’, Push, NPG part 2, Jughead and Graffiti Bridge.
I probably used to think “Strollin’ ” was kinda meh. But these past few times, I’ve always gotten a smile on my face while listening to it. It’s easy breezy and a joy to listen to. It feels nice to just kick back and relax with it.
It’s hard not to think about the video where Diamond and Pearl quit their 9-5 job for the day and just get out and enjoy life. All of us need that feeling every now and then.
“Willing and Able”– I forgot who said it on Peach & Black, but they described it as “gospel country funk” and pretty much nailed it.
The Steeles come back after Graffiti Bridge for another cameo and this song wouldn’t be the same without them playing backing. It gives the song a little something extra to set it apart. It’s a great NPG track overall. Rosie has some great lines.
And Tony… oh geesh, Tony M… he’s got a cool rap to close the song out.
Captain probably raised everyone’s eyebrows as they listened to this and hearing him sing Tony’s praising and simply telling us to stop being so hard on him.
I don’t know when the hell this happened… I didn’t like Tony. I used to skip the tracks he was on or just skipped before his part came on.
But I think I got used to him after a while.
Now it’s at the point where I can see the genius in some of his stuff and… yeah, I can listen to Jughead and get into it. But the chorus is just stupid.
Anyway- I really like Tony on “Willing & Able”- kinda saying the same thing as Prince, but with a different vocabulary. Smooth and chill.
“Gett Off”… this was another 180 for me. When I first saw the video for this, it freaked me out. How it started with Prince on the bottom of a pile of dudes. I was super uncomfortable and for a while, I felt that way about this song.
I don’t know when I started really liking it, but these days, I do really get into it when I get to it on the album.
I’m in the car with this album and I sing along to this in my normal register. And during Tony’s parts of the chorus, I do a Vanity/Apollonia type vocal that’s meant to be sultry.
But I still need to figure out whether or not to change pronouns in the rap section. It’s kind of a cool rap.
And might be a guilty pleasure track right up there with “Darling Nikki” for me.
One good thing I found in the book… I didn’t understand that set-up in the video at all the first time I saw it. I still kinda don’t. But apparently Prince was very into the movie “Caligula” at the time and that was paying homage to that.
And according to Mayte, he was REALLY into the Godfather movies. Forever answering the question why he wanted to use the name Apollonia in Purple Rain.
He said how when Michael met her in the movie, he got hit with a thunderbolt. Then she died in a car bomb and met Diane Keaton. And he scoffed “she ain’t no thunderbolt”
“Walk don’t walk”– I’ve always liked it, but it’s one of those songs I kinda forget about sometimes. I like the chorus of the car horns. It’s an interesting concept that I wonder if Prince was really thinking deeply on the lyrics when he wrote it. There might be more to this than most of us think.
Matt Thorne was especially hard on this song because “Rebirth of the Flesh” was never officially released (until the NPG music club did) but this was… I didn’t understand the correlation until the podcast and someone said the “sha la la” chorus was lifted from that song.
“Jughead”… I really don’t know what it’s about, honestly. To me, it sounds like an attempt to create a brand new dance.
And I do picture choreography in my head for the chorus. A lot of heads shaking from side to side on the “get stoopid!” lines. And that one move where you hop on one foot, but you grab the one foot with your hand and rock back and forth on the one foot… it was a thing in the 90’s or at least when I was in high school… sounds about as stoopid as the song, doesn’t it?
I like all of it but the chorus. The music is fun to groove to. And I like the skit at the end. I get so into it, I go “oh!” whenever someone gets slapped.
Someone on Peach and Black joked about it being the reverse of what people think– that Tony was getting slapped instead of the manager.
The good thing about this album is that there’s a mix of everything on here. It’s not super into the hip-hop and rap all the time. It has it just enough to show another side of the band. And it allowed time for some of us to get used to that extra element without the change being too prominent or overwhelming.
One thing I got from the podcast… the guys kept bringing up the Symbol album in the discussion, not just because it was the previous album they addressed, but they sounded like they were still high on its energy. It’s gotta be a really good review. Already excited.
Money Don’t Matter 2night… I’ve always loved this one. Ever since “the Very best of…” and having that as the last song left a lasting impression.
I really love the backing vocals on it. Maybe the best backing vocals of any Prince song ever. And I only found out a few years ago that it was Levi. [I found it interesting to learn that he was brought up from bass to rhythm guitar on this album going forward when Sonny Thompson was brought into the band… Levi has some great guitar work in 1991-92. I also like his work in Strollin’.]
It’s a good video… but it just bothered me that this man (who has a wife) also had kids. The lyrics didn’t mention anything about kids. Going from some cues from the videos, I picture this as a couple that’s been together a few years when a Great Depression hit and they’re struggling like everyone else is. It’s also kinda odd to think of a father gambling in the first verse. And there’s a lot of talk about the intimacy between the two and how their money problems get in the way of that sometimes.
Push was another of those songs I skipped along with Jughead, but I don’t mind it as much now. I like the Clare Fischer string samples on it that give it a little something extra. I like the 2nd verse, especially singing to it. And the lyric “maybe the cartridge you was playing don’t fit in your video game”… nice timely reference.
Tony has a good rap, Rosie gets to let everything out [I laugh whenever she says “I’d rather hear rapping than pushing this song”] and Prince gets to be a complete goof. I like how he uses all the titles from the songs in his rap. The first time he did that on an album.
This feels like a song that was recorded late at night and everyone was having a midnight jam session.
Insatiable- I love the cinematic nature of it (this isn’t even taking the video tape metaphor into my thought process). And my mind can really wonder with it and where it goes. It’s that I call it cinematic, but I hate the video. If it was just Prince in the room with the videographer, that’s fine. But there were too many women in the room. At one point, a bunch show up behind him and open up their shirts to show off the bra underneath.
It’s hard for this song to be intimate with all these damn people in the room!
Let me have my eargasm in peace, thank you very much.
There was debate on the podcast about why using the name “Martha”… MC swear he heard mother or someone had heard he was saying Mayte even though they hadn’t met yet…
from what I’ve recently gathered, Prince and Mayte met in August 1990. Insatiable was recorded in October.
But considering she was only 16 at the time, that’s maybe a little gross, considering how sexual this song is. [I know he wrote so many songs about her, but this song in particular pushes the envelope just a bit… although when she auditioned for the D&P video, they had her put down as “Martha George” to avoid some legal stuff… I think the dancer in the piano room on the other side of Diamond and Pearl was meant to be her]
Live 4 Love… yeah, this is one of those songs I’ve always had a liking for.
It’s yet another reference to the Gulf War– I think. It was originally recorded in 1989 and I don’t think Desert Storm happened yet. [the gulf war was 1990-1991].
Maybe it’s just reference to war in general.
Another song with so much to consider.
This is probably the best rap Tony did on this album. It reinforces what Prince spent the better part of the song saying and it just feels cool to nail it.
All week, I haven’t been fully into this song, which I found very disappointing. Distracted by wanting to finish the album before getting home (I had to stop by the mailboxes and finish it before finishing the trip home) and one day I had a beetle in my car that I had to kick out… either way, I lost connection with the song and Prince World in general and was never able to recover.
Today, I had a crazy moment that made up for all that.
After nailing the rap, I played along with the guitar solo. Really was getting into it. At one point, I could picture Prince wailing on his guitar like he was in the car with me. Really cool.
I always loved that ending. When I first got my iPod and put this song on it, I don’t know if it was that version of the software or what, but it cut the song off right before it finally ends. [The same thing happened with Alexa de Paris and Welcome 2 the Dawn, I think].
But one of the first impressions I had of Michael Bland’s drumming– so killer in this song.
I think the guitar work in it is underappreciated. It doesn’t get a lot of chatter that I’ve seen.
At this point, I’d say this is another album was some huge highlights. While there’s nothing I’d want to skip, there are some low notes that don’t quite hold up to the rest.
I’m now wondering whether to watch all of the D&P video collection again… I watched it a year ago. The first time I really saw Prince perform after his death. And it was an incredible hour or so of footage where I didn’t feel sad at all. I just enjoyed spending that time with him.
Considering my own commentary, I might skip out on “Insataible” because I’d like to hold onto my own idea of it. I don’t really like his (or whoever’s idea it was)…
First things first, I need to finish the podcast.
I’ll have to decide whether to keep going with this album because I really hadn’t felt super connected to it. At least not all the way through. I want to keep the rhythm going through these albums, but I don’t want to feel like I’m rushing through them.
Things will feel better overall after I’m over my PMS and have those cavities taken care of. They’re weighing too much on my mind that I really can’t be fully focused on Prince.
Plus I’m juggling two books and I want to get through those chapters on the next album as I’m working on it.
…now’s a good stopping point
Since I’m kinda stuck inside watching the Open Championship (if I go outside, I’ll miss things… good tournament so far today), it’s a good time to finally get to some remixes and unreleased tracks from this period.
“Open Book” was for an album for one of the steeles but this track is prince’s initial recording. A programmed drum beat with some really nice keyboards. The lyrics sound like they’re contrary to the title. The lover says Prince isn’t an open book, but he says the open book is closing on their relationship. But I just get this cool vibe from it like I’m listening to some stuff later in Wendy & Lisa’s first album. I’m always a sucker for those. My comfort zone.
Horny Pony- the song originally meant for this album but later replaced with Gett Off because it got such a huge response at the clubs Prince gave it to.
I really like the synth lead line on it. His voice is the same as it is in Gett Off, although maybe not as low in the register. A bit of a rap where he’s trying to invent another new dance. The backing vocal ad-libs I hear from a female vocalist sounds like Rosie’s contributions on “Jam of the year”
I think Peach and Black talked about this on their B-sides show and voiced opposition to the female commentary throughout. That is really annoying 😛 just shut up.
I think it might be Robin Powers.
I also copied a couple Cream remixes to my laptop when I was going through D&P last year. So I figure I’ll go through them before the rest of what I have on a flashdrive.
I hear a lot Tony interjections and the record scratch with the female groan you hear on “My Name is Prince”… I think it might be Mayte.
I don’t think this song has anything to really do with “Cream”
There is another “Do your dance” remix, but it’s lacking that cool keyboard synth lead line that opens the song as I heard in KC’s remix.
There are 6 version of Gett Off in this set. One is extended, but the rest are remixes… that seems a bit extreme, don’t you think? Most are probably nothing like the song or are really any good compared to the song.
Oh wow, I DO have the “Do your dance KC’s remix” in this set… it just wasn’t called that. So I’m gonna have to fix that.
This is great! 😎
And there is a remix of Cream that is actually Cream redone with different music in the background. The vocals and guitar are the same, but there’s mostly a dance beat in the background with occasional keyboard stab and vocal interjection not from this song originally.
I gotta switch to Gett Off after this… a little too much repetition for my liking. I’m gonna hear the song at least 2 more times before I review the album officially. The video and the album once through again.
There’s also an extended cut of Thunder (which I’d heard before and it’s kinda nuts… I just hate that it ends abruptly before the song actually finishes. Not as mind blowing as the final note of Live 4 Love, but I love how these songs bookend the album with great final notes.
Listening to it now… just wanna say how much I love to drum my fingers along to the music on this one 😛 I’d done ever since I first got the album. As well as imagine Prince do some choreography to it- mostly guitar soloing and some Egyptian/Indian hand movements.
Judging from the notes on princevault, this sounds like it was “The Thunder Ballet” NPG music club release– it’s 10:50 in length and it started with some crowd cheering and there are some reactions– which are kinda scary. Like something bad happened to him on stage (by this, I mean he’s acting out the song and the “only the children borne of me will remain” lyric becomes reality). After the first part of the song, which ends before he says “don’t do it like that, do it like this” and it has a beat in the background going back and forth, some synth moments and vocal moments throughout and it slowly gets more instruments and builds. More vocals, string synths build tension (it sounds like a ballet or Broadway musical)… the screams are freaking terrifying to listen to… but then it all quiets down again and the original song resumes, I think, just before he gets to the final chorus.
I mean- this just needed one more second on it- that abrupt cut-off just bugs me cuz it just doesn’t finish that final note.
But this is a great headphone song- Thunder in any form you find it.
It was so cool to hear the guys fangasm over the song when they started the podcast. I don’t think it gets nearly enough appreciation- D&P and Cream stole all the commercial buzz and the fans love Money don’t matter 2night… then songs like Jughead and Push get a lot of talk for just not being great.
The bookends of this album are seriously underrated and appreciated. I don’t think I have any other Prince album where I feel that way about the first and last song. So that’s one special thing D&P has always had. For me, anyway.
And I guess I do have the original “Get off” that was on the NPG maxi-single… I gotta re-title that one too. It has the same backing beat as NPG, but it also kinds sounds like Electric Chair.
Clockin’ the Jizz has some instruments that sound like Emancipation tracks. The drum beat and bass is the same but some other stuff is going on. The title comes from Tony saying that phrase throughout.
..going back to the podcast, they were talking about Insatiable and joking about he says it’s 2:45, we got all night and then he’s done at 2:49… and there’s some comedic musical effect so it sounds like a joke. Someone in the background did a descending whistle and “bam” type sound effect. It might have been Toejam, I’m not sure, but he freaking nailed that and I laughed so hard 😛
there’s one Gett Off remix with no extra signifier in the title- it has the same beat with some extra keyboards, Tony rapping through most of it… maybe I should listen to their interview with Tony again before listening to the Symbol review. I think I might save that one for the drive down to the shore house Friday night.
Only a couple of lyrics from the actual, Prince saying something throughout and ad-libs from Rosie.
After this, I might just watch some D&P videos from my DVD. Not all of them, but most of them. Nearly everything but Insatiable 😛
I think this might be called Gangster Glam because they’ve been mentioning that a few times.
Violet the Organ Grinder has the same music from “Gett Off” but with all new lyrics.
He’s even more gangster in this one… and more obscene, but I’m almost turned on by it… it’s kinda nuts 😛 there are some Clare Fischer strings that finish it up- they’re cool.
Yeah, that’s insane.
I’m just trying to avoid any remixes that are the same as the original song because I don’t want to hear it more than twice today (from the video and the album).
Gett Off… damn… that video is absolutely sick. My mind just had to be really freed up to fully experience it. I don’t like how Prince is dressed with his hair tied back or up or whatever, but somehow, that charisma and sexual energy just won me over.
I think I need a cool down after that and the Strollin’ video seems like the perfect way to do it.
It’s short, but that’s ok.
Cream and D&P will be the way to go next.
the Cream video is pretty iconic. Definitely among those first videos I saw of Prince and the production was amazing.
Diamonds and Pearls… I saw and felt so much with that video. Like falling in love with him all over again. I saw the dancer that Mayte was auditioning to play and thought how this was the same person she knew and this was when their relationship started.
And just the way he looked and how he sounded… even if it isn’t something like Insatiable or The Beautiful Ones, if he sang this to me, I’d be his. And bits and pieces of him in this video, I saw he looked in Purple Rain and other than the beard, he’s ageless between those times.
Got through the rest of the videos I wanted to see… Money don’t matter 2night- just to see him perform or lip-synch…
but Live 4 Love is incredible in the live footage at the end of it.
I could see the future and what he’d do over the next few albums and so much to look forward to.
There’s a track labeled instrumental and it’s really cool and dreamy with keyboards and such. Then it ends with a prank phone call asking the person what they think of Cream and Prince is the prank-caller. And I think at the end of the podcast, the guys parodied this.
It’s the “Ethereal Mix” on the Cream maxi-single.
Another didn’t even have a title- the user who gave it to me didn’t know what it was called.
“Get Some Solo” seems to match because it’s the same length of time.
Princevault is such a great website- just gonna say that right now. I didn’t know what most of these were until now. But this is the first time I’m really taking the time to listen to them.
Now for the album… and I’m going to try listening to this on my CD player.
Maybe it’s because I kinda don’t want to put Jughead on my iPod 😛 but I just want to really experience it with the good headphones and not the earbuds. Unfortunately, I might have to put the CD in my laptop because the batteries are giving out.
And they’re my mouse batteries 😛 I listen to my CD player so little these days I don’t even give it its own batteries.
…and I think I could hear the batteries start to give because static was coming in towards the end of “Insatiable” and towards the beginning of “Live 4 Love”- so I quickly put my disc into my laptop to finish the album.
Yeah, these late nights really aren’t working because… not that Prince isn’t exciting or that this album is… but it’s hard to keep my attention. With my work schedule letting me get little sleep. Plus sometimes I hear the same songs twice in a day… so now to finish…
I get the feeling this is probably one of those albums I just have to be in the moment and in the mood to listen to it and really enjoy it. Other than my personal favorites, I’ve only gotten one good full listen out of it this week. But it’s all been a crazy week.
But of course, if I had any album with me on April 21st, I’m glad it was this one. It channeled all the emotions and had certain works that I needed for that particular time. Positive things to remember, things to keep in mind and just living 4 love- namely, the love of Prince and his music. And to stay positive when it comes to him. But then, it was rarely the opposite when he was alive.
Now to ready the spreadsheet… it’s been a while since I’ve had a long album like this…
In a number of ways, this is nothing like the rest of the album. It’s Prince singing and playing everything and it’s an album credited to him and the NPG- their first official co-credited album. Other than the masterful keyboard work and guitar solos, it’s so different. But it’s an attention-getting opener and one I’ve always had a soft spot for. It tells an interesting story with the lyrics and the music takes it all over the place after the story is done.
Technical Merit- 5 (it’s immaculate in every aspect. one of the best examples of his multi-vocal tracking. awesome music throughout, cool lyrics, and it’s well put together)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (One of Prince’s best album openers for sure and doesn’t get talked about as much as Let’s Go Crazy and 1999- although 1999 is pretty genius that it can’t be denied… it doesn’t hit me every time, but when it does, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m out of breath afterwards)
This song is so cool and upbeat. You don’t realize until reading into the lyrics that this is a song about hitting back at all the critics and people that’ve wronged you over the years. Or people that just don’t get you and you should worry about upholding your own values. Although it makes for a really catchy and fun chorus- I just don’t get or like the name or character “daddy pop”… it just doesn’t quite work for me.
Technical Merit- 4 (I took half off for the rap… I’ve gotten used to it, but it’s an abrupt change for the song and the rap part just doesn’t work with the rest of it. Prince said all that needed to be said lyrically and the rap really doesn’t add much more to the narrative. And for the whole character thing)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 7.5
DIAMONDS & PEARLS
It’s not often that Prince does a conventional love song or ballad like this. Not something this contemporary and it’s a nice change of pace. Not just for the album (where it’s been kinda hard hitting up to this point) but in general. And I said it earlier- he takes something that sounds cheesy and cliché and it makes it work in a way only he can. With killer music and a nice balance of male and female vocals.
Technical Merit- 5 (again, flawless)
Components score- 4
Total score- 9
This is one of those “only Prince could write it” songs and perform it and make it work as a whole. That much is true.
Technical score- 5
Components score- 3
Total score- 8 (I can’t remember if I’ve always felt this way about this song- I’ve always kinda liked it, but I never full-on hated it. It’s for what it is, but I don’t often feel a strong connection with it personally)
Probably unlike anything else Prince had done before or since. Very chill, happy-go-lucky song with fairly tame lyrics. I don’t think there are even any sexual innuendos, which is nuts. It goes as far as laughing behind dirty magazines while eating ice cream and just leaves it there. There’s not a lot of love for this song from the fan community, but I’ve always kinda liked it.
Technical score- 4 (the chorus is kinda weak and it doesn’t exactly scream like something only Prince could put together, but the music and vocals are really good)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8
WILLING & ABLE
The guys at Peach & Black raved about this song. I like it a fair amount, but I’m not super fanatical. At least not at their level.
It’s a little something different on the album that took me a while to get into. It has its charms and its moments and sometimes I really get into it. But by the end of the album, it’s not among the songs I readily recall afterwards.
Technical score- 4.5 (I have a feeling that another artist could have written a similar song and have had a hit with it. It’s someone in a genre I don’t listen to or know that well, but this doesn’t have a full-on Prince vibe like most of his material)
Components score- 3 (Tony’s rap might actually be the best part, but most times, I feel neutral about the song and don’t generally get excited over it. although I have once or twice)
Total score- 7.5
now THIS is a Prince song. It’s got everything you could expect from- except for maybe Tony as part of the chorus. It is sexy. It is hot. It’s something uniquely special and Prince’s brand of unconventional to a tee. Despite whatever score I give it, I still think it sucks that it was the only Prince song on VH1’s greatest 100 90’s songs list… and it was at 93 or 97. Way too low. And he had so many other great songs that people just forgot about, conveniently, when he changed his name. Now, onto the score…
Technical score- 5 (what else, right?)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (I believe I gave Darling Nikki the same score… it only seems fair… the past several times I’ve listened to the album, it’s what I enjoy listening and singing along to. As crazy as that sounds- considering my personality and history with this song)
WALK DON’T WALK
This doesn’t seem like a Prince song on the surface. But when you listen to the lyrics, they fit him perfectly. He comes off very confident in the studio and on stage, but not always in person. He’s not the easiest person to get close to. And after a hard-hitting song, it’s a nice interlude or break.
Technical score- 4.5
Components score- 3
Total score- 7.5
…oh boy, I’ve come around a bit with this one, but it still might wind up killing the album…
It’s a rap track. Tony gets the first verse, Rosie gets the 2nd and Prince gets the third. There’s a really stoopid chorus, lyrics hard to understand because they’re going too fast, and a skit that ends with Tony slapping a would-be manager.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (it has a good structure as a whole and the music is a hit and there are bits and pieces that scream Prince. The rest… not done quite as well.)
Components score- 3
Total score- 6.5 (in the course of the whole album, I don’t mind it. But it’s not a song I reach to skip to)
MONEY DON’T MATTER 2NIGHT
Early on in my time with Prince, way back in 2007, this was one of my favorites. And to this day, I still feel the same way. It’s a serious social commentary track, very polished and well-executed. Amazing backing vocals that really make it work (nice job, Levi!). And it’s kinda special in the final chorus where the music builds in the background, the backing vocals become limited to a few moments and Prince gets to be at the center. Especially now, that’s something I feel is needed every now and then. Just to feel him there.
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (the only thing I can take away… it’s not a track I can listen to all the time because it’d lose whatever makes it special. And also the subject matter- it’s not the nicest thing to come back to too much. But when I bring this album back out, it always greets me like an old friend).
…quite possibly another song that could kill the album.
There are some good points to this song. Clare Fischer’s strings give it that something extra, but might not be enough to keep this song from not being overly good. Some good lyrics. But some cheesiness as well.
Technical merit- 3.5 (the music doesn’t have anything really special about it other than the strings. the lyrics are a mixed bag in general. and you can’t always pick up that it’s a Prince track. Doesn’t quite fit his character as an artist).
Components score- 3
Total score- 6.5 (I don’t mind it when it comes on, but it’s not one of my favorites or one I often look forward to getting to).
In the school of the later, greater Prince ballads… this is my favorite. I’ve sung its praises enough times, but I’ll add more. The vocals are immaculate. The beat is simple, but it’s very calm and peaceful. Great lyrics… although him talking about Martha a couple times kinda takes me out of it. Not because that isn’t my name (ha ha), but it feels like the obligatory namedrop to kinda set the song apart. But then, something would be missing from the lyrical rhythm without something there and I wouldn’t know what to substitute it with. But this is just me nit-picking.
Technical score- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5
(I’m not sure what it is, but I just don’t want to give anything on this album a perfect score. There are a bunch of contenders, but none that are on that extra level of perfection that really set them apart in the whole catalogue)
LIVE 4 LOVE
Like I said before, this album has the best bookends: best start and finish. This song is unique to Prince and there’s nothing he’d written before or since that’s anything like it. He gets into the cockpit and puts himself in the mindset of a war pilot, trying to figure if it’s the right thing to do. And Tony does a rap at the end that really drives the point home. Funny how it’s his first rap ever on a Prince album, but it’s the best on this one. “Willing & Able” is really good as well, but this one just beats it. And probably one of Prince’s best and underrated guitar solos on any song.
Technical score- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10
I really thought I’d give this and Thunder the same score… but I just couldn’t bring myself to give this song anything else. It’s great for what it is, nothing detracts away from it. And it’s another one I always look forward to hearing. And what a way to finish the album. Easily one of his best closers. Maybe moreso than Thunder being one of his best openers.
It may be unfair because this is the last song I heard and it’s still fresh in my mind… but it’s 2am. I don’t care anymore.
Wow- the average technical merit is a huge number. The components score, not quite as much. But this isn’t exactly the most well-rounded album either.
Live 4 Love- 10
Money Don’t Matter 2night- 9.5
Gett Off- 9.5
Diamonds & Pearls- 9
Daddy Pop- 7.5
Willing & Able- 7.5
Walk Don’t Walk- 7.5
Total score for the album overall- 109… divided by 130 (points possible)…
8.3 out of 10
wow… so those meh tracks didn’t kill the album after all… but there were so many good ones on this… I don’t think I’ve given out so many 9.5’s before…
there’s 5 of them… and with one perfect 10- I could take half the songs off this album and it’d be freaking amazing.
Live 4 Love
Money Don’t Matter 2night
I may add more to this post tomorrow, but that takes care of the important part.
I think I have 2 other albums in the 8.3 range and it’s in good company. But it’ll be interesting later ranking these albums overall and how that’ll break down.
Getting into the final extra tracks on that flashdrive- a couple more versions of Gett Off.
One was an extended version with a long opening before you get to the song.
The other (House mix) is the same song with some extra instrumentals, some of the extra verses from the extended version- but the music sounds like the music from the Cream video in the train station. It’s kinda cool.
It was so crazy when I finally got these songs today… I’d been so wrapped up in the Open Championship (Jordan Speith had the worst start, but finished in AMAZING fashion)… I was listening to Prince and it was like I hadn’t heard him in forever. Or maybe ever…
some cool flute work in this House mix version.
And there’s an extended cut of Willing & Able… it sounds like either the version from the D&P video collection… or it might be an earlier recording of it because there’s a lot of differences in the sound. More bass work and horns and a different vocal from Prince.
I’m not over the moon for the song, but hearing a fresh interpretation is a good way to keep things fascinating.
I’m thinking of giving my favorite D&P tracks one final listen before finally closing this chapter.
I don’t believe I’d listened to Symbol since Prince died… I listened to it either March or earlier April in 2016. I hadn’t in ages and it was a fun return.
Just wanna say I’m both nervous and excited to finally enter that chapter of Prince’s career where Mayte was a member of the NPG. I can’t wait to find out more about it in the books I’m reading. But I’m scared about seeing how it all plays out, being let down when it all ends… and from there… it’s going to run downhill so fast and it’s all going to be over…
Okay, that’s enough of that. This has been a fun journey and I plan to enjoy every moment of it I can.
Also- my birthday is Saturday…
and it’s nice to have a good album like this to listen to and work through that day.
But then, these next few albums… not to spoil too much… but I’m really excited to get to them… I’ll leave there.