Prince Album #15: O(+>

Not that I’ve been anything but honest while going through Prince’s albums, I’ll be extremely honest here: I’m starting this post on Monday for one specific reason… so that I may be able to get all the negativity taken care of at once.

Chapter 23 of Matt Thorne’s book is titled “Chains of Turin,” but it opens with Prince doing music for a James L Brooks movie “I’ll do Anything.” Or the songs were at least considered for the movie, but might not have actually made it in due to the usual copyright/permission ish.
One song called “Poor Little Bastard”– and I was not aware of this– is supposedly notorious among the fan community as a Prince song certain fans listen to in order to temper their enthusiasm about his music. Not only does Matt Thorne include himself in this group, but he writes he did this through the course of writing his book.

Now it ALL makes sense…

On the one hand, I can understand why you would want to temper said enthusiasm. You can get very absorbed in it to the point where you might not want to participate in your own life 😛 I’ve found myself in that position more times than I can count. But there is not a lot going on in my life. I work 40 hours a week at a job I love, but am very much a homebody. The lifestyle Prince’s music presents of just getting sucked into the music and spending hours contemplating it works for me.

But on the other, this felt like a huge red flag to me. If the concern is that the enthusiasm keeps you from being objective about this book, there are better ways to do it than find a crappy song Prince wrote so you can remember he isn’t perfect.
I was writing a passage last year about “Insatiable” and had a hard time being objective about it just because I had a mind-blowing moment with it recently. But it was just a matter of letting those feelings ebb and finding the right time and place and words to bring forward.

I was furious upon reading this whole discussion, but I’d calmed down quite a bit since then. You gotta do what you gotta do. But, like I said, there are better ways to go about this.

As for the complaints regarding this album… I’m not going to refute his interpretations of “Damn U” and “The Max” (I’d be here all night fuming about them, the former in particular). But on another note, I can’t say I blame him because I was in the same position myself when I got this album.
Mind you, he attacked “Eye wanna melt with you” maliciously because it was the song that ultimately took the sense out of the album’s rock opera concept. My complaint was minor in that the album just didn’t make sense to me and I didn’t understand why. But even while being aware of the history as I am now, I can’t take it out on this one song.

Granted, “Eye Wanna Melt With You” isn’t going to be dubbed a guilty pleasure on the same level as “Darling Nikki” and “Gett Off”… let’s just say I have a little angst regarding this album and there are other three songs that’ll focus on.

I also thought I’d finish reading that chapter of that book today for another particular reason:
Mayte will have so much more to say about it and have more insight into the music.
There may be up to 50 pages of discussion on the O(+> material alone.
Plus only one day into this album… I already feel like I need to hear more from Mayte in order to reconnect with the material for myself personally as well as reconnecting into the narrative throughout Prince’s albums.

So I put the album in my car this morning and figured I’d get a few tracks off before I arrive at work.
Two to be exact…

After I stopped laughing in my head about Peach & Black singing “sometimes it snows, it snows in April” in the same vocal delivery as the opening line of the first song…

“My name is Prince” felt like a tremendous shock to the system. Firstly because it’s a song running on endorphins and adrenaline and it was roughly 6:35 in the morning. But secondly and more importantly… this was a completely different sound than had been heard on previous albums.
“Sexy MF” as well… neither of these songs had any connection the material that came before them.

After a while, at least I got to understand how Graffiti Bridge fit into the overall narrative because I was able to make some LoveSexy connections with the themes.
The NPG may have been on D&P as well as this one… but the two couldn’t be anymore different. Something HUGE must have happened to Prince around this time to lead to this dramatic change in direction. I don’t believe it’s entirely due to Mayte’s addition to the band or the growing strain between Prince and his record label, which ultimately led to the name change.

Either way, as familiar as I am with this album and how I’d grown to like it over the years… it took quite a while to get used to the overall sound of it. The huge change since the last album.
It started with “the morning papers” (always been fond of that one), but it really kicked into gear with “The Max”… while it might be padding for the album that’s already sated with material… I just love it. It’s a fun beat, cool lyrics. The thrills just keep on coming.

Getting this out of the way now– Sweet Baby, Arrogance and The Flow are three tracks on the album I don’t particularly care for. The second and third of these two, I’m sure most fans would agree.
Sweet Baby is a sleeper track in that it just puts me to sleep. It’s boring. If I had my way, I’d maintain the adrenaline rush from “Eye wanna melt with U” right on through “The Continental.”

Much of the album is fun dance music and love songs… so the two NPG-heavy tracks essentially rip me out of the dream world into something angry and just plain ugly.
I will listen to them within the album’s constructs on my iPod. But after today, I won’t listen to them in the car. To get through the rest of the album this afternoon, [the last two songs, really], I deliberately stayed in place in a couple spots for a couple minutes to let the music play out.

When I first got the album and listened to it, even then, I found it over long and exhausting. I thought for sure “3 chains o’ gold” was the last song… then we had that segue and “sacrifice of victor” and I’m almost crying out loud “ok, enough already!”… yeah, I know, it’s crazy. I actually hit my limit with Prince… although to be fair, I felt the same way about 1999 the first time after Lady Cab Driver and All the Critics Love You in NY lasted as long as they did after going through Let’s Pretend We’re Married and Automatic (massive songs, but incredible ones).

Tomorrow, I’ll go through the album on my iPod because I don’t want it interrupted on the road with having to get off it for another dentist appointment. Last week got thrown off a bit because I took a day off from the album I was on. I’m not letting that happen again.

And before ending for the day, this is something that bares mentioning:
Over the next few albums, Prince incorporated segues to establish a narrative within his albums.
I’ve decided not to include these segues as part of my ratings. Using my self-engineered method, there is no conceivable way to award these non-song track a score out of 10 possible points.
And to my knowledge, on any of the previous songs and albums I’d done into… I don’t believe I added or subtracted any points to songs because they had intros or outros or spoken portions as part of the track that took away from the song.

Therefore- my score of “Damn U” and the tracks from the “Come” album (where all the segues are parts of the songs rather than separate) won’t be affected by this.
With “Damn U” in particular, I’d gotten into the habit of skipping right to the next song (which is “7”) right after the mic stand drop at the end of the song.
I may have just revealed my hand early… but I really don’t care. It’s one of those songs I’m just raring to talk about 😛

Day 2- So I gave the album a listen over the last 90 minutes of work (ok, I had 20 minutes left, but same difference)

Okay, so this album is roughly an hour and 15 minutes long… I don’t know why it feels like an eternity when I listen to it sometimes… and by that, I mean I am completely exhausted when I finish it. At least that’s been the case so far this week. Maybe I’m just not used to listening to the entirety of this album.

I think this is the first time I’ve run into this issue with any Prince album going chronologically. To this point, I’ve listened through the whole album and even if I’m not 100% sold on the song, I don’t want to skip anything because it feels like the album is incomplete without it.

O(+> is not LoveSexy. By this, I mean that they’re both concept albums, but on completely different planes. Maybe it’s the uniformity of the music in the LoveSexy album that foster that concept and brings it all together.
I’m sorry, but there is just too damn much going on in the Symbol album. I feel like the only way to get through the album is to find my own interpretation of the concept…

Or I just want to see this as the album where Prince and Mayte started to become an item… or I just want to single out all my favorites songs and hang with this and cut out everything that I either don’t agree with or plain don’t like.

I feel kinda bad about wanting to do things this way because I’d respected Prince’s material up to this point. He put these albums together a certain way because that’s how he wanted us to hear them. Why mess that up?
Well… the difference between the AMAZING material and the stuff that isn’t great is a huge difference.
Unfortunately, the overall score for this album could be doomed simply due to this lack of consistency in quality. Take out 2 segues, that leaves me with 16 songs. That’s as many as Sign o’ the times had. But even though I wasn’t a huge fan of “Adore” and “Slow Love,” it managed to scrap an 8.0 rating. The difference is that the technical merit was massive in Sign o’ the times. I don’t think there is going to be enough technical merit to make up for the issues.

Because I most likely won’t be addressing them again until the actual scoring, I’ll take out the two NPG heavy tracks- Arrogance and The Flow.
…I’ll say again that it won’t affect the scoring at all… but I WISH so badly that there was a close cut of “Damn U” somewhere that didn’t have the spoken section in it. (According to princevault, it does exist, but it’s a CD single that I’ll probably never find).

“Arrogance” has 2 verses and a sample for a chorus, musical interludes separating the two entities, and a spoken portion at the end. (According to princevault, there are several samples… but I am so out of my depth in hip-hop and rap in general… I don’t want to go in depth into the research for it).
There are some decent lyrics by Prince in this that tie us back to “My Name is Prince” but that’s the only good point about. It’s just a colossal mess that has no reason to be here other than to bridge “Damn U” with the next song.

“The Flow”… I need to get lyrics…
Prince raps the first verse and Tony takes over the second… then there’s a big ol’ instrumental solo with some interesting bits and pieces. The horns remind me of a part of “it’s gonna be a beautiful night.”
I can make some sense out of Prince’s rap- where he’s basically hitting back at the journalist within the album, saying how she and journalists are preoccupied with the weirdest things about him and they don’t know him like they think they do.
But Tony… I’m sorry, Tony, but what the hell is that? I have the lyrics in front of me and have no idea what it all means.
…Jughead and Push weren’t perfect by any means, but the sum of the best parts in both of those songs are better than The Flow.
But honestly, I don’t think I’d mind so much if these songs were relocated to a different album where they’re with “like-minded” material.

The symbol that Prince would later adopt as his new name is the combination of the male and female symbols.
So I can understand why he has some of these macho chauvinistic tracks… but I don’t like how these rap tracks are added halfway through the album.
I can see a progression throughout the album where, as Prince (probably the character in the album more so than real life- as of this point) falls in love, the music gets softer and lighter and just more enjoyable and accessible to a wider audience.
But in that scope, “eye wanna melt with u” feels out of place, but I don’t mind it too much because I just like the song in general.

Supposedly, the story line is that the Princess (Mayte) is left by Prince and the two of them drift apart- which explains “Sweet Baby”… but in my mind, “The Continental” and “Damn U” is where they come back together and things are good again… and the other two songs that would follow explore more on their relationship and them knowing each other in a former life and so on.

In my head, I cannot conceive of a reason for those rap tracks to be chucked in the middle of the album… other than it giving the spotlight to the NPG and Prince needing a wardrobe change in the promotional concert tour…
I’d spent so much time with my version of the album (which only omits those two songs- which only add up to 4 minutes, but those 4 minutes feel like an eternity sometimes- time flies faster when you’re enjoying yourself) that to bring everything together… my head hurts thinking about it.

And while I’m still deriving from a negative place- I want to get all those cards on the table right away so I can focus on the good parts afterwards.

“My name is Prince” is a song I’ve always been conflicted about.
I don’t like the tracks where Prince seems very high on his own ego. I also don’t like the delivery practically being shouting.
There are a lot of good things about the song- Tony’s rap has some interesting bits and pieces to it, but again, I need lyrics to know what the heck he’s saying. But it makes a lot more sense.
And I can understand how this could be a self-parody more than anything else.
The screaming guitar is unlike any guitar work he’d done previously and it really lets you know things have changed quite a bit.

“Sexy MF”… I love the call-outs to the band. Especially Levi’s guitar solo- very cool. The music as a whole is well done.
My issue isn’t the two word chorus…
it’s the repetition of “shaking that ass” that comes halfway through and Tony’s rap… it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth I can’t shake.

I mean, “Love 2 the 9’s” has the repetition of “dance, girl, let me see the booty boom” halfway through… but that sounds more artistic. You know what they’re talking about, but it doesn’t come off as vulgar. Plus- alliteration wins every time.

Anyway…
enough of that negativity… everyone’s going to see their own version of the events as they happen.
I choose to see this album as a love song album… with bits of odd filler in it.

Love 2 the 9’s
The Morning Papers
The Max
Blue Light
Eye Wanna Melt with U
Sweet Baby
The Continental
Damn U
7
And God Created Woman
3 chains o’ gold
The Sacrifice of Victor

Of these final 12 songs yet to talk about in greater length… 9 are ones with so many good points to them, some I adore a great deal.

“Sweet Baby” always reminded me of a Burt Bacharach song from the 2nd Austin Powers movie with what sounds like a metronome keeping the beat. The music has some pretty parts to it. The lyrics have some great metaphors (“How can you sleep knowing that you and a fool sing in the same key?”). But as a whole song, it’s always put me to sleep. It just doesn’t keep my attention or get me excited or even emotional about anything. It’s meant to be an empowering post-break-up song, but I can’t bring myself to buy into it personally.

“Love 2 the 9’s” is full of ups and downs. Oddly, I used to adore the first couple minutes and hate when it breaks down into the rap sections. Lately, I’d been liking the rap portion and checking out of the first couple minutes.
Maybe because I just don’t like “Sexy MF” all that much and it’s hard to invest in Prince right after he took on a persona I don’t particularly agree with.
The vocals are great. The music is subtle, but pretty.
There are plenty of interesting lyrics, but it gets more interesting when Prince starts to rap. When I rap along with Prince, it’s something that I would sign up for immediately.
But the best part- I think- is the last minute where the song builds to a climax and how it slowly comes down afterwards. He hits this really high note at one point and when the song ends… he hits such a low note. It’s the coolest contrast ever.

“3 chains o’ gold”… this is a tricky one.
Even if I leave the “Bohemian Rhapsody” comparisons aside… considering how much of the rock opera concept wound up on the cutting room floor or stuffed in the Vault, this song doesn’t seem to have a place in the album.
Heck, the album could end with “7” and it’d be a brilliant finish. Maybe not as epic, but it could conceivably work. [Further to that, if I had my way- this album could start with “love 2 the 9’s” and end with “7”… keeping “sweet baby” in the mix- it’d be a solid 9 track album… it wouldn’t have a central theme or concept to it, not to as great an extent as Prince typically does… I’m just saying it could work in my head]
The problem with this song is that its this massive anthem, but there isn’t any foundation for it to warrant its inclusion. Not with all those segues removed.
And the “3 chains o’ gold” movie with all the songs from this album… THIS SONG IS NOT IN THE MOVIE NAMED AFTER IT… it’s this big anthem of a song and it’s not in the movie as the ultimate of climaxes. If it had been, I think I’d like the song more than I do.
I’d come a long way since the first time I heard it– I don’t love it, but it has lots of great parts. The guitar work is out of this world. Prince has some amazing screams.
The production is absolutely insane. So much going on. It’s just crazy enough where you wouldn’t mind following along. It’s just about how much you want to invest in it.
There are parts where I check out, but I always come back for the finale.

The last 30-45 seconds- how it builds and builds, hits this guitar solo, massive drum solo from Michael Bland… the music breaks down… and bam… that final note with that glittery chime effect… firstly, that’s one of my favorite effects and sounds of all songs, but I never knew what it’s called so I just call it the “glittery chime effect”… but all those things combined at the end, and just breaking down in the manner it does… it just sounds so cool.
It’s a true “blow-your-head-off” moment.
The song as a whole, I have my issues with, but the awesomeness of that ending cannot be denied.

So this just leaves me with the other 9…

Just a few more comments…
I actually looked at the time on “Sexy MF” I just plain don’t like. 3:30-4:18 where the “shaking that ass” is chanted dozens of times and Tony does a rap. Parts of the rap are good, but others… “she’s so fine I’d drink her bathwater”… just, what?
But I got over some things I was interpreting in the other lyrics and was able to actually hang with it. Which was a nice turn of events.
“My name is Prince”- there are some great musical moments in it, but it feels like it’s some moments that are repeated throughout the song, almost like they’re samples. Therefore, the song doesn’t feel as organic.

But anyway- the rest of the album…

The Morning Papers is one of those songs I’d loved since the first listen. [And of these remaining 9, 5 I’d adored since day 1].
The overall sound of it is this band- Michael B and Sonny T (as Captain would say). The bass in particular, I’d heard this sound in a couple songs from the Gold Experience. So when I got the album and heard this song, it felt like home immediately.
Once you get past that first verse where he’s talking about a girl who’s underage (now I’m getting to know Mayte as she’s becoming a more mature adult in Prince world, it does struck a little more odd than it used to- maybe cuz I didn’t focus on that detail so much)…
it’s really a sweet song. There’s great storytelling and visuals.
Prince’s guitar shows off in two solos. One plays a nice melody and the second is a legit guitar solo where it goes to the top of the key. Parts of it sound like “Dolphin” to me.

The Max
If you read into it the lyrics, about going to the max, it might ruin the song for you if you read too much into it. It’s obviously about sex (and I don’t say that just because it’s Prince- the innuendos are just hard to mistake for anything else) and it sounds like it’s physically demanding 😛
But what I get out of it is really not reading too far into what he’s actually saying. I get enjoyment from that beat- that really low instrument, not sure if it’s a guitar or bass or synth. Prince’s vocal delivery is quick, but it’s invigorating to listen to. He says so much in so little time and really makes good use of every syllable. To me, it sounds like a hit song just because on the sing-along-ability alone.
I remember seeing the lyric “when they tell me to walk a straight line, I put on crooked shoes” on the top of the screen at .org. Every time you revisit or refresh the page, there’s a new lyric or quote from a movie and you can click to find where it’s from.
But that lyric is so Prince. I like the piano part that gets added halfway through- it makes the song sound like a spontaneous jam session. I love the Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic sound bit. My favorite verse is the third where music takes a set back for the majority and then it comes back in. The lyrics are very descriptive in parts, but vague in others. It’s very visceral, but it doesn’t spell anything out specifically. I like the interplay with Mayte’s contributions.
Then the bridge that starts with “dear love” being said 3 times- more vague lyrics, but how they’re delivered just… it gives me life.

It’s not the most brilliantly crafted song, but I love all these little moments in it.

Blue Light- I may have slept on this one for a few years. I don’t think I ever hated or not liked it, but it wasn’t a song I had any strong feelings for.
Hearing it again a year later- I think I had listened to this album since Prince’s death because this was one of those songs I chilled with and enjoyed. Plus, the “I’ll be 117” lyric left me with an uneasy feeling.
Because it’s because it’s a reggae type song, but I love chilling with Blue Light. The vibe is very chill. Prince sings in his normal register, but I also feel like I’m free to sing along in my own voice rather than trying to copy his (I do this with everybody in general- it comes from my years in choir… the only exceptions are when the register is too high or low for me to match or I’m just plain comfortable with doing my own thing).
The story it tells isn’t anything like the relationship wove throughout the album, but it’s an interesting one nonetheless. I find the last part kinda funny where he says “double heart attack, couple both died in a fight”.

The songs where I say I love chilling with Prince or hanging with him or fantasizing or whatever else… that list keeps growing all the time, but this album has a couple songs like that.
Blue Light, Damn U and The Morning Papers.
Ok, maybe those first two more than the other- which is a very sweet song, but I like to take it as it is.

Eye Wanna Melt with U- I think was a song that I didn’t like at first because it was a little too obvious what it was about.
“Don’t look now, but there’s a river of blood. You must’ve been a virgin, what am I guilty of?”
…that doesn’t exactly get you excited to proceed forward.
But for whatever reason, a certain moment came where I just let go of some the uncomfortable moments and just go with the flow… ok, maybe wrong choice of words, but you get what I mean.
This song has all these moments I get into. Mostly Prince making the most random noises 😛
I like the techno beat- something very different, nothing like it at the time.

I got to thinking during my listen to today…
Blue Light was talking about reinvigorating an old relationship… The Continental (ah!! one of these days I’m going to learn to spell this word without needing spellcheck- I love the song so much, but I can’t bloody spell it!) is the perfect way to do that.
Geesh- I keep cutting this album down and I’m just going to have a playlist.
Love 2 the 9’s- The Morning Papers- The Max- Blue Light- The Continental – Damn U- 7… yeah, perfect, done with this album 😛
totally kidding…

The Continental is so cinematic. And I’m not just saying that because Prince is sitting in the director’s chair and calling down different directions. The lyrics are very visual. The beat is absolutely infectious and exhilarating. I’m always excited to listen to it. Cool little sound effects scattered throughout. I love the layered vocals at certain points.
My favorite part is the halfway point right after the first “record scratch” sound that is later found in “Race” from the Come album. I imagine Prince and Mayte strutting up a runway at a fashion show, go to hold hands and each stomps a foot to the repetition of “do you”
To me, this song sounds like something born to be done live. And sadly it didn’t make it past 1993, the Act I tour. I don’t think the video portion of this from “3 chains o’ gold” even met my vision for it… but so what? He should have performed it live more than he did.

And then there’s the Carmen Electra portion- which I do like. I like how the music changes and we actually get some more visuals as to how “she wants to be done.” I wouldn’t call this a rap by any stretch of the imagination. To me, rap is really fast spoken dialogue done in rhythm. She’s just reading a script, really.
But she does a great sexy voice.
So… just some thoughts on her in general… I’d never been a fan. I don’t know why, but I actually celebrated when she got killed off at the start of “Scary Movie.”
I think my hatred or loathing of her… I think it really comes down to a single recurring role she played in “Summerland”- a series Jesse McCartney starred in, but somehow made Zac Efron (a recurring character) a bigger star… Lori Loughlin was the aunt who took in her niece and nephews after their parents died. She’s raising them “Full House” style with her ex-boyfriend and two good friends.
Carmen Electra is a woman that gets in the way of her and her ex-boyfriend getting back together. Both are hot for each other, but little complications keep getting in the way. I just hate characters like that- especially when they’re much hotter than the star of the show. So of course, the hate became reflected in how I personally felt about her.

I think it might also be because she’s super hot, but also top-heavy.
Maybe I just had a problem with those types of women when I was a teenager and in my early 20’s. They’re the ones that always get the girls, while the more plain Janes like myself never get their school crushes reciprocated. It’s bad enough I’m painfully shy with people outside my family and close friends.
…but as I thought about why I hate Carmen Electra, I realized that girls like Vanity and Apollonia are just the same, but I like them. Maybe it’s the breast implants that turns me off about her and a lot of other hot girls I feel threatened by.

This just got VERY off topic… the dialogue is great.
I also love the music playing in the background and how it (and the song) ends. Kind of a sweet moment with the saxophone part.

Damn U… that song is an absolute dream.
Clare Fischer did a lot of great string arrangements for his 80’s music, but this is another thing entirely. It goes throughout the song and doesn’t put a foot wrong.
the guys at Peach and Black talk about perfect vocals by Prince… for me, this is the candidate for the perfect vocal. He shows his entire range, but focuses more in the middle of his register than his falsetto. The vocal acrobatics in some parts are flawless. I love the part where he goes from high to low and settles back into normal range- after he says “I’m on fire ’till you come and put me out”…
and that ending where something as simple as a mic stand dropping… it’s the perfect moment and… omg… I wanna cry 😛 so good!
Everything about this song is why I love Prince as much as I do. Such an amazing artist.

all “7” and we’ll watch them fall…
another great single…
it just burns me up how this album has so many great singles or potential singles… and they never get played on the radio. It’s always the 80’s stuff.
Damn U, The Morning Papers, Blue Light, 7, The Max… and the ones that really get the notoriety or recognition are the first two songs- one is obvious because the name is just so egotistical and the other is controversial… but the songs I listed, well the first 4, are prime examples of Prince’s songwriting ability and hit potential. I just don’t understand…

anyway- 7 has always been a favorite. Since the first time I heard it. It’s so sing-along-y. It tells a really cool story. The music is great. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the finger cymbals. I seriously listen to this song and clap my hands together along with the finger cymbals. It’s gotten to a point now where I pretty much know where they all are.
I’d tried to do with this song, Paisley Park, but I’ve never nailed it.
With 7, I think I did today for the first time.
The multiple layered vocals really come out to play here.
One lyric is my favorite example of this thing Prince does so well:
“We speak not of love, only blasphemy”… the vocal sounds so cool on that lyric!

This is just going to be an album of fangasms, isn’t it? 😛 it was bound to happen.

And God Created Woman..
firstly, the music is sublime. I love the synths and keyboards in how the song opens. The horn section is really nice. Great storytelling again. Great backing vocals- especially towards the end where he says “and if I never see you again…”
There’s a breakdown halfway through where you hear some different music- that’s a nice hint of what’s to come in “3 chains o’ gold”– things sound like they’re about to get serious.

I already did my bit on “3 chain o’ gold”…
the segue beforehand is kinda interesting and kinda funny- especially when he jokes that “I’m onto my 5th soul now, so that makes me 300… and 20”- so random.

“The Sacrifice of Victor” is an interesting song in general.
I don’t know how much of it is true… I do know the epileptic lyric is. He told Tavis Smiley that he said to his mom when he was 7 that he wasn’t going to be sick anymore because an angel told him so.
There’s a lot of talk about race and racism and education.
I don’t really get what the “sacrifice” is in this song, though. Are they talking about sacrificing someone or is it about what they have to sacrifice in order to succeed in the world? I’m still figuring that out.
However- there are lots of things in this song I really enjoy.
The chorus is very triumphant and invigorating. The Steeles come back, yet again, for amazing vocal support. I especially love the, I think, organ that comes within the chorus. It gives the chorus added momentum and you get swept up in the moment. Even when you have no idea what the song is about. I love singing along.
Another great ending for a song… but also the album.
He does this cool effect on his voice when he says “my name will be… Victor…” and the vocal just drops, there’s that accelerated “oo-whee!” as heard in “The Max” and then an amen… I swear I hear a rumble at the end of the song.
Kinda like things are about to get serious… just gives me chills…

So I think I’ll listen to some of the tracks today and some tomorrow… and I’ll intermingle the podcast with it.
I planned to do the whole thing while going down to the shore house on Friday, but we might be listening to some other music in the car I might not want to miss…

I think my blog just became like one of their reviews 😛
I tweeted something to that effect and not only got likes from Captain and P&B, but Captain retweeted it.
I mean, in general, he likes a lot of my Prince-related tweets. But when it’s a retweet, that’s usually a big compliment.

So I started the podcast today… and one song in and it already got really interesting 😛
I don’t think we’ve ever had a “three-against-Captain” situation happen on the first song of an album.
But I said out loud after MC gave his review of the song and Player did… “just wish- Captain’s going to say he loves this song”… I’ve spent WAY too much time with these guys 😛 I fricking called that.
Funny enough, both sides of the issue had points I agreed with. It is one of Tony’s better raps, I agree with Captain. But to MC’s point, I don’t like or really get the sense of humor. I know my fellow purple knight has said to me numerous times how he thinks this is a “puff out your chest macho” type song and enjoys it.
I just don’t like that version of Prince- but I’m positive it’s tongue-in-cheek (as MC often loves to say– but to his point, “pretentious” is the perfect word for this).

But- fun fact- the Symbol album was a huge hit in Australia, maybe Prince’s biggest hit there to date (or maybe Purple Rain still was)… but not so much everywhere else.
Also, it was Captain’s first new album. (Just as Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic was Toejam’s).

Sexy MF- they made fun of the really bad radio edits for the curse word chorus. I think Toejam was the one that did the “Sexy Mother-ooww-ahh!” one and I did the Prince scream right along with him.
😛 it feels good to do when I’m in the right mood and I don’t have to try too hard to get it right.
Captain didn’t like Tony’s rap in this one and said it was one of his worst. Yeah, I kinda agree with that.

Love 2 the 9’s got a lot of love from Toejam. He highlighted “arrangement” and that is the perfect thing to discuss with this song. With him, more than anyone else, when he goes through all the moments in a song he likes, I can hear the song as he’s talking about it and it sounds awesome in my head. MC was on the fence about it- he and the 2 other guys gave the first song grief because Prince was all these things in that song, but at the same time, nothing. And he says “my name is Prince” but nothing about it resembles his sound.

I used to not like the 2nd half of this one song, but over the years, it’s grown on me a bit.

The Morning Papers- I love how much love this song got. Even Captain loved it (although I doubt anything could top how much he raved about the first song– it’s obvious it’s one of his all-time favorites, heck, the way he talked, it might be his favorite song EVER by Prince) and just went out of his mind talking about the guitar solos and compared it to Peach (I need to dig that one back up- I remember hearing it a few times a while back and loving it too).
I think Player gave Prince a hard time for how he was dressed in the video, like he was trying to play to the grunge movement. I never got that, but beyond Nirvana, I’m not familiar with any grunge. And then there’s the whole underage thing and Captain’s saying how it ruined the song for him… it’s in the bloody lyrics!

One comment from “Sexy MF” and how the horns are inverted live… MC quoted “Top Gun” [and said that was the best part of the movie] and nobody else got it. Captain said he’d never seen it… I gotta freaking tweet him and ask if he ever got around to seeing the movie.
One of my favorites.


okay, I did a couple things since I last wrote…
firstly I finished with Peach & Black.

The guys really let Prince have it and rightfully so. I don’t blame all the hate for the pretentious nature of some songs.
And yeah, I can admit “The Continental” might be one too many “I’m so great” Prince tracks.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t pissed that MC and Toejam just didn’t get into the song. MC was like a wall that couldn’t be moved, had nothing good to say about it and of course I had another of those moments where the show BADLY needed to get picked up afterwards cuz he killed it with his negativity. (I think the Purple Knights podcast had zero love for the song until Carmen Electra showed up… and I blew a gasket about it… first cuz I like the song and second cuz I don’t like her… but again, now I think I was being too harsh because Vanity did the same type of thing and I thought she was bad-ass).

But another moment that made me go into crisis mode was “The Max”… nobody had anything good to say about the song except for a couple lyrics and the piano riff.
By the end, I’m like “am I the crazy one for liking it so much?”
I can understand why it could be considered filler because it really isn’t about anything. I could say “why does a song have to be about something to be considered good”… but that’d make me a hypocrite because I’m sure there’s some Prince song about nothing that I had for that very reason.
I have so much fun with that song. Whenever it comes on, I just smile and I’m dancing around like it’s nobody’s business.

MC called the sax in “Blue Light”- Kenny G. And of course I’m led to assume that’s something negative. It wasn’t, but there was a joke that maybe Eric Leeds indulged in some doobie or something and that’s why the sax sounds kinda lazy.
Just like when Captain says “look, I can do reggae too”- he doesn’t mean it as a bad thing and he likes when Prince tries new things. I can’t help but agree.

“Sweet Baby”- Captain saved for me because he called it most skippable. I might not agree on that particular sentiment, but I was sick of the other guys saying how they slept it on for years and now say it’s underappreciated.

Arrogance and The Flow- I hate to keep being negative, but they weren’t being negative enough on these two. But maybe that’s just trying to put a positive spin on things- but when they dislike something, they rarely hold back about it.
Listening to them again earlier- the music is good, but the lyrics are just nonsense.

Then someone had an a-ha moment when they saw that “7” was the 14th track on the album… these songs were added for that reason. And someone said you’re reading too much into it.
I’m liable to agree there’s reason behind it 😛

“3 chains o’ gold” got so much love and then the Bohemian Rhapsody thing came up and they dismissed it. They also speculated that maybe it reentered his brain cuz Wayne’s World brought the song back into popularity.
Just checked- the movie came out Valentine’s Day 1992. The song was recorded the month before… so no… I don’t think that’s it.

However- there’s one of those epic rants that pretty much addressed what EVERYONE who knows about this album’s history was thinking.
And I know Captain has gone into this point before- about Prince making a last minute change to an album because he’s excited about some brand new song.
But he really lit into Prince and I can’t blame him. Or anyone for going into such a tirade. But at least I have a good idea about him and his tastes and he certainly knows his stuff on Prince and is a great admirer of his work and so on. The displeasure is legitimate. But again, when some stuffy journalist goes into it, they may have a good point, but they don’t have to be so mean about it.

By the end of the whole “Eye wanna melt with U” controversy/tirade… “this song is the reason that this album makes no sense”… the point was reached that even if the album was left alone, he’d find something else to complain about because there’s always something 😛 I have my complaints and issues also, but I usually don’t focus on them when I listen to the albums. I go with my favorites, skip the things I don’t like or just distract myself until they’re over.

However, one of the funniest moments- Captain again- somewhere in the album dialogue is “who am I?” or “who are you?” and he says “Jean ValJean”… I was at work hearing this and I had to cover my mouth to keep from falling over laughing. OMG! I’m gonna have to remember that the future so I can say it and cause a stir of gut-busting laughter.

So what I did today… it’s funny how Prince didn’t celebrate birthdays (at least after the whole JW conversion thing) but I’m going to be spending a lot of time with him during mine. Which is today.
I listened to the album as originally intended… and it was a pretty cool experience.
My fellow purple knight had the segues and sent them to me and I created a temporary playlist on iTunes, putting all of them in their proper place.

It is a bit of a different experience and maybe it’s because I’d never done this before (I had to ONCE while I still had this album out), but it almost sounds superior to the final product.
I don’t miss that one song, but I think maybe there were some issues.
1) the segue where the princess wakes up and he’s gone- that was just tacked on at the end of the Vanessa Bartholomew phone call and it just felt as unnecessary as Sweet Baby does. You could go right from Blue Light to The Continental and really not miss a beat
2) the segue between 7 and God Created Woman- unnecessary really.

however I did like the segue right before 7- it was the perfect segueway to that song!

but one thing kinda still missing for me and it’s why I’m pissed that this song isn’t in the movie named after it… the whole “3 chains o’ gold” story didn’t make sense. What made he want to use the chains for “evil” or whatever where Mayte said he’ll die if he doesn’t give them back… why was he talking about her leaving him… and what the heck happens afterwards where he’s no longer corrupted by their power.
So yeah, other than those unanswered questions, the album is good as a concept.
But even then, I don’t think the masses would have understood it.

The game plan going forward… I’ll rate the album today… and watched 3 chains o’ gold later tonight… then tomorrow I’ll add last minute comments on B-sides and remixes.

I’ll probably listen to The Undertaker sessions a few times before I bring out the Come album.

Hopefully there won’t be so much left about this album in Mayte’s book where I’ll have to delay for the next set of music until I finish.

I thought for sure I had the movie downloaded somewhere. I don’t :O it’s online broken into 11 parts, but I have a feeling that if I watched now, it’d be another all-nighter in addition to doing the rating for my album.
Actually, I did have it somewhere online. It’s an hour 13 minute movie. Watching now would put me at 1am by the time I finish. Then it’d take another hour to do my rating… ugh, do I really want to do this to myself again? This is why I burn out when it comes to Prince 😛 too many Saturday nights like this…

The movie, if anything, is very disjointed. Mayte was talking about how Prince used all this footage he was accumulating between her being in Cairo for her belly-dancing gigs to some concerts they did together to stage stuff. But in a lot of cases, it was a little too much. “Eye wanna melt with U” had that problem especially.
It’s kinda nuts to think about how I’d been reading her words and now seeing her for the first time since I started reading. She looks so mature for her age even though she was probably 17-19 through the course of the filming. And of course her dancing is gorgeous. I kept my eye out for a certain outfit. It was the last one made for her by this great seamstress in Cairo. It had coins sewn on the sleeves individually and supposedly Prince requested a matching vest to be made. But then all of Mayte’s clothes are gorgeous.

“Sweet Baby” isn’t my favorite song on the album, but some time during that scene, I swear I could feel Prince in the room with me. I wasn’t crying or anything, but it felt like maybe his hand was on my shoulder as I was watching.
Pretty crazy, huh?
I had a few moments like that after April 21st, but nothing quite like this since those first couple weeks. We never met or were ever at the same venue, but… yeah, anything I say after this wouldn’t make any sense. Not that I’d go to extremes about it.


So this just leaves me with the numbers game.
I really do like a lot of these songs, so I hope this album doesn’t scored too high when I’d had it on heavy rotation this past week.
I mean, HEAVY. I listened to it every day. Including watching the movie: 6 times.
Some songs, maybe I am getting sick of, but some I’m not.

MY NAME IS PRINCE
Even for Prince, this is a rather unorthodox opening track. An ambitious set-up, but maybe a little over the top at points. And for a song, there really isn’t a lot of singing in it, if at all.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (I gave half points for several fields. I like the guitar and the piano stabs, but there isn’t much to the beat. There are some good lyrics, but some outlandish ones from him and Tony. It’s put together well and it definitely has that Prince factor to it– nobody else is this crazy to write and perform a song like this)
Components score- 3 (I’ll be fair- there are parts of the song I like and can get into, but other parts where I’m just not feeling it)
Total score- 6.5

SEXY MF
Again, ambitious, but also profane and explicit. I still think it was insane to make this a leading single for the album. And Tony’s rap and the “shaking ass” bit– there was no joy in that repetition for me. Chauvinism at its worst.
Technical Merit- 4 (the music is great in this band track, there are some cool lyrics but others that are terrible, the rap takes away from it)
Components score- 3 (I have kind of a like/hate relationship with this song)
Total score- 7

LOVE 2 THE 9’S
Prince doesn’t just want love- he wants the ultimate. The question is if this girl is willing to go the extra mile for it be for all time. And at the same time, Prince proves that while anyone else could sing about the same subject, nobody can sell it the way he can.
Technical Merit- 5 (just can’t fault this one- it checks all the boxes as to what Prince music should be to experience- although nothing wows quite like the vocals in the final 30 seconds… wow)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8.5 (I don’t like this song all the way through all the time, but when I do, it’s a really good one)

THE MORNING PAPERS
Prince doesn’t get nearly enough credit for doing great pop songs like this– at least not since his heyday in the 80’s… geesh, that feels like forever ago…
Technical score- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (always one of those songs I’m excited to get back to when I take out this album for the first time in a while)

THE MAX
…am I seriously the only person who likes this song? Even hearing it twice today, I was just as excited for it the second time.
Technical score- 4 (it’s not particularly special in Prince’s catalogue and it may be overwrought by the time you’re done with it- but the main components are solid. The lyrics are especially good as is how they’re delivered)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 8.5 (it’s not the strongest song, but I have so much fun with it and always look forward to getting to it while listening to the album. That alone speaks volumes).

BLUE LIGHT
“look, I can do reggae too!”- Captain from Peach & Black podcast
pretty dang good for a first attempt at a reggae song, though. I still think it’s a little out of place on this album, considering the relationship at its core is a fairly new one. but I’m here to talk about the song, not how it fits into the album. One of many cool Prince songs I like to chill with. In fact, there was once this week I was a little too chill after hearing it that it took a while to get that energy back.
Technical Merit- 4 (there are some notable Prince elements in this song, but as a whole, it’s not entirely unique to him. the lyrics also aren’t all the way brilliant)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 7.5 (I like it quite a bit, but on this album, it’s not among the first ones I think of. The fact it’s a different genre is its one discerning characteristic)

EYE WANNA MELT WITH U
The reason this album makes no sense… but I still kinda like it 😛 I’d call it a techno track even thought that’s probably not even close (certainly not as close as “Loose!” on the next album). Very hot and sexy and a bit of a guilty pleasure- but not at the level of some other guilty pleasure tracks I have by Prince.
Technical merit- 4 (the music doesn’t have a whole lot going for it and Prince probably has done similar songs with better results)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 7.5

SWEET BABY
…no matter what just happened, this is too much of a lull in the album for me. I guess you say it’s one of those “I like the idea better than the song itself) type deals.
Technical merit- 3.5 (the lyrics and vocal are really nice- but there’s nothing really special about it in other regards)
Components score- 2.5
Total score- 6 (definitely one of those “I don’t like this song but don’t want to interrupt the flow of the album” tracks)

THE CONTIENTIAL
what an adrenaline rush this song is… and always one I look forward to… so much happens in this, but the energy and the atmosphere win me over every time. Should’ve done it in concert a lot more than he did.
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5

DAMN U
…omg, LOVE this one… you know where this is going… to hell with the final 20 something seconds, I can’t hold this back… see what I did there? 😉
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10

…and it goes downhill for a while… ugh…

ARROGANCE
this BARELY qualifies as a song… geesh…
Technical score- 2
Components score- 1
Total score- 3 (I’d never given a score this low before… pretty much kills any chance this album had of getting in the 8.0 bracket… the only thing I kinda like about is the music. Everything else… skip button…)

THE FLOW
this song is better… but not by much…
Technical score- 3.5 (without Tony’s rap, this song would’ve had a better chance of just being good… there are some raps by him I’d gotten to like… this song doesn’t have a chance in hell, sorry)
Components score- 2
Total score- 5.5

…getting back on track now…

7
Another of the most memorable songs from this album and certainly one of Prince’s best from the 90’s. He’s a great storyteller and he does with some of his best multi-tracked vocals ever.
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 4
Total score- 9 (I like it a lot, but there are other songs on this album I just get more excited about… although, gotta love the finger cymbals)

AND GOD CREATED WOMAN
Prince gets Biblical yet again and does it well. More great storytelling and multi-tracked vocals.
Technical merit- 4.5
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5 (Sometimes it gets a little lost in the shuffle with all the monsters on this album, but still another highlight)

3 CHAINS O’ GOLD
I’m a little conflicted with this one. Never mind the “Bohemian Rhapsody” thing… Prince goes over the top quite a bit. In some places in this song, I feel like that’s a little too much. Theatrical just for the sake of it and not really genuine. But the musical brilliance makes it hard to dismiss.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8 (all things considered, I’d say this is a solid score)

THE SACRIFICE OF VICTOR
One thing I wanted to say but kept forgetting… the first line is “what is sacrifice?”… but I’ve always said “what it is- sacrifice!” while pumping my fist in the air… Under the Cherry Moon might have had a little something to do with that. If it was possible to take points away for it just making the album too long, I would, but I can’t. Half funk, half gospel and semi-autobiographical. (Prince confirmed the epilepsy lyric on Tavis Smiley several years later… it’s crazy to think about, as is the fact him saying that angel told him he wouldn’t be sick anymore… Heaven certainly did make the day)
Technical merit- 4
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 7.5

ah- I thought it’d be cool if I wound up giving 7 tracks 7 points… only 4… but it’s quite the spread from the highest to lowest…

Damn U- 10
The Morning Papers- 9.5
The Continental 9.5
7- 9
The Max- 8.5
Love 2 the 9’s- 8.5
And God Created Woman- 8.5
3 chains o’ gold- 8
Blue Light- 7.5
The Sacrifice of Victor- 7.5
Eye Wanna Melt with U- 7.5
Sexy MF- 7
My Name is Prince- 6.5
Sweet Baby- 6
The Flow- 5.5
Arrogance- 3

…okay, totals…
another big gap between technical and components… but that’s understandable… I wonder if that’s what makes the difference with these albums ranking high or not… if the two marks are close together or whether the technical has to bail everything out in the end…

Total score- 122… divided by 160…

oh wow… those songs really did kill the album… 7.6 out of 10

yeah, if I omitted those two songs and did the math out of 140, it would have gotten 8.1 out of 10.

I mean, it’s in good company… in fact, sandwiched in between two decent albums he did in the 80’s amd they didn’t rate as high because there weren’t as many songs I was big a fan of, but they were technically brilliant. Well, at least one was brilliant. The other was an earlier album, so it was more raw. But that was a quality I did like about it.

So anyway… I’m sad, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Damn U
The Continental (finally spelled that right without spell check)
The Morning Papers

those are my top 3 that will be added to the conversation of my favorite Prince songs.

So now it’s going on 2:30am… Damn U, Prince… you know I love you 😉

and like I said, tomorrow I’ll go into remixes and b-sides and such and this chapter… the time Prince spent with WB under this name… will come to a close…

not sure if I’ll have much more to add about these remixes- nothing really of note. Maybe I am really sick of this album now 😛
I do remember the 7 remixes being good, though, so I’ll be sure to comment on those.

if Prince was the one who chose Sexy MF and My Name is Prince as the singles for this album, I think he made a mistake. if WB did, Prince might have made the right choice to walk away from them.
If this album wanted a chance to do well, forget the name- the focus should’ve been The Continental, The Morning Papers and Damn U.
Heck, most pop music is nonsensical and doesn’t need to be brilliant to be a hit on the radio… The Max wouldn’t be up to Prince’s standards of perfection and brilliance, but I’m sure it would have found a lot of fans cuz it had a lot of things hit pop songs do. Which is great vocal delivery and cool lyrics.

To Whom it may Concern is kinda of a cool promo for this album, but the samples of the tracks are a little haphazard in their mixing… and it kinda ruins some of the better songs on the album. Damn U, And God Created Woman… The Max…
maybe I’m just still pissed at the couple songs on this album I didn’t like, but maybe this is why Prince decided to walk away and get out of this new contract. It’s just too bad he didn’t have this crisis of conscience sooner cuz it would’ve saved him a lot of grief and battles and such.

7 also should’ve gotten more play on the radio. There are times I’d give anything for the radio to play more than just Prince’s 80’s music.
This remix of 7 is a little more acoustic, the instrumentals are the finger cymbals, jingly percussion and the acoustic guitar at the forefront.

Black MF in the house was in the folder… it was okay… the music is pretty cool, but I think I’m over Tony at this point. I really liked his podcast with Peach & Black and he has some good raps and gives something extra to the D&P album. But he kinda spoiled Symbol for me… mathematically and however else.

But I think I might listen to the podcast on the Gold Nigga album- even if I don’t own the thing, it’s something else to do this week. And I think it’ll give me the break I need from Prince.
As much as I love him to death, I need to refresh in order to resume the countdown.
Plus, Come is a great album. One of my personal favorites. So I’d like to be fresh before going into it.

I’ll end with a Sacrifice of Victor remix and call it quits.
I’m really sorry for the tone of this end of the post… it just kinda happened.

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