I alluded to this in my previous post, but I’ll come out and say it there:
While Matt Thorne discussed the Glam Slam Ulysses show Prince held at his former night club (where he set his songs to scenes from “The Odyssey”), he had one sentence about this album that summed up his personal feelings.
This isn’t verbatim, but he basically said it’s Prince’s “most unappealing” album- citing that the song “Papa” keeps it from fully succeeding as a slow jam record.
As I read this passage, I had only a few gulps in my Dark & Stormy- so I had such a good buzz going that I just LETITGO- as I said on my previous post.
I’ll come out and say that this is one of those Prince albums where, unless you’re into this sort of thing (more details to come), I’d only recommend it for “expert level” Prince fans.
That being said, I was not a seasoned admirer/supporter when I bought this album. If you count “The Very Best of…” as an album, Come was my 7th album (I literally counted just now- I had no idea it was #7).
As was the case with Gold Experience (more on that next week), my gateway to considering this album came from a .org discussion. Someone recommended I check out this made-for-VH1 film “The Beautiful Experience” that featured the music from this album. Especially since I had been singing praises about TGE- everyone says they’re basically brother/sister albums because Prince intended to release them at the same time under two different names. Come would be “old” “Prince” material and TGE would be shiny new material under the O(+> symbol. Obviously, WB wasn’t having this and more troubles brewed as a result.
This is one of the first bits of Prince history I learned way back in 2007 and because it centers around two albums (spoiler alert!) I’m particularly fond of, I’m able to type this out without enlisting princvault or another source.
As for this album in particular…
I’ll start in saying it’s one I really hope is supported by my ratings system because I have a little bit of personal history with it. If you consider a 10,000 word album-inspired fan fiction a little bit.
I don’t know exactly what happened that day. I just know I was alone in my dorm room (I had no roommate that semester), laying in bed on top of the sheets and I was spinning this album on headphones.
There’s a lyric in the title track that says “just lay back and dream”… I never fell asleep, but starting with “Space,” my imagination ran wild.
And I’ll just post a link to the post where I basically copy/pasted my story into it.
Listening to the album today, only the visuals I wrote about Loose!, Race and Papa came to mind. The rest of the time… it was either raining REALLY hard and I was focusing on not dying or getting in a wreck… or I just wasn’t fully connected. But it was hard to avoid some of the obvious puns that came to mind in the title track… I’m not going to fill in the blanks. I’ll leave that to you guys.
Let’s just say it’s something I don’t like to listen to unless I’m the only one in the room. My thoughts aren’t particularly obscene or anything, but this is kinda “my time” with Prince. And even though telepathy isn’t a thing in reality, I’d like those thoughts to kinda stay private. It makes the experience personal and special, much like this album is to me. (Man, that sounds so cheesy, but it’s all true).
There are times where I’d even considered it my favorite Prince album- which is something that often changes depending on what I’m listening to. Not sure if the numbers will back me up, but we’ll see.
Through the course of this album’s history (and TGE as well), it’s undergone several revisions and configurations. Different songs were swapped between albums.
During this process, one song in particular was decimated and scattered throughout the album. It’s kinda interesting to note that Prince was so fond of doing segues in his albums in the 90’s, but this is the only case where they were integrated into the different songs on the album. In other words, with the exception of the last segment, these segues are not skippable. And it’s something that has annoyed fans for years- and still does, I think.
That being said, I’m going to take a controversial stance here and say that this album, had it not been a “contractual obligation” album (albums Prince recorded and rushed to release in order to escape from his newly inked record deal with WB… The notorious Black Album was one of them)… Prince could have given this album the LoveSexy approach and made it one continuous track- I wouldn’t mind it at all.
And in almost every case, I’ve listened to this album as a whole. ALL OF IT. There are only a couple I’ve ever listened to on their own… I think they’re Space, Pheromone, Letitgo and Dark. But there could be more. I just know I’d never gone out of my way to listen to the final track, Papa and the title track. It’s impossible with the title track 😛 I’m so stoked for the rest of the album I just can’t hit pause or stop.
But before I leave this subject completely behind…
the final track- Orgasm- will not be rated or go towards my numerical score for this album.
And this isn’t because I want to save the album from an abysmal score after what happened with the Symbol album… not gonna lie and say it hasn’t crossed my mind, though.
Had “Poem” been on this album as a whole instead of being broken into pieces, this would be a different story.
On its own, Orgasm does not qualify as a song.
Basically, it is the amalgamation [first time I’d ever used this word in my life and yet I somehow know what it means] of two samples from 2 tracks Prince wrote and/or released in the 80’s plus the ocean wave sample and a brand new spoken vocal from Prince.
The two samples- I oddly found their original sources after this album. The guitar solo is from the end of “Private Joy” and segues into “Ronnie talk to Russia.” The female is Vanity on the unreleased Vanity 6 song “Vibrator.”
For me, a proper song needs lyrics and if not lyrics, at least some sort of melody or rhythm to it.
Basically, this is a vocal track with one instrument wailing and distorting and sound effects. [“Papa” could fall under this same umbrella- but there is a cool backing track, Prince sings in the chorus and the final refrain is a musical number… so it still qualifies. I wouldn’t consider it among my favorite Prince songs, but I still stand by it. Certainly as part of this album as a whole.]
That being said, I’ll still give it a little discussion and then I’ll never speak of it again 😛
Again, and I may be repeating this phrase a lot in this post, “unless you’re into this sort of thing,” it’s not something you can play to other people.
But considering the segues that weave through the album and its different track, I always play it because the album feels incomplete with it. Weird, maybe, but that’s just how I roll.
Prince’s dialogue… I love playing this album on headphones on principle (no better way to hang in Prince World than with headphones)… but hearing him practically whispering in my ear… OMG! it’s like anytime I hear him speak on an album, it feels like the best thing ever. He’s a musical genius who has mastered 27 instruments, but his speaking voice is just as enjoyable.
I don’t get hot and heavy listening to this or any of his music… but the euphoria in my head in moments like this is a greater higher than any drug. And other than caffeine and alcohol, I don’t do any drugs associated with that kind of high.
I guess in that earlier disclaimer I should have said, if not an expert, it helps to have an open mind when you listen to this album for the first time. But really, the “worst” of it is at the beginning and end… and “Papa” isn’t exactly a crowd pleaser.
The rumor about the title track of Come was that Prince officially released this version as his way of flipping off WB for restricting his recording output. I have no way of knowing if that’s true, but a lot of people on .org certainly believe it.
[From here on out, the puns are going to come whether I want them to or not. I’m not going to apologize for every one. There’s just not enough time]
Come is an 11+ minute track that eats up a good chunk of this album. It’s the longest come-on Prince ever wrote. While it may have been recorded this way as a diss… if his intention was to turn on his audience, I think he succeeded.
Although the oral sex portion is still kinda awkward to hear. How Prince managed to record that, nobody knows and I’m not sure if anyone really wants to. But with a great instrumental chunk after this part, it’s very easy to either doze off or just let your mind wander. Whatever your style may be that day. I’ve had it both ways.
First off, I love the music in it. The bells make me think of sleigh bells, which make me think of winter. And maybe Prince had them here to paint this album as his winter- the end of his life as Prince. Some of the coolest horns on any of his songs. They practically move the song forward and make it very cool and chill.
Sometimes this song runs long for me, sometimes it does. It’s all about what’s in my head that day.
But a definite headphone track. I can crank it up when I’m driving alone in my car, that’s cool, but I much prefer when I can just get lost in it. That way, we both have a good time.
Space is DREAMY… one of those songs I probably should put on a “Dreamy” playlist. Not because they’re what Toejam calls “dream songs” (that sound like Prince wrote them in a dream), but they transport me and they put me under Prince’s spell.
I love all the instrumentation. I love Prince’s vocal. It’s half normal register, half falsetto, half spoken. Pretty much everything you could ask for. The lyrics are a little oddball in places, not fully making sense. But it’s the vibe more than anything that I go crazy for every time.
And yeah, there are some remixes out there and I’ll need to dig those out of my flash drives later on.
Pheromone is another of those guilty pleasure tracks… the lyrics paint such a dark picture (and I have my own interpretation of it… might be different than anyone else’s… hint: the “pistol” in the final verse is actually a gun and not a metaphor for something else).
“Darling Nikki” kinda sets the standard for “guilty pleasure” Prince songs. The only thing missing in Pheromone are those screams.
I was singing “pheromone” along with the chorus… I don’t know if it’s because I had the volume cranked up in my car or I’d been stressed about the rain, but my voice felt like it was breaking as it tried to sing that. Maybe I am just that enthusiastic about it or caught up in that moment.
And not even reading that Carmen Electra served as the inspiration for it is going to ruin that for me. (in the Princevault entry, a fan apparently asked Prince about it and he said “Carmen Electra and the Crazy Horse”… which I think is a brand of perfume or cologne.
The music creates such a cool (another overused word already) atmosphere. And while the lyrics are disturbing, all of us who indulge in it are just as a guilty as Prince who wants to watch as much as he wants to intervene.
Loose! is definitely one of those tracks I liked early on from hearing it in “The Beautiful Experience.” It’s a techno track before techno was really a thing. I picture Prince performing this on stage at a nightclub and he’s showing a wallflower like me how to get their groove on. And then the WB execs walk in during the final chorus and he calls them out from the stage.
I wrote that in length in my album fiction and it still holds true. A fun track with a lot going on, but great instrumentation (despite the call-outs, this is a sole number… which is crazy to think about. I’ve never said this about Prince ever, but “how the frick did he do that part?!”… wow).
Papa, I’ve always heard as a poetry reading at a hipster jazz club where you snap your fingers in place of clapping your hands to applaud. Even in that atmosphere, it’s an odd choice of a poem to recite in a public venue. Whether it’s from his childhood or it’s another jab at WB is up for debate. You could read it a number of ways. It’s not something you can really play to a general crowd at a party. It kinda kills the mood. It’s about child abuse and how everyone knows about pain and love wins in the end and there’s always a rainbow… I was waiting for a freaking rainbow to appear because the sun was fully out by that point. But I got a rainbow at the end of Purple Rain once, so I can’t expect to get that lucky again.
Race has that sample from The Continental (so it was kinda cool hearing it in the latter song months afterwards) and it paints an interesting picture. Another one of those songs I imagine him playing to a crowd when he’s fully aware that there are WB execs in the room.
More great horn lines. Prince is great at storytelling in general, but this is one of his better examples and this song somehow doesn’t feel conventional to me. Maybe because it’s coming off the heels of Papa. The “Face the Music” sample (which I just found was from one of the Steeles) doesn’t feel out of place to me like so many other samples in Prince music. That’s gotta speak volumes.
Dark… I don’t think I liked this song for the longest time. But over these past few years, whenever I play it in the car, it’s my karaoke track 😛 I sing along to it and sometimes go over the top with some of Prince’s ad-libs. I think one or two of them hurt my throat.
I thought I saw the sun trying to shine through the clouds, but there were so many of them. Plus it was above my car and it wouldn’t be safe to try looking for it while driving.
The church organ is a nice touch- kinda sets the song apart from the others on the album. It sounds like a church service. Perhaps even a funeral service… his own funeral (you know, Prince 1958-1993… before the name change thing)… whoa, just blew my mind.
I never fully fleshed this song out in my head as far as a scene goes. All the other songs, I have a visual in mind when I listen. In my story, this song is mentioned, the execs have heard it and they take measures in an attempt to come out on top regarding this feud, which is already in full swing.
But maybe one day, I will visualize a scene and write it down.
The metaphors and lyrics are so good and such an amazing vocal. Very emotional and impactful.
Solo is a point of contention for the fan base. You either like it or hate it and most hate it.
For me, it was a tough first listen because it took me a while to figure out where to put my volume and by the time I figured that out, the song was already a minute into it.
The poem was written by David Henry Hwang, whom Prince was going to collaborate with on an opera or musical or something (something about an interactive sexual experience, which is what The Beautiful Experience film was about). He wanted something about loss, but he owned this like it was his. It’s very haunting and spooky to listen to. Especially now, but it always had been.
After getting the volume figured out… nearly every listen since has given me chills.
I always pictured him recording this in a dark room lit only by candlelight. Maybe even laying on the floor.
Letitgo… this one is particularly special because it was a cool moment. Whenever I got a new Prince album, I always looked through the artwork first. And without a mirror, I was able to read the backwards text in the booklet.
Then I heard it in this song and suddenly remembered it and it just gave that verse more weight.
I like how it’s the newest song on the album, but the music in the background echoes that of the opening track. The sleigh bells are back. I love the woodblock. Especially in the instrumental portion near the end. It makes it sound like a train leaving a station on old wooden tracks.
Another cool visual.
On the one hand, songs like “Loose!” and “Dark” are so great to take on the road with me. Especially “Loose!” when the speed limit is 65 and I can easily go up to 70 without having to worry about being pulled over for speeding (hasn’t happened yet and I’d like to keep it that way). And “Dark”- I can’t go over the top with it unless I’m alone.
However, there are a bunch of songs on this album where I feel I can’t fully appreciate them unless I’m alone with Prince and just chilling in bed (not in the way!)…
I really got into “Come” this time around and everything within traffic ran smoothly so I don’t have to worry about too much else but the song and what was ahead of me.
Then “Space” started going and I got to the road up to my office where one lane was blocked off for being repaved… I was beating myself up through much of the morning because the song got completely away from me since I was too stressed about navigating the road.
I’m not a lax driver by any means. I just prefer it when the going is easy and I don’t have to deal with crazy people on the road or having to worry about merging traffic.
And really- this is an album meant for some downtime. That’s how I had that trippy experience where I imagined a whole storyline from these songs.
I did “Pheromone” and was very into it like the other time… but then I got distracted. A couple thousand feet in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice 2 vehicles having issues with road rage. A mini-van and an SUV, they were almost like bumper cars. Someone flipped the other off, one speed in front of the other… I was expecting to see a wreck happen in front of me or maybe I’d see them on the side of the road further down the route.
Either way, it took me attention away from Prince and I don’t appreciate that.
So Prince and I will need to have some alone time to hang out while I’ve got this album going on rotation… that way, I can get the most out of the experience and I don’t regret not getting everything I came for.
…yeah, there’s no way to talk about this album without it coming off sleazy or messed up 😛 I mentioned something like this on Twitter earlier because my tweets were hard to put out without me wanting to explain myself. 140 character leaves very little room for error. [Also- trying to tweet the O(+> symbol is very haphazard because if you’re off by a few spaces, it’s going to split between the lines and lose all meaning. As much as I want a O(+> emoji, I don’t want everyday non-Prince fans throwing it around the way they do the poo emoji… I’ve never used it by the way]
I started the podcast because it’s a 2 hour podcast and I’d like to finish it over the next couple days.
Come had a great long discussion… but of course, the innuendoes were hard to avoid and the lyrics were hard not to laugh about. So it was a tough review to get through with a straight face.
Space- I started listening to and I remembered someone saying “stalker alert”… it was Toejam. Way to kill the mood, dude! He or MC called it Dreamy Pop… and I went nuts 😛 but of course they couldn’t be talking about me- we hadn’t made contact yet.
of course it figures… just like in every romantic movie… the moment I get time alone with Prince, I’m fighting off unconsciousness through much of the Come album…
I was into it for the first few songs, but during Loose!, the lethargy was starting to get me. And it was my fault… I took an allergic pill beforehand cuz our shorehouse typically makes me sneeze if I’m there long enough. it made me drowsy. I feel bad.
It is a great album.
The Peach & Black review was good as always. MC said he was tempted to give it a 10, but backed off cuz he didn’t want to be controversial.
Dude, why the hell not? If you feel that way, freaking go for it.
I’ve often thought of this was one of my top 7 albums and sometimes it was my absolute favorite. When I was really into it.
The guys also said it might be Prince’s most exposed, honest album. Which I think is a nice thing. Strap away the “Prince character,” as they call it, from 1999 and some of those early 80’s albums and you get someone just as great to be around but without all the flash. I guess it comes down to what you’re in the mood for.
MC also said Solo was his favorite song on the album… that’s pretty cool. Not many people would agree. It’s up there for me. Not just as a Prince song, but a song in general. It’s so unique and out there, but for him, it works like an absolute charm.
It’s not going to be my favorites all time, but on this album, it’ll rate high due to respect, ambition and the chills I get every time I listen.
Yikes, I should start The Beautiful Experience sooner…
I kinda don’t want to be tied to my laptop the whole time and to get this out of the way.
Plus without people constantly over my shoulder
And that did happen a little bit, but not enough to totally take away from how good “Shh” was.
Cannot wait to talk about that one.
Unfortunately, this was kinda disappointing… even though someone uploaded this somewhere and I was able to download it, the volume was minimal or completely gone for all the Come tracks…
It really sucks because these are the songs that helped me want to get the album.
Race, Pheromone and Loose in particular. Papa, I don’t think it would have made a difference either way. But I remember really liking Pheromone and Race was kinda different.
Race looked like they filmed it in an old elevator shaft with the metal bars up front, but it had a cool garage band feel to it.
Pheromone had Mayte dancing with a would-be… not sure what to call this guy, but he wasn’t a good guy and she didn’t seem intimidated by him.
Also gotta say how weird it is to see Mayte now after reading the book. Not that it takes away from her being on stage, but the skimpy outfits she was wearing, I totally forgot that was part of her act and I didn’t read the book with that image in mind. I think I just picture her in belly-dancing clothes.
Anyway- there’s the track listing.
Days of Wild
Come- fashion show, he’s not in it
Race- very disappointing, this cut of the video had the volume muted due to copyrights…
Pheromone- no volume!!! grr!! (also- at Glam Slam Ulysses, this was done during Circe’s island and she turned Odysseus and his comrades into pigs… there were a bunch of people in animal costumes in cages)
Funkyman medley- lots of bass, introducing all the men in the band- I think it’s called “All Blues”
Loose! (volume again!!)
I might do my own playlist of this another time. Although “Now” might be a problem.
I hope I’d at least come around with that track where it doesn’t completely sink The Gold Experience. Again, another of my favorite albums ever… I just hope whatever happened to the Symbol album doesn’t happen again. I think it and “We March” are the only two I’m not completely on board with. “Now” I skip- that’s how much I don’t like it.
On another note, I listened to a couple other tracks meant for one of these albums.
Peach is one I’ve always really enjoyed whenever I put it and when I put it back on the first time in a while, it’s like I’ve never left. His vocals on it remind me of Interactive.
Maybe I should rate the album now and get it over with… but I think I have to listen to some of those track again. Maybe not Papa, but the others that didn’t make the cut.
…I wound up listening to all the songs except for the first two. I’d already heard Space an extra time and Come is too damn long to give a time of day on its own.
Hanging by the water, I realized just how perfect the atmosphere was. It had rained earlier, but the new deck was mostly dry. A lot of clouds, but the sun occasionally peeked through.
I grooved especially to Pheromone and Race. It’s weird, the top half of my body is right on point, but whenever I try to get my legs involved with anything, my rhythm gets thrown completely off balance.
Dark, I really loved getting back to. Even though there were people around me doing their own things, I was able to lock into it. Maybe one day I’ll put the song in my earbuds and I’ll just sing along to it and put that on YouTube. Although I’ll have to figure out how to ad-lib certain lines so they’ll be in good taste.
I finished reading my song the “come experience”… there’s a lot I’d like to edit. There are some terrible typos I’d like to fix, but I might just share it anyway and put a disclaimer out front to apologize for how badly written some of it is.
The story is maybe a little convoluted, but so is the story of Graffiti Bridge and 3 Chains o’ Gold. Surely, this can’t be nearly as bad in comparison.
Also- TBE was edited much better than 3 Chains o’ gold. I want to say that.
I also thought how Captain questioned some lyrics in the podcast… one was the “garden tool” lyric from “Loose!”
When I heard it, I picture Prince holding a black symbol guitar, holding it in front of him and stroking the neck to make it into an obscene gesture. [It was really weird to see him with a dark blue Cloud guitar during that video- didn’t match my vision at all].
If I think of more later, I’ll write it down, but by the time I get back, I think I’m going to finally do my rating. I’m not giving any song less than 3 points for a components score, so it should be 8.0 or higher. Probably not as high as Parade or LoveSexy, but I’m hoping it comes close.
Also, forgot to mention- I also listened to a remix of “Pink Cashmere” which “reggae-fies” it… I don’t like it as much as the original. This comes off as overproduced and maybe he was trying to hard to do that genre. (Blue Light was nice and easy).
And a remix of “Pope”… I’d never heard the original. I always remembered the backing vocals “rather be the pope… somebody help me”
Prince goes so heavy into the rapping that I didn’t even recognize his voice, but I love the spacy dreamy synths on this song. I could chill to that easy 😎
I think I’m going to do this now…
I’d rather not have to stay up late to do this like I had every other time. Next week will be a bit trickier since I won’t have that luxury. It’s a good thing these two albums are practically twins, but it’d be hard to make a drastic move to another album because I have an event coming up next Friday that might throw this whole process into chaos for a while.
So, I’ll go through the songs one by one as I always have, try to sum them up and give my scores.
I’m always afraid when I get to the numbers game that I can’t be objective about it. This time, I’m worried I might not be able to be subjective enough.
I don’t see myself foregoing too many technical points, though. It’s a strong album in that respect.
Purple Rain beat everything out so far because it was solid on both sides. The one album where they were so close together- and that has nothing to do with both sides being identical.
Ok, here we come… couldn’t help myself…
Probably will be Prince’s lengthiest slow jam ever… the only thing that could beat it is the long version of “Adore” that he told Captain and MC about. I think he said it was 17 minutes.
Anyway- Prince’s longest album track and longest title track through the course of his albums.
But really, he uses every second to his advantage and not many people can do that. He creates this amazing sensual atmosphere with the sleigh bells and soft touch on the horns. (Horns are a real highlight on this whole album– never got around to saying it, but I really love how the horns were used throughout it). He has a great lead vocal and the backing vocals give amazing support.
The oral sex portion itself can be a little uncomfortable for some and the other reason beside the length I can imagine anyone being turned off by this track. And also the explicit nature of it. “Darling Nikki” talked about an obscene act with a magazine in the first verse, but this does not hold back. Kind of a cool contrast with the horns and beat tracking in the background as a velvety backdrop.
Technical Merit- 5 (yeah, it has some crazy lyrics where some don’t make sense, it can be long and uncomfortable to listen to at points… but beyond the first few listens, that ceased to be an issue. Couple that with the fact this song never felt long to me, I can’t fault it)
Components score- 4
Total score- 9 (any Prince song I give a 9 is solid, a gold standard if you will. The trick is often is determining whether something is 9 or 9.5, giving my components score 4 or 4.5. Typically, I give 4’s because as much as I like it, there are some I like a lot more. And 4.5 is a step below perfection or I just don’t felt like giving it that extra 0.5)
[on an original configuration of Come, we had Come-Endorphinmachine-Space… but I much prefer the coma-like state I get in when I have Come & Space one after the other]
Thanks to the subtle beat and the dreamy synths and a very charismatic vocal, this song is a very spacy dreamscape for me. It was the song that led to the story I wrote, which ultimately opened my mind to loving this album as much as I now do.
Prince was seductive in the previous track, but here… OMG!… it’s as out of this world as the title. For me, it’s one of those ultimate fantasies. I don’t know if I quite hit the stratosphere this past week… other than maybe the day shrouded in pouring rain. Which is odd- but the first time is usually the greatest for any Prince album I’d done and that magic is hard to recapture.
I also cheated this time around… I gave the song a quick listen before doing the score. But that didn’t change anything. I just hoped maybe one last time, I’d get back there.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the only negative that takes away from the song a bit for me… the space launch dialogue… it kinda kills the mood)
Components score- 5
Total score- 9.5 (I can’t fully give this a 10 because it’s not quite on that level of masterpiece… and dang it, it’s not entirely a song that only Prince could come up. But I was giving it 9.5 no matter what. I like this song that much and it holds a special place for me)
Prince has done his fair share of songs with obscene imagery and really pushing the envelope. This might be his best…
The percussion is on point and I love that wonky horn hook. It’s so unique in this song and you never forget it. Peach & Black had a solid point- if Prince was the one doing these acts, it would not reflect well on him and I’d probably give this song a basement score because of how offended I am that he’d personally go there. But being the observer takes him completely out of it and I’m able to make my own interpretation as he does. [And that “what happens next- it all depends upon your style” ending was perfect cuz I like my version of the events and wouldn’t want that ruined by him saying that the pistol is just a phallic symbol and not a literal gun].
Great vocals all around- he picked the perfect range (although knowing him, he could sell it in any register).
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10 (yeah, I could not give this anything less. This song has always been a trip for me. Every element is done perfectly and I get a little too into it for my own good sometimes, but dang it- nobody but Prince could convince me otherwise)
Prince brings forth the ultimate rave with this techno rager. The “loose!” backing vocals that go side to side through headphones is what always stands out and there’s no mistaking it. Again, this is something different and special. But unlike the songs so far, I don’t have that personal connection, but I still enjoy it for what it is.
Technical Merit- 4 (this song isn’t totally unique to Prince, but he does his best with it. Going out all with the vocals is perfect in this atmosphere. And those instrumental solos are cool)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8 (I already have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to give all these songs, mainly what I imagine their total scores will be. I’ll give this song a bit more also because it’s one of the best to play when you’re able to speed on a highway… I’m not a speed demon by any means. The fastest I’ll go is 75 on 65 when I’m really in a hurry to get somewhere and that’s very rare)
here’s hoping this next song doesn’t cause the whole stock to crash…
Prince does a lot of new things on this album and things I don’t believe he ever replicated at another time. This is another example. This is Prince at a poetry club where he gets all angsty and real on us for just under 3 minutes. The story of child abuse is a little… disturbing and it’s hard to know if there’s anything real to it. Part of me thinks it’s a reference to his current difficulty with his record label. And like with any dark song, it’s good that Prince ends it on a positive note so it isn’t a complete downer. [another first- I have to let this marinate while I eat dinner… that’s why I do these at night typically, I do it all in one go. The first time I’m taking time away from it to do something else…]
Technical Merit- 5 (it’s unconventional, but it’s so hard to fault on this side of things)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8.5 (I didn’t think this was better than Loose! but the number say otherwise. I have respect for this song because it’s so different- I’m sure I’ll give that comment to “Solo” soon enough. And I’m not neutral on it, I do like it, maybe just not as much as the rest of this album and it’s not a song I reach for unless it comes to mind, which only happened just this afternoon cuz my session with the album felt incomplete without it… I wound up listening to everything else anyway, regardless… even the final part of the album).
The horns give an interesting twist on this song and help define its unique sound. Probably the one thing throughout Prince’s 90’s music where he dabbled in using sample shout-outs where I didn’t feel like it took away from the song. “Face the music” fits in perfectly, but maybe because Prince had it as part of the chorus.
Prince is the storyteller again and it’s, again, something different. It doesn’t feel forced like some of his other political tracks. At least not to me (I’m not typically a big fan of those- and so far I haven’t been). The backing vocals offer great support as well and the song would be incomplete without them. Which is why it’s a good example of an NPG performance, even if it’s understated compared to their other material (this ain’t no “Days of Wild”- a fan favorite I’m still not 100% on border with).
Technical Merit- 4.5 (yeah, this doesn’t entirely scream “Prince track” to me, which is why I took that half point off. His approach is unique and different, but there isn’t enough there to set him apart, I don’t think… even though I hadn’t heard anything similar to this from anyone else)
Components score- 3.5 (I always like it when it comes on and I get into it, but it’s not one of the tracks on the album I’m always excited to get to. Compared to some other heavy hitters, it kinda gets lost. If not for some cool lyrics, the band element and the horns and “Continental” record scratch, I’d just be neutral)
Total score- 8
And now it kinda seems like I’m intentionally stacking the cards in my favor… I don’t care… I don’t find any of these tracks really skippable and I like them all for different reasons. Just some more than others.
Also- Race- I never got that one lyric for the longest time. “in the space I mark human”… I’m sure someone on .org mentioned this before, but when Player said it, I finally understood. On the forms where you mark your race, Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, etc. So he says “human” instead of any of the above because “we all bones when we dead… both the blood is red”
…this is getting a solid score because it’s a very solid song. [had to step away again…] I don’t think I liked this one for quite some time, but each time it comes on now, I really get into the performance [I like this song so much as it is that I don’t like the “So Dark” remix on the Crystal Ball compilation set… it brightens the song up too much].
Great lyrics all around, amazing vocals, great horns again… and it has a nice string-like fadeout that’s a perfect Segway to the next song
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10 (yeah, I just can’t fault it… it hits all the right notes and might be an underrated less-well-known Prince masterpiece that non-fans might like… the only negative they might not get is that high note at the end of his “hurt me!” tirade)
Yeah, I can’t believe how much I like Space, but I can’t give it that perfect score that I gave to 2 other songs… but like “I would die 4 u,” it’s a personal favorite that I’ve had some good experiences with (and I’m talking the original here- although the remixes aren’t bad… Universal Love is really good- same song but with new lyrics)
Prince took a lot of risks throughout his musical career. He’s done songs that push the envelope about sex, more than any other artist and he always did it with class… or just showed why he’s in a class of his own. That being said- this song isn’t explicit or overtly sexual (it’s mentioned within the lyrics, but nothing is really revealed about the physicality of it)- but it’s probably the biggest risk he ever took on any song.
An operatic vocal that hits many highs and lows. He gave someone else the theme of “loss” and received a poem in return and he performed to someone else’s words. Being able to trust someone that much speaks volumes. However, it’s one of those love/hate songs. There is no in-between. You either like it or you don’t. And I’ve always liked it. The first time I heard it- once I got past the volume control issue- by the time I got to the end, I felt something. I don’t remember exactly what (I haven’t looked at any of my prior entries of Prince album reviews cuz I want to come in fresh and not base it entirely on past experiences) … maybe it was “what just happened?”
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the vocals in those first few seconds can be piercing if you’re not prepared and some vocals are a little low to hear unless you crank up the volume. They’re amazing vocals, don’t get me wrong, but it took a little while to figure out the right volume where I could hear everything without deafening myself… it’s a very small nit-pick at this point, really)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5 (this feels like the perfect score for this particular song. it’s unconventional but I don’t mind it, but because of how it’s put together, I don’t like it nearly as much of his other music. But I also respect the hell out of it).
It’s amazing to think how this was written after much of the material on the album yet it fits perfectly. It brings back the bells from the first song and it has horns. But unlike most of the other songs, it’s built like a single. Yet another Prince single I wish made it to actual radio because it has commercial potential for sure. It kinda sums up his feelings while working on releasing this album. There’s the usual metaphors and figurative language he’s so good with, but some stuff is more obvious. It’s a great catchy earworm, the woodblock is a nice touch… there’s not much to take away from it. I’ve always really liked it.
Technical merit- 5 (it’s as solid as they come)
Components score- 4.5 (yeah, I really like this one…)
Total score- 9.5
Yeah, this is going to be a big score… Now I’m just hoping that because I don’t like “Now” on TGE that it won’t sink the whole album… because it’s another album I really like.
Now back to this one…
Total up the two marks…
Same technical merit as Purple Rain, but the components score is a little less…
81/90… a solid 9.0
Wow… I was all worried for nothing… except now this puts pressure of Gold to get close… if it doesn’t score higher than 8.5 because of one song, I swear… but I know there are two I’m giving perfect scores and at least a handful of 9’s and 9.5’s.
Pretty much what this came down to… it would have beat Purple Rain as my favorite album if I’d given Letitgo a perfect score (or Solo a 9). But instead of 3 perfect scores, I gave it 2 and 2 9.5’s and a 9.
Anyway- I got what I wanted in the end. Although it’d be pretty insane if I got through all this and Purple Rain is still #1… despite everything I say about him having better albums that shouldn’t be overlooked.
But c’mon… it’s Purple Rain… it’s pretty awesome.
But I think that if any other album could topple it, it’d be Come or TGE… and it doesn’t seem like anything else can do it…
Then there’s the whole top 7. I used to be able to count what my favorite Prince albums were. And so far, Parade and Purple Rain are in it for sure. LoveSexy was a surprise, a very pleasant one.
…if Gold doesn’t get one of those top 7 spots… I don’t even want to think about it…
So I’ll just focus on this…
Among my favorite Prince songs ever… not a bad selection…
So I’ll retire this post for the night and come back after hearing some other versions of Space and other remixes.
I also found some Exodus tracks among my stuff…
I REALLY liked The Good Life- there are two versions I have and each is great.
Free urself was a promo for the album with a few bits and pieces, but the mixing was so low I couldn’t hear it unless I cranked it.
Then two mixes of Get Wild- it’s not a bad song, but I just got bored of the same beat going through it.
There were remixes of Controversy and Head that were maybe electrified. Controversy was kinda meh- the original was better. Head- it was a nice touch. I really like both songs, but maybe… it’s hard to believe, but I think I liked Head better because it’s more explicit.
I was so uncomfortable around this type of stuff before “meeting” Prince through his music. Now I’m really into it…
the Letitgo remix is good. The same song, but with a different backing track with some musical similarities. I miss the wood block, though 😛
two remixes of Space… I really don’t like that odd ad-lib Prince did throughout them- and in both cases, they ended with it.
Space, for me, is about the seduction. That ad-lib isn’t a turn-on for me- mainly cuz I don’t know what the heck he’s saying.
I really like Universal Love… almost more than the original, but both have their pluses and minuses.
The funky stuff remix… there wasn’t enough of the original track’s feel in it (the attitude in the vocals and such) and it’s not a turn-on.
Speaking of Space- I found one final version.
Someone on .org sent me 5 tracks early on in my time with Prince. Each is named for one song, but it has several songs on them.
Come has the electro-version of Come, Mad (reminds me a little of “Acknowledge Me”) and the acoustic version of Space… this is SO NICE… I almost like this more than the original. And now I wish I had it on its own. I think I’d listen to it so much that – had it been on CD or vinyl, I would’ve worn it out in no time. It’s that good.
And then it ends with “Get Wild” (cool thing- one version had a backing track that was the percussion from “Right back here in my arms”) and then some crazy electric guitar solo out of nowhere.
So I’m gonna try to finish this tonight… and I also started listening to the album again.
I got up to Papa (which I barely listened to at all) as we got home and I’ll do the rest of the album later tonight.
Loose- I really enjoyed.
Despite my giving “Pheromone” a 10, I wasn’t feeling it this time. Maybe because I’d gotten plenty out of it already.
Or… even stranger… I feel like it’s a song I have to be alone to get into. Not because I’m afraid those thoughts and imagery will seep through my mind into others. But there’s an uninhibited nature about it and I’ve found over the past week that I really get a lot out of it when I’m on my own.
Yet I was able to really go into “Come” and “Space”- two songs that had bumps in the road cuz I was listening as stuff was going around me that was distracting- I hadn’t had such a good experience with them in ages.
With “Space,” I actually came back to the same place that inspired that whole story I wrote. Which was really nice.
I listened to the Peach & Black Exodus review to kinda bridge these two albums.
The interesting thing was that MC had only had 3 days with the album before doing the review. And of course Captain gave him a hard time for taking so long 😛
and he kept saying “it was 1995 so it had to be good”… I’m just thinking that in 1995, I was only in 3rd grade :falloff: I had a great teacher and had my first crush (and rejection) ever. But it was an odd year because my teacher said I was oddly anti-social, not hanging or playing with the other kids.
I’m still like that quite a bit… that hasn’t changed, but a lot about me has.
I said on Twitter how I had no NPG albums (other than NewPower Soul) and Captain said to me that I needed to check out Exodus cuz… his response was something like either “you haven’t lived until you heard Exodus” or “you’re not a real fan until you’ve heard Exodus”
I will take his word for it. I might not rectify that for a long time, but if the opportunity comes up to get it and GoldNi**ga, I’ll check into them.
If only to hear “The Exodus has come”- the final song on the Exodus album. There was a little toss-up about the other songs. Toejam didn’t like Sonny as a lead singer- didn’t think he was good enough a lead singer to lead these songs, felt the same way about Hannah from 3rd eye Girl singing lead. Captain kept saying how certain parts were so hilarious.
The one where Sonny shoots a TV and his girlfriend/lover asks “do you need a hug?”- that was the sound bite they used- THAT is hilarious. It’s the most random response and one that probably wouldn’t work 😛
And then they talked about how this album had one track with electric violin, the only time beyond the work with Vanessa Mae (my dad loves her- brought a bunch of her albums back from his trips to the Far East for business). And Captain said how he told Prince to release that album and Prince is like “what are you, my manager?” and he still remembered that the next time he met him and MC. I can’t say I’m surprised, but it still boggles the mind, haha.
So I’ll publish this and I’ll include the link below of my story. In case you wanna read it. Just fair warning: the writing isn’t the best. There’s a bunch of grammatical errors in it that I noticed re-reading it. And some of it is vague and overreaching.
But it’s a freaking fantasy and my interpretation of some of the material.
Also- one last thing on Exodus, the guys said how it was at the height of the WB dispute. And it is similar to the Gold Experience because it has that live feel.
But like so many people I’ve talked with, they say TGE is overproduced.
I’d heard this album maybe once or twice since Prince’s death… it’s been over a year since then, so it’ll be an interesting experience for sure. Plus… got more rain in the forecast. Hopefully not nearly as bad as it was last week.
I never got to go into the Come tracks and when they were done live.
Very few made it out of 1992-1995.
Pheromone, the guys said that it was in an Australian sample set in 2012
Race was last done in 2006 along with the song Musicology
Dark… he performed it at his last concert… wow… it looks like he brought it back for 2013-2014 as well.
Letitgo made up to 1996 and just vanished.
And speaking of Letitgo… I forgot that’s what I called my story: “Learning 2 Letitgo”
if you get this far reading this, congratulations.
if you read my story, thanks. whether you think it’s good or stupid or crazy, feel free to let me know 😛