Prince Album #32: Lotusflow3r

Ok, for starters, I’m beginning this post on a Tuesday, aka the second day I’m listening to this album. When I started doing this chronological Prince album thing, I was giving myself one day alone with the album before getting my thoughts down the second day.
I guess I needed a little more of a break to get my mind right.

When this album first came out… well, that’s kind of a long story because Lotusflow3r was the name of the 3-disc set Prince sold exclusively through Target (and made available as a digital download from the now defunct Lotusflow3r website)…
After Planet Earth (and not counting Indigo Nights- not really), it was the second official Prince release I experienced as a new fan. And I had such a fondness for Planet Earth that nearly anything was going to be disappointing after it. Not to say I was disappointed with the Lotusflow3r album (or the set), I just didn’t have that same special connection. I think the issue was that it was a little too far off the direction Planet Earth was in and I expected more of that.
Not that I’d been listening to Planet Earth or Indigo Nights a lot last week, but I had the two on my iPod up until Sunday night. Planet Earth, especially, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of. Now I’m in a good place to talk about this album.

Just a quick note on the Lotusflow3r website: I remember when it came out and how there was nothing here for a long time, but on headphones I could hear the opening bits of the first track “From the Lotus…” and it played on a loop (the first few seconds before Michael Bland’s drumming comes in). Then a clip of his “Crimson & Clover” video was there.
And then the site officially opened. All I remember of it personally was that there was nothing there but clips until the site opened, but you had to actually pay for a membership (appropriately: $77) to access anything of substance. This, of course, would include the tracks of the two Prince discs off the Lotusflow3r set.
I didn’t particularly want to pay the money to join the website. Not because I was being stingy with Prince, but because I was in college and my dad was paying off my credit card balance. There was no way I was going to put $77 on it and explain it to him. I spent $25 for a membership to Jesse McCartney’s fan club and he flipped out cuz I did without knowing what I was getting out of it. [I think I got a mouse pad and some other chintzy collectibles and I don’t know if I have any of it around anymore]. I don’t think I knew then that Prince can be skittish about websites and that there was tremendous potential that this site would close.
My fellow Purple Knight, however, did make the investment and he was kind enough to send me the tracks he was able to get. To my memory, I cannot remember if I knew then that the albums would be physically available at Target. Anyway, it’s thanks to him that I have “The Morning After,” which occupies the track spot of the digitally omitted “Crimson & Clover.”

Matt Thorne made a good point in his book about this site… Prince really had no respect for the fans who invested the $77 because, other than early ticket sales and “The Morning After,” they didn’t get access to anything exclusive. The album was eventually sold at Target, so people could purchase it for much cheaper.
Of course he didn’t care for “4ever” or “The Morning After.” But it kinda bugs me (yep, there’s ALWAYS something) how he inferred that every Prince album in the later part of his career had a quote “angry” song on it. I dunno… calling “$” an angry song just detracts from how awesome it is. And just inferring that makes it sound he just doesn’t respect Prince at all. Or he thinks there’s something wrong with him or he’s downplaying his genius by saying some songs were written through anger. It pisses me off in particular when they aren’t angry songs at all. (I previously flipped out on him because he called “Pop Life” an angry song).

Then there was a comment… pretty big one… about how this album seems to create a new universe and how people who create fictional worlds are “isolated individuals who can’t cope with reality.” The rest of the quote says that Prince’s fictional worlds weren’t isolated, but they were filled with his favorite musicians, followed by his fans.
I don’t know if I take an issue with that line because it sounds like another comment bashing Prince or the fact I’ve created fictional worlds. I write fiction (one day hope to be published) and yes, I sometimes linger there more than I do reality. And cuz of it, I do live an isolated life sometimes… does that have to mean there’s something wrong with me? I’m already insecure enough as it is.

Ok, moving on…
final comment about the website…

MC is still waiting for his T-shirt!

Speaking of the Peach & Black guys, I cannot wait to listen to this podcast again. I was one of the first ones I checked into last year. It’s been a little over a year, but it was pretty epic.
Particularly for the “Morning After” controversy, which was a pretty epic 3 vs. Captain situation. But it was almost like MC and Captain were getting into a fight about it and it lasted for at least 20 minutes. I mean, it’s all in good fun, but I was nearly bursting out laughing through all of it.

Heck, I listened to episode 2 of Captain’s podcast with Seth Everett and I nearly died laughing twice. Like I audibly laughed out loud for a second and covered my mouth waiting for the moment to pass. Sad thing is, this was 5 hours ago and I can’t remember what it was.
Oh yeah, it was something about Seth Everett saying how he was giving up Mountain Dew and the Peach & Black guys gave him a shout-out, saying to keep drinking it, not knowing he had given it up.
Even when the discussion isn’t about Prince, Captain can still make me laugh out loud with some random comment.
It’s also kinda funny hearing how we have some things in common, like TV shows we like. The exhilaration going on in my head is a little too much… it’s not Australia is another planet. It just blows my mind that we’ve seen some of the same things and both like them. Things like “Big Bang Theory” and “2 Broke Girls”… I started writing a farewell blog about “2 Broke Girls,” but I spent so much time on it bashing Sophie and how her character ruined the show for me… and then random comments like how I liked how they were so free about making feminine hygiene jokes. I’d never heard any other show go there, but Kat Dennings did and it was killer. Then the show started to go south a bit when Caroline started making similar comments. Max does them, they’re hilarious. Caroline does them and she comes off as snotty as her upbringing.

And I am WAY off course now.
I guess I should talk about the album…

It’s a weird sensation. With all of Prince’s albums through Planet Earth, I have a pretty good feel for them and where Prince was during that time period. Beginning with Lotusflow3r, I don’t know if it’s because I waiting for Planet Earth part 2 or the fact he retreated from the spotlight or I just haven’t listened to them a whole lot, I don’t really have a grasp on Prince and who he was. He became even more of a mystery to me.

Last year listening to Lotusflow3r, I think the podcast got me interested in picking it back up. But I can’t remember if I listened before or after the election. (I know I wrote a blog post about it, but I don’t feel like going back… plus, I haven’t re-read any posts I write so I can go into these tracks fresh as if I’d never heard them before)…
but I didn’t particularly enjoy it because Prince was too damn political. Even if it was just 2 songs, it was A LOT.
(It’s been a year, people. The world didn’t end. LET IT GO!)

Now, I think things are ok again. I mean, if things get politically heated again… there is a chance that the album won’t work for me like it has.

It’s kinda funny how decided to write about “Colonized Mind” a couple of days ago. It’s like they knew I’d be on this album now 😛
That’s the song I’m back to liking as I have in the past.
“Dreamer” on the other hand… uh… yeah… that one’s complicated.
But I’d like to go in order.

I’ll start off in saying I won’t be including tracks 1 and 12 in my scoring process. As far as I’m concerned, they’re intros and outros to the album. “…Back to the Lotus” however seems to have some lyrics on it, but Prince’s voice is so distorted that I can’t understand what he’s saying. And I’m dying to know. It kills me not to know what he’s going on about cuz it has to be important.
Also- with these two tracks, they do sound good with the NPG power trio back together, but because they are instrumental, I zone out and don’t remember all that much.

“77 Beverly Park” is no “Venus de Milo” or “Alexa de Paris,” but I’ll score it the best I can as an instrumental.

If I could describe Lotusflow3r overall, it sounds like an album full of Prince paying homage to the 70’s. Songs that recall James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, some more blatantly than others.
Also, it’s a rock album. Almost every song has a guitar solo on it.
I’m trying to think what the last album he had where he had so many… the first few albums, he only had one strong electric guitar soloing showcase. Purple Rain had 5 songs with at least one solo (let’s go crazy, briefly in The Beautiful Ones, Computer Blue, When Doves Cry and Purple Rain), The Gold Experience had 5 (Endorphinmachine, Shh, Dolphin, Eye Hate U, and Gold), Chaos & Disorder was dubbed a rock album by die-hard fans, but I cannot remember how many of the songs had solos (I’ve only heard it 5 times ever and that was months ago), The Rainbow Children had 4 that I can remember (title track, Digital Garden, The Sensual Everafter, and Last December), and Planet Earth had a bunch too.

With Lotusflow3r, if I’m taking it down to the 10 songs, Boom, Crimson & Clover, 4ever, Colonized Mind, Love like Jazz, Wall of Berlin, Dreamer… yeah, 7 out of 10 had a guitar solo in them.
That’s freaking mind-blowing! It’s like he really wanted to show off his guitar skills on this record. Even crazier… every guitar solo is different from each on the album AND from every solo he’s done previously on any other album.
How is that even possible for a single person to do?

Boom- musically, it sounds really good and how Prince’s vocal interwove with it sounds good too.
But the lyrics are just so far out there. I used to like this song, but listening to the lyrics a few years later, trying to figure out what’s going on… I have no idea and somehow that just ruins the song for me.

Crimson & Clover- yeah, ok, bash me if you want… I didn’t know this song was a cover. At least not at first. Then I found out and I just shrugged it off.
I have heard the original since then.. it’s so weird. Prince’s version is completely different. It’s more guitar heavy, obviously, but he added other lyrics. I’m listening to the original on the radio and asking “where the hell is that bridge”… I didn’t find out until much later that Prince also took lyrics from “Wild Thing”… yeah, that’s one of those old songs (like “Born to be Wild”- I always kinda mash those together in my head) I just don’t get the hype. I mean, the only thing I remember of those songs are the bloody chorus. The rest of the lyrics don’t even matter. Nobody seems to remember them. Anyway, the original of this song… it’s a little out there. Very high on whatever was going on in the 60’s and 70’s. Coincidentally or not, Prince’s video for this song (however little was on the Lotusflow3r site) looks like an acid trip.

Anyway, I really like this one and I still like it a lot. Prince really does make it his own. I mean, he does the first couple verses and choruses and solos the rest of it- like any other time he’s covered a song in concert (I only know this from when he did “The Best of You” at the SuperBowl and “Creep” at Coachella… I’m still annoyed with him about that. I’m not saying it’s my favorite song in the world, but it’s spine-tingling to hear. And by practically turning it into a soloing showcase, Prince removed EVERYTHING about the song I gravitated towards. It was dark and brooding and moody. His solo had none of that. It was just a guitar solo.
yeah, I said it about Prince- it was “just a guitar solo”… somehow, I think that’s worse than saying “it’s just a song,” which is what Captain says about some meh album tracks he doesn’t care for).
Anyway- he covered it and did it better than the original. And it’s the only Prince cover I can 100% back that claim up. (The other originals, I’ve never tracked down… and that’s kinda intentional).

So… I’ll briefly address “The Morning After”… before the podcast, I think I’d listened to it twice ever and I really like it. Hearing it a couple times since, I still like it a lot. It sounds kinda like Prince being playful, but it also might be about him pining for a lost love, not realizing until [insert title here] what he had.
Am I have to have “Crimson & Clover”? Absolutely. Would I swap the two songs? Probably not. But I do kinda miss not having it.
I wonder if MC would object to replacing “4ever” with “The Morning After”…

Ok, here’s the funny thing… another funny thing…
I’m two listens in and I’m really liking “4ever”… not that I’ve ever hated it, but I don’t think I liked it this much. But I think there’s a reason for it… it’s the only real love song Prince has on this whole album. (The Lotusflow3r disc, not the set).
Technically, it could possibly be his weakest love song ever. The lyrics, some are throwaway that an amateur songwriter could have penned them. But I like his vocal on it.
Also want to note that it’s one of the few songs on this album where Prince had no vocal manipulation and just plain sang the song. I just noticed that day.
Boom and Crimson & Clover sound like they’re underwater. Colonized Mind has a lot of reverb on the verses. Feel Good/Better/Wonderful is him doing a James Brown impression, kinda. $ is a Camille-type voice and Dreamer is barely sung at all. Love like Jazz and Wall of Berlin are the only other two where he sings in a normal voice throughout. (Although the latter, he kinda raps the verses).

Anyway, 4ever has a lot of cheesy lyrics that Prince could almost write, not in his sleep, but in a coma. They’re so basic and simple. But I like the picture he paints. It’s sweet and romantic. But of all his love songs, it would be bottom of the barrel technically. Nothing super special. (“The Morning After” has a little of that schmaltz going on too, so the two could be interchangeable).

Colonized Mind… it’s one of those tracks you kinda need to think about. And you can kinda take your own thing away from it. Although that might be slated as you going with Prince’s flow or pushing against it.
Sometimes I’m with it and other times I’m not. I’m feeling a little disillusioned in general lately and I’m going into everything else I can to stay out of the political landscape. It’s so damn negative, I don’t know how everyone can breathe this long spouting so much of that negativity.
The musical content is so good that it’s hard not to take notice. No surprise, it’s a Power Trio, one of several songs on this album- from a single jam session (along with the intro, outro, Wall of Berlin and Love like Jazz). That alone is crazy to me- plus that paragraph above about the guitar solos on this album.

Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful
…I don’t think I vocalized this, but in my head, I was VERY hard on this song for a while.
But it’s not its fault… the first couple times I heard it, it had a hard act to follow.
First time I heard it was on Jay Leno- the day after he KILLED IT with “Dreamer”… that performance was so freaking amazing, nothing could hope to surpass it.
Listening to it now… it’s a really nice change of pace. Very welcome. Especially with the world being so negative. To me, it’s the type of song that always makes me feel like I’m watching a live performance. Or at least listening to one. And because of that, the energy is really nice. Prince is kinda pushing back against the haters, but he’s doing it with good humor.
I love that final verse where he talks about throwing someone the ball and the ball hitting 3 bystanders after they touched it and they want to sue Prince, but they love him too much. The whole visual of the ball hitting people is hilarious in itself, but Prince also poked fun at people wanting to sue him. I mean, it was a time when he was suing his fans, so… yeah, it’s all good. I just say that part during the song with a big ol’ smile on my face. Every time 😛

Love like Jazz- I used to love this song because I thought it was very creative.
Now, I think the lyrics are cheesy and maybe a little too calculated. (I didn’t even realize until Matt Thorne mentioned it that this song also has a Garden of Eden reference… I think I’ll have to search “Eden” in all my blog posts to see how many Prince albums have a reference cuz it’s becoming a lot).
I really like the guitar in this and how everything sounds. But the lyrical content works sometimes and other times, it doesn’t quite. But it’s a good take on elevator music and… well, elevating it to the purple standard.

77 Beverly Park- I don’t know what it is, but whenever I hear it, I think of being in a fancy Italian restaurant with a basket full of garlic bread. (Well, the garlic bread thing is new- the Italian restaurant thing, that’s been a constant). It’s a nice listen. Maybe nothing super special or memorable and I don’t skip to listen to it, but in the context of the album, I like it.

Wall of Berlin- I don’t think I’d like this song nearly as much if I hadn’t heard 3121 first and thought that maybe this song could have been a leftover from that album. It’s kinda odd how the song uses the title in a couple of ways. First he says that this girl is “down like the Wall of Berlin”- which is saying how cool she is. (ok, FINE, it’s “she gets down”… but I like my version better) And then he says “knocking down the Wall of Berlin” as if it’s talking about… yeah… kinda suggestive.
The lyrics also get a little in the way with this one. He opens each verse with some long-winded sentence with one too many words that aren’t, let’s just say, I don’t speak them all that often. Certainly not in that order.

Universal paradoxical design
Galaxy of Monumental delight or parallel hologram copyright (say what??)

…also, I thought this lyric was “unexpected like a mother in a park”…but the lyric is “mugger”… I mean, that makes a bit more sense, but it’s an odd metaphor/reference to make.

But I like the vocal delivery and how he just didn’t care how he sounded 😛 not the most creative vocal, but he sounded like he was having fun with this one. (Some might say he was going through the motions… but I’m not some).

$- otherwise known as money… I picture him performing this at a speakeasy in the 20’s 😛 very cool and jazzy and it just sounds so good.
The one place where it kinda loses me is at the end… where he says (copying/pasting cuz I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about)

Pawns aside who’s the king the 2 and 4
Wit hot sauce from the bay 2 baltimore
Take ur woman 4 she hit the front door
And whoop ur whole crew cuz they fat and slow

…I don’t even know if these lyrics are right 😛 but the song just kinda falls flat and then later picks up when we bring the chorus back…

Dreamer… oh boy…
this song started as my favorite off the album and now… it’s not quite the same.
I first heard it during his Jay Leno performance- one of the best times I’d seen him (the only live performance I saw where he ever disappointed me… doing “The Word” at the ALMA awards…) and it was so good.
The song sounds nothing like it did live. I guess this is a case of “The Fury Effect”… I kinda went into it on 3121 where people were so enamored by Prince’s SNL performance of the song that when its home album came out, the studio version was disappointing.
First off- I don’t like the intro at all with that un-Prince-like guitar… based on what I’ve heard about this song, it’s probably a sample from Jimi Hendrix’s “Voo-Doo Child”… the song a lot of people said Prince ripped off.
That’s one of my biggest pet peeves with Prince music… when people say that Prince ripped off someone else’s song… chances are EXTREMELY good that I’ve never heard that song before and probably wouldn’t come across it myself, so I never would have made the connection. It’s something else if I spot the connection or rip-off myself… it’s another that people say Prince stole from someone else and therefore the song sucks because it’s not wholly original.
I don’t know who he had in his band on Jay Leno- the album track just credits him and the Dunhams on drums and bass. But this recorded version- it’s just Prince revving his guitar, there’s woodblock or cowbell and not much else. The music has no bottom end, as MC would say… it certainly doesn’t command the way it did live.
And, admittedly, after a while… the guitar gets old and I just tune out. It just runs too long and nothing happens when it becomes all instrumental.

Then the rest of it… I didn’t mind so much when he did live cuz I was hopped up on adrenaline that I really wasn’t hearing what he was saying. But looking into the lyrics… they’re a little heavy. Prince got WAY TOO into conspiracy theories. He talked about chemtrails on Tavis Smiley (a really great interview where Prince had his sense of humor on display, but also revealed a few things- like how he was born epileptic… still pisses me off that Matt Thorne thought he was lying to suit his own narrative… why would he be so serious in saying that on a live interview if it wasn’t true?) and how he found out that there were 8 presidents before George Washington and he wanted to smack somebody.
He doesn’t mind the fact that’s true so much as the lie. But yeah, a little too much into conspiracies during this period. It’s kinda timely getting to this album and how Prince got these ideas from political activist Dick Gregory and he passed away a few months ago. I wonder if he and Prince are up in heaven spouting more conspiracies…
I have no doubt Prince wouldn’t be dabbling in any of this and wrote a song about it if he didn’t become a Jehovah’s Witness, a religion that believes Jesus didn’t die on a cross, but was impaled. They’re the ONLY religion that believes this… that doesn’t sit well with me. Plus the fact Prince thought Scientology was a cult, but JW’s weren’t and they have a lot of similarities. Particularly in how they shun people who don’t believe in their religion… like Mayte.

Anyway… there are some good lyrics in this song, but there are a few “uh…” moments where I’m not quite signing up for it.
The only lyric I really like where he says how race still matters and “a race to what? And where are we going? We all in the same boat, but I’m the only one rowing”… that’s clever.
One thing that’s been bugging me that last couple days… the chorus…
it makes sense where he says “from now on, I’m staying awake, but you can call me a dreamer too”… that’s him saying that now that he’s aware of things, he’ll stay in tune with the truth around him, but he will also continue to dream of a day where we can all get along.
the other times he said “last I checked, you were sleeping, but you can call me a dreamer too”… oh ok, I get that… he’s just a different kind of dreamer.
“if it was just a dream, you can call me a dreamer too”… I guess that means that he was “asleep” and dreaming that things were a way they weren’t…
sometimes I hate it when Prince makes me think, particularly when it’s his own political belief system. Just way too out there for me. Just cuz I’m crazy enough to like Prince and a lot of his music, doesn’t mean I can sign up for everything he’s into.
Sadly, this song has become more about what I find wrong with it than what it’s good about it.

if I could find that Jay Leno performance again, that’d be the best.

so that thing that happens after the 3rd day of a Prince album happened… I got bored…

yeah, that’s insane to say 😛 but that has happened several times. Where I’d really be into an album the first couple times and then by the 3rd, I’m kinda ready to move on.
The crazy part is… the last three albums, Musicology, 3121 and Planet Earth- those guys lingered with me a lot longer than a single album has in several months. I didn’t want to delete the latter 2 off my iPod after I finished writing the album review.

Not sure what else I can add… I started the podcast, but unfortunately, the “Morning After” debate began at 21 minutes… I was hoping I’d be in my car. When I was just free to talk out loud and lose myself in laughter. But no, I had to just bite my tongue… ah! I really need to listen to that again, but when I’m by myself.
I still have a little less than 2 hours left.

But no joke, that debate lasted for 10 minutes at least… this was one of the first podcast episodes. It’s amazing that the podcast didn’t just end after that cuz it was getting so heated between MC and Captain. I mean, it was all in good fun, of course, but it did sound heated.
Also, it wasn’t a 3 vs. Captain. Toejam likes The Morning After too.

Hearing it again, yeah, I still like the song a lot. Captain’s main reason for like the song is that it has harpsichord “so it has to be good”. I hadn’t heard it in a while, but I remembered that he has a thing for harpsichord in Prince songs. Not as much as top fret, of course, but it’s a little detail he likes.

The one thing I want to note, though… it still weirds me out how much the guys like “Boom”… it sounds good, but it’s not a song I gravitate towards. There’s nothing about it that makes me want to pick up the album just to play it. I just don’t get it, honestly…

ok, it’s hilarious that that was my last comment 😛
…yeah, I actually was in the mood to listen to that song, so I did. Of course, I wound up listening to all the songs I’m hoping to score from this album in the process. But still… I just was in the mood to listen to Prince and between that and Crimson & Clover, I kinda felt like his presence was in the room. Heck, I could almost see him just playing the guitar and singing the latter of the two songs.

Yeah, it was a good listen.

I can’t believe there’s 50 minutes left in the podcast and they still have 3 tracks left to cover. They’re spending a lot of time on the summation of the album, I guess.

Yeah, I am still amazed that the podcast didn’t disband after this episode 😛 MC getting really bent out of shape about Captain’s opinions, not just on The Morning After, but If Eye was ur girlfriend came up as well. MC was reeling so much and was clearly emotional- it was nuts.
I mean, I picture the guy as a cool radio DJ type and he happens to be just hosting this thing or at least keeping it on track. So it’s weird hearing him bent out of shape.
Although throughout the series, he has had plenty of those moments as well as fangasms. All the guys have had fangasms and it’s always good.

I have a pretty good idea of where the songs are going to fall, but I can’t score anything until I finish the podcast.
I will be kinda disappointed if it scores higher than Planet Earth… even if the lyrics are slightly better on this release, but the personal connection isn’t there as much for me. And I kinda like that personal connection with Prince and his music. That’s what keeps me coming back sometimes.

so finished the podcast. I tweeted MC asking if he still hates The Morning After… I doubt I’ll get a response cuz he probably gets asked this all the time. And if he does, it’ll be after this is posted. I can almost guarantee that.

I wonder if the guys still stand by their scores cuz they were consensually 9.5… I know the album had just come out, but c’mon…
Just to put things into context… I didn’t even give Purple Rain 9.5 with my patent pending scoring system. I think Come got 9/10 and Purple Rain a bit higher. I think the only way I’ll ever give an album a 10 is if I gave all the tracks 10/10. Or I round up. But with these last few albums, I don’t see it happening. Art Official Age, I think, has the best chance to get a 9/10, but even then, the chances are slim.

And not to get too ahead of myself, I decided I wanted to do a podcast after all this is done. Where I kinda talk about this journey and, more importantly, discuss my favorite songs and albums.
Today, I had a light bulb moment.
I will go through my top 100 Prince songs… and my top 7 albums. Possibly I’ll do 107 songs if there are 7 more I can’t not talk about. But yeah, top 7 albums sounds good. Especially since I’ve had a hypothetical, never-written-down top 7 Prince albums where the placements changed constantly.

But back to this… maybe I’ll just watch a couple of Prince clips I’ve had saved up for this particular album.
A few Tavis Smiley interview clips and Crimson & Clover on Ellen… oh man, I remember seeing that performance when it first aired. Still as in love as I am now. I’m looking at Sheila E just killing it on the drums and cymbals back there and I just thought “how the hell does the band know what to do?” He drills them constantly, of course, but I just thought how they manage to stay on beat and on key all while he’s doing his own thing. I can’t even imagine that in my head.

I found that Dreamer performance!
oh my god… I’ve got no words… WOW!!!
As good as I remember it. I noticed he had the NPG Power Trio with him, which would explain everything. The Dunhams just didn’t do it justice on record. Not to mention the guitar… oh my god, that guitar! It was the blue fender Stratocaster he played “The Best of You” on in the SuperBowl, no wonder it sounded so good. And really no trace of that Jimi Hendrix guitar sound at all. After seeing this performance, getting the album and hearing that version- I was very disappointed with the quality of sound. I hate that wonky guitar riff. So much better on Leno. I also loved the camera angles cuz they had a lot of close-ups of his face- he looked so good, man.

Now, if I can recover and find Feel Good/Better/Wonderful to compare…
yeah, Dreamer is a HARD act to follow. This was more of a jam session than the actual song. I think he did two verses and choruses and it just became him playing the crowd and trying to get them involved. He played out the rest of the show after Jay Leno did the outro. He just looked like he was having the time of his life and that made it good.
But the song itself, it comes off to me better on record. I just picture my own thing and it’s him on stage just like this. Sometimes I like when he makes all kinds of weird accents with his voice, sometimes I don’t… I missed not having those accents and voice breaks in this performances 😛

Which just leaves the Tavis Smiley stuff… I love hearing Prince just talk… even if what he’s talking is kinda crazy sometimes. He might be right, he might be wrong… I totally forgot how I was going to end this sentence. I had a point. I guess the end really doesn’t matter to me- I just like listening to him no matter what he’s talking about. Sometimes I’m on board, sometimes I’m not :shrug:
the first video was about Dick Gregory and chemtrails… I think his thing was about Manganese factories being near the ghettos and maybe the fumes were what were making people crazy or why people think people from there are no good because the damn manganese.
but the second, man, Prince is full of good advice. People don’t give him enough credit sometimes, which is a shame cuz they miss out on these types of conversations.

He was talking about how he got teased as a kid and him coping with that was going into self and teaching himself music. Then people got wind of what he could do and were talking about what he could do. And he went on to say what having a support system can go for you, that it can be motivating. And how Andre Cymone’s brother, Eddie, was especially supportive, saying he was better than anyone on the radio. How he got turned down the first time he sought a record deal, but kept going. Although (he didn’t say this) it might have to do with him wanting to produce his work and only WB would let him produce his own songs.

Going into self is something I do a lot and I might have done more since getting to know Prince. But I never come out as confident as Prince. I think it took him quite a few years to master his confidence. In real life and on record. I didn’t hear the confidence in his voice until maybe the Controversy album- but maybe it’s cuz he did falsetto only on the first three albums. He didn’t get fully confident as a performer until Purple Rain, although I just have the movie and the video clip from the DVD of the concert performance to go by. By that point, he was almost 30. I’m 31 and I’m still not there. But maybe I’m just too concerned with what other people think.

I found the whole Tavis Smiley interview- it’s on
I was taken aback by one thing he said, but it was a sudden gasp when I realized what he said.
How he was in celebration mode where he was thankful to be alive and having the teachers he does. “thankful to be alive”… I stopped short on that when I realized what he said.
Almost 7 years after he said that… he wasn’t anymore.
All that aside, it’s nice hearing him being this cool with himself. And doing things whenever he felt like he wanted to, touring when he felt like. That would explain a lot. But hey, he earned that right. He’s done so much going up to being 50. And damn, he looked good.

And I’ll stop with that now 😛

Prince just blew my mind with something else he said- he was talking about things his father used to say to him and I had read some of this recently. He said he didn’t know what to make of what he said, so he created his own universe and how he sees the world and how it’s important to have certain people in that space.
Meanwhile, Lotusflow3r feels like a trip to another planet- to the planet Prince World is. What if the Lotusflow3r album IS this same universe he’s referring to? Where he’s carving out his own path and taking with him people who are on that same plain.
Colonized Mind and Dreamer are more things he picked up from becoming more aware of things and being among the Jehovah’s Witness folks. But Feel Good/Better/Wonderful is very much an example of this. $ is an example of this.
Damn… this guy is GOOD

now he’s talking about criticism and how people criticize his music based off his personality and he says he doesn’t lash out like people think he does. How he likes constructive criticism because maybe there’s something he missed and he can learn from that. And he says how journalists write for each other more than anyone in particular and that doesn’t help anybody.
I don’t criticize Prince all that much, not compared to most hardcore fans. I certainly don’t berate him because his later music wasn’t at the level of the 80’s stuff like they do. When I do criticize, it’s mostly because I don’t understand what he’s going for, I don’t like certain things he does in his music or vocally or lyrically. I don’t attack his character, though. The Rainbow Children might be the one exception to this. But c’mon, I spent most of that post being mad about how he let Mayte get away from him and didn’t appreciate what he had.

Colonized Mind, he was asked about, but I don’t know if he actually answered the question 😛 he wound up talking about how he tries to channel his anger into music and he said that he learned that from Larry Graham. Larry told him a story about the Family Stone opening for Jimi Hendrix and on the way to the gig, they got into a car accident and Larry and this guy Freddie in the band beat up the other guy. He was so clearly searching for a word to substitute for “kicking his ass” and instead said something about whopping his backside. And he asked who won at the gig- the Family Stone or Jimi Hendrix. Larry swears that Family Stone did.
Yeah, another long interview and Prince couldn’t help but bring him up. And he gave him and his family a shout-out. That hadn’t changed in 10 years.

More record industry talk- about how it’s an example of how you don’t want to do things. He talked about how he doesn’t care for a lot of male voices. (That’d explain why he has a lot of female back-up singers). And he likes to sing ballads in falsetto, his higher voice because it’s like a slow female voice.
It’s certainly an interesting way of looking at things and it explains a lot. And it’s not a complaint by any means. Anytime I hear a falsetto, I compare it to him. When someone on The Voice sings anything in falsetto, whether it’s a whole song or just a moment, I criticize because Prince is the gold standard on that. And on that show or American Idol for that matter, when someone brings up the falsetto for emphasis or to make more emotion come out… almost every time, I hate it because it sounds contrived for the sake of reality TV and having “a moment.” It’s all about these moments. And I don’t like that. I want the falsetto to sound good and I want it to be genuine. Whenever Prince does it, it’s always with good reason.

Bria Valente came up and the Sade comparison. Prince gave her advice, saying she has a great voice, but she needs to stand out and think about what you’re not hearing on the radio right now and that happened. He also said it’s a sleeper record and if you listen all the way through, she’s got you… I wonder if he emphasized that part because he’s on the last song.

But after hearing her album a couple more times… I think he might be right.
I think what you need to do is to just listen for the sake of listening. Have it in the background and don’t think so much about Prince being behind it. You can hear him in how the music is played. But it’s grown on me a lot.
I think I’ll go in more length another time. Maybe on my MPLSound post- after all, the Peach & Black guys mentioned it briefly on that podcast.
He also said he doesn’t know why the music isn’t on the radio, but he thinks there’s resistance cuz he’s not with a record company.

Yep, to this day, it annoys me that the only Prince songs on the radio are the old ones. And they actually have Bria Valente’s interview so I’ll check that out.
She was sweet and well spoken and this record sounded like something she really had input on and he was just helping her realize the vision. And she wanted to create something unique.
Both she and Prince commented about how creating something out of nothing is the best feeling. That’s what music is.
I saw this interview once and I really didn’t pay her much attention. Back in 2008-2009, I didn’t really care much for the protégé or side acts. What Time is It? was the first side project I got. From there, Wendy & Lisa came in and it’s grown since. Although mostly those two acts plus The Family plus Vanity & Apollonia 6.
Over time, though, when my fascination of Prince started to ebb a bit, my mind opened up so I could experience the rest. Although I’m still not wanting to listen to everyone or buy everyone’s album either.

Anyway :sigh: now I gotta do my final thoughts and score this thing.

As I said at the beginning, I won’t be doing anything with the first and last tracks cuz they’re intro and outro. I don’t really consider them songs. And they’ll undoubtedly get lost in the mix with all the songs Prince has to his name.
Which just leaves me with 10. The same number of songs as Planet Earth before it (in case you missed it, I did not and could not give Indigo Nights a score simply because it being a live after show performance complicates things too damn much).

while From the Lotus… creates an interesting first impression for this album as a whole and its identity, this being the first song… it’s not what I’d call a stand-out opening track. It’s pretty unconventional, but then again, Prince is an unconventional person sometimes. Has his own way of doing things. So as an opener, it may be called Boom. Maybe it’s cuz it followed an instrumental intro, but it always felt odd to me. Maybe cuz of its placement on the album. I kinda have to be in the mood for this one. Everything about it sounds good. Some lyrics are a little off the wall and strange and random. To me, the bridge sounds a little weird. “Everybody know what happens when you worship from afar”… that seems like an odd lyric just out of nowhere, like what does it have to do with anything? And there’s that lyric “celibate mushroom canopy”- it reminds me of a comment Prince made shortly after this album came out. Or someone on .org read someone Prince saying that he was practicing celibacy. Now, I kinda don’t want to read too much into that, but I also want some way to explain his lack of love songs and ballads for a couple years.
OMG, this is the longest paragraph ever and I don’t care for this song all that much.
Technical Merit- 4 (I’ll forgive the autotune cuz I never had an issue with his vocals in this song, but some odd lyrics and transitions that don’t quite make sense. Plus, it feels unfinished, like he could have done a little more with it than just turning the end into a long guitar solo, like every other song on this album)
Components Score- 3
Total Score- 7

…and I actually don’t skip any song on this album or really feel the need to. All of them have some merit to them.

One of his best songs on this album and it’s a quasi-cover of two songs. But he really makes this his own and its brilliant. People on The Voice and American Idol (when it comes back in the spring, don’t think I’ll watch though cuz Katy Perry) need to take notes.
This song has a really cool panning effect with the guitar in the final minutes, definitely worth a listen on headphones. Yeah, this song is REALLY good.
Total score- 10
I can’t even break this down into elements… everything is good. It sounds amazing. The vocal is good, the guitar, c’mon, the guitar! And I always enjoy it when it comes on.

(Completely forgot to mention that his postmortem compilation set is called 4Ever, but this song is nowhere to be found… what the hell is up with that?)
This is just a sweet love song/ballad, whatever you wanna call it. Not his best by any stretch.
Technical Merit- 4 (lyrics and originality took a hit on this. There’s some simple stuff in here that a lot of those artists can do, but of course there are the Prince flourishes that can’t be reproduced by anyone but him)
Components Score- 4 (I more than kinda like it, but I don’t love it)
Total Score- 8

Sociopolitical commentary, maybe the best Prince has ever done it. The best since Sign o’ the Times certainly.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (some lyrics are hard to hear because of how much he altered his voice… I don’t like how it sounds much of the song)
Components Score- 4.5 (taking into account some times I don’t fully get invested in this song)
Total Score- 9

the more I listen, the more I love this song… it’s a lot of fun, it’s good for a smile and it comes with a few laughs. Prince’s sense of humor maybe at his finest within a song. This is the song that seems to most resemble the man who had that conversation with Tavis Smiley that I watched a couple hours ago. And he’s a cool guy.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5

Prince’s take on elevator music, but he eventually kicks it into high gear. I think the one issue I have is the title. He does not need to say it during the final instrumental coda of the song. By the time we get there, we know what he means. He doesn’t have to actually say the title (but with everyone else, I get annoyed when a song is called something and the title is never spoken in the song). In anyone else’s hands, this song would come off as contrived and cheesy. It toes the line of cheesiness and I change sides on that line all the time. I used to like it, but now compared to his vast body of work, it doesn’t quite stand out for me
Technical Merit- 4 (as elevator music, it isn’t entirely original sounding and a bit for lyrics cuz sometimes I buy them and others I don’t)
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5

Instrument tracks are hard to score, man…
Technical Merit- 4 (it’s a simple chord progression that almost anyone in music could do, nothing super original)
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5 (the only stand-out instrumental Prince tracks for me are from the 80’s… this is a nice listen, but not super memorable)

I’m kinda amazed the Peach & Black guys liked this song so much. I thought that cuz it was poppy that maybe they wouldn’t take it seriously. The instrumentation sounds so good. I don’t know what it is, but one of the guitar solos reminds me of “Annie Christian”. I really like this one, but I think it’s because of the 3121 lyrics it might have gotten its namesake from.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (for some lyrics that don’t quite work0
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

Aside from how the song ends with some odd lyrics that are hard to understand (the Camille vocal, as good as it is, doesn’t help with that), it’s a great song. One of the best in this whole set.
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 8.5

“The Fury Effect” is in full effect on this one… it sounded way better live and the studio version is a disappointment.
And the guitar solo… I’ve heard better. Because the rhythm section doesn’t sound all that strong, there’s no oomph to back it up in order to keep me interested. Some good lyrics and others, I’m admittedly a little judgemental about. Sometimes I buy into them and sometime I don’t.
Technical Merit- 4 (I didn’t rip him on originality or lyrics, but the musical content could be better and the song could be a little shorter)
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5

Dang, I was kinda harsh… technically, it’s one of his best efforts. But like I said, the emotional connection wasn’t all there.

…both marks are identical to Planet Earth… but just slightly, Lotusflow3r got a better score.

8.3/10 (Planet Earth, I had to round up to get 8.3)

Crimson & Clover is the best here and because he did so much original stuff with it, I’ll have to put it in the conversation for the top 100.

And Feel Better/Good/Wonderful, I’ll put that in too.

Up next, MPLSound.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

More Depeche Mode greatest hits

Just what I need- another draft post on my home page 😛
But I had an idea this morning.

I’ll bring the Greatest Hits album back to my car in December.
Until then, for each Wednesday of November (the day I used to take a break from the weekly Prince album before spreading the accompanying podcast over Thursday and Friday), I’m going to pick a random Depeche Mode album to play in my car.

Somehow, I willed forward the exact album I wanted to listen to today. Just based on one song and it was going to be the final song 😛 I think next week, I might mix and match the CDs in the different sleeves (the actual discs aren’t marked) so it’s even more of a surprise.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been playing a lot of these songs, but I’ve been stringing playlists together over the different albums. And I seem to be playing a lot of the same songs. Which is another reason I want to do this. Maybe I’ll come up with enough songs that I could do a playlist of the greatest hits PLUS my favorites from the albums that weren’t singles.


Now I’m hoping that when I take out the Greatest Hits that when I get to “Strangelove,” I’m not going to be anticipating this original cut. Because I really do like the Greatest Hits arrangement of it.

This is a bit of a weird album- yeah, weirder than “Songs of Faith and Devotion”-
particularly a string of 4 songs, Little 15, Behind the Wheel, I want You Now, To Have and To Hold. While they follow some of the same patterns as the songs I’m more familiar with, their subject matter is a little risqué. Little 15 could be misinterpreted as sex involving a 15-year old. Connect Behind the Wheel with it– yeah, it’s weird.
I Want You Now has all the vocal acrobatics I love about the lead singer of the band. But the opening sound effects sound like sex noises, which kinda keeps me from fully engaging.
To Have and To Hold is repetitive and monotonous. Granted, a lot of their songs are repetitive, but the songs I like have little musical effects I enjoy every time I go back.

So from this album, I’ll bring into consideration:

The Things You Said-
First off, I love the initial beat that goes throughout the song. The standard vocal with little variation, but the tone is really nice. I also like the backing vocals that come in at the end of the verses.
The stand-out feature of this song that brings me back each time: after the verses, there’s a simple riff that goes up and down the ovation. As the song progresses, more things get added. Particularly something that sounds like it’s off a Linn-drum machine.
Then there’s a bridge halfway through that’s different from the rest of the song. There’s a lyric where he says: “I get so carried away, you brought me down to Earth, I thought we had something precious…”
I mean, this is several years before “Precious’ was written, but just hearing him say that in another song… oh, so many feels.
Overall, the song is kinda repetitive and not much happens. But I like the overall mood of it and how the lyrics sound with the vocals as they are.

They had to have written the song around the same time as “Strangelove” because the instrumentals and melodic patterns feel very similar even there are major differences. The key thing that connects them is the sound of the drums. And how they lead from the initial chorus into the verses.
There are two songs off this album (besides the initial hits) that I REALLY like and this is one of them.
First off- a killer chorus that starts off the song.
“Sacred- holy. To put it in words, to write it down, that is walking on hallowed ground.”
I mean, the choice of words is very basic and not a big stretch by any means. But the way he sings it, OMG, I just love it so much. If the rhythm wasn’t enough on its own, there’s something here that is one of those unique things with Depeche Mode in general.
When he sings up to a certain note or octave, I can’t describe it why, but it just resonates with me so well. Love the sound of it. It’s in several of my favorite songs by them (hopefully when I get back to the greatest hits set, I can pick them out and list them later as further examples).
But it’s the big reason why this song stuck in my head the first time I heard this album.
The verses were also easy to pick up, but again, maybe not the most brilliant lyric writing.
“I’m a firm believer- and a warm receiver”- repeats in both verses, as does “there’s no doubt, I’m one of the devout.”
Then the bridge to the chorus- “trying to sell the story, of love’s eternal glory”- better lyrics, but the selling point is the dramatic change in the music, how it picks up tempo with the drums and goes flawless into the chorus again.
Then after a couple rounds, an instrumental solo, repeating “sacred” and “holy” in succession a couple times, we add back the rest of the chorus, but the vocal stays on the level. Which I don’t mind. But today listening in the car, every other go-round, I’d sing it like in the chorus.

Yeah, with the songs I really like, if there’re enough talking points, I will pretty much go into them as I do with Prince music 😛
Now for the other off this album…

yeah, I’m going here- despite the title, a lot happens in this song musically. Get ready for another massive paragraph.
This was written 3 years after “People are People”- but on the percussion side, they come very similar to me. Which is probably why this song was a standout. After some drumming with increasing volume and intensity, it continues with a load of other percussion over the top of it. Not a single second is wasted. After a measure, industrial sounding drums fill whatever space is left. Not identical to the drums in “People are People,” but nonetheless, they have that same industrial sound to them. Martin Gore hasn’t even started singing yet and I’m already grooving the song. I could be listening at work and just swaying back and forth. Something I really started doing when I got the greatest hits and started picking up favorites and thinking how some songs feel like they would fit within a Plushenko step sequence. With the right arrangement, both could coincide with amazing synchronicity. [That being said, I don’t think I’ll ever montage another Depeche Mode song- I know several that would fit musically, but lyrically, Precious was the perfect one for the given situation].
Unlike “Sacred,” though, the vocal doesn’t really vary all that much. It only goes up a couple notes and then it comes back down. Not all the lyrics are brilliant, but there are some great ones.
“Life is full of surprises, it advertises nothing”
“Sitting target, sitting praying. God is saying nothing”
Taking a simple concept of nothing and really making it into something… or I could be making a lot of nothing out of nothing. But looking at the lyrics, there are so many possibilities for what these are referring to. Some cool backing vocals after each line “woo woo” and he repeats “nothing” again- the backing vocals are something a little different from the other songs, so it stands out to me.
One of my favorite bits- another killer bridge:
“What I am trying to do, what I am trying to say, I’m not trying to tell you anything you didn’t know when you woke up today”– the lyrics are sung with strained urgency, not hitting too many notes vocally, but the rhythm of their delivery plus the pounding of the drums on every beat. Then when he gets to the final lyric, there’s rapid pounding that reinitiates the instrumental beat from the beginning. There’s also a synth riff that goes up and down the scale after the instrumental beat goes a couple measures.
Then the end of the song- it’s so good. The beat continues. We hear backing vocals repeating “nothing” a couple times. The synth riff comes back and Martin Gore says “Nothing- oh no” twice. Each time, the “oh no” sounds different. The first time, it goes up and down. The second, it just descends down the scale.
I mean, not everyone is going to think that’s anything special- but to me, it sound so cool. The song fades out and he’s still singing that same bit.

Just for my own curiosity, I’m going to look at iTunes to see many times I’ve played these songs since I put them on my iPod.
Really, that’s it?
so of these songs- I’ve played “The Things You Said” 7 times, only twice outside the confines of the album, “Sacred” 9 times… “Nothing” is the winner off this album with 12 listens 😛 add in today’s listen and the first listen… I’ve heard it 14 times in my life.
The song I’ve played the most on my iPod is actually an iTunes download with 65 listens. Coincidentally (or not), it’s another song I’m considering for a montage.

so I thought this week, I might end up with Violator or Playing for the Angel- because the songs were playing around in my head and I thought I’d will one of them forward.
Nope, it was the album I least expected.

ULTRA, which I’d been keeping up with for their 365 Prince Songs, listed all the Depeche Mode albums in “order of awesomeness”. No surprise that Violator was #1, but I was surprised that Playing the Angel made the top 5. That’s pretty amazing for one of the newer albums.
also- they did over 20. That’s kinda nuts.

Ultra cracked the list at #6. And the first sentence practically said “with the turmoil going on with the band at that time, this album should not have been as successful as it became.”

Speaking of cracking lists… the one Greatest Hit on this album, “It’s No Good”- is the reason why I have a top 7 list of their songs. I had to extend it to 7 to include it at #7.
As cool as the vibe is (cool because it makes me think of Plushenko skating, which makes me think of ice and snow), it’s one of the Hits that I can sometimes forget about. Just because I feel that much stronger about the others, like Precious, Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down Again…
but whenever I come across it, I enjoy it.

When I first listened through this album earlier this year, it sounded like a more solid effort compared Faith & Devotion. That album had a lot of big highs and weird-ass lows, so it wasn’t consistent and that threw me for a loop the first couple times.
However, I’ve come to think of Ultra as a good overall album, but it doesn’t have any big songs that gravitate towards. Or at least they’re not the first songs I think of when I’m listing my favorites by these guys.
Contradicting myself a third time in the same sentence, The Love Thieves (track 2) is a song I’ve gravitated towards a lot when I’m doing my “stream of consciousness Depeche Mode playlists”- where I just listen to a bunch of songs in a row and usually I make my decision on the next while on the previous song.
Freestate I’ve also played a lot- but I think it’s become more so because I do it in conjunction with “Nothing’s Impossible” from Playing the Angel. They both have a very similar vibe- reminds me of being in the Wild West in a movie like “Rango”- it’s that twangy guitar.
Another funny connection to that album- they both start off on an odd note, but the opening track redeems itself within minutes.

Barrel of a Gun has some weird vocals on it in the verses and it’s like he sung into some weird microphone or a machine is distorting his voice. Spooky sounds come in on the chorus, not sure how to describe them.
But where the song starts to get good, it’s halfway through where the titular line is spoken. After he says “staring down the barrel of a gun”- there are 4 notes that get played- again, words fail, but for some reason, they make me think of being in the middle of a desert. Maybe it’s because when I was playing Ultra the first time, I was in the 2nd world (which is desert) of the original Spyro game. But I think of desert and hot air… and also skeletons and bones. Which sounds kinda morbid, taking the title into account, but that’s just how it is.

maybe the one letdown about this album is that it has two tracks that are purely instrumental. I mean, they set up the tracks that follow really well. But I also like having vocals- this guy is so good at what he does.
the funny thing is that a lot of the tracks go long- 5-6 minutes each, but that time feels like nothing to me. If anything, I revel in the lengths of some of these songs.
Anyway, this album has 10 tracks… but only 8 are songs.

…wait… there are two other songs I completely forgot about… which pretty much says all you need to know…

The Bottom Line has some pretty vocals on the chorus where he says the titular lyric- very deep- ‘the bottom line, I’ll follow you’
Insight… I think it has some cool vocal moments as well. The backing vocals. He’ll finish a line and this other vocal in a higher octave that comes in occasionally. I’ve heard it on some other tracks as well. I think another on this disc.

Sister of Night is very subdued like much of the album- it’s a nice listen. But there seems to be a track like this on every one of their albums- there’s always some ballad.
Ok, just two.
Waiting for the Night to fall on Violator and In Your Room on Faith & Devotion… ok, the latter isn’t exactly a ballad, but they all feel similar to me on some level I can’t quite explain.

Freestate I remember for the twangy guitar that goes throughout. And there’s this lyric where he says “emotional emancipation”… I always remember that lyric and look forward to hearing it. Maybe it just makes me think of about Prince having an album called Emancipation.

Speaking of lyrics

The Love Thieves-
I noticed today that the second verse mentions disciples and “beseeching the honor to sit at your table” and the bridge after that mentions Adam, Eve and Jonah, there’s some Biblical stuff in here. Actually, the whole track seems to be about Jesus and the sins of the people who aspire to know him.
Overall, this song is a slow burn that builds steadily, accelerates a bit in the final minute, but doesn’t make a big splash. And it would be out of character for this song if it had.
The vocals are really pretty on the verses, just resonates so nicely.
After a verse, there’s an instrumental break that’s a little stop and start with synths and a drum pad. And also bass, I think. The synths are up front, while the rhythm section sounds like it’s muffled in the background. Like someone is playing their speakers really loud behind closed doors and we’re on a different floor and just hear the beats. It’s a cool effect.
There really isn’t a chorus in this song, but I don’t mind that. It has multiple verses and one bridge that repeats a couple times.
I’m only just now seeing what he’s saying:

Love needs its martyrs
Needs its sacrifices
They live for your beauty
And pay for their vices
Love will be the death of
My lonely soul brothers
But their spirit shall live on in
The hearts of all lovers

One lyric that always stands out to me and it always lets me know that the track is almost over. there’s a verse where he says “you’re holding court with your lips and your smile.”
I’d never heard the phrase “holding court” before listening to Johnny & Tara’s podcast. So whenever I hear that lyric, I think of them and that makes me smile. Their podcasts is always a great escape from the monotony at work.

But my favorite part is the final minute where it’s all instrumentals. It sounds like a guitar revving (but it’s not straight up electric guitar either) on a couple different notes. You hear one note for a few strokes, then it goes to another for a few. And two other notes are hit in this measure.
Then another set of keyboards come in and plays 7 notes on a scale. It sounds really cool. It does it again on another octave. And so on and on. And then it repeats the pattern a couple more times. Moaning backing vocals are added. And it just continues until the back of the pattern drops off and you just hear that guitar.

Honestly, I don’t know if I would have considered this song as one of the album highlights if Thomas (the guy at work who gave me the albums) hadn’t told me it was his favorite Depeche Mode song. I asked what his favorite was and while it was hard to pick one, he said he’d probably say this one. I mean, I’m not super close with anyone at work, although I am friendly with a few people. And he’s one of them. I don’t know, there’s something about knowing someone’s favorite song by a person/band you both like… you hear the song and feel like you’re seeing part of them. And it’s comforting.
What threw me off a little bit about the new albums was that Martin Gore’s voice didn’t resonate with me as it had on the Greatest Hits tracks. Maybe because he just sung differently than I was used to hearing. And this was one of those songs.
But over time, I’d gotten to love it more and more.
The verses make it sound like this isn’t a place he wants to be, but in the chorus, he says “thank you for bringing me here, for showing me home… finally I’ve found that I belong here”…
There’s a soaring lofty quality to this song that really comes into play after the first chorus and stays and builds. There’s also lyrics like in the second verse where he says sheets cling to the backs of his knees… that’s such a vivid image that just grounds you and gives you a touchstone to relate to.
Towards the end, he says “Home” with more conviction- “feels like home- I should have known- from my first breath”- when I first heard that line, the vocal didn’t have that familiarity. But that last lyric where he sings it and finishes it half a step off from where it started.
What really sets this song apart- the use of strings in the final minute. They hold a note for a few moments, then go to another. Then it goes back and forth up and down the scale. And then it goes to the original format again.

I used to think this album was solid, but didn’t have any outstanding highlights. This became one of those highlights.
It starts in an odd place, though. Where he ends the first and third line of a stanza with this really low note. But second and fourth, he ends it where you’d expect.
I really like the choruses- just cutting to the chase. That was what I remembered about this song in recent weeks. And listening to the lyrics today, it seems like this is a song about disagreements. Possibly about disagreements within the band.

All my useless advice
All my hanging around
All your cutting down to size
All my bringing you down

All your stupid ideas
You’ve got your head in the clouds
You should see how it feels
With your feet on the ground

later in the song when he finishes the stanza, that higher backing vocal comes in to add dimension. But with those choruses, I really like how they end. And how they’re performed. It’s so good.
Then later in the song, a wild guitar comes in and joins the party.

Oh wow- I just looked at iTunes to see how often I play these songs.
Love Thieves is by far the most played- 11 times! All the others except for Home, I’ve listened to 6 times. Home only 4 times… I guess I just don’t play this album all that often and honestly, I’ll go through the album and wonder what the next song is and I always forget about it 😛 not anymore

so week 3 and again get the last album I expected… but it was a good one.


…where it all started.
It’s kinda crazy how the first listen I was so weirded out by this album and now it’s among my favorites by this group. One thing I noticed today, funny enough, all the highlights of this album are the even numbered tracks.

And today was the first time since the very first listen that I played it all the way through. I figured I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the other songs if I kept the first two on there… yeah, they’re greatest hits from the other set.

I Feel You was an oddball on the greatest hits. For ages, I didn’t really care for it, but it grew on me. And I kinda like having this in between Walking In My Shoes and Precious… if I just skip to Precious, I am done 😛 I like to lull myself into that song.
Yeah, a lot of odd stuff in that song, dramatic changes in the music that come out of nowhere as the vocal gathers steam and strength.
Walking in my shoes… the one thing about the album version- I miss the record scratch. It feels so weird not having it there. Otherwise, it’s identical and it’s still a song I really like. It has an interesting theme that makes you think. But in later instrumental sections of it, it sounds like a guitar comes in, but it doesn’t sound like your typical guitar. It builds and moans over a couple notes. It makes me think of a couple of debut album Daughtry songs as well as Acceptance.

Now for the others…
Condemnation feels very over dramatic, a choir coming in behind the lead vocal on the second word of a verse. First time looking at the lyrics- I didn’t realize this was about him being “condemned” for some sort of wrongdoing. I really like how he sounds on the bridges, the song doesn’t really have a chorus.
Judas- it’s an oddball because I don’t think they actually say “Judas” in any of the lyrics… yeah, it does. Later in the song, there’s a lyric “Cheating Judases, Doubting Thomases”… well, I don’t doubt the Thomas who gave me these albums. This music is amazing- I still can’t get over that act of generosity and I want to pay it back, but I don’t know how other than just being the best worker bee ever 😛 but I was doing that anyway. Anyway, this song has very little instrumentation. The vocals are delivered in layers and very delicately.
Get Right With Me reminds me a lot of Condemnation. It has the same sound and tone to it, but it’s much more optimistic. Or at least sounds that way.
One Caress- this borderlines musical theater with the huge strings that come in on the choruses. He delivers another delicate vocal on this one.

I do like some of these songs as well, but they aren’t at that higher level. And I don’t often take time to listen to them on their own. However, I am grateful that they’re there because they are a much needed breather between songs that simply take my breath away. They are that good.
I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but the way they build to a point, to me, it’s like sex building up to climax and then finishing with orgasm. Seriously- some of these songs blow my mind so much that it had to be done on purpose.
This album has 4 major highlights.

Mercy In You-
the first thing that I caught me off guard the first time. When the vocal first comes in, it contrasts so much with the music. It sounds like a live vocal over a backing track. The way he says “the mercy in you”- it varies throughout the song. It’s always commanding, sometimes his voice breaks because he’s hitting a higher note on it, with added drama per the usual. You have a couple verses, then there’s a bridge or chorus where the music is different. It sounds a little dreamier and more introspective. Then it ends with him saying the titular lyric and joining him are a chorus of vocals moaning in rhythm. That’s probably the one thing about this song that sticks with me. After the first chorus/bridge and the moans end, there’s some drums that come out of nowhere and drive the song forward. And the rest proceeds forward and the vocal gets more emotional.
one time I actually started listening to the song and stopping- for one thing, I wasn’t in the mood anymore and another, there was another song I was in the mood for, but I forgot the name of it.

In Your Room-
it’s the longest song on the album and it feels like it goes by so fast. Noticed today that the vocal doesn’t even come in until 38 seconds. It starts with just his vocal, then the instruments slowly get added as it proceeds. If I knew what they were, I’d go into more detail, but if I did so now I’d just sound stupid. As the verse builds, a synth part starts to creep in. At the end of that, a few notes come in. The beat comes in with the next verse. We get towards the end of that second verse and a guitar starts coming in, revving over a couple notes.
Then the chorus hits- and it’s very similar to Halo- where it just takes over the song and you come away from it with that impression in your head.

“I’m hanging on your words
Living on your breath
Feeling with your skin
Will I always be here”

after however many times they’re repeated, a synth comes in that makes several other appearances throughout the song. There’s not much to it, but it seethes and builds and gives amazing atmosphere to the song. Drums come in and the vocals get a little more aggressive (just a little) on the verses that follow.
Then we have the chorus again several times toward the end and we have those seething synths until it fades out. I didn’t think to look to see how long, but it has to be at least 90 seconds. However long, I don’t mind it. This song is great.

oh man! When I first listened to this album and I was kinda on fence and kinda out of sorts with it, this was the song that saved it for me. The drums, some mechanical, some real, start it. There’s an echo of a guitar that comes in and then the vocal.
A very commanding vocal- “Walk with me. Open your sensitive mouth and talk to me.” Yeah, that helps set the tone. But considering how in control she was in “In Your Room,” I guess it’s only fair that it’s his turn.
Another interesting lyrical thing- he’ll say things in the verse and then in the bridge to the chorus, he repeats them again, but in a slightly different order, and the vocal gets more aggressive. Then the chorus- “When I come up, when I rush, I rush for you.”
Then… omg… the guitar in this song! Heck, I don’t know if it’s even a guitar or a synth. But it sounds so amazing. It plays a chord and then it plays the same, but ends it on a slightly higher note. Each time we get to this part, I lose my freaking mind. Throughout the song, I’m drumming my fingers.
Then after two choruses, it completely slows down. His voice sounds lethargic. It’s like this for two verses. Then towards the end, a synth note comes in and it sounds familiar. Then the familiar synth line from the end of the chorus bridge comes in… it builds and builds… pauses “I rush for you!” and then the killer solo is back. A few more exchanges.
Then all hell breaks loose, as if the two different chords fused together into one entity. I swear, one day I’m going to YouTube to see if someone recorded this from a concert cuz it has to kill everyone when it’s done live. I know it’d probably kill me 😛

Higher Love-
This was another early standout from that first listen.
A synth builds a little in the background, painting a soundscape. The vocal comes in, a thoughtful vocal like I’m used to hearing from Martin Gore. He seems so in awe of this love and he’s just savoring every moment of it.
It’s called higher love, but I never hear that– I hear him “by a higher” at the end of each chorus. [listening to it again the following week- I do hear “higher love” but the two words are so jammed together, it’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins]
The music changes completely after the first chorus and it holds more sway than it did. Instead of being introspective, it sounds like it’s gaining more sway. Or at least I say to the beat when this part comes in. Like one of those parts that fits in a figure skating step sequence.
The vocal gets a little more emotional as the song goes on and it sounds amazing.
My favorite part is the end where he just says “by a higher” at the end of 4 measures. Every other time, there’s a synth hook that comes in and after it hits and it echoes and fades. This caught me by such surprise the first time I heard the song, it was like a wow moment that helped redeem the album a bit for me.
Admittedly, after hearing the song a few times, I know to expect it so it’s not nearly as thrilling as it used to be.

No way, I’m sure I’ve heard Rush more than twice on my iPod. I can’t remember if this was one of those albums I took off of it for a while. I might have. But of all the songs, Higher Love has 6 listens, so I’ve clearly heard it the most.
Although today, I had extra time so I did Mercy In You and Rush a second time.

But with this album overall- it sounds better on headphones. It doesn’t blow my head off the same way with the stereo. Even though I did crank it a bit more than I should have 😛

this week, I also thought I’d be able to get a certain album out, but it wound up being
…and I’m not just a little frustrated about that because it’s the best album of the whole set, but because “precious” is on the other album. I’d like that impression to be fresh when I get to the Greatest Hits disc, so I think what I might do is just skip it on “Playing the Angel”

Figuring out what my favorite album of the five is comes down to a couple things. I thought Violator would be it because of the immense highs it has. But it also has some tracks you could call “skippable”… every one of these albums has something in that I don’t particularly care for. And Violator has three- and of course they’re the tracks that follow the heavy hitters.
“Waiting for the night to fall” is the breather mid-album track the way “Sister of Night” was on Ultra. It doesn’t waver too much from where it sits on the chromatic scale, both musically and vocally. And it’s only really good as a breather.
ok, why the hell is this song called “Blue Dress?” The first lyric is “put it on” but the actual title is never spoken in the song. It’s another breather track as well. But then “Clean” follows- it has some interesting dynamics, but the synth hook in the main instrumental sounds kinda weird to me. Then the chorus is “Clean- the cleanest I’ve been” and he rhymes clean with “routine” and “seen”… it’s not exactly catchy or creative. In its defense, though, “Clean” is the best closing of an album aside from “Higher Love”… that song is freaking awesome. The other endings have just been weird or uninteresting and I skip them a lot of the time.

Then we have the other 6 songs… yeah, this album only has 9 songs and it does a lot in that time.

Personal Jesus and Enjoy the Silence are Greatest Hits, so I don’t need to rehash those. But it’s fascinating how the endings of the songs are so different from how they are on the Greatest Hits disc. The first has an extended ending. The second: they actually say “enjoy the silence” and there’s an instrumental coda that kinda helps set up the song that follows.

So that just leaves 5… of those 5, I think 2 are exceptional, but the rest I enjoy a lot as well.

World in Your Eyes is a good introduction because the music gives you a taste of what to expect for the rest of the album. It tells a good story and it kind of is suggestive. A lot of their songs could easily be about sex. But I think that goes for a lot of pop music anyway 😛
Their synths are really cool in general and this is just another example. In between verses, it sounds kinda spacy. Then it happens twice where you hear a sound swept quickly from one speaker to the other and the music picks up pace. “That’s all madness- nothing more that you can touch now- that’s all madness”… ok, it’s actually “that’s all there is”… madness sounds so much cooler even if it makes less sense.
But playing this song alongside the original Spyro the Dragon game, the music feels like it fits perfectly into it. It has one tempo, it has a couple twists and turns and then it fades out. Stewart Copeland’s score for that game is so good, yet I like to play all kinds of stuff on top of it for some reason.

The Sweetest Perfection is one of those songs they’ve done many times- a song follows a main slow groove and then it builds little by little as the song goes on. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This is one of those cases where it does. All these little sound effects get thrown in throughout it. There’s an interlude where it sounds like a string section. Then towards the end, the sound just blows up and it’s so cool. It kinda reminds me of the core melody of “Haunted” by Taylor Swift, although I should said her core melody sounds very similar to this cuz this song came first.

For middle of the road tracks, those are some really good ones. Actually, they’re above-average.

The final two monster tracks… OMG! They’re the best parts of all the albums, although “Rush” and “Higher Love” are really good too.
But they are something else.

Halo- I had the craziest amnesia about. I knew that the song was a stand-out, but I couldn’t remember how it would go. Then when I played it for the first time in a while, it all came rushing back. My body swayed back and forth to the beat like it was second nature.
Fact: this song is the reason why I took this album off my iPod for a while… I don’t know what happened, but during the last part of the song where Martin Gore repeats “when our worlds, they fall apart, and the walls come tumbling in, though we may deserve this, it will be worth it”… I just got so pulled into the song and felt this strong emotion I couldn’t explain as happiness or sadness, it was just being in awe. And maybe it was something on the spiritual level. But it was so intense that I had to catch my breath and center myself afterwards.
Only “Precious” and some Prince songs have made me feel like this. If that’s any indication…
So the song starts- some spacy synths, I could only describe as a couple of short notes/blips, with one longer note in the middle and a couple short blips. Then comes the next part of the song- more synths, but they’re more than a couple of isolated notes. It’s a couple of notes held at the same time and they play a couple of different notes. But it sets the tone. I heard those next set of synths and my body immediately fell back in line. Then after that the drums come in.
What caught my attention with this track today was the opening lyric- “you wear guilt like shackles on your feet, like a halo in reverse”– hearing how “halo” was used in this song, it just blew my mind. I’d never heard a halo being used in that context and it really sets the tone. This girl he’s with is very imperfect, but somehow, they come together all the same and the result is pretty amazing. Every now and then in the verses, you hear a lone note from an old grand piano. It’s from the far left of the keys cuz it’s pretty low. It’s a striking feature whenever it comes in. Strings also come in on occasion throughout the verses.
Then we get to that chorus- what makes it really impressive to me- as you get through each line, the tone of the song gets more intense and each line builds on the one before it. Later in the song when the chorus repeats three times, a higher voice comes in to add to the tension. The music in this part then continues on its own a couple more times until the song fades out. Seriously, you’d have to hear it to get what I’m talking about. For a soundscape, it’s really impressive.

The Policy of Truth- this should’ve been on the greatest hits- it has such a great message to it. And when it first caught my attention, it was at a time I really needed it. One of those times where people were very negative about the political atmosphere… particularly this one lyric “never again is what you swore the time before”… meaning I swore not to look through Twitter comments trying to find someone who had the same opinion as I did… it really boggles my mind why people would follow political figures just to tweet them negative comments. I don’t understand it.
Anyway… that really set my mind at ease and I decided not to do that anymore. (I still do follow a couple of them, but only because their comments keep me somewhat involved in politics, without having to interact directly).
I’m still trying to figure out what the whole song is about because it sounds interesting. It seems almost like it’s a continuation of their song “Useless” where it was about someone not listening to another’s advice.
At a glance, it seems like this person is facing the consequences for telling the truth or wanting to find out the truth about something. It’s deep stuff.
The music’s also great. There’s a main groove, then you have a synth riff. At the end of the riff, you have what sounds like an airplane flyby.
Every now and then, the music will change gears and you’ll hear the lyric I just mentioned. It almost sounds like a siren that comes in. Following the lyric, there’s a synth part that sounds almost like brass instruments.
The lyric comes in a couple of times towards the end as well. And then most of the music disappears and you know the end is now and then- neearrrhh… one last flyby. It leaves quite the impression.

So, the final album on this whole journey back through…

Playing the Angel is the most recent- a 2005 release. I don’t know how long these guys have been in the business, whether they started in the 80’s or earlier, but it’s mind-boggling that a band could be around for decades AND still produce stellar material.
I mean, it could be argued that Madonna has done the same thing and I love songs like “Beautiful Stranger,” “Miles Away” and “Masterpiece”… much later than her 80’s heyday.
At the same time… Depeche Mode did something that I only know for sure of Prince accomplishing- decades into their careers, they still had amazing songwriting ability. I’d recently been raving about “Somewhere here on Earth,” which Prince wrote in 2006. Maybe not lyrically perfect, but the musical content- OMG!!- one of his best songs ever, I think.

But I need to cool my jets a little bit because “Precious” is probably the only song off this album that supports my point. I was listening to it again as part of the album, trying to put my own interpretation of it to the side so I could just appreciate it from at technical standpoint. From every angle, it’s a perfect piece of songwriting. The music is memorable and impactful and flows seamlessly from start to finish. And also thought-provoking lyrics. Some of the best they’ve written and I have plenty to back up that point.

However, there are a few other really good songs on this disc as well.
And some, not so much.

I’ll admit, though, that this was the disc I’d listened to the least. As a whole, I may have heard it through maybe twice before. All the other times I’ve come around to it, I’ve listened to three songs. One goes without saying. But the other two… I’ll get to them in a bit.

Most times, I don’t mind when Depeche Mode runs long in their songs. But I had an itch a couple of times that said “I have places to go and I need to finish this album”… a couple songs just ran too long.
“Darkest Star” and “I want it all” run over 6 minutes…
“I want it all” has a nice little message in the chorus: “sometimes I try, sometimes I lie with you”… although it could not be if by “lie” he means “lying”…
“Damaged people” has a similar sentiment (if I have this one right)- “when you’re in my arms, everything makes sense” so it’s nice having that cohesion- plus “Precious” is supposedly about a divorce (one of the few times the guys have actually revealed what their songs are about) and was written for the son caught in the middle of it. But that’s another matter.

I found it interesting also that “Lillian” and “Darkest Star” were right next to each other on the album and it’s like one is a continuation of the other.
Probably the coolest thing about the listen today… listening to “Lillian”- I don’t know how long it was since I’d heard it, but I remembered it IMMEDIATELY. I mean, a lot about this album except for the first couple songs was forgettable to me. So the fact that still clicked in my head- it just sounded and felt cool.
I think I might add that into the mix of great hits beyond the Greatest Hits.

On that, another song from it was here- “Suffer Well”- which is one of the hits that I skip. I don’t really care for it. Part of it reminds me of “Dream on”- the first couple bars of it. Then we get into the chorus and there’s a key change- I half expect to hear the synth notes that count down to the chorus of “Halo”- but this song kinda says on the same tempo the whole time. And the lyrics don’t grab me in particular.

“Macro” is 430 and change, but I just couldn’t get through the whole song. The vocal is also a little over the top and theatrical and it’s almost grating. It does nothing for me and it’s a MAJOR step back after “Precious”… but you also couldn’t follow a big song after that because it’d just kill everyone.

“Introspectre” is a cool instrumental segue… I think it’d be great to have before “Policy of Truth”… I kinda prefer “Enjoy the Silence” when it just fades out at the end- as it does on the Greatest hits and the radio.
It was also kinda funny that I heard it and remembered it. I think days ago, I was recalling it, but didn’t know what song it belonged to, forgetting it was its own little track. There’s an underlying synth creating atmosphere and there’s another one making notes- they sound almost like something from outer space.

“The Sinner in me”- it’s almost a theme with these guys- talking about sin and having to make up for them or keeping them under control. “Strangelove” touched on this a little bit. The vocal is very controlled and doesn’t vary too much.

Which leaves me with the stand-outs…

John the Revelator is a really cool listen. There are some synth notes hit here that just pop and it’s a part of their sound. I’ve heard a similar thing used in songs like “Dream On”- I think… it’s been a while since I’d heard that one. There’s another song I’m thinking of, but I can’t remember which one it is. I like how upbeat the vocal is, but the lyrics tell another story. That this guy is not a good person that he’s being brought up on charges and the band is mocking him.
I mean, they just say “John the Revelator” in this big vocal in the middle of the chorus- twice, in fact, and you want to sing along to it.

For the top…

A Pain That I’m used To
…word to the wise: don’t have your volume cranked before you begin this song. There’s this loud sliding guitar riff that startled me very badly. But once the actual song started, it was all good.
After it goes quiet, there’s a bass that builds in the background and some synth drums come in after. Then a synth playing something of a melody.
You have your first lyrics. Martin Gore singing and sounding so nice as I typically like his vocals and a nice backing vocal supporting him on the end of the lyric on lines 2 and 4. [And I’m finally saying this now… Martin Gore and Dave Gahan are created as lead vocals, but I have no idea who sings what… sorry, Dave, if I’m giving Martin all the credit].
My favorite bit about the song is done twice. You have the two verses that are split in half and have an instrumental solo between those two halves. I love that solo so much. The synth (or it might be a guitar- I have no idea) plays a melody, not your typical melody of course, but it plays 4 lines, the odd ones are identical and the even ones are identical. One ends on a lower note and the other ends higher. Anyway- I listened to it- either the first or second time I heard it- it struck me as familiar. It’s not identical, but it had a similar feel to the main synth hook in “Precious”- with the pulsing synth in the background, it’s like following Plushenko when he skates. It’s that same rhythm that just feels like home.
But the chorus- oh man, that chorus… it is so great! It’s very catchy because it’s the only lyrics in the song I remembered time and time again. The bass really comes to the forefront and the vocals are loud and commanding and the combination is awesome. Then we have that sliding guitar to end it- but it’s not as startling cuz the volume is already high.
Speaking of volume- I cranked up this album so much this morning that I almost couldn’t hear when I was at work for that first hour 😛 I really like this first song, but I’ve found that I like cranking Depeche Mode to 27. (For most people, my volume is at 22– for Prince, I’ll go as high as 31, but no higher… and it’s certain songs)
Kinda sucks how short this song is compared to some others cuz I could listen to this forever 😛

Nothing’s Impossible
I don’t know why, but I’ve played this song right after “Freestate” from Ultra… something about that bass sounds like being in the wild west. And I think I like this one more.
Whoever’s vocal this is, it sounds like it’s modified a bit, but it sounds cool. It’s more dramatic. More great bass. You hear some synth notes and they sound like twinkling stars. Which adds a nice extra layer. This song is very atmospheric. Like much of their music.

I’m gonna have to listen to this one more. But it was so cool how I just recognized it. Usually with some songs, all it takes is one little thing that stands out and I’ll remember it forever. The vocal is the standard for the band, has its highs and lows. At the end of a couple lines in the verses, you have a higher vocal add to the vocal soundscape. I like when they do that and it sounds good. And when it’s good, I will expect it and enjoy every second. But the little thing I remembered about this song- the musical content of it, I don’t think it changes too much. Sometimes the main riff disappears. Once or twice. But the main riff- I think of it as being 8 measures. On the first note in the first measure, there’s this… I don’t know what to call it… but there’s a rapid pop of notes that goes by so fast. When I hear a cool rhythm thing, I remember it. And these days, when I’m feeling music, I shake my shoulders. I did that with this song as if I’d never stopped listening to it.
Then with lyrics… yikes, I hope Lillian wasn’t the ex-wife of the guy who got the divorce cuz they painted a really vindictive picture of her. Really pointed lyrics- so well written.

Damaged People… it’s not going to be among this list of “beyond the hits” hits… but just wanted to say it kinda reminds me of the circus. But there are some many musical changes in it that it’s crazy. It almost sounds like an honest effort to rekindle/reconcile this relationship, but it doesn’t really have a chance.

So anyway… I thought I’d be finishing this post today… but I decided what I’ll do.
Next week, I’ll listen to the Greatest Hits in its ENTIRETY… which I haven’t in a while. I’ll pick my favorites and note the ones I don’t care for… and maybe I can reconcile an ultimate playlist with all the songs I love from all the discs…

ok, so I listened through the entire Greatest Hits albums. For a couple songs, it’s been at least 6 months since I last heard them. (Beginning early 2015 when I first got it, it quickly became a winter favorite). So some songs were great to be back around and others… a little odd.

Shake the Disease, for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling today. It’s usually one of my favorites (my personal top 7 off this disc).
on the other hand, People are People- still as amazing as the first time I heard it, which was before every Depeche Mode song on this disc, with the exception of “Personal Jesus”- I’ve seen the video on VH1 Classic a couple times and just didn’t get the song. Now, I really like it a lot.
I think I’d just had the albums on such heavy rotation these past few months (heck, as long as I’ve had them, practically) that I feel more of a kinship with them right now. Plus, they’re still kinda new. Maybe I’d just heard Everything Counts and Shake the Disease too much.
However, the songs from the hits also on these albums, the familiarity is there and it’s a nice feeling. Kinda odd when most of the time, I don’t listen to the Hits songs off the albums. But Never Let Me Down Again still sounds as amazing as it always did and Walking in my Shoes, I think I have an even greater appreciation for. Although I prefer this version with the record scratches.
Strangelove I saw as a “moment of truth” cuz I didn’t want to get too cozy with the album version cuz I just don’t like the production on it. I can hear some of those bits in the Hits version, but it’s been remastered so certain bits are further back in the mix. [Man, MC from the Peach & Black podcast really has rubbed off on me- I’m using more of his phrases all the time or I’m just more aware of things musically].

Then for whatever reason, I realized I’d been giving “Dream On” too much credit… not saying the song is bad, but I had it confused with “Martyr”- I listened to “Suffer Well” on the Playing the Angel album and just keep thinking it’s this song. And Martyr is the better of the two, but I felt that air of familiarity with Suffer Well, so I liked it a tad more than I used to.

so let’s see… there are 18 songs…

1. Personal Jesus (Violator)
2. Just Can’t Get Enough (Speak & Spell)
3. Everything Counts (Construction Time Again- 3rd album)
4. Enjoy the Silence (Violator- 7th album- 1990)
5. Shake the Disease (stand-alone single)
6. See You (A Broken Frame)
7. It’s No Good (Ultra- 9th album 1997- first album without Alan Wilder- that might explain why the Ultra sounded so different)
8. Strangelove (Music for the Masses- 6th album- 1987)
9. Suffer Well (Playing the Angel)
10. Dream On (Exciter- 2001- 10th album)
11. People are People (Some Great Record- 3rd album… interesting history about this song)
12. Martyr (stand alone from a compilation disc… MY compilation disc, OMG!)
13. Walking in My Shoes (Faith & Devotion- 8th album)
14. I feel You (Faith & Devotion)
15. Precious (Playing the Angel- 2005- 11th album… well, that explains one thing- 11 is my lucky number)
16. Master & Servant (Some Great Record)
17. New Life (Speak & Spell- their debut album in 1981… for my references)
18. Never Let Me Down Again

I’m getting a little bit of history of the band while finding which songs came from which albums. Alan Wilder joined the band on the second album cuz they needed a new synth player (the last one quit). He’s the guy responsible for the dark and brooding nature of their songs. So I really should give him a shout out for helping create these amazing soundscape.
But according to Wikipedia, he left the band after Faith & Devotion. At that time, all the guys seemed to be struggling with issues, mental or addiction related. One almost died of an overdose.
Playing the Angel- Dave Gahan wrote lyrics for the first time for an album… if he’s behind Precious, dude, I gotta salute that guy. AMAZING song.
People are People became a theme not only for the 1984 Olympics (when there was a massive boycott cuz of the Cold War), but the LGBT community (for some reason… I don’t get it). Interesting comment was from Martin Gore, he said he didn’t like the song a lot and he thought it was a little too commercial and too nice. Considering the latest news about the upcoming Olympics, I was shouting “help me understand!” at the top of my lungs… I will spend a paragraph in my next figure skating post about that- I am PISSED!
yeah, all things considered, the song could have been grittier. But I really like how it sounds. It feels like a complete entity, not a verse, chorus, bridge and whatever else. Precious is like that too, where I don’t really feel them as separate parts, but a complete masterpiece. He also made a comment I found super fascinating, saying how he didn’t like how the song was so spot-on with lyrics and he wanted the songs to be open for interpretation. Yeah, I agree. I do kinda like having these songs open. The way they’re composed and how they sound, that’d put unnecessary restrictions on them.
Martyr- I just read- it was used as a promo single for the Greatest Hits 😛 wow! I also heard before that it was a leftover from “Playing the Angel”- but didn’t know it was cuz it was “too poppy”… I don’t think it’s that poppy, but what do I know? I’m not a musician by any stretch.

So anyway… it’s kinda late in the day to go through the songs and see if I like a certain era better or what.

I just know that there are a couple I don’t care for… however few there are, there are a few I’d like to remove.
See You- I couldn’t remember the title of this one at all… it sounds very early 80’s
Suffer Well- I want to swap this one for Martyr… that’s started to grow on me a little bit. While it’s not at the same level as much of my favorites, the fact I’d been recalling it so much and wishing it was on Playing the Angel… that’s gotta mean something.
Master & Servant- as if the lyrical content wasn’t enough (to be honest, a lot of their songs are very racy if you really read into the lyrics… Music for the Masses, the second half littered with songs about sex and controlling relationships), the music just flips around too much. And there’s nothing for me to get a good foothold
New Love- it’s a little too 80’s, kinda like
Just Can’t Get Enough- I do like the song when it comes up, but it’s not one I have to listen to a lot. It also bugs me SO MUCH that they never finish the phrase. I’ve heard it in countless TV ads- “just can’t seem to get enough of you”… FINISH IT, DAMMIT!
Dream On- another nice listen, but I don’t care enough about it to stay invested. I’ve listened to it for the first couple minutes and skipped to the next song.

so far, that is 6 songs off the bat…
I Feel You might be a 7th…
I don’t know if it’s because of its placement on this disc… but I just get so weird on this song. Today, I had my hands at 11 and 1, almost white knuckle, my eyes wide and crazy and I thought my mind was buzzing. Lyrically, it doesn’t do a lot. Vocally, it’s outstanding. Very intense and there are what sound like reeling guitars in the background throughout.
But it’s not at that level of all these kick-ass songs.

So that leaves me with… doing math in my head… 11 songs. 11 amazing Depeche Mode songs.
Now I just need to figure out how to configure my favorites from the albums along with them.
From the Hits:

Personal Jesus
Everything Counts
Enjoy the Silence
Shake the Disease
It’s No Good
People Are People
Walking in my Shoes
Never Let Me Down Again

From the albums (in the order I got to them):
The Things You Said
The Love Thieves
Mercy In You
In Your Room
Higher Love
Policy of Truth
A Pain that I’m Used to
Nothing’s Impossible

15 songs… for a grand total of 26… phew… this is enough for a double album 😛

I need to figure out how to intermingle all the songs so they just flow effortlessly.
I’ve done the playlist thing on the fly before, but I’ve never had this many songs to do it with before. I think the longest stretch I ever did with Depeche Mode was 7 songs. And it usually involves Nothing, Policy of Truth, Mercy In You, Halo, A Pain that I’m used to…

When I was listening today, I thought how A Pain That I’m Used To would be good to put up after Personal Jesus.
Shake the Disease feels like it has a similar vibe to Everything Counts, so I’ll have it follow.
Nothing’s Impossible could follow that. They feel like they feed off a similar vibe.

I think the only way I can do this properly is to put all these songs on my iPod and just experiment… just go absolutely nuts…

But I’ll still post this now and update only when I have a configuration. I’ve said most of what I already wanted to say and this post is already outrageously long. 5 weeks of work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Prince “Album” #31: Indigo Nights

So… there may be a little change of plans for this week after today’s events…

I remember getting Indigo Nights for Christmas the year it came out. It was a year where we didn’t have a whole lot of items on our Christmas lists, so we were asked to add another item or two. I figured- eh, why not? I’ll add this.
I don’t think I knew until I got it that it included music. It was a nice little surprise. With Prince, you never know what to expect sometimes.
Admittedly, I’d only listened to Indigo Nights once since I got it.

After today… I mean, I’m not one to completely dismiss anything Prince does (although it did take me 5 years to watch Graffiti Bridge a second time– but I liked it a lot better the second time), so I’ll give it at least another shot tomorrow.

Through the course of 2017, I’d been spending at least a week, sometimes more, with a Prince album and all its accompanying media (if there were any) and literature (that I had in my possession). After the first decade of albums, I’d been able to do an album a week no problem and end the week with the accompanying Peach & Black podcast. After which, I’ll give my final remarks, rate the songs and score the album out of 10 based on how strong the songwriting, performance and uniqueness of the songs were as well as my own personal feelings.
…imagine me saying these through clenched teeth with a half smile “eh, I don’t think I can do that with this particular disc”

To me, this disc reads as a live Prince concert. Or rather, a couple of Prince after shows (at the Indigo Club in London) where the performances are broken down into 15 tracks. The experience was very similar to hanging with that 3121 live show that someone sent me a while back and I went into on my 3121 post a few weeks ago.
It all runs together as a single entity, so really, I can’t give it a score. If I do, I’d have to do what everyone else on Peach & Black does (well, everyone but MC who used to do the “iTunes score” when he was scoring albums- rating songs out of 5 stars and dividing by the average)- just give it a random number while keeping all the other albums in mind.
However, I’ll need to do some thinking on this if I decide to do that…
The opening was good and I liked “Girls & Boys” with that horn refrain in there (but it’s not quite the same without Eric Leeds- he made that song).
But… I hate saying this… I did not like it that much. I knew going in today that this was aftershow footage and Prince likes to banter during aftershows because they’re a little more casual (although he still drills his band as if it’s the actual concert). But there was not enough of him on this. Not enough actual songs. His attempts at humor during the “Just like U” monologue on track 5… they fell really flat for me. I did kinda like when he talked about this photographer that wanted to retire so bad and he wanted a picture of Prince and Michael Jackson together in order to do that. But beyond that… the line about his mom sending him to the store for “cigarettes and tampons” just ruined it for me. And I freaking read that line in Matt Thorne’s book too. I knew it was coming, but it still fell flat all the same. [It felt like something that his religion would forbid discussing- or that was as risque as he could go within their confines]. His reaction to the crowd reminded me of Tricky in Under the Cherry Moon where he’s like “what?!” to Christopher after the two of them get thrown out of Mary Sharon’s party… the voice was funny.

Also- I mean, these are probably the stupidest complaints to make… I never got to see Prince in concert, so I have no idea to what to expect. And for all I know, the complaints I have are things he would regularly do.
I didn’t like how he barely sung these songs and spent half the time doing monologues and the other half just letting his musicians pick up the slack. The latter, I don’t mind all that much, really. But I was losing my patience with Mike Philips on saxophone. He just KILLED “Satisfied”- one of the better moments in the album and he ruined it with that overlong sax solo. It just sounded awkward and overwrought.
During much of the afternoon, where I started on track 5 and went onward… I just felt lost. He barely sung Delirious or Satisfied. And the songs afterwards, I didn’t know any of them… and I didn’t like them.
Getting to the end of “Beggin’ Woman,” it almost felt like a “Dinner with Delores” situation- where he said she was 3-handed: right handed, left handed and under handed. That’s creative. Even if the entire idea wasn’t his, it was an interesting story for him to tell. By the end, I did kinda like it, but for the majority… the middle of the album was rough.
I liked Alphabet Street, it was kinda cool with that country feel to it, something different. Just maybe a little disjointed with him saying how funky Josh was on bass and taking time to play guitar with him- but they did sound cool together.

I know Shelby J was hanging around there and I heard bits of her early in the album. He also had a guest performer, Beverly Mitchell, who I read he took with him to many of the later shows of the 21 nights. I liked her energy, she brought something new and kinda exciting to the songs she featured on. “Misty Blue” is probably my favorite.

Of course it took until towards the end for Prince to save the night for me…
“Indigo Nights” is track 11… 11 is my favorite number- the 11th track of a certain soundtrack inspired me to write fiction way back in 1999 (purely coincidental it was that same year)… it was kind of a jam session, but he brought in the salsa style piano (or rather, he asked for it). I’m sure I’d heard bits from “Get on the boat” with that salsa part.

Then he had this big finish… I’d heard rumblings of how he’d mix “The ? of U” with “The One” in concert… this is the first time (ok, I’d heard this disc once before, but it was so long ago that I didn’t remember) I’d heard it myself and it was magic.
He started ? instrumental and I’m like “damn u…” for saving that for the end of the disc.
And of course “All the critics love u in London”… I didn’t care for the original song on 1999, but I like how it sounded here live. Maybe a little over long, but it was a good finish for what kinda felt like a dismal effort.

I mean, I feel bad for feeling this way… I never got to physically go to a Prince concert. If I had gone to one like this, I would have been maybe a little disappointed at the time, but after the fact, I’d have been happy I saw him at all.
It’s been a very strange day for me. I said goodbye to Planet Earth last night (although I haven’t taken it off my iPod just yet…) and it was an emotional affair. But “Somewhere here on Earth” is different from what ‘Little Red Corvette’ represented and a different theme from “Way Back Home”… I’m not going to stop liking this song. Not going to stop listening to it just because of how it makes me feel. In fact, it’s a feeling I never want to lose. As much as I don’t want to spend my days mourning Prince, I never want to stop missing him. Does that make sense?
I think it’s up there with “if you still hurt, you’ll know it was real”

Still reading the fiction I wrote that ends with “Mr. Goodnight”- I got to a part where it’s revealed what happened to his first love from the original story I wrote- which was like what it was like before he was famous. (The character isn’t Prince, so much as he’s made up of initial impressions I had of him before becoming a fan)… and I thought that maybe that’s a part in his life I can write about. Channeling those feelings of loss into his character.
Without giving too much away, he experienced a tragedy similar to what he did in real life, but he lost something more in the process.
Too bad I didn’t have this idea when I was reading Mayte’s book cuz that would have been extremely informative. Although I’d be telling the story from his perspective (although still in 3rd person)…

Anyway… today’s been another of those tough “I really miss Prince” days… and this wasn’t quite the right album for that because I had trouble finding that foothold of familiarity.

Meanwhile, I listened to something else from this time… I should have done it during Planet Earth because it came out in 2007.
Anyone remember that PFunk response song he wrote when he sent all those cease & desist letters to Housequake and .org and all these websites that he thought were mishandling his image and distributing unsolicited material? I think Princvault recently posted on Facebook about it because it was the 10th anniversary of its release.
Yeah, I remember being there… that was the beginning of the end of my love affair with .org. After that, everyone was so outrageously negative about Prince that I just didn’t like going there as much as I used to. In fact, there was a short time when, if I posted, I used invisible text. My fellow purple knight deleted his account and later made a new one to come back. I never deleted my account, but I also haven’t logged in for the last several years.
I mean… I was a good fan. The only time I distributed any material- I mentioned having a copy of G-Spot with Prince’s vocals on it and in return, that person gave me the mp3 for the acoustic “Love” (which I’d played a few times over the last few weeks). The rest of the stuff I have, people offered to give me. Sure, I could have just deleted everything I was sent… but I never sought out material. [One exception: I think I got Wendy & Lisa’s first album off another message board site. The opportunity was there with a lot of different associated albums, but that was all I got from it]. Prince has some really generous fans and it’s because of them I have several of these albums.
…It’d be something if more of my albums were gifts opposed to ones I bought myself 😛 I’ll find out by the end of this.
My point is that I never did anything that Prince would have had reason to sue over. Meanwhile, everyone else took it really hard.

The song itself is really cool. I don’t remember if I’d listened to it since the mp3 started making the rounds. I remember it blowing my mind when I heard it. The wonky funky guitar, I knew right away when I heard it. And the Camille voice to boot was nice to hear.
I think the coolest part of it, though, was the fact I was there when the song came out, so I have a piece of Prince history that I actually lived through. That’s pretty cool. Kinda like our own “When Doves Cry” moment- where Prince wrote a song overnight like this.
Although, thinking about it now… Prince has written/recorded several songs in a day before, so maybe it isn’t as extraordinary as I thought at the time.

It just kinda sucked that I felt like I got more out of that song on its own than most of Indigo Nights.

Matt Thorne wrote about the 21 nights and how he actually attended all but 2 of them because they were within a couple miles of his house. It was a pretty cool opportunity. Me personally, I don’t think I’d have gone every night… but if I was in the situation and could afford it, I probably wouldn’t be able to help myself 😛
but he made a comment how a couple of the lesser shows of the 21 nights wound up on the Indigo Nights CD… I think I read a similar comment about the One Night Alone live set… it’s kinda disappointing to hear that… I mean, Prince drilled The Revolution for the August 3rd First Avenue show because he knew they’d be recording the songs for the Purple Rain soundtrack… why didn’t he put that same thought into this? He should have recorded every night and taken the best of it.

It’s also kinda disappointing to hear that, as “legendary” as his after shows are rumored to be, half the time he didn’t even come to them. What’s even the point of the after show if he’s not going to be part of them? I mean, he came up with the idea during the LoveSexy tour because he was running on so much adrenaline that he had to cool down and after shows were how he did that.

Then there’s the part of me that’s wondering if he was experiencing any pain during that time, so he couldn’t go all out all the time despite the fact he booked 21 nights himself.
As much as not having him here is weighing on my mind, the circumstances about it couldn’t be further from my mind. I don’t want that to be part of his legacy. Plus, if I dwell too much on it, the ending is just going to come faster and I don’t want it to.

What I might do this week… because this is like a concert, I want to treat it like that. I don’t want to get overly familiar with it or it’ll lose whatever magic it has. (The whole mythos of a Prince concert… something I never experienced, and I WILL stop mentioning it now)…
so I think I’ll give it one more listen tomorrow during work.
And I’ll listen to the podcast tomorrow afternoon.

And this is a very special podcast because it’s the very first Peach & Black podcast EVER. It’ll be interesting to see what the guys were like back then. I wonder if they were nervous or less composed back then… also, it’s a bit of an awkward album to start on because it isn’t your typical album.

Then I’ll spend the next three days with side projects and associated artists:
Condensate by The Time
White Flags of White Chimneys by Wendy & Lisa
and Friday, I’ll do Elixir by Bria Valente… as a bit of a Segway to the Lotusflow3r set.

It’ll be extra interesting cuz I hadn’t heard those two associated albums before. Bria’s album, I think I’ve listened to twice ever.

so day 2… and again, I think I might have judged a little too quickly.
I mean, for me personally, as far as where this fits in the overall scheme of all his albums, it’s going to be towards the bottom. I don’t think I could put it dead last- that’d be a little mean.
I think the key question is whether I liked it more than the Batman soundtrack. With that one, the quality was good, but there weren’t many songs I felt super invested in.

So if I were to go with my gut, I’d give Indigo Nights 7/10… maybe 6.5…
I’ll figure that out later, but without my trusty patent pending system.

I liked the disc more the second time.
All the things I criticized, now that I know that they’re there, I didn’t mind them as much. The “Just like U” monologue wasn’t too bad.

I think I did make an error, though.
I credited all the guest performers to Beverly Knight… Misty Blue and Baby Love, that was Shelby J. And she sounded better than I’d given her credit for.
But I think the past several times I’d heard her, they were on Prince tracks and I’d rather hear HIM, not her singing over him.

I got to the guitar in “? of U”- no joke, I stopped breathing. I could not breathe during that and I think I would’ve started gasping if I couldn’t manage the tiniest of breaths. It was like he waved his hand over my forehead and knocked me backwards. Something only Prince could do 😛

So I did the podcast and for their first outing, MC, Captain, Toejam and Player did really well. I was going to say that they were more restrained because it was their first time. But then there were a couple of moments where it was super casual.

Player had a few moments in the podcast that just had me rolling over laughing. I think only Captain has managed to do that to that degree. But Player made some priceless comments that I couldn’t have thought up myself.
The killer- him saying “Beggin’ Woman” was the “equivalent of a your momma joke” and he said how the first time he listened to this album was on a bus and he busted a gut laughing at the cockeyed part and people were looking at him awkwardly. Meanwhile, I’m hearing this at work and covering my mouth to keep from bursting out laughing. That’s totally something I would do.

Captain also mentioned tripping over the line from the monologue I quoted earlier (I ain’t typing it again- scroll up!) and he said he had to go over that line a couple of times to make sure Prince actually said that. His reaction- like many of his reactions- was priceless. And we actually had the same reaction simultaneously, which is pretty cool.
I don’t know the exact date I just went heavy into these podcasts, but I just know that I’ve gotten to know him a lot over the past year. And whenever he likes or comments on any of my tweets, it always makes me smile. That I can give him any amount of joy to make up for all that he and the guys have given me… it’s just a great feeling.
And it’s also nice interacting with other fans in general, saying something that they totally get or they like. It feels nice being a part of something like this. I wonder if Prince ever had any idea of any of this… not just me, but all of us- how he connected us like this…

Getting deep now… but I’ll leave it there.

The guys didn’t like the covers so much. I tried to keep an open mind. I mean, I’d been pretty pissy in the past about Prince handing over vocals to other people. So by contrast, this wasn’t too bad. It was just disarming the first time, all those covers, not knowing what was going on. It felt like Prince was barely in the show at points, so there was a major disconnect.

Also disappointed that the guys wrote off “Indigo Nights” cuz it ripped off “Get on the Boat” and put a different name on it. But it being promoted as a new song when it wasn’t… that’s an issue.
Then there were the comments about the book. MC hinted that maybe the ladies would like it… I’m like raising my hand… but I also need to give the book another look through.

And dang it- I can’t finish this post until I do.

On another note… I think I realized something else about “Somewhere here on Earth”… unless I’m forgetting something and with half a dozen albums… it’s Prince’s last great love ballad. I don’t think he ever fell in love again after that. Not even with the idea of love, which that song is kind of about.
And that’s another sad thing to me. Prince did so many good love songs and that’s one of my favorites. That was something I sorely missed from his music from the last couple albums. Then he had, I think it’s called “1,000 hugs & kisses” that wound up on HitNRun Part 1… that was the closest thing I had to feeling that way again.

…anyway, that’s a good way to end for the day. Hopefully I’ll get a little into the book tonight and maybe some more tomorrow. And then I can add some comments. I’m sure I’ll just love the pictures, though.

I thought I’d just give it a look and get through some of it rather quickly.
Nope- I got to Randee St. Nicholas’s introduction and immediately had a million things to say 😛

She was talking about how Prince is all these things, but also by spending time with him, you become a better version of yourself. Something to that effect.
I had a big think about that. And it’s kinda coinciding with how I’d been feeling lately. While my life is good- steadily employed and my manager has said again how great I’d been doing and my family’s all here and good… I feel like there’s something missing. At age 31, I should probably be living on my own by now. Should have had a couple of dates, maybe be married or at least have a steady boyfriend. Professionally, I’m in the right place. But personally- something feels like it’s missing.
While it was an impossible scenario anyway, I couldn’t help but wonder (and I have wondered this a couple times)… if I had met Prince, what would he have brought out in me that I didn’t know I had before? I feel like he might have unlocked something in me and I’d be in the place I’m absolutely meant to be right now. I’d been going to my keyboard a little more this past week, just to pick up some Depeche Mode moments from my favorite songs. Man, if I got one piano lesson from Prince, I’d be so much better than I am.
Maybe I’ll make that my resolution next year- spending more time on the keyboard, getting to know the instrument better so I’ll know better what I’m doing on it. I think other than not having the time, I think why I don’t go on it all the time… I’m nervous to do it with my family around and they’re almost always around. I don’t want to be playing something or trying to play something and have them ask me what it is. I wish I had headphones that plugged into it so only I would able to able to hear it.

Some cool poems on the first couple pages.
It’s a little annoying when he puts himself in the centerfold of the pages so I can’t see all of him. But there are some really sharp pictures. I don’t care if it’s photoshopped or what. It doesn’t matter. Some handsome shots and it’s like he’s right here.
“The Guilty Ones” was probably the best of the original poems I’d come across in here. It makes you think a bit.
And maybe overall, it might not be super special. But I’m glad I have it.

I’ll finish that book tomorrow and I post this after that.

White Flags of White Chimneys by Wendy & Lisa- it had a really good start.
“Balloon” was mesmerizing and cool. I loved the rock’n’ beat of “Invisible,” which was a smack against an ex-lover. “Salt & Cherries” also rocked. “Niagara Falls” is also cool. Then it started to go a little downhill after that. “Red Bike” lost me and I had trouble getting back into the album after that.
Plus, work was getting so monotonous that the music was not helping take my mind off that.
The last song was cool- “waiting for coffee”- saying how a lover is like having a cup of coffee. I liked the lyrics particularly.
I guess I could say that this is another great winter album (which is how I see the Girl Bros), but it can’t be when you have the winter blues. Cuz it might make them a bit worse.

Tomorrow, I think I need to go into Condensate- the final Time album, which is technically credited to “The Original 7ven”… Prince was having spats with his former protégés at this point, saying that he owned the band names and they couldn’t use them to perform. And supposedly he wanted Sheila E. to only play The Glamorous Life and A Love Bizarre at her concerts.
It was a strange time. Makes me wonder if Prince was personally going through something and that was the way he was lashing out about it. Cuz him suing everybody and the thing with the names… that’s very strange, even for a weirdo like him.

But here I am, the weirdo who finds a kinship with him, so who’s weird now?
Sometimes, I don’t know if I’d always been weird, or Prince has freed me to admit I’m weird… or I’m just saying I’m weird to make believe I have a kinship with him. Someone I never met.
Which reminds me that I need to get Judith Hill’s album at some point. Because the one time Prince acknowledged me ever- was over a tweet about her. When I was online one afternoon he happened to be around and I asked him how he found about Judith Hill- The Voice or 20 feet from stardom- he said “neither- an interview”- in all caps as he did at that point.
The fact we had that connection over her- that’s why I should get her album.
I do kinda wonder what became of her now. I know some people said mean things about her, saying she’s a “black widow” because she worked with Michael Jackson and Prince and they died months after they collaborated on something. A little too coincidental for some people. I just hope she hasn’t completely disappeared from the music industry after what happened to Prince. Because it just scared her away from the business. I really don’t know, I haven’t checked her Twitter feed. [Just did- she’s been active for some time, doing shows and saying where you can buy her album. I went as far back as April 21. She was away from social media for almost a month- for someone who worked very close with Prince before his death, I completely understand that]

I also was brainstorming more about another possible fanfiction story… it’s a tough thing to conceive. Especially as someone who doesn’t plan on having children… I can’t imagine losing one and the grief that comes with it. That’s what I was trying to pinpoint today and how that factors in with this character and the Prince character.

The last several nights, I’ve gone to bed with “somewhere here on earth” playing in my head… last night, it wasn’t as loud in my mind, so I think I am running out of time to finish reading my SHOE-Mr. Goodnight story… I think I have 20 pages left.

I don’t think I’ll be listening to Prince much these next few days, if at all.

ok, so I heard Prince three times today 🙄 the first time was totally not intentional and the others were.
they played “little red corvette” on the radio, the first time I’d heard it (or any Prince song) in a while…
I played Prince twice today cuz I had to get away from a certain Ed Sheeran song. The new one. “Perfect” is such a perfectly written sweet song, I don’t want to get sick of it, so I’m only listening to it when I am free to enjoy it. (Plus, it makes me sob and I don’t want to do that in public. Laughing myself to death over a podcast, that’s another matter).
Today, I put Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” in my car and it was the best time. It’s not my favorite album by her, but just hanging out with the music and singing at the top of my lungs.
As much as I love spending time with Prince, being with him exclusively means I have fewer experiences like this. Or makes me appreciate them more.
And I guess it means that every now and then, it’s good to take a break from Prince because it really is a consuming experience. Not just in my mind, but every part of me. You can only fire on all cylinders of your being for so long.

Case in point: The Original 7ven’s Condensate album.
Wow- not counting the introduction, there are 15 songs. An hour of music.

So I go into it and I’m hit so hard with adrenaline and good vibes that I’m running on euphoria for the first several songs.
I mean, I’d heard these guys play in person (although not all of them) so I know they can play… but it was just incredible hearing them on “Strawberry Lake”- just all those instruments on all cylinders, sounding so great. And Morris Day’s charisma was intoxicating- I mean, I saw Graffiti Bridge twice at least 4 months ago, so I hadn’t seen him since them. But still…
Yeah, the first several songs were so good. “If I was Yo Man”- I mean, it was like “Gigalos get lonely too”- he wasn’t playing the same type of character, but it was a softer side of him and I just ate it up.
It wasn’t directly after, but a couple songs afterwards, I felt like I just crashed. Like when someone brings sweets into work and I don’t pace myself, I just lose my energy.
I think I was on that high for so long that I just peaked. Plus, it’s possible that Morris Day’s persona gets old after a while (yeah, shocker, right?)…
I’ll admit that there were some tracks where it just got over the top. There’s one called “Role Play”… that’s kinda icky for a man in his 50’s to be talking about in that manner. Some of the songs were R&B based and the lyrics would fit a 20-30 something rapper better than him and his band/posse.

The last song, though, brought me back from the brink. “GoHomeToYoMan” is an interesting scenario, but it sums up what Morris Day kinda is… a fantasy, an escape. He was that to me during a week when I had to spend time away from Prince. And just the fact he put himself in those shoes- that’s kinda cool and it was a nice resolution to the album.

last day- I gave both albums another listen.
I think the issue I have with White Flags for White Chimneys is not enough variety. It has that variety in the first couple songs, but after “Red Bike,” all the songs feels very low-key and moody and mopey. I need something more upbeat to break it up a bit.

Then Condensate… another great visit, but I tried to be mindful to not run too high on adrenaline and euphoric fumes.
I think I spotted the problem and it’s in the middle of the album. Tracks 8-13, really.
Track 8 is titled “Sick”… it’s kinda icky, actually. Where Morris is saying he’s going to play doctor and he says she’s contagious. And I picked up at the end him saying to stick out her tongue and he has a big tongue depressor. I DO NOT WANT TO PICTURE THAT- EW!!
Track 10- “Faithfull”… something in the music and the rhythm in the chorus, something about it feels off to me. And I don’t care much for the lyrics.
Track 11- “Cadillac”… it was basically a Time-penned chant number. Where Morris is asking if he should take all these cars and the boys keep telling him to take the Cadillac. There’s not much there.
AYDKMN- no idea what that stands for, but it’s probably my least favorite song here.
the last few songs of the album are really good and it has a great start.
I think the biggest issue is that it’s too damn long 😛 I’m used to Time albums being 30-40 minutes long. So there’s easily some filler here.

I went into Elixir on the drive home…
the album just isn’t memorable for me. I’ve heard it three times now and not much of it sinks in. Bria Valente’s voice, now that I’m more familiar with her, reminds me of Mayte’s. And some instances feel like Prince was trying to recapture that. (I wonder if he realized the similarities or they were purposeful- that he actually missed her somewhere deep down).
The first few songs, I’m thinking “the music is really nice to listen to, but she does nothing for me.” There’s nothing special about her voice. And I’d take Mayte over her any day and neither are excellent singers.
One song, I came across and something clicked. So I did remember something. It might be the song with Clare Fischer strings on it “Everytime.” After that, some things clicked. I think because I’d heard them more recently than the rest.
I don’t care for “Immersion” at all- the lyrics are just too on point. Too clinical sounding. As if they were copied from a medical textbook. And I remember not liking the title track “Elixir.” But then I heard Prince’s voice on it and maybe I might change my mind on it a bit.
…yeah I know, it’s been 24+ hours since I’ve heard his voice, so of course I miss him.

“Kept Woman” had me kinda thinking about something, though. I’m pretty independent and don’t like socializing all that much with people face to face. I’m uncomfortable about it unless I really know them. But I thought about how people think Prince World is suffocating and sometimes they need to break free from it to breathe. Other than my family, I don’t feel like there’s a lot out here for me, so if I was someone like him, I wouldn’t care about having a life outside of them. I know that sounds bad 😛 and who knows? I could be in that situation (and it wasn’t abusive or anything- I just like really hanging out with this person where I don’t feel like I need anyone else) and even I would need to get some air every once in a while :shrug:
I relate a little too closely with Bella Swan from “Twilight”- I think. People think she’s nuts cuz Edward seems to be a stalker and possessive or whatever else (Christian Grey is a lot worse). But also cuz she was so depressed after he left. That would totally be me and it kinda offends me for people to say there’s something wrong with you if you feel that way. If you didn’t want to live anymore, okay, that’s different. But let me sink in that misery until I feel like I’ve had enough of it.

Boy- when I don’t have to score an album, all kinds of other crap seems to come out. I’ll be sure to not let the rest of the posts be such a mixed bag like this one was.

I’ll probably add a few more comments about the book (maybe finish it tonight) and then I can move onto the next thing.

Not much to add except a couple things.

There was another cool poem that had some interesting details.
Talking about red lipstick on a glass of wine like a scene of crime.
How this girl can pull you under… she sounds like she’s something.

Then, I totally forgot about this, there were a couple pictures from the “Somewhere here on Earth” video. Prince went to Prague in the early A.M. …one time was around 4am and another was 5am.
Damn, I know he kept early hours, but he did the concert, then the after show THEN the video… I just checked Matt Thorne’s book where he talked about going to the 21 nights shows. Prince did do after shows those same nights. Again, damn… when did he ever sleep?
Also, he looked so good in that video despite being up for so long those nights.
He did look pretty good during those three Jay Leno appearances, 4 if you include his “Somewhere here one Earth” performance for Jay’s last show.
It makes me kinda sad, but he never looked better than this. After 2009, and maybe 2010 (I think I only saw him at his BET awards tribute where he got some lifetime award)… after that, his looks started to go a bit. Like that physical attraction wasn’t there for me anymore. And I’m not referring to his health (although that probably contributed). He changed his look and it didn’t personally suit me.

I think I will have to watch that performance to close this all out. But I think this is a good place to finally end this.

Next week: Lotusflow3r
as well as an epic Peach & Black moment involving a little song called “The Morning After”

Also- a big thanks to my fellow purple knight for the Wendy & Lisa and Condensate albums I listened to this week.

And sorry- no score for this album… I just can’t figure out how to do it 😛 but that’s ok. It still counts towards the inevitable total of albums I have of his. Which is looking to be A LOT, lol.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #30: Planet Earth

I know this is an album most hardcore Prince fans have a severe dislike for… I am not one of those people. But by now, those who’ve kept up with these posts (however few there may be), you should know my tastes in Prince music are not typical.

To put things into perspective, when I joined the fan community in 2007, I never expected Prince to release an album the same year. From memory… my memory sucks… it was my 13th Prince album, 14th CD if you count The Very Best Of…
The release felt like it was out of nowhere for a lot of people, including me. I think at the time, it was a rumored new album, but I didn’t think I’d lay eyes on it. Needless to say, I got it. I remember it being at Target in Summer 2007, sometime after 7/7/07 day when I bought 4 albums, plus 3 from other unrelated artists. I spent over $100 in music (but FYE had a great “buy 3 used, get one free sale”– Richard Marx Greatest Hits is pretty great for free). And that was also a day Prince played three surprise gigs in MPLS.
I don’t think I looked at the album credits at first. But I remember marveling at the holographic cover and how handsome Prince looked on it- particular on the inside cover.

For me personally, this was a pretty special moment. This was the first time an album was newly released and I was a newly minted fan. So for the first time, I was experiencing a new Prince album at the same time as everyone else. Being an active member of .org at that point, I decided to stay off it for a while so I could spend time alone with the album and get my own thoughts before engaging with everyone else’s.
I am SO GLAD I did. I never went on the individual pinned threads dedicated to each of the 10 tracks, but I realized within a month that the new album didn’t have many fans. Most people hated it and I couldn’t understand why. Granted, it was shiny and new to me and it was my first new Prince release… so I had my own little biases. But I found it increasingly frustrating that people said over and over what a disaster it was. Yet these same people said The Rainbow Children was his worst album ever and were now heralding it as a masterpiece. I figured their “excuse” was that Planet Earth came out, so by comparison, The Rainbow Children was a masterpiece.
That kind of logic pisses me off, I’m sorry.
It’s so hard to believe that this album turned 10 this year. I mean, as great as 3121 was, I’m proud to share my tenure of fandom with this album because it fit the image I had in my head of Prince perfectly. That he was this mysterious person with incredible talent whose music, at times, exuded magic. And that’s a quality this album has for me. A certain kind of magic.

Going off on another tangent… I modeled my scoring system for reviewing Prince albums after the figure skating scoring system, which has two sides of a coin that make up a total score. On the one half, there’s the technical score, which rewards talent, prowess and execution of elements. On the other, there are components, which rewards some subjective qualities like interpretation. The way figure skating typically works, the technical score runs higher than components for skaters who display greater skill on jumps, spins and so on. (Difficulty of elements and how well they’re executed comes into account as well… but that doesn’t into play here so much as originality does). When components scores run higher, a skater either doesn’t have the most difficult elements in their arsenal or they don’t/can’t execute them as well as they should. Or there are cases of score inflation where skaters favored by the judges get their components scores buffed when they fail on the elements.
The point of this whole paragraph… in the case of all but one Prince album, the technical marks have outweighed components. An album can still get a good score out of 10 because the elements are done very well, but I might not be a fan of certain songs. In a preferred scenario, both scores would be even and I believe that has only happened once. However, there was one album where components outweighed technical merit… and it was the 2nd album.
Because of when this album was released, I have a gut feeling that I’m going to be buffing the components of this album because certain aspects of it are not the strongest Prince has, as MC would say, “put to wax.”
Yes, I can admit that this album is not his strongest effect. Heck, listening to it today, I think I’m going to give every song 1/2 a point on lyrical content. As magical as the music is and how much his charisma oozes on this album, there are a lot of clumsy lyrics and every song has one line where I’m going “uh…”

Matt Thorne has a whole chapter on Prince’s 21 nights at London’s O2 and there is a book on that that I have (and I will be going into Indigo Nights at another point as well). But he did have some comments on this album. Some I can concede to and others had me shaking my head just like usual.
I’ve heard some pretty rude comments about this album, so hearing anything positive is nice.

It surprised me to learn that Wendy & Lisa, who were listed in the album credits, I found later on, they only took part in two songs- The One U Wanna C and Resolution. Seriously, Lion of Judah sounds so much like their sound. If they didn’t perform it on, they had to have influenced the song somehow. It’s unmistakable.
The three points that made me balk and cringe… how he dismissed “Somewhere here on Earth” just because Prince mentions a pager… even worse, that he said “Mr. Goodnight” was “funny”… and calling “All the Midnights In the World” an angry song… oh, and he also called “Chelsea Rodgers” the only highlight of the album.
I listened to the Peach and Black review last year, literally bracing myself for them to not having anything good to say about the album. I made a comment about this album and the comments I read in the book and Captain replied, saying to brace for their review. I told him that I heard it once already and “the negativity wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.” I do remember them not getting “Mr. Goodnight” and MC being VERY hard on “All the Midnights”- as hard, if not harder, than he was on “Beautiful Loved and Blessed”… and that he hadn’t heard “Resolution” since reviewing the album.

Of the 10 songs, I will concede the most on “Resolution.” I can’t remember the last time I heard it, but the last several times I’d played this album, I stopped after 9 songs. I am not kidding. I was with it for a little while, but there came a point where I just couldn’t take it anymore and just stopped listening.
But I really ought to go in order starting with track 1…

Planet Earth- the song- the piano struck me right away, then the lyrics… within a line or two, I recognized them immediately. I can’t find the video on YouTube, but Prince presented at the NAACP awards in 2007, reciting a poem that wound up becoming the first verse of this song. That realization was incredible. The drums were striking (listening today, I immediately recognized them as Michael Bland drums).
The instrumental break with a bunch of ad-libbing to the beat of what sounds like a metronome. Fake synth horns came in when it went full instrumental and that was magic.
Then it ended with this killer guitar solo… it blew me away so much I had to take a breath before the next song started.
(wow- this was recorded during the same sessions as some Lotusflow3r material. Opening and closing tracks, Wall of Berlin, Colonized Mind, Love like Jazz, all within 3.5 hours, that’s wild… only performed live in 2007 during his London residency)

Looking at it now… yeah, the lyrics are pretty cliché and cheesy. Prince sounds genuine in saying them, but sometimes I do have moments where I’m not wholly engaged. But that’s ok. He isn’t pouring it on as thick as he did on The Rainbow Children. The lightness of the music kinda breaks it up.

One thing that stuck with me on the first listen… in the beginning, every other song just made me wanna get up and dance. And that was such a cool feeling.

Guitar- I’ll be honest. It’s because of this song that I got to like Fury as much as I do now. There came a point where something just clicked and I found enough similarities in the two songs, how they’re put together and how they sound. If I like this one, I have to like Fury. And listening to it earlier today, it was so good.
Obviously, on this first listen, I loved the guitar on this song. It just sounded so bouncy and alive. I think some people complained, saying that Prince stole the guitar riff from U2. Yeah, well, U2 stole the Grammy from Sign o’ the times.
This is maybe the first time I really listened to the lyrics- she sounds like a Lolita type, but his dissing of her is taken to the next level. Quite a few, actually. Saying she’s a girl who’s promiscuous who “can’t do it by herself” so she has to get someone else- high or delusional enough to call on him, but she can’t reach the bar he’s set for his partners.
The interesting thing about this album… Prince seems like he’s freer than he had been. He’s newly single and more than willing to mingle. But then halfway through the album, he seems to want to settle for something more serious. Which is weird coming from a guy who’d been married twice and hasn’t been able to make it work. But I’m not gonna overanalyze that part of his personal life. I just know that the person he is in this album, he’s a dream.
Back to the this song, though, the lyrics are pretty goofy at points, but I can forgive them most times because the whole vibe of the song is upbeat and fun. (last performed in January 2016)

Somewhere Here on Earth- even by this early point in 2007, I’d already started to notice that Prince puts his ballads on the third track of the album. And this is another one of them. But this was the first dream of a song I just fell head over heels for. From the very first seconds- the needle falling on the record, the flute, the simple drumming, the trumpet. Prince seems to have been featuring piano in this decade more than any other and his work has never sounded better. This song is so visual where I can picture every instrument in the room being played. As much as I like the music video and how it’s such a breathtaking concept, it doesn’t match my vision and it upsets me that it’s hard to get my original vision back.
Today, I think I had the best glimpse of that in ages. The opening shot, I imagine kinda being in a courtyard from Disney’s Hercules after dark with a couple statues. Then we’re inside an old piano bar- it throws back to an older time, but it’s present day. Prince is at the piano on the stage and there’s an accompanying drum player, flute player and trumpet player. Prince is dressed as he would be in the actual video in the bedroom scenes. Beyond that, I’m still trying to figure out if he’s just performing or if this girl comes in and whether they meet at the end of the video.
The dates of these tracks being recorded is very sketchy, but Princevault “believes” it was March 2007. Which leaves me free to fantasize that he wrote this song about me even though we’ve never met.
The only lyric that’s a little meh is the pager line “in this digital age, u can just page me. I know it’s a rage, but it just don’t engage me like the face 2 face”… but I might be willing to overlook that. And Player or Toejam commented on the podcast that the trumpet is a little loud. That never bothered me before, but with repeated listens, it could potentially. One of his best vocals EVER- one of those occasions where you could say that he got better with age and has never sounded better. I love singing to this one and sometimes I just get so swept up in it.
And today, a certain lyric, I just tripped over- “as long as I’m here on Earth”… unless you count his ashes in Paisley Park, he isn’t anymore… yeah, tripping is probably a good way to call it. Listening to his music is the best distraction there is from that fact, but every now and then, that comes back. But that won’t ruin this song. It’s too good.
(last performed live March 2016)

The One U Wanna C- well, it’s not Guitar. That’s probably the better song of the two, but this one grew on me a bit since the first time. The whole vibe of it makes me think of summer and the boardwalk. Matt Thorne said Prince might owe The Cars for it- I don’t know if that means he stole something from one of their songs or the vibe is similar or just cuz he was playing one of their songs regularly at his concerts at that point. I love the backing vocals that come in after the second chorus and come throughout the song. It makes it sounds fuller.
However, the bridge to the final chorus that starts with the girl not having to fix her hair or shave her legs if she’s not seeing him… the song kinda falls short and doesn’t quite recover. (there’s also a lyric where he says “too over it to be put under any spell the blind fisherman could cast”… that whole metaphor, I could not decipher the first couple times and when I read it, I’m like “uh, no…”. I get what he was going for, but it just sounds, I’m sorry, terrible. Unless it’s a cliché that I haven’t heard before, it sounds like a metaphor someone with far less talent than him would come up with. One of his biggest duds of a lyric he’d ever written) The vibe and instrumentals and backing vocals are all good points, but it might not be as well done. I kinda like it, but I don’t like it too much either.
(performed maybe twice ever- in 2007 and 2009)

Future Baby Mama- the Linn-drum (after a few moments in the previous song) fully comes back and casts a spell that lasts for some time. The first time I heard it, I didn’t have any idea what the hell it meant. Now I know it’s slang in the African-American/black community that guys use for their steady girlfriends, or maybe their wives. I have no idea. It’s an odd term of endearment. And it’s weird that Prince is, all of a sudden, picking up slang like this and using it in his lyrics. I don’t know if he’s been picking it up from people he knows in church or other artists in the R&B community. But to me, it’s odd to hear him picking it up. Maybe because I’m white and it’s hard for me to connect when it’s not lingo I’m familiar with, from a community I’m not a part of.
But aside from the title, the rest of the song won me over within minutes. The only other thing was the flow of the chorus. The first time, it sounds so nice. “Show me one of them and I’ll make her mine with no more drama”… every other time, he’s like “show me one of them and I’ll make-her-mine”… he lets the lyrics breathe the first time and then for whatever reason, he rushes them after time after. Saying each word in one beat instead of two.
And there’s this line about “Cinderella was a waste of time, then oops, she’s out the door”… no idea what that means. Possibly, Mayte is Cinderella, how he felt that her foot was the perfect for his slipper, or some sort of metaphor like that. I don’t know. It just seems like an odd lyric. Yeah, lyrics are an issue on this album.
What won me over is the final part where he speaks in that smooth voice, saying Paris, London and so on. I had a dream late that August where he asked me if he was going to see him in London and he said it exactly like that.
(Just gotta say- why was this the song nominated for the Grammy and not “Somewhere here on Earth”? The Grammy win is inconsequential- SHOE is the best song on this album!… not played after 2007)

Mr. Goodnight- that was the unexpected pleasure of the album. Never expected him to do anything like this. Almost every time I’ve listened to it, it’s been a dream I’ve had unfold before my eyes. At one point, I decided to write a story, another fanfiction that kinda takes place after the previous one I wrote where the character based on him was first getting his start in the business. This is many years later, in present day. He’s at a place like Paisley Park where he has all this staff, but he’s alone. He has a dream about the girl that inspires “somewhere here on Earth,” he actually meets her… “Mr. Goodnight” was the end goal of the story. And I’ll have to spend this week revisiting it. It’ll be the first time I’d read it start to finish since I finished it ages ago.
The rap might be a little cheesy and something other R&B artists would do. But they don’t have Prince’s charisma. I’m not going to fight to the death over this song to defend it because I’d probably die in the scuffle. Fact is that I get a lot out of this song and as sad as it makes me to be alone in my opinion of it, it’s fine. I get to have that fantasy all to myself.
[But it does bug me that people hate the Spanish man line, thinking it’s offensive or cliché or whatever the hell… I didn’t think of this guy as the little guy from Fantasy Island. I thought of him on the same pay grade as the chauffeur who took the limousine to the tarmac, with the same degree of class. I certainly don’t see him as a stereotype, no matter how Prince phrased it in the lyric]
After hearing the 3121 live show someone sent me, I think I know who Mike Philly is. He had the vocoder singing “Crazy”. I saw Chocolat because of this song, but I didn’t care for it. But I’ve also had a mouth full of raisinettes (real, not metaphor) trying to imagine what that’d be like. Really, no joke. I’m not sure if it’s as much a turn-on as he thought it was.
As much as I like the song, there are still some dodgy lyrics.
(performed in 2011 and 2016 in sampler sets only… makes sense)

All the Midnights in the World- I always thought of this as a nice little pop song. I like the “Wonderful Life” reference because of how random it is. The “spiritual food” line is a little weird and random, but not in a way I care for. Yeah, maybe this song is below Prince’s level of ability and he could write this in his sleep (maybe he did… who knows?). But it’s a nice way to end that trifecta of songs.
I heard a few lyrics differently than before- how people are jealous of the two of them together and he tells her not to worry about that and he just wants to shower her with affection and all the little jewels and gems he can afford. (never done live)

The way Prince presented himself in this album, saying how lonely he is and how he’s willing to shower anyone with affection and all his money if it means not being alone… it’s a nice sentiment, but it also makes it seem like he’s never been married. And he has been twice. Not trying to criticize, but it offers the question of what more could he possibly want to finally get that relationship that sticks.

Chelsea Rodgers… oh man, when I first heard this on the album, it was the worst feeling ever. It was like waking up from the dream of that trifecta and seeing a completely different picture. And it, honestly, pissed me off that not only did it wake me from that dream, but I was the only person who hated it being on the album. It doesn’t fit on it at all! Every other song has a certain something in its production that fits in the overall scheme. This has nothing like anything on the album.
Over time, I have let all that go and now I can have fun with it. I know she’s based on a real person that Prince had been seen with. He filmed the music video at a fashion show where she was on the catwalk. I like all the things he used to describe her. Some odd lyrics, but most of them are just fun to think about. The horns are amazing on this. The drums are great. I think the one thing about the song I’m still not fully on board with… Shelby J. Her voice doesn’t appeal to me at all. And I feel like when she performs with Prince, she takes over the vocal when I really want to just hear him. As strong and unique a voice it is, his voice is why I’m here.

Lion of Judah- I love the vibe of this song. It makes me think of the beach again, riding down the road with the top down. The title tripped me up for the longest time. I don’t remember hearing that anywhere in the Bible, not that I’m super familiar with it other than the basics. So I didn’t get what this song was about or what he was trying to tell.
I’m getting now that this is a new relationship that’s gotten serious and he wants to protect it from the press and the paparazzi, striking his enemies down because he wants to hold onto this relationship and not let anyone else get in the way of it. The backing vocals on this kill me- they’re so good. Between them and the main guitar, they are everything I love about this song. As it spirals towards the end, it reminds me a little bit, now, of the end of “Anything But You” by Wendy & Lisa. And I mean this in the best way.

If I could have my way, the album would end here… but there is one last song. and this week I’m bringing it back into the set list, even if I have to finish the album in the parking lot by the mailboxes.

Resolution- this is such a catchy fun sounding song… but it has some pretty lame lyrics. Wondering why people fight and continue to have wars and if they really want resolution at the end of it. After a point, I just got so sick of that holy-than-thou attitude or just the naivety of the notion of it… I’d rather just hang with the first 9 songs and it’d be the perfect album.
Sadly, I think this is the one song that’ll keep this album from getting a high score.

For me, I don’t think there are any songs I’d personally less than a 3.5 so the components scores should be decent. It’s the technical score that’s going to let it down. Especially if every song is going to be marked down by 1/2 just for lame lyrics.

But the one thing that’s going to matter at the end of this is just me still enjoying the album and having this special bond with it. Nothing’s going to change that and no amount of negativity other fans feel have towards this album will change that.

day 2

I woke up this morning with Love and Satisfied bubbling around in my head and one time during work, I thought about playing them. But I decided against it cuz I didn’t want to be off in the distance daydreaming about Prince when we were kinda in a bind. (Had some technical issues and they finally reached my material after I left yesterday).
Anyway- Prince was as far from my mind as he could be, so as could be imagined, it took me a while to find my way back to him during this album. (Having to go up the left lane to go around 3 garbage trucks didn’t help. Plus all the cars on the road, PLUS I only give myself a small window to listen to this album cuz I want to do it at the point in the drive when I have the fewest things to worry about).

I didn’t fully get a foothold until the last minute “somewhere here on Earth”… the title track and Guitar kinda passed me by (although I was still head-bobbing to “Guitar”- I can’t not).
This song was about to do the same.
Then there came a point where everything came together- “I know u hear me like a whisper in ur ear”… I heard that lyric and my throat closed up. Not because I was sad or overwhelmed about him or anything else. It’s like he subconsciously told me to “shut up and listen” but without those exact words. And sure enough, the final lyrics got me choked up (although not tearing or crying) just like the past few times. I think this scenario had happened to me once before and it was pretty cool. But I think this time, it took me longer to find my singing voice again. Probably for the best- as much as this album has personal meaning for me and I know it so well, every now and then, I need to appreciate Prince and let him do his thing.
Then I was half thinking how this song was making me want to just drive to Minneapolis and see him. As if I was the girl he wrote about. I really hope I’ll be able to get to Paisley Park one day. I won’t be able to see him, but his very unique urn is on display, that would satisfy me. Although I’m afraid if that day comes, I’ll have a complete meltdown.

…ok, enough with those dark thoughts.

I don’t think any new revelations came about while listening. Most of my thoughts were about the same. But by the end of “Mr. Goodnight,” I needed a breather… just fell under his spell all over again and I loved every minute of it.
Of course my voice came back for Chelsea Rodgers and I flubbed a whole bunch of lyrics (that’s a song I don’t know all that well- that and Lion of Judah, I think that has a lyric I still have no clue what he’s saying, so I might have to dock him on vocals and lyrics on that song- it’s at the end of the second verse and has something to do with gypsies…)

So I’d listened through the album another time (I wound down Thanksgiving night with this album in bed) and did the podcast today.
Kinda funny now that Captain and I had that exchange on Twitter about me hating criticism of this album, him saying to brace for the podcast and I say it’s all good… then he winds up giving the album a 6/10 :falloff: the other guys gave out 7’s and 8’s.

Also- were the guys remotely aware of how much this album was based on .org? I don’t remember anything specific, but people were so mean to it. They didn’t mention any of that at all. Someone said that they were going to do this album review and the people they talked to said they need to take the album back out for another listen cuz it’s been a while.

I think it was Player that said that Prince trivialized war in “Resolution” and that’s why the song doesn’t work. I think that’s the best way to describe it. MC said he would never listen again. This podcast was back in 2009, I wonder if he held true to that. I know for a fact I hadn’t listened to it the last few album listens before this week. Just because I don’t get a whole lot out of it and I don’t like the trivialization. Which sucks because if he had a completely different set of lyrics in this song, it’d be so good. I mean, it’s so catchy. I recalled the words almost immediately despite not having listened to it in a while and I’m singing along like a complete dork because Prince can write a good melody. Or it’s just a very easy one that anyone could have done.

I think it was also Player who said the Zuzu Petals lyric from “All the midnights,” he thought was a reference to the character in “The Adventures of Ford Forlaine”… OMG- I remember when I watched that movie. I caught part of it once and wanted to see the whole thing another time because Morris Day was in it. But he had such a small role. It was pretty funny with Dice Man as the lead and he also had a voiceover narrative. I totally forgot Zuzu Petals was the name of the girl he was trying to protect. C’mon, guys, you know the movie “It’s a Wonderful life” right? It’s in the bloody lyrics- “like Zuzu’s Petals, a wonderful life the 2 of us shall lead”
Mind you, the one lyric doesn’t make sense with the other. Zuzu’s petal was significant in the movie because George Bailey had them in his pocket before Clarence showed him what the world would be like without him and the fact he didn’t have them showed him that he wasn’t imagining the world around him. That strikes him with more horror than his missing life insurance policy. According to Matt Thorne’s book, Prince was a big cinepile, so a “It’s a Wonderful Life” reference wouldn’t be too unusual. But the connection “Zuzu’s Petals, a wonderful life”… it’s like he just picked a random reference from the movie and then the movie itself… to me, it’s a tad odd, but I like this song better than most.

Early into the podcast, though, I was shocked to find the actual song clips in it to precede each track discussion- the early episodes didn’t have them. But I also had a weird realization… just how out of place the songs felt to the environment I was in… I realized that I’d never listened to this album with anyone else. I’ve always been by myself- whether I was in my room or in my car…
it made me realize why this album felt so personal to me. I may have heard people talking about it and discussed it with other people in the fan community. But I’ve never experienced it with anyone else at the same time in the same room. Then add how this album captures Prince as I perceived him in the beginning of my fandom and the magic he and his music was to me. Nobody else will have the same experience with this album the way I do and that feels pretty special.

As for listening it the other night… oh man, it was the best experience. It’s a short 45-minute long album, but the songs felt like I could hang in them forever. With Prince, that’s why it should be.
However, listening to upbeat songs like “Guitar” and “The One U Wanna C” while laying in bed… it doesn’t quite work. I’m used to being sitting upright, grooving at my waist lane and bobbing my head. Plus, coming after “Somewhere here on Earth”… it took me a while to bounce back from that. Yeah, I was almost a sniveling mess by the end of it, but it wasn’t because I was sad or depressed. It was just… emotional. And nothing can really follow that.
I think I was also present in every song but “Lion of Judah”- for some reason. I think sleep was starting to find me at that point. Either that or the music in it is so calming and washed over me like waves that it was almost like one of those environmental records.

I made a comment on Twitter that got a like… I just realized that Planet Earth, it really doesn’t work as the title for the album cuz only the first and last songs really have anything to do with that concept. Guitar and Chelsea Rodgers are side stories. Tracks 3-7 to me play out like Prince put a personal ad in the newspaper and he’s single and ready to mingle… but if he used this album as a personal ad to attract a new girlfriend or future wife, I’d respond to it without question.
At the moment, I really can’t think of another album that’s like this where it’s just a big ol’ fantasy.
Toejam also made a comment how this album has a dreamy sound to it… I squee’d… It’s so funny how my username DreamyPop has really gone on to define my tastes in Prince music. Originally, I hope those words together with Royalty to describe him. I saw him as a popular musical artist, royalty cuz his name is Prince but he’s also a top tier musician as far as being respected in the musical community and the Dreamy part comes from how he affects me with his music. He puts me in a trance when the music and all the elements hit me just right 😉 no other artist really does that for me, so he’s unique in that sense.

I’ll be honest… I’m not just afraid to score this album, but I half think I might not be able to do. Cuz for me on a personal level, it’s in a class of its own. And part of me will hurt inside if it doesn’t score well.
I still need to think about some songs- but others, I’d really been debating about lyrics.
In particular, Somewhere here on Earth… do I want to take away for the “digital age- page me” lyric? And nobody actually mentioned the trumpet- except Toejam said it was him playing it.
I have to try to be subjective as I am with all the albums… but this one will be really hard.
I said I might pad the components scores, but I think that’ll only go as far as giving some 3.5 tracks 4’s.

Ending the night with the few videos I can find. In the Facebook group I’m a part of, someone months ago shared the Guitar and One u wanna c videos… the latter is no longer on YouTube or downloadable. I did see Guitar, though… it was a performance video with Cora on drums and him on guitar (duh!) with the Twinz… that song just gave me a second wind, but I should probably wind down.
Earlier, I saw the Chelsea Rodgers video- and there wasn’t enough Prince in it for me. It focused more on Shelby J and of course Chelsea herself… I think what really annoys me about Shelby’s vocals is how she repeats “soul” at the end of the chorus… just irritates me.
And I’ll end with Somewhere here on Earth… after that, I’ll decide if I play all the other songs or not… I think I’ll still be listening to this album alone while I do my puzzle page tomorrow. I don’t want anyone else to occupy the same air space while listen. Just keeping up with that tradition I’ve apparently had since day 1 with this album.
I think what really got me yesterday was I was picturing Prince just at piano performing the song at a small club and just losing himself completely in it. Yeah, that’s just so good.
I think I’ll just leave the discussion for the video. it’s the last impression I want to have of Prince before calling it a night.

I had the video saved, but for whatever reason my computer said it couldn’t play it… thank God for YouTube, and sadly, it’s because of Prince’s death the video was still available to view.
In my opinion, Prince has never looked more handsome than he does in that video. The whole time, I’m jealous of how hot the girl is, but I’m dying for them to find each other even though they never do. And again, there’s that instinct where I just want to get in my car and drive to Paisley Park. Never mind that I’m several states away and I’m out of vacation days for the year… I wanted to go to be there with them, even if his urn isn’t on display as I picture in my head.
But I had tears streaming down my face as I laid in bed, close to sobbing on that last lyric… he’s no longer “here on Earth”…

So this morning, finally to my point… I woke up around 7-ish. On any given Saturday, if nothing’s going on, I like to be up at 9am. No earlier. I had Planet Earth the song playing in my head, so I just followed it and the rest of the songs without putting on my iPod- and it was right there too. In my mind, I saw how I’d rate it with numbers, so I figure now would be a good item to do that.
So I am in my warm winter PJs with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders… at my desk in my room writing this right now…

The one thing that really captured my attention with this song- aside from the first verse that I heard him do at the NAACP Awards at an acceptance speech… this song sounded so alive. As if they performed it live in the studio, but it was really polished. The quality of sound is immaculate. Halfway through with the breakdown, the section with the horns repeating the hummed melody, it felt like magic. And the guitar solo… adding more to that live feel… wow. That ending doesn’t blow me away as much as it did the first dozen times, but it’s pretty dang good. Of all the songs, this is the only one I don’t think I can fault for lyrics. As naïve and simple as they are, Prince really sounds to me like he believes them. Unlike a certain song later in the album. And they also make me think about stuff too- this week especially.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 3.5 (only reason why… I can’t listen to this song all that much or the magic goes away and I can never skip to it without hearing the whole album)
Total Score- 8.5 (it’s really hard for me to give an opening song more than 8.5, apparently… if I rank the last three openers, 3121 is the better song with this being second and Musicology, I don’t enjoy as much is third)

This is where lyrics start to kill the songs one by one… although not like the song “7”… it’s impossible for me not to compare this to “The One U Wanna C” and vice versa because they were high energy pop songs that followed serious and spectacular songs that defy description in some cases. This one has the better lyrics, but not by much. I love how this one just gets me moving and smiling and how goofy he is with the vocal delivery. He’s being overly self-absorbed, but I think it’s playing a role in this case. (Kinda odd, though… I think I’m under the impression “Mr. Goodnight” is genuine when it might not be, but I’ll get to that later). The musical components make me love this song and enjoy it when it comes on. But it’s not one of his best jams. (someone on Peach and Black compared it to Peach… I can totally hear him putting the bridge from Peach in the middle of this song and it wouldn’t sound out of place)
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

…ok, I made a promise to myself last night while watching the video (and no, it wasn’t that I wasn’t going to cry while writing this part)… I decided that I’ll take something off for lyrics. Not just for the digital age line, but the first verse where he says “I know you really want me, I can feel your hands on me”… don’t know why, but that just came off as kinda generic to me. But yeah, those two lines together… not quite where he could be with his poetic skills. But so many amazing lyrics like “I really wanna touch u 2 in a way I’m much 2 shy 2 speak”… it’s the perfect lyric for him to use in the constraints of his faith.
But yeah, this song is a dream and a fantasy to me and I hate whenever it has to end. I think I’ve said enough about it already. Beautiful vocal (Grammy worthy!), really nice piano, the flute (always love flute in Prince songs)…
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 5 (I’d give a 6 if I were giving them out… but I’d also have to give to them the top 3 Purple Rain tracks too)
Total Score- 9.5 (I thought to myself… this will be the first song on my top 100 that has a 4.5 technical score… I don’t know if it’ll hold with all these albums, but I’ll see what happens. It kills me that I can’t give this a perfect 10- it’s so close to that, it’s unbelievable)

Lyrics again… I’m going to be super harsh with this one. I love the vibe and music of the song. Great backing vocals with Wendy & Lisa (one of two definite collaborations- it has to be them here). It’s another good groove. But I think I might also be buffing the song a bit because of the album it’s on. A nice little summery pop song with a guitar solo at the end.
Technical Merit- 4 (would you believe I gave 0 points for lyrics? I usually only do that with songs I hate… but none, there isn’t a single lyric on this song that sounds like it had a lot of thought put into it… I gotta ask- what the HELL was with Prince on this album in all these songs where he’s mentioning pocket change? Is it a hip-hop thing or was he just in that type of mood? “every nickel in this clothe looking for a dime”… what does that mean?! it’s like he ran out of ideas and that just stuck in his head)
Components Score- 4 (this should have gotten 3.5… but there are actually some times I like listening to it… so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Plus, SHOE is a HARD song for anything to follow and stand out. It’s come a long way since the beginning where I barely noticed this song after it)
Total Score- 8

that damn title… aside from it, it’s a great come-on R&B track, but despite some great Prince moments (the whispered comments in the 2nd verse and the bridge), it’ll take a hit on lyrics and originality in one fell swoop. Just because he didn’t invent this phrase and there’s no way he’d be using it if it wasn’t a new slang people (I believe mostly in the black community- just cuz I’ve never heard anyone white say it- except Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool” but that’s a movie) were using at the time. Even then, though… if Prince sang this to me, I’d be his in a second.
Technical Score- 4
Components Score- 4.5 (I compromised… because the way he changes how he sings the chorus after the first time… that it’s an issue I have… I took that off from components instead of hitting technical again… it’s a personal pet peeve of mine that’s all)
Total Score- 8.5

I’ll do my best to keep the secret of Goodnight… but based on all earlier discussion, you know where this is going… I guarantee no Prince fan loves this song more than I do.
Technical Merit- 4 (anyone else in the R&B and hip-hop community could have done similar, but only Prince could use all these lyrics- including another stupid reference about pocket change, TWO actually- “you need to make plans and all your other pennies should scatter” and “all the real dimes, throw your hands up”… seriously, what the hell is he talking about?… use these lyrics and talk me into this fantasy)
Components Score- 5 (this will probably be the only song with this gap between the two marks… the difference is that I can overlook some things because I enjoy the song so much- but if you read them off a page, some lyrics would sound so lame)
Total Score- 9 (my second favorite track after SHOE, it’s a fitting score, I think)

The podcast guys called this very Sesame Street or Muppets… I never minded it and I think it’s a nice little pop song. Not to mention a nice way to end the whole “personal ad/eHarmony” section of this album. I just hate that it has to end at all.
Technical Merit- 4 (I also took a little vocal for a couple unintelligible vocals in the final verses… I thought about taking off cuz the song is too short… but that was only a problem the first couple times. I don’t think you could add anything to it to make it any better)
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8 (It’s a nice little pop song, but it’s not exceptional by any means… I think if it was anyone but Prince, I wouldn’t be as sold on it)

Again, after the love fest of tracks 3-7, to me, this is a jarring change of pace. And it took me ages to get on board. I love how it’s a fresh take on disco and the horns sound amazing on this. If they cut a couple of Shelby J. moments, I’d like it more. But I love how Prince is just mystifying this person, saying she’s all these things, but probably isn’t. But I don’t think he gave any of his protégés this treatment either- he just write them songs to sing on. [in my album fiction that kinda starts with Somewhere here on Earth and ends with Mr. Goodnight, I made Chelsea a character… she’s a masseuse and fashion designer that works for the Prince character… who lives in a big white mansion all alone except for his staff- and she’s a confidant, although he still has a lot of walls up with people in general, despite going on 50]
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 3.5
Total score- 8

another title that kinda ruins a song… but in this case, I was distracted by it for so many years that I never knew what this song was about. Now I think I have a better idea… it’s about him aging and not sure if this is the girl for him, but he will defend their love to the press and strike down anyone who comes up against him. The whole vibe of it is amazing, but something about it doesn’t quite click. I still do like it a lot, though.
Technical Merit- 4 (lyrics and some vocals at the end of the second verse I CANNOT understand but looking them up, they don’t seem to have much to do with the rest of the song)
Components Score- 4 (another case- if this was on another album, it might have scored lower)
Total Score- 8

oh boy… here’s the song that’s going to kill the album…
As a pop song, it’s very catchy and well-written… but dammit, the lyrics just ruin any chance of me taking it seriously. And I’m not sure about that fade-out ending- it just sounds throw-in so the album is 45 minutes long
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 2.5 (this is GENEROUS… I think the one thing that made me give it this… Annie Christian, I gave 2 and I don’t like that song quite as much…
Total Score- 6.5

Oh boy… the problem used to be too many 8.5’s… here, I think all the 8’s are gonna kill it so it won’t rank as high as I’d like it to.

In order:
Somewhere here on Earth- 9.5
Mr. Goodnight- 9
Future Baby Mama- 8.5
Guitar- 8.5
Planet Earth- 8.5
The One U Wanna C- 8
All the Midnights in the World- 8
Lion of Judah- 8
Chelsea Rodgers- 8
Resolution- 6.5

so for the total of the two marks… wow- technical still ranked higher! That’s insane to me. I thought for sure I liked this album more than it may “deserve” to be.
But on the other hand, compared to other albums, I like it more on components… but 3121 is higher in that regard…
all righty…

8.25/10… I’ll probably round it up to 8.3… that puts in it in a tie with In2 the Fantastic, so it’s not all bad. Graffiti Bridge is slightly higher, but since I recently acquired the other cut of “We are the NPG”… that might kill it… but I’ll take care of that later.
So I guess I can’t be too upset about this. For me personally, it’s a 10, but some elements do let it down a bit.

Where it is… it’s slightly above average, but it’s probably not going to be my top 7… if it’s lucky, it’ll make my top 10. But we’ll see.

I figured I’d just this out of the way in the morning so I have less things to worry about later. And I’d like to listen to this album one time without having to worry about any of this.

So top song-
of course, Somewhere here on Earth…
but there’s a slight chance Mr. Goodnight could crack my top 100… but it’ll be an uphill battle 😛 that’s for sure

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Skate America

Starting for Roman Sadovsky’s senior debut. Nice to hear Johnny and Tara commentating. The past few short programs have been Ryan Bradley and Tracey Wilson.
He was a little shaky on the first two jumping passes, but his triple axel was nice. Johnny really likes his artistry and expressions.
Roman’s been inconsistent as far as I’d seen him, but when he’s on fire, he’s so good. Every little victory he gets, I always cheer for him
70.85- 36 and 34- for his senior debut, that’s a very nice score.

Liam Firus- another Canadian. He had issues with all his jumps. Tara said she was bits of Patrick Chan in his skating and Johnny said he was a replica 😛
it’s interesting seeing a skater for the first time at a senior competition or just in general- seeing them jump and not knowing what to expect. Sometimes, it’s in slow motion and you see them tentative. But with the more confident skaters, they just explode.
65.17- 29 and 36… yeah, that wasn’t as good as it should have been.

Ross Miner- oh wow, he’s got fangirls in the audience. I’d seen him a couple of times, seen glimmers of greatness, but never a completely clean competition.
He started off strong, but he popped his triple axel into a single and Johnny said he gets no points for that jump- it has to be double or triple. His combination was killer, though. He’s been focusing a lot on the performing with the music and the fans are getting behind him quite a bit, which is nice to hear. Wow- he’s also taking classes at Harvard and coaching, so he’s got a lot going on. I love hearing what these skaters do in their non-competitive time cuz it gives me more of an idea of who they are as people. Johnny and Tara are actually fighting 😛 about whether you can complete rotation on a popped jump- Tara says her coaches told her to go through the jump and Johnny says you can’t recover from a pop or you’ll hurt yourself
71.59- 33 and 38- first place at the moment

Takahito Mura
his Flamenco music is very interesting, but he’s not taking advantage of it in his footwork yet. Some of his jumps will be marked down for under rotation, but he stayed on his feet. Ok, later in the program, the step sequence is using the music as it should.
Tara was saying how there’s no big star at the Grand Prix Final this year without Yuzuru, Patrick Chan and Javi… and I’m like “what? is Shoma chopped liver?”… Shoma is in the final and he is a big star, I think.
75.05- 37 x 2

Kevin Reynolds
he’s from the old school of skating where he’s doing all three jumps in the first half of the program (Plushenko did that throughout his career- but that was before balancing programs and the whole 10% bonus in the second half became a thing). He had a killer opening quad combination and triple axel. But he popped his second quad, which is unfortunate.
Johnny and Tara are being really hard on him, saying how his skating doesn’t have the deep edges. I like him a lot better than Patrick Chan personally. Just cuz he started the Quad Revolution, but also I like his style better. To me, he kinda has a unique style where he’s very light on his skates. While we’re waiting for scores, all three guys in the booth were talking about Kevin’s hair and Stranger Things and Farrah Fawcett
69.10- 32 and 36- oh, that makes me sad- he’s last of all the skaters so far

Yan Han
He fell on a quad, but I think he got all the rotation in. His components should be really kind to him because he had great artistry with this music… so nice and easy on the eyes to watch. For now, he should be in first place. It’s so cute seeing him in the kiss and cry crossing his fingers
85.97- 45 and 41… ok, so he got better on technical, my mistake. He should be in the conversation for the podium, then. Because 85 is the standard for medals, but Nathan Chen is in the last group and he can get 90-100+

but I see Adam Rippon and Maxim Kovtun in the last group… so anything can really happen at this point. And Sergei! Competely forgot he was going to be here. and Boyang!
Wow- this just got serious… I had no idea all this star power would be here. The Quad Revolution will be in play between Boyang and Nathan for sure.

Sergei Voronov
86.71- 46 and 40
he is just skating with a new sense of confidence I don’t think I’d seen from him before. I don’t know if it’s the Olympic year or his grand prix victory, but I love seeing him perform. Every jump, as Johnny said, was an event rather than being a part of the whole. Unlike Plushenko, he had two jumps at the start and a jumping pass in the second half.

Daniel Samohin
I missed most of his performance (the Hey Arnold! movie was on and I had to see how it ended) and I saw him have a fall (it was a quad salchow). Johnny and Tara said that he was maybe lip-synching with the music and he was a performer. And his opening triple axel was nice
82.28- I missed the two marks while writing this

a lot of footage of Rafael Artuniun sharpening Nathan Chen’s skates… I hope that doesn’t throw his game off when it’s finally time for him to skate. Stressing about that

Maxim Kovtun
he almost seems taller than the last time I saw him, but it’s also been a while.
he’s been having a back issue and on his two quads at the start, it was hard seeing his legs crumble underneath him on these jumps. He barely made his triple axel, but he was on his feet. I’m not the biggest fan of his artistry, where he barely has that to begin with, but since he was a top Russian skater, I was wanting to see him succeed for Russian men’s skating. It just hasn’t materialized. Clearly with these injuries, the fact he’s out here is down to him really wanting to be here. And I’ve accused him of not having the drive or desire and he’s just going through the motions. Anyone not in love with the sport, if they had injuries, they just would have given up. Him being a fighter makes me admire him as a person. But with Russia only having two Olympic spots (it’s better than one!), I want them to have the best
64.98- 28 and 38… yeah, he’s last of everyone so far, I think.

they also mentioned Plushenko will be here as a coach for someone in the ladies’ event. It sounds like she was a last minute addition… so I’m really excited to see him tomorrow night in the kiss and cry as a coach. I saw him post about it on Instagram and I replied, wishing him and his student luck. No response… but he’s never replied to me. But I never stop hoping 😉

Adam Rippon
he’s playing it safe with no quads in the short program… I can understand the approach, but I think he’s gambling a lot on Nathan and Boyang making mistakes for him to get on the podium. You gotta do what you’re comfortable with. If it were me, I want all the guys having one quad in the short program so they’re competing on the same level. The only thing I can deduct was his triple axel where I can see the landing wasn’t perfectly clean and he had to fight for it, but he made it work.
89.04- 45 and 44… clean program or not, he didn’t have a quad, he shouldn’t be in the lead… a little too much home field advantage going on.

Nathan Chen
:fingers crossed:
I was DREADING that first jump- I thought maybe the fact his skate was being sharpened for so long that it might be getting into his head a bit, but he had no nerves.
I held my breath on every jump- he nailed the quad lutz-triple combination, quad flip… I freaked on the triple axel cuz it looked like it might go wrong, but he held it together after a rocky take off. And he just moved so well with the music in this step sequence… so good! And Johnny and Tara were fanboying and fangirling the whole time 😛
104.12- 59.56 and 44.56… I think that’s a new personal best… wow!

Boyang Jin
he nailed his opening quad and popped a triple axel into a single, a little off on the landing on his second jump in the final combination. So sad to hear his right foot is inflamed, so he hasn’t done the quad lutz in three weeks… I thought for sure he’d be an easy second place finisher, but that isn’t going to happen. Not when his components score isn’t the best. But every time I see him, I feel like he gives it even more in the performance, so he’s always exciting to watch.
I squee’d when Johnny said he and Nathan were at the head of the Quad Revolution… I know I wasn’t the first to say it, but I love when people talk about it 😉
Johnny said how Nathan is like butter with his landings, lol…
77.97- 37 and 40… he’s in 6th place… I think he still has a shot, though. Can’t rule him out.

so top three- Nathan, Adam and Sergei… anything can happen as I’ve said.
They’re still talking about Nathan’s blade and how they still need to work on it a bit… I really hope that doesn’t come into play tomorrow.
Nothing’s guaranteed. If this thing becomes a bigger issue, Nathan could have trouble and lose… I mean he’ll still make the final with a podium finish, but I’d like him to win.

so tomorrow at 4pm, they’ll have the men’s free skate and the ladies will compete tomorrow night in their short program- 9pm.

after they showed the top 3 skaters, we’re starting with Takahito Mura. He’s brought his Phantom of the Opera program back, but with a red and black costume. He nailed his opening jump and was two footed on the next. He popped a couple of jumps and struggled with the second half of the program, but he did well considering all that. Considering how difficult a time he’s had, this is one of the better programs I’d seen from him, although I’d seen him do some clean programs before.

Roman Sadovsky
oh, he has a Les Mis program.
Poor Roman, he struggled through this whole program. Several popped jumps and falls. I know he’s much better than this, but I think he just let nerves get the best of him.
At the moment, I don’t know if he can get that second Olympic spot based on this. It’s most likely going to be Patrick Chan and Kevin Reynolds again as it was in Sochi. Not that I’d mind Kevin Reynolds having another shot at it. He was one of the best skaters in the team competition.

Ross Miner
oh he’s from Lake Placid, no wonder he has a big fan section here…
Johnny and Tara have been saying how he chooses music he can make work and that the audience will get into. Here it’s been a Queen medley including “Somebody to love” and “Crazy little thing called love.” He popped his opening quad and had a few off landings on jumps, but he had some good moments throughout.
219.62- 69 and 78- he’s in first place as of this moment… it’s only going to go up from here…

oh geez… they went to the warm-up after a sports break… I thought it was Plushenko in warm-up, but it was Sergei 😛 they have a very similar stature. We have a really good final group here… I cannot wait to see what everyone’s going to do.

Boyang Jin
it was a rocky start, but he pulled it together really well. the crowd was cheering so loud for him when he finished- that’s really great to hear. He had three quads, a toe loop and salchow at the start. The first was solid and the second, he got the rotations, but the landing was a little sloppy. Then he had a quad in the second half and nailed it. One or two off jumps, but then he just did so well after he go through the issues. It made me happy to see. He’ll easily be first place for the time being, but he has a lot of competition.
246.03- 89 and 79- yeah, he’s good… everyone’s saying that he could make the Grand Prix Final with that. I don’t think it’d be the same without him.

Daniel Samohin
oh man… the poor guy fell on his first two quad jumps. On the second, it looked he might have popped out his shoulder or tore a ligament or muscle because he was holding his arm while getting up. That was really painful to see. The guy was such a rock star when he was a junior and it’s been sad to see him not being able to reach that same level when he turned senior. But I’ll keep waiting for him to find his footing again and come back as strong as he had. Now this… I’m almost crying right now. I feel so bad for him 😦 they talked about how skaters have allotted time to come back to the ice, but I don’t see that happening here. Plus, I think I saw someone come back from having a nosebleed mid program (it was Joseph Phan) and he finished- but you get deducted 5 points for starting a program over. He’s officially withdrawn and Yan Han will get a 2 minute warm-up before he’s up next. So sad 😦

Yan Han
by the end of it, Johnny was saying that he was just giving up because all the mistakes he made 😦 several jumps, he either fell, stepped out or just didn’t land right. And it was sad to see because he’s so much better than he shows. Rarely does he have a clean program. Johnny’s mentioned again how he wrote to him that he was afraid that the Chinese skating federation won’t let him compete anymore because of how badly he did at the last world championships. Boyang scored China a couple spots on the Olympic team, so I wouldn’t rule him out as a contender just yet.
228.33- 60 and 81- he’s in 2nd place right now… it took a while for them to get the scores out (some issue with the machines… I hope Sergei didn’t let that extra wait get into his head)

Sergei Voronov
I’m sitting on the floor with my laptop as I’m writing this, but I’m as on the edge of my seat as I can be in this position. He had an issue with his triple axel early on (Johnny said he might be two-footed on his second quad), but otherwise a solid program. I was just urging him on in my mind the whole time and marveling at how strong he is. Apparently he doesn’t plan retiring anytime soon- that makes me so happy 😛 I mean, Plushenko skated professionally until he was 31-32, so Sergei could definitely do that.
257.49- 86 and 83- he’s in first place so he’ll definitely get a medal and into the grand prix final, yeah 😀 and I saw Misha in the kiss and cry with him. I totally forgot he choreographed for him. Great job.

Adam Rippon
my sister and I were yelling at him “skate already!”- he was so preoccupied before skating about picking particles off the ice. I know you need to have nothing distract you but after a while, it was like “ok, enough”… he talked to his coach and he clapped him on the shoulders and kinda said the same thing.
He didn’t have a clean quad lutz and some elements early on were messy. He held his shoulder after a point and I worried it’d be another injury, but it wound up ok. He definitely has the crowd behind him
266.45- 88 x 2… yeah, he’ll make the final for sure and he’ll get at least silver…

Nathan Chen
275.88- 86 and 87
oh my god, I was so mad during this 😛 he nailed his first quad lutz- triple combination and got 20.07 on that. But he had issues with almost all of his other quads… I think the worst I’d seen him perform. And I was yelling at him- “COME ON!” after the second missed jump. Thankfully, he had a good cushion going into the this- a 15 point advantage, so that saved him. He beat Adam Rippon by 9 points and most of that was from last night. They said he got his blade switched out because the other wasn’t working for him.
And they cut away as he was being interviewed- dammit, I wanna know what he thinks happened.
Anyway, I just hope that he can shake this off and comes back as good as always at the grand prix final.

And it looks like Mikhail Kolyada, Shoma Uno, Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and Sergei Voronov just made themselves locks for the Grand Prix Final… no idea who the 6th one is. Probably Boyang Jin, but it could be Jason Brown as well. We’ll see what happens.

Now to the ladies… in 3 hours…

Nathan’s being interviewed by Andrea Joyce and he says he’ll be reviewing everything and figure what went wrong and how to learn from it. He also said he was maybe getting used to the new blades, so that might have contributed to it. I agree. Change of equipment can weigh a lot on a skater’s mind and they can make mistakes because something doesn’t feel quite right.
Adam Rippon as well. He said how nothing will distract him from doing his job and he wants the Olympic committee not to count him out. I saw him hold his shoulder and I had a pang of concern for him after what happened to Daniel Samohin. He said that he’d dislocated it a few months ago and that’s why he hadn’t been doing his Rippon lutz (I didn’t even realize he hadn’t done it- just noticed how it’s become more popular among other skaters). And he decided that he wanted compensation for his time competing, so he went through it and he nailed it. Hey, that determination got him into the Grand Prix Final and he could potentially get something out of that if he does well. Whether it’s a gold medal or an Olympic spot or something else… one thing I’ve kinda noticed this season is that when people don’t perform as well as you’d expect, others rise to the occasion and take advantage. It’s sad that Sergei Voronov needed Yuzuru Hanyu to withdrew from NHK Trophy so he could get the points needed to make the final, but having him in the final presents a great opportunity as well.

Ugh… they’re going to be showing more other highlights before this competition even starts. I hate when they do that 😡

I’m on pins and needles… the mere chance of seeing Plushenko at the boards, I’d just lose my mind. I’ve done that just seeing him in the audience, but seeing him at ground level for the first time since… phew… not counting old competitions… the first time since Sochi 2014… which was the first and last time I saw him compete on live TV.
It’s also gonna be kinda sad when they stop showing Sochi footage in Olympic commercials when the next Olympics is over and done. That was a really special Olympics for me cuz it’s why I fell back in love with skating. Particularly, international skating. I used to only pay attention to Team USA, but I got to know so many skaters from different countries.

There are three Russians in this group… a lot for me to keep track of.
OH my god, he’s here! I just saw him- Seraphima came to the boards to ask him about something and the camera focused on him for a little bit before cutting to commercial. He’s totally in coaching mode right now and it’s great to see.

Starting with a skater from China.
She doesn’t have a triple-triple, which is the gold standard for women’s skating right now. Her triple-double was a little off. Her triple lutz was a little choppy, but her final jump was really nice.
Li Xiangning got 55.24- 28 and 26

Johnny said “Medvedevaville” is 80 points for a short program score… omg, he should TM that 😛

Bradie Tennell from the US
Tara was saying how she’s so consistent and I’m like “shut up!” cuz Tara has jinxed skaters before by saying how solid they are. Or picking Amber Glenn as her dark horse and she had a bad finish after she said that.
Her first two jumping passes were great and she’s really getting into the footwork with this music. Really dynamic like something from a movie score (so busy typing I didn’t see what her music was).
Yep, she nailed all her jumps and did a great double axel out of a spread eagle. And the crowd just loved her when she finished. She could be one to watch. She’s got a lot of talent. Tara says she could make the Olympic team… I think there’s a good chance especially since Gracie Gold, the other top skater in the US, is taking time off.
67.01- 37 and 29

Got this from Plushenko’s tweet: his student’s name is Serafima Sakhanovich. I’ve gotten good at Russian names, but that’s a tricky one for me. Sa-khan-o-vich, I think. I’ll wait for Johnny to say it 😛 he’s better with the Russian than I am. Way better. (I was learning some after Sochi, but I’d really been slacking on that… every now and then I can pick up some words, but I could still be better. I guess I just don’t have the same motivation I used to have)

here’s our first Russian:

Polina Tsurskaya
oh, that genetic condition she had affected her knee and she had to have surgery on it and that’s why she had time off the ice.
Great triple-triple to start- lots of distance and flow out of those jumps. OMG- Johnny said this music is from Game of Thrones and he said exactly where from. I know he and Tara got really into the series over the summer (lots of binge-watching) so the fact he knows that… damn! (I’m not a fan of the series myself, but the rest of my family is).
She fell on her second jump and her third, she wobbled on the landing. Both were in the second half, so the 10% bonus will help. But them saying how she could put pressure on Ashley… maybe not after this performance.
But I really love the quality of her skating- I think the fact her costume is purple has something to do with it, though. A nice blue-purple color.
63.20- 33 and 30

omg, they said that Medvedeva has a broken foot and might not make the final?! No way…

Alena Leonova
Terry said she was the next star after Irina Slutskaya- kinda gives a point of reference when she was the top in Russia.
Her opening triple-triple was solid. It looks like everyone is putting two jumps in the second half. A lot of these programs are put together very similarly. Her program was very strong and consistent. Interesting to hear how she was the “flag bearer” for Russian ladies’ skating during a drought after Irina retired… how there was ever a drought in that part of the sport, I can’t imagine. Especially with how the last few years in the sport have been like.
63.91- 34 and 29

Serafima Sakhanovich
two time world junior silver medalist
maybe a little under rotated on the second jump of her combination. they said she’s had a couple fo coaching changes in a couple years. She did a Rippon lutz and nailed it so beautifully. And a good double axel. Tara said nothing grabbed her, but it was a nice short program overall. Of course I’m going to say that was mean 😛 then again, she is Plushenko’s student, so I’ll take the elements as they are, but I’m not going to dismiss her so quickly. Her spins are really nice. Johnny says her skating is back to the level where it was .
66.28- 36 and 29- currently in 2nd. She’s so happy with that, she was blushing behind Plushenko’s shoulder. He looked happy with that as well. Not over the top ecstatic, but respectable. Johnny talked about his school “Angels of Plushenko”, how he’s going to have a factory of champions and Tara said “don’t forget what a great technician he was”… I’m like “he still is”… this has been such a off season for me with women’s skating, nothing to really get excited about. This has me excited. But I also haven’t had the chance to talk about Plushenko in a long time. His birthday a few weeks ago was the first time I’d seen him skate in months. And he still has me in awe as he always has.

Kaori Sakamoto from Japan
oh boy, she’s doing the Medvedeva method- all the jumps in the second half… yikes, I hope that doesn’t become the norm. If it does, they’ll just have to change the rule saying you can’t do that. The program needs to be balanced.
Great triple-triple to start, triple loop (great height and distance), and her last jump as well. They just came off so equally. But she had an off moment in her final spin where she almost lost balance at a point.
69.40- 38 and 31- she definitely looked like the best so far to me.

Nicole Rajicova- born in New Jersey, but representing Slovakia since 2011.
started with a two triple toes, but her second was only a double. Her second jump was a little off. Tara says she might be nervous. I like her expressions, but the program overall was kinda… ordinary. Nothing really special about it.
55.43- 27 x 2

Karen Chen
aw, she abandoned her Tango Roxanne short program 😦 she’s opting from an older program- On Golden Pond
under rotated on her second triple in the combination. Ouch- she fell hard on her second jump, which was in the second half after a couple spins and footwork. her axel was perfectly fine. Overall, another nice skate from her, but some mistakes. Her fall was on a loop that Johnny says will get downgraded… it’s just getting worse… yikes
59.53- 29 and 30… she’s in 6th place… yeah, she’s definitely capable of better.

Ashley Wagner
I love how much the crowd was behind her. It was consistent throughout the entire performance 😛 And Ashley was so comfortable in her own skin with this. She just performed and had fun and everyone had fun right along with her. On components, she’ll be great. Technically, I saw a definite under rotation on her second jump in the combination. And the others will probably get suspect as well.
64.12- 30 and 33… oh wow, she’s behind Serafima as well… they really nailed her on this program, but she did have some under rotations. I can acknowledge that without prejudice. Ashley does her best when she has to come from behind anyway.

Gabrielle Daleman
she did amazing on her combination jump, but she had an awkward landing on her next jump and she had to fight for the last one. She’s skating to a piece from Carmen… having the vocalist on it is kinda distracting to me and annoying. But Gabby looks so good with this music. I think I really like her cuz she kinda looks like Wonder Woman, although I did like her last year before the movie came out (and I wasn’t over the moon for that movie either- at least not the same as I’d been for the Marvel movies)
68.08- 35 and 32- she’s in 2nd right now.

Satoko Miyahara- omg, I didn’t know she was here 😛
she stepped out of her second jump in the opening combination. overall, it was another nice program from her. Don’t really know what else to say about her. It’s hard to find new things to say about her cuz she’s so good. This is the best I’d seen her in a while, I think. Aw, she posed for a selfie with a fan, so cute. and someone gave her a stuffed pineapple.
70.72- 36 and 33- yeah, she was the best of the night for sure.

so we have…

Kaori Sakamoto
Gabby Daleman
Bradie Tennell
and Serafima is in 5th. I think Ashley is behind her and Karen further back. 9th place, ouch.

This competition is anyone’s game now… as much as I want Ashley to win, it’ll be cool to see someone you didn’t expect to win. They said no Canadian woman has ever won Skate America.

Ashley said she had a week off the ice cuz she had an ankle injury, so that’s why she’s had some struggles here.

It’ll be an exciting competition tomorrow for sure… something I’ve badly needed for the ladies skating events. I just haven’t been into this year.

yeah, we were out and about seeing the Justice League and I wanted to be sure we got back before 4…
I’m on the edge for maybe seeing Plushenko again…

It’s kinda cool how it’s anyone’s game right now.
Of course cuz it’s a two hour broadcast, they need to fill time by reairing some short programs from last night… :sigh: c’mon, I wanna do this thing already! 😛
I never got to say last night how much I love her new costume. I don’t know if it’s just for Skate America or what, but it looks kinda like an American flag with red and blue and white/gold icing over it so it looks like a scale-type pattern.

Alena Leonova
she had a nice program over all, nothing that really stood out to me. But her reaction at the end was nice- she was so happy with her performance

Polina Tsurskaya
she had another good performance. I love the contrast between her black costume and her pale skin, it makes her look so nice on the ice. Very strong skating
195.56- 69 and 63

Karen Chen
she brought back her free skate from last year as well. Tara said it’s a gamble, saying it’s like changing the paint color of your house when the problem is the foundation.
She’s definitely more confident than she was yesterday, but she had a few under rotated jumps and a couple of off landings. One was on a double axel-single-triple combination on the last jump. I thought she did great- the best I’d seen her since she won Nationals last year. Johnny made a Hunger Games reference, saying how some of her jumps were like Katniss not pulling the bowstring all the way back before releasing the arrow 😛
182.80- 61 x 2- she’s in 3rd place at the moment.

oh, I didn’t know Ashley was in the last group- I thought she was in the first group cuz she was in 6th place. Maybe there’s only 11 women in this event…

ah, they showed the warm-up group really quick, but only focused on Ashley and Bradie Tennell. Dang it! 😛 I’m sure I’ll see Plushenko when Serafima is out to skate.

Bradie Tennell
She skated to music from Cinderella- nothing really special artistically except being really nice to look at, but she nailed all her jumps and looked amazing. The crowd is cheering so loud- it’s incredible. Wouldn’t be it be crazy if she made the Olympic team after this?
204.10- 72 and 64

Ashley Wagner
she brought back Moulin Rouge, but this time, she has a pink costume with the usual rhinestone/diamond “necklace” pattern around her neck.
not sure what happened, she was doing well at the start, but after a couple jumps, she went to her coach and then the judges and withdrew. Johnny and Tara were saying how she wasn’t hitting triples in practice. She did mention yesterday how she had to be off the week for a week or so due to an issue with her foot. Hopefully we’ll find out soon what’s going on…

Serafima Sakhanovich
She’s not all there artistically yet, although she had some moments in the very end where the personality finally came out. She was skating to Concierto de Aranjuez- something Plushenko skated to in 2009-2010, but it wasn’t the Edvin Marton arrangement he did. It was nice to watch. Maybe one or two jumps will be under rotated a tad, but she stayed on her feet the whole time- everyone has stayed on their feet, which is great to see.
Plushenko apparently said that he wish he had more time to work with her artistically- he has his own brand of artistry, but I thought he was so good.
189.75- 64 and 58- she’s in third place
it’s a good start for her- definitely a step in the right direction 😉
my mom said, after asking a while ago “if that who I think it is?”, that “it’s good to see him visible”… cannot agree more, omg! I can’t wait to see him more through the years with the various students he’s coaching

Kaori Sakamoto
another solid program for her- and I saw some fire in her. Great artistry and attack in some of those jumps. she’s probably our new leader now.
210.59- 73 and 67

update on Ashley…
omg, I’m so sad for her right now… she’s on the verge of crying, but holding it together. She had an ankle infection and is in a lot of pain and she thought she could will herself through it, but decided to focus on getting well.
I’ll have to send her a tweet later to lend my support.

Gabrielle Daleman
rumor is that she’s working on quads… that would be INSANE! She did really well on this, but in the second half, she popped one jump and put hands down on another. Johnny said that she runs out of steam going into the second half of the program… other than the mistakes, I thought she looked amazing.
189.14- 55 and 65… yikes, the judges were ruthless. They were way harsh on the marks. she’s in 5th place

Satoko Miyahara
She did the spin where she did half in one direction, half in the other. Doing really well so far. I’m really loving the elegance of her artistry in this program. Like she really is Madam Butterfly, which is the music she’s skating to. I think she just won with that… that was so good!
214.03- 72 and 71
yeah, she won, awesome! Yeah!

Kaori got 2nd and Bradie Tennell got bronze. And Polina and Serafima got 4th and 5th.

they’re talking about Evgenia Medvedeva maybe not being able to compete in the grand prix final and the chance that Satoko or Kaori could get the first alternate spot… we’ll see what happens, I guess. Not sure what to expect.

for the final, we have for sure Carolina Kostner, Kaetlyn Osmond, Wakaba Higuichi, Maria Sotskava and Alina Zagatova. With Evgenia questionable, Satoko could get her spot.

Anyway… that’s it for now… yikes… I feel kinda spoiled having all these competitions every week… now I have to wait a week for the next competition…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #29: 3121

Interesting… this was technically his 31st studio album release and it was released on the 21st of March in 2006. Still kinda disappointed that the album was just named after the home address of the house he rented in Vegas and didn’t have any other special meaning- particularly about the digits adding up to 7 or it possibly relating to Bible verses.

Matt Thorne’s review in his book was one of the best moments of the book. He said it was his last great album and it’s a shame it wasn’t promoted more than it was and the only low point was “Incense & Candles”.
What I don’t get: how was this album NOT promoted? The setlist while he was in Vegas is one thing- where it was mostly hits and only a few songs from the album.
But he did tons of TV appearances where he performed songs from this album. Two, I saw when they originally aired and I wasn’t a die-hard fan yet. [But to be fair, on American Idol and Good Morning America, they didn’t mention 3121 at all]

Oh man, where to begin with this one? So many ways to go about it, but I’m sure I’ll hit them all at some point this week.

First impressions- after my first go at Musicology and The Gold Experience didn’t go well, this was the next album I listened to and at that moment, it was my favorite of the three. Prince had me from “take your pick from the Japanese robes and sandals”… I was getting more into Japanese culture from being part of my college’s animé club. Or really, just hearing him mention something like that just resonated in me at that given time.
I don’t remember much about that first listen after that. I don’t know if what became my favorite songs were my favorites that first time around. Most likely not.

This was an album I played a couple of times last year. “Love” was one of those positivity songs that made me feel better about Prince’s death and all the speculation. It kept all the dark thoughts in my head at bay and I was able to just hang with him and pay no mind to anyone else.

Listening to it today… this could possibly be one of my favorite albums. The songs aren’t all perfect, but I like all of them for one reason or another. Some I absolutely love.
And I realized just how unique an experience it is among his entire catalogue.
This applies to 1999, Purple Rain and Parade as well, but the scenario is a bit different. With those albums, some or all of the songs, I have a visual reference point. I hear the songs and I think about the music videos or the moments in film they’re associated with.

With 3121- Lolita, Te Amo Corazon, Black Sweat, Satisfied, Fury, The Word, Beautiful Loved & Blessed, Get On the Boat… 8 of 12 songs, I have a visual reference point.
Black Sweat, I only have the music video.
But with all the others- I saw Prince perform live in various TV appearances. Meaning that I’ve heard two different versions of them. “Love” can also get in on this because he released an acoustic version of it.
…yeah, this album really is something special. As powerful as his albums can be on their own, seeing him perform these songs and having that in mind when I go back to the album… I don’t know at what point in the album I thought this, but I just thought about what Jess said at the end of “New Girl” after she sung with Prince- “I think Prince is magic”
This album captures his particular brand of magic in a particularly special way for me personally. And much of it goes back to those TV appearances.

I didn’t remember much about the actual songs sounded on American Idol and Good Morning America. However, I do remember what it was like having Prince on the TV in my living.

I was an avid American Idol fan from day 1 and saw it every season (with the exception of Season 12 where I only saw the top 7 up to the end). I’d heard rumors of them talking to Prince to appear and I was excited about the idea, but I didn’t know if he’d actually do it. That was so far out of my mind by the time the Season 5 finale came around… but when he came on stage, they made no formal announcement or anything, the music started and he came out… I don’t know how long it was since I saw that short amount of Purple Rain, but this was the first time I saw him in present and the first time since then… I recognized him/knew who he was right away, “oh my God, it’s Prince!” and I just lost my freakin’ mind. [And I don’t think I saw that performance again until last year, a few months after his death].
The GMA appearance, I somehow got word about shortly after that and I made sure to catch it. I don’t remember much about the song they performed, but I remember being annoyed that the second song was from Tamar (it was for her album that never happened) and he was there as her accompanist. And I think I remember Sheila E. being there as well.
Before I got home for spring break in 2007 and I was doing all that research and binging Prince performances and videos, I came across the Brit Awards. That was the first time I heard Te Amo Corazon- and that performance was magic. Prince had me spellbound just as he had the first time I saw him… and I never forgot that.
Fury, I saw him perform a couple of times. I didn’t remember it as much from the Brit Awards (thanks to Te Amo). But everyone else remembered the SNL appearance and “the Fury effect” became a thing… fans would go on to use that phrase to describe how they first heard a song in a live setting and it was awesome and by comparison, when the album version came out, it was disappointing. Me, I just remember that I hated the rag on his head and the orange suit he was wearing. To me, that wasn’t a sexy look and it killed the mood.
Then quite a while later (Planet Earth wasn’t announced yet but it was coming out a couple months later), he performed The Word with Sheila E. at the ALMA awards. First of all, that award show and the NAACP awards… Prince was the only reason I watched them the years I did. Second, after being so acquainted with the album for so long… I think it might be my single greatest disappointment in a Prince performance. It didn’t surprise me to see that was the last time it was performed live. I’ll go into this more later, but this song has such a unique atmosphere and visual I’d had in my head for a year… it was nothing like that. And I did not like the Latin twist.

Ultimately- I’m able to pick and choose which versions of the songs I think of when I listen to the album.
Lolita sounds better live, but when I listen to the album, it brings me back to how I felt when I saw him come onto that stage.
Te Amo Corazon, same thing. The studio version just doesn’t do it for me the same way. It just doesn’t quite get there.
Fury- it’s been so long since I’d seen a live version of it that the “Fury effect” doesn’t happen for me. However, I know the guitar doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as it did live. Heck, for Prince guitar, it’s kinda wimpy sounding.

Love is the one exception where both versions- I love for different reasons. I like the original a lot, but I like the vibe of the acoustic version. I played that a few times last year when I needed that positivity boost and his energy was very strong in the room when I gave it a listen.

Just a quick overview of the songs in this first listen…

maybe it’s because it’s one of those albums I’ve heard more recently (definitely more recently than Musicology- I think it was a couple years since my last listen…)- but I remembered all the words to it as if I’d only heard it yesterday… that might also speak to the fact that it’s written as a pop record and a very good one if these lyrics are able to stick in my brain. But it’s also one of those albums I take out every now and then.

3121 is such a great album opener. Probably one of his best, certainly his best outside of the 80’s (those are hard to top). He mucks around in the studio and pulls out all the stops and it sounds great.
Incense & Candles- I like the idea of it better than the song itself. Prince using auto-tune, no thanks. And that rap, as well as I remember it, it’s just lame. Really stupid lyrics. Matt Thorne made a comment that made me laugh- saying how he thought the lyric where he says “give props to your momma for the healthy food she must have gave you” was creepy… yeah, I always thought that was a weird lyric. As well as him saying that she’s sitting on all her dinners and he’s blind like a cat in the dark… geesh, Sir Mix-A-Lot said the same thing and got his point across in 8 words… I like the vibe of the song, but the lyrics kinda sucks… yet I don’t skip it.
Satisfied- I think I’ve come the longest way with… I didn’t like it for years, thought it was just too slow and too dragged out. I can appreciate the amazing vocal showcase it is. But it’s a great come-on track. However, one lyric I never liked- “I’m gonna seek this thing like a buried treasure- seek like Columbus wanted the sea”… even if that’s not exactly right… it’s just so stupid. the “land beyond expertise and chastity” line, I thought that was pretty good.
Beautiful Loved and Blessed- the SNL performance is nice. On the album, I always like singing along to it. But there comes a point where it just overstays its welcome and I wanted to just cut it down by a couple minutes.

There’s a lot more to be said, but I think I’ll save it for another day. I’m so well acquainted with this album that everything I want to say about it will come out easily.

ok, day 2 and I’m a little more ready now.
I know for a fact this album runs 53+ minutes because I checked it out Sunday night. My commute is somewhat less than that. I used to play a few songs in the morning and do the rest in the afternoon. But these past few mornings have not been good- either hazy driving conditions or me stressing about lane restrictions that wound up not affecting me anyway… so I’m squeezing this whole album into my drive home and I don’t start it until I’m on the highway 5-10 minutes in. So I’d been doing whatever to make sure I get through the whole album, even if I have to hang behind 18 wheelers going 45 MPH or choose that day to go by the drive-thru ATM.
Today I had two moments that helped inform the album. At the end of “Fury,” I saw an ambulance go by with its lights flashing and I’m like “omg, she got him!”… then during The Dance, a cop car was hanging behind me and I pretty much lost the whole song because I was trying to stay the residential speed limit (I behave anyway- but you never know sometimes).
But that’s ok, there’ll be plenty more opportunities.

The way this album is put together, or to be more specific, the songs, I’d been putting a lot of thought into all the little things that make them up. And there are some instances where there’s one little thing I want to change, sometimes two. As much as I like a lot of the songs on here, they’re not all perfect.
I think the only ones I wouldn’t mess with at all…
3121, Black Sweat, Love, Satisfied (it’s a short song, there’s not a lot to “mess with”), The Word, and Get On the Boat. The Dance is plausible… sometimes even I don’t fully get the “It’s not fair!” tirade at the end, but most days, I don’t mind it at all. Compositionally, they’re really solid and a couple are my personal favorites.
As for the others… one or two things, nothing really major. But I never did the full overview yesterday so I’ll go into those with each song.

3121… if I’d heard a live version of this on some audio file, I have no recollection of it. So this is the only version I have to go, therefore there’s nothing I’d like to change or make better. It’s pretty dang good as it is. I love the whole vibe of it. I like how he sets the scene. The two different vocals in the two speakers- in the car, the Camille vocal is closer to me. I didn’t find out until the last year or so (probably because Captain mentioned it on the podcast) that the NPG power trio was on this song. The drums definitely make a statement in the typical Michael Bland fashion.

Lolita- positives first. The synths are the highlight. They’re so characteristically Prince as if he had lifted them from the Purple Rain album, but they’re not exactly the same either. It’s a nice throwback. I love the story, how Prince is allowing himself to be the age he’s at and he’s taking on a role he hadn’t had the opportunity to play before. [It’s also kinda funny to think about because I could’ve been that girl. I first “fell in love” with him- as my mom had said after seeing that bit of Purple Rain when I was a teenager and he’d been buried in my subconscious ever since. Plus when I was newly minted as part of the purple community, I was close to turning 21 the first time I heard “Hot Thing”]. I like the throwback to the old chants from The Time- maybe a little cheesy and over the top, but I don’t mind it. It’s cool how every now and then, the guitar comes in for a couple of notes.
The one thing I want to change… I hate the backing beat… it feels so generic and just thrown together. The version he had recorded for his American Idol backing track- he should have had that on the album- it’s freaking fantastic. It would’ve blown my head off 😛 and I’d be spending the rest of the album picking up the pieces- then a couple other songs would blow it up all over again. It’s a minor detail, but it still bugs me a bit that it could’ve been so much more on record.

Te Amo Corazon- The Brit Awards version is quintessential. With my first Prince albums, my plan was to get a couple from different decades of his career. And this included the most recent material. When I saw that performance, I think it was on Housequake at the time… I was really looking forward to getting the album so I could listen to it again. It’s another case “it could have been so much more”– but with much more to add.
At the end of the verses, there’s a turnaround before he sings “Te Amo Corazon”… that was one of my favorite nuances of that live performance. What’s here, it just feels like it’s there- it doesn’t make a statement. [But then again, Wendy & Lisa had played it at the Brits, so that might have had a lot to do with it]. Because of the title and it being inspired by Manuela, of course it has those Spanish nuances to it. I don’t mind that so much. It’s something different for him. However, the sound of his guitar on record, particularly in the solo- it feels disappointing to me compared to what he did at the Brits. And he also could have pushed his vocals a little more. If he’s really in love with his girl, dammit, sound like it!

Now that I think about it- I don’t know the state of their marriage when this was recorded. I do know that they divorced in 2006 (song was recorded in 2005). And Fury was said to be about them breaking up… more on that later.

Black Sweat- now, if Prince put this Linn-drum beat on “Lolita,” that’d have been something else… but moving on…
Minimalistic Funk makes a comeback. As close as it is to “Kiss,” it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. It’s its own animal and it’s pretty fierce. I have a feeling if I heard this live, it wouldn’t sound nearly as good. Kinda like When Doves Cry or Little Red Corvette, it needs that Linn-drum and one-man band (except for a certain guitar solo) edge to kill it. Not all the lyrics in this are gems- that’s maybe the one slight issue I have. It’s a fun groove.
Although I still don’t get the lyric “you’ll be screaming like a white lady when I count to three…” how do white and black ladies scream differently?
I hope I’ll be able to find the video somewhere because it’s another iconic Prince video. Shot in black & white. He looks so cool in that suit and he has some hilarious moments that people on .org have turned into .gifs 😛 I still have a couple of those.

Incense & Candles- from a compositional standpoint, this is probably the song with the most “problems”… so many that I couldn’t just fix one or two things and it’d be perfect. Even without the auto tune and that stupid rap… it just wouldn’t go anywhere. But a lot of other R&B artists of that time could do this song make it work for them.
And of course I still know every word to it 😛 doesn’t mean I’m totally in love with it.
The second verse also has an odd lyric- “I’m glad that we’re compatible, mature and grown cuz this is not something you can do alone”… I know he wanted the easy rhyme with “alone”… but who talks like that? That just threw me off. There’s also a lyric “I gotta have a partner that’s willing & able”- and I remember later picking up Diamonds & Pearls and seeing “Willing & Able” as a song title… I already went into how Prince mentioned D&P in “International Lover”– everything’s connected. Some bits and pieces in the final choruses give me a Middle Eastern vibe, like it’s something you’d hear inside the Cave of Wonders. I like the vibe of the song, but a bunch of the lyrics and the rap are just clumsy.

Love- there’s so much going in this song, but I don’t think I’d change anything if I could. Some people don’t like the last minute with the lasers and such. I don’t mind it at all. Nor do I mind all the record scratching. I’ve tried to count how many of them are in this song (and by record scratches, I don’t mean a little bit- I mean the full-on record scratches- where you hear the record right itself back on track at the end of it).
I always have so much fun singing to this one- always on Tamar’s vocal range. She and Prince compliment each other well. And it’s also cool how the lyrics could be about anything. Whatever angst you’re feeling about whatever at the moment, this song can help you work through it.

Satisfied- I don’t know what more I can add to this. It’s not nearly as (ha ha) satisfying as Do Me Baby or Insatiable… it’s one of his best vocals, particularly in this time in his life. It shows that he’s still got it and now he has life experience and maturity to fully back it up. It’s hard to believe this is the same guy who whispered into his microphones on his first album. So much more confident.
Also, when I hear “Love on the Brain” on the radio, I imagine Prince doing this style of vocal over it… oh man, he would have killed it. Even though I don’t skip this one like I used to, it’s probably the song I’m least enthused about.

Fury- the guitar… I really like the music in the song with the exception of that. It’s probably cuz it was the background of the SNL performance and the music video, but it makes me think of flames. There’s really no chorus to the song. Between verses, there’s this musical break. I’d love to just rip the guitar out of it and only reserve it for the solos later on. And with a proper electric guitar solo, not whatever the hell he’s doing here.
Also- if he’s trying to exemplify angst, ACT LIKE IT! I don’t remember the SNL performance all that well, but his vocal at the Brit Awards- he put so much into it and it felt like he really meant what he was singing about.

The Word- oh man, I love this song… when I listen to it, I always have the same picture in my head. It starts out dark and it slowly becomes light in this big empty room. Prince is superimposed in different places as he plays the different instruments. At center stage, he’s on a stool strumming acoustic guitar. In another place, he’s playing a couple notes on saxophone (even though in reality, it’s probably a keyboard preset), another he’s playing bongos, and another he’s a turntable doing record scratches. But the main one is the one at center stage, doing all the singing. The rest, I haven’t really figured out yet.
Today, I was letting my mind wander a bit more than usual. Usually, I just let Prince take me through the song and I don’t think too much about the lyrics beyond him singing them. I know he’s probably talking about his new faith and Jehovah and all that. But today, I was letting my mind wander through an idea I’d had previously, but never followed through with. The lyrics kinda fit how I felt about Prince and how I was curious about him, getting to know him and how people might try to talk me out of it because he’s weird or his music went beyond what I was personally comfortable with at the time.
The one intriguing thing about it is the end where he screams… I don’t know what it’s about… but I think it might be that it was really a nightmare. And the next song is him waking up from that because it opens with Tamar saying “wake up”

Beautiful, Loved & Blessed- it’s a sweet song with a great message… it’s just a minute too long. And when I think about the lyrics, I think about how Prince gave Tamar the new name (or just making her a one-name artist), but both of them are inspired and influenced by God and how that’s helped them through difficulties in their lives. Some of it is a little too cheesy and cliché to fully take as gospel.

The Dance- I know he recorded this previously as part of the Chocolate Invasion- I hadn’t heard that version. I think I have a file hanging around somewhere that has the two versions together, but going in and out of each other. But I like this song so much that I’m afraid if I hear the original that I’m not going to like it as much anymore.
I don’t remember what my original thoughts were, but as far back as I remember, it’s been another of my favorites. I love the piano on this. He creates amazing drama and atmosphere. There’s a cool solo that sounds like something from a classical concert. There’re tango elements in the piano as well as the drama and the vocals. I love how there are two vocals- his normal register and his falsetto and they blend together so well. Seamlessly. He has so many great vocal showcases to his name, but I feel like this is another one of them.
I’d get to the end and there were a couple of times where I was so absorbed in the song that I was left breathless by the end of it.
I’ve tried a few times to conceptualize a music video for this, but it never came across. At the final minute, though, I imagine spiraling and he’s in the center of a hall of mirrors that sways back and forth in rhythm and he claps around in a circle when the song calls for it. And he ends on his knees screaming… and then I black out after that.
I don’t know if he could do this live, especially vocally. But it’d be so cool to see how he’d do the piano- I think he could have made that part last longer than it did on record.

Get On the Boat- I don’t know if it was recorded in this way, but I’ve always imagined this as a full-on band performance. There aren’t many band jams on this album. 3121 is the only other one that comes to mind. I don’t think I’d change anything about it. The band is so tight. I love his piano playing, so much flair and energy. And he hasn’t played like this on any other song that I can think of. Sheila E’s drumming is a great addition. The first solo is my favorite.
The ending, I don’t quite get. I don’t know what is being played with those bongos, whether it was a flute or what or who’s playing it. It’s an odd ending. But it doesn’t completely take away from the song either.

Today, instead of the album again, I did something different.
I remember who sent it to me, but it was one of my earliest acquisitions. And I don’t remember if I ever listened to it. If I had, it’s been years.
A day like today, it was just what I needed… yeah, PMS was really vicious with me today and I was in a lot of pain and feeling like crap (I wouldn’t have said anything as I hadn’t in some time if I wasn’t feeling so bad… and I’m back to feeling that way now, so this will be a short addition).

Prince just took my mind off everything and I was really enjoying myself and just felt like I was able to breath.
It was kinda fun to hear some other songs mixed in there in addition to some album tracks. Although it was just Lolita and Black Sweat.

The beat for Lolita, like I recollected from American Idol, was killer. But I thought the synths were a little too much.
Black Sweat- the high-pitched whatever it is- it sounds like a UFO when it’s live. The backing beat sounded very close to the original, but it also reminded me of Kiss- which was the next song funny enough.

Shh- I was just holding my breath on this one (yeah, I know, totally contrary to my previous statement, right?), just waiting from him to break me from the spell. just waiting for the song to end was agonizing 😛 but I didn’t mind it. I just wanted it to hit the right note and it did.

Later on he did Joy in Repetition and it was the same thing. So good! Wow!

And much of it was actually spent with him letting the band play out and do their thing. And I didn’t mind it. I could just relax and chill with it. Something I really needed at the time.

the second half of the concert wasn’t nearly as good. Anotherloverholenoyhead was an unexpected, but welcome addition.
I liked how he did 7 live, although I like the studio version better.
I also found it a little insensitive for him to do that song and then thank Larry Graham for showing him The Truth… I mean, 7 was about him and Mayte’s blossoming romance and he just, can’t believe I’m even saying this about Prince, crapped all over that memory with that crap about Larry Graham. Geesh… I’m never gonna go let that go.

the live version of 3121 was disappointing, but hearing Get on the Boat made me want to pick up the album immediately after. But I went to the podcast instead.
Today, I was having trouble getting through the last 90 minutes of work, so I finished the podcast at work and took the album with me on the ride home.

What I find is that the first song or two on an album I’ve heard a few times in the same week- it doesn’t hold my interest… this is another case. I think I got more out of Musicology, oddly enough.
One thing I was finding, though… some songs just made me smile so much and I was getting my groove on and everything. I don’t recall smiling so much over a Prince album, at least not for some time. Maybe Rave was the last one that put me in a good mood (minus the break-up songs, of course).
Lolita, I was reliving the American Idol performance (what little I remember of it- and oddly, I only saw it 2-3 times ever and the choreography still sticks with me) as well as hearing the live version a few days ago.
Black Sweat, Love (although I wasn’t quite as in it as I was the first couple times), Fury… Get on the Boat is becoming such a surprise. I don’t think I liked it nearly as much as I have this week. I’m not fully invested in Beautiful, Loved and Blessed, but I can’t help but smile to it cuz it’s just so positive.

It was kinda funny how on the podcast, the guys were scoring individual songs, saying how this was 4 star track or 3 star or 5 star… not for every song, but it was enough where it got me thinking.

Yeah, I like this album a lot. In my heart, it feels like an 8.5 album. It has to get higher than just the standard 8.0 😛
but I’ll see how my math figures in the situation. I think I’ll give the album one more listen before I do so.

As I did the week before, I put the album on while I was catching up puzzle pages from the last few days. However, today I didn’t get through all of them. I just finished one page (where I had two puzzles left to do) and I was starting on the crossword of the second (with one full page yet to go) when the album ended. And I decided I just couldn’t wait to finish up with this post. Too much to go into 😛

I can’t remember feeling this way about a Prince album in a while, but I decided that if I’m grooving to almost every song, smiling and mouthing, even soft-singing some of the lyrics… this is something special. And I think a lot of it has to do with it being a pop album. My idea of pop (unlike Musicology- as good as it is, that isn’t my area of expertise in music and it’s not what I personally grew up with).
And of course with my family around wanting to interact with me despite my having earbuds in my head (you’d think that’d be a huge hint to leave me alone 😛 ), I couldn’t be into all of it. Sadly, it made me also notice that a couple of the songs were “commercial breaks” where I didn’t need to fully engage in the song and I could pay a little more attention to what was going on around me. “Love” I got interrupted during, which really irritated me. Then “Fury” I had to stop also, but that did not slow me down 😛 if there’s any indication of where this is going, that’d be it.

In my mind, I was already thinking up numbers as I often do. How I feel about certain songs. Technically, it’ll be very strong, but with almost every song, I can nitpick one thing I’d change to make it better. And components will be my overall enjoyment.
Here we go…
I will be saving all the performances for later in the day. I could not possibly score them if I did it the other way around cuz the live version would still be in my head. I noticed that while all of them are floating around YouTube (or the Brits, which someone was sweet enough to send me the video of so I can watch it whenever), his SNL appearance is not. NBC owns the “Fury” performance- the first link is to their own site.

3121- the song… lol, just noticed Musicology and 3121 both have 12 songs… ok, moving on..
Among all of Prince’s opening tracks, this is up there. It’s not as mind-blowing as 1999, Let’s Go Crazy or Controversy… but it’s pretty dang good. I’d put it on the next tier below those three monster openers. Great instrumentation. I love the dueling vocals and how the Camille-esque vocal adds various things to the song. Some of my favorite moments only Prince could pull off. Great way to set the scene. And some really cool lyrics- taking Hotel California to the next level- “You can come if you want to, but you can never leave”… Hotel California (I only recently started paying attention to lyrics) looks inviting, but inside, it’s kinda like a Stephen King hotel, kinda scary, but it’s something you can never forget if you wanted to. 3121- you’ll be having such a good time, you won’t want to forget it. Although for me, it might extend more to the full album rather than this particular song. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I personally invest in others a lot more.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 8.5

As far as Prince pop songs, I always have fun with this one. What a hook that chorus is. It’s a great indicator of who Prince was at that point- he’s old and mature enough where he’s actually fending off younger women… although who knows… he still could have been romantically linked to Tamar, Bria Valente and Judith Hill- all of whom are probably my age (31 currently) if not older. I don’t know or really care for that matter. But it’s hard not to find him enticing even if it’s a “you want what you know you can’t have” type of thing. His best synth work in ages and it’s a nice throwback to his old sound from the 80’s. Captain said it was like an update of “Soft & Wet”… I didn’t even realize that until he said it, but he’s right. The stop and start nature of the song is exactly like that. But the theme is different. And it also has some Time style call & response chants- but it doesn’t go nearly as long (or maybe it doesn’t feel that way because there are two of them- one is Prince and his fellows, and the other is Prince and all the Lolitas of the world).
Technical Merit- 4.5 (if the rhythm section was more like the live versions, this would be a perfect score without question)
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9 (yeah, I freaking love this song, but I wouldn’t call it perfect)

Oh man, this is a tough one. If this was like the Brit Awards version, it’d be a perfect 10. But the production, even with the cool Clare Fischer strings, it doesn’t capture my heart that same way. It’s so beautifully written. Easily one of his best love songs of the 21st century. [It also boggles my mind to hear the guys say that this song and Lolita got flack from die-hard fans. Lolita, I get. But this… there’s nothing wrong with it… for me, it’s missing the DreamyPop production the live version had].
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

I’m gonna quote Taylor Swift- “when you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty dirty cheats of the world, you could’ve been getting down to this sick beat”
Prince has laid down some sick beats in his life and this is no exception. Sure, it’s very Kiss-esque, but it’s something I can’t help but tap my fingers to and just groove to. It’s crazy. Minimalistic funk at its finest. I think I’ll have to take the video out of my head to properly look at this one. When I have it alone, I still like some other songs better. Most days, I’d probably prefer it to Kiss. But the one place Kiss has it beat… lyrics.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (I dunno- the lyrics stick in my head, but some of them seem like they’re below him. In the first verse in particular. “I don’t wanna take my clothes but I do. I won’t wanna turn nobody on, unless it’s you.” …then he says he’s got a brand new dance- that lyric is so 1980’s, c’mon, dude. And the white lady lyric, I still don’t get)
Components Score- 4 (I thought of giving it 3.5, but that’s what I gave 3121 and I like this song more)
Total Score- 8.5

…:sigh: this was commercial break #1… there was a lot going on at the time and I didn’t really feel like paying the song over again. I love the vibe and production on it. It’s the kind of feeling only Prince can give me, but some parts of this, he’s not the only one who could think them up. I love the vocals on this, but the auto-tune has to go. There are some more dodgy lyrics. A lot more. The second verse- I already went into the first couple lines (meh!). I like the dance floor/table juxtaposition a lot- it’s like a “Shh” reference. The willing & able comment is BORDERLINE- something about it just bothers me a bit. “Willing” is an important thing. “Able” illustrates that he needs a woman with experience. I don’t know why I’m personally making a big deal about that, but it sounds like an exclusionary comment to me. The whole scenario the title suggests would be a turn-on for me with Prince involved for sure. But the rap has to go. Omg, I think I have to copy/paste them and nitpick ever single line 😛 this is my one opportunity to do that. [By the way, everything after the rap is excellent]
ok, I started to google it, there’s another song called “incense and peppermints”- it has nothing to do with sex. It’s a song about nonsense lyrics 🙄
I actually found another lyric that is… “once u try to seduce me, it grows and grows”- OMG, TMI! I don’t wanna picture that. [yeah, still a virgin… with zero romantic experience… moving on]

I got a cool idea my darling, let’s go outside
I want 2 smother u with something as shiny [back to the last comment, not sure I wanna know what that’s referring to] as the rims upon my ride [this whole lyric- the Peach & Black guys unanimously said it was so cheesy- the metaphor on its own doesn’t bother me]
I want 2 look 4 the milky way [so cheesy!] and uhh when I find it
I’m going to make u scream my name as if it was divine (Prince)
But we both know that we gotta praise the 1 who made u [can we leave Jehovah out of this, please?]
Give props to ur mama for the healthy food she must have gave u [uh… not sure what to say about this, but what a lame and stupid lyric in an attempt to make a rhyme with the previous line]
4 the meek at heart these words they might sound like a sinner
But the truth is that u’re sitting on every 1 of ur dinners
But that’s fine, [Sir Mix-A-Lot said the same thing in far fewer words] Cause I’m blind
About blind as a cat in the dark
It might come at to in the morning after roaming in the park [another cheesy way to make a rhyme]
Hard to understand always changing plans
Harder than hell to handle
One scent alone make it worth Ur while the price of Prince’s candle [I said this lyric as a plural until I really listened and then it’s like… really?!]

if I was giving these fields scores in fractions, a very small amount of these lyrics are passable for Prince. Leave it to the lesser R&B guys to do, but he’s better than this garbage.
Yet it’s a song I never skip and willingly sing along and know every word to… it’s too bad. It’s such a great title and idea, but just not executed as well as I know Prince is capable of doing.
Technical Merit- 3.5
Components Score- 2.5
Total Score- 6 (I had a hard think about this one… there are some parts of the song I like, but not enough of them for me to be comfortably neutral)

…now! we’re back on track. This time I had a pencil nearby so I could keep track of the record scratches. I counted 44- but I might have missed a couple of them. It’d be something if the correct number was 49 cuz it’s 7 squared.
Prince should have made this a radio single! The radio could have played it up until the “let’s skate portion”- it’d be perfect. It’s so catchy, it’s a great concept, it’s modern and fully realized and executed so well. Another song I have a lot of fun with and it’s hard not to be in a better mood after it than you were before. I love having Tamar’s vocals on here because it gives me a key to sing in. Prince is a little too low for me to keep up with.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5 (It’s so close to being perfect, but I don’t feel 100% of it. Sometimes it feels too long and sometimes it feels just right)

…ok, commercial break #2. As much as I hated on “On The Couch” and said this is the better version, but I have to really be in the mood for it. And I think that’s only happened once or twice EVER- and it was last year, ironically… I wouldn’t say every Prince song sounded better after he went away, but some I liked more than I did for that reason alone. Captain quoted someone saying “Satisfied makes Insatiable look like Grammy song of the year”… yikes, they REALLY did not like Insatiable. Me, I love Insatiable and it almost feels like an insult to put these songs in the same sentence. Almost. The Peach & Black guys also had a laugh about how short this song is, wondering if “he found the secret” to “get there quicker”…
The vocal performance is brilliant. The vibe of the music is very cool and classy and sophisticated. I love all that. But the lyrics… I don’t know… some of them don’t sound particularly genuine. Like he sings them without wholeheartedly meaning them. I already did my bit about the “buried treasure” lyric. Maybe I’m just missing some sort of bang like a killer guitar solo 😛 Of the whole album, this is the only song I’ve ever skipped. I don’t do it nearly as much as I used to.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 3
Total Score- 7.5 (looking at all the songs I’ve given straight 7’s, I like this one a tad more simply for how well it’s put together. But I don’t feel it as strongly as some others)

I have a feeling already that I like this song a lot more than the sum of its parts. It’s funny that there’s a lyric where he says “it’s like the song everybody wanna sing”… it’s hard not to sing along to this one. It’s so well-written. It’s just not executed as well as it could have been. The vocals sound a little better when he has Tamar and the Twinz backing him up, but there are some parts I really like. Like the layering he does in “who’s the guilty one when there ain’t no judge or jury- shadow to the sun, next to the one, hell ain’t go no fury”. But I think he could have pushed his vocals more. Like that line “hell ain’t go no fury”… he sings that song amazingly in a live performance. Here, it’s just so watered down.
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 8.5

omg, 4 8.5’s already?! Ack! That’s gonna change, like now.

Straight up- for me, this is a perfect song. And it should never be done live because Prince alone does all of this so well that he doesn’t need anyone else putting their own flavor on top of it. Sheila E is great on “On the Boat” and the Brit Awards, but I did not like them doing this song together and putting the Latin flavor on it just to make it fit into the ALMA awards (I only watched it for that performance and it was such a let down).
I didn’t get the bridge with the spiders at first, but now I do. And the streets of gold lyric is a little cheesy and overdone. I think the whole lyric “don’t matter how far u have 2, The Truth has got 2 be told, no matter how shiny ur lips, they’ll be streets of gold”… I don’t think it’s the obvious conclusion, that your lips being shiny doesn’t make your word law… it’s that you could gloss the words however you want, but it’s not going to always attract people like streets of gold would.
The atmosphere is great. Toejam called it a “dream song”- which I totally agree with. Although by the end, it sounds like it winds up becoming a nightmare cuz he wakes up screaming. What a good scream that is too. The panning of the vocals during the “streets of gold” verse is really cool. Another great guitar solo that’s among his best and shouldn’t be discounted.
And I was originally planning to write a book about Prince’s music in a way to talk about what the songs are about and trying to sell people on him that weren’t big fans because they thought he was weird or whatever else… I was going to it “The Word”. It’s been so long I can’t remember why, but it was before I really looked into the lyrics and took them to heart. Now, I can say it’s because Prince was a new exhalation for me that had me curious and I wanted to know more and there were voices telling me that it’s probably not a good idea for someone like me to pursue knowledgeable about someone like him [oh, you gotta be kidding me- The Beatles used that title first?! And their version says “say the word” and “spread the word”… ah!!!]…
as for my version of “The Word”… I’ve written so much material on my blog about his music over the past 10 years and I actually have full chapters finished for a bunch of his albums- I think 16 of them. Not that I was planning to do all of them. I honestly don’t know what the status is, but after Prince’s death and all these books about him finally being written and published… what’s even the point? Just with Purple Rain alone, I don’t have all my facts straight anymore, now that it’s come out that The Beautiful Ones is really about Vanity and not Susannah. Not to mention everyone else has done biographies on him and I have some biographical stuff in there, and a lot of it is heresay from fellow fans. Much of my knowledge about Prince comes from them and I owe those people at .org and a couple on Housequake a lot for educating me beyond what the albums could do on their own. But that wouldn’t hold in court or on a bookstore shelf.
I know my fellow purple knight is on board with my idea and he’s given me great input and advice on it. But I don’t know if any other purple party people would get it the same way. I bet if I showed Captain a chapter or two, he’d think I was absolutely mental. Even with his weird tastes in Prince music and the fact we’ve had some good Twitter conversations about Prince music, I think my book is a level of weird beyond what he’d be into. Of the four guys, he’d probably be the most receptive to the idea- but then again, I don’t know that for sure.

I am WAY off topic…

The Word- Technical, Components … 10/10

as the years go by, the less chance I have of making The Word a reality and it makes me sad that after putting so much work into it that it’ll all be for nothing. But I just can’t mentally do it anymore. It’s such a taxing discipline that after I finish a chapter, I need to take a break for a month or two. It’d have been great if I used this project, going through the albums in order as I have over the past year, for pages. But I did it so casually and, at times judgmentally, I just couldn’t do it.
Anyway- that’s the end of that.

MC was so hard on this song in the podcast 😛 he really likes this album a lot and he says it brought it down a lot. Things were actually getting pretty heated during his “I don’t know what it’s doing here” rant. A couple of the guys also said that Tamar’s voice offers nothing special. I mean, I really don’t like Beyoncé (even before the Formation controversy, Halo was the only song I liked. If I Were A Boy sounds like a “If eye was ur girlfriend” rip-off but more successful, which ANNOYS me. Put a Ring On It is the most annoying song EVER)… if Prince did the Beyoncé thing with Tamar, it’d be more tasteful in my view. It’s just too bad her album never happened. And that she didn’t make it to the top 12 on The Voice (she really deserved to win the whole thing, but nobody supported her like I did- plus, she got some really bad song choices. It’s a shame also that nobody knows she did this album with Prince- she sounds so good on it).

Back to the song- the only negative I find in it, really, is that it overstays its welcome. One minute too long, I think. The combination of their voices is sonically pleasing to me. The lyrics are catchy, have a lot of heart and meaning behind them. And you can take them however you want.
Another small nitpick- what the hell is she saying in at the end of the first stanza?
“All I needed was the potter’s hand And the blood on Calvary”… I always thought it was “the power shroud and the blood of Calvary”… I still don’t know what the blood of calvary is… is it enough for me to take a point away for lyrics? …uh… I don’t think so. The rest of the song is so good.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

Dammit :facepalm: last one, I promise

I really got into the song today. It’s nice to have it without any distraction, but I also cranked the volume up a bit. The soundscape is so cool on earbuds. Some of Prince’s best piano playing. What it could have been if he did this live? It sounds like a classical piece, but with a Prince twist to it. There have been times this song has taken my breath away and I have had to stop the album while I catch it.
But… it’s just so close to being perfect… but not quite there.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the very end of the song- where he’s saying how the woman makes to make love in weird uncomfortable places- “on the stairs, against the pole”… the album booklet says the next line “on the north side of…” to me, it sounds he’s saying “dust corners” or “dust dorners” or something… it’s unintelligible and it annoys me (and it allows me to also take a little off for the “it’s not fair” stuff… sometimes I get into, sometimes I don’t)
Components Score- 5
Total Score- 9.5

I think when I first heard this (not on GMA, I barely remember that performance and I think I’ve only seen it once since it was live on TV) on the album, I thought it was a weird title. What is this boat? Now, I have a better idea and it doesn’t need to be the religious version. It could be about just getting on board with an idea or a feeling. And Panamama bring the drama- I used to think that was a weird out of place lyric, but I heard recently that Prince spent some time in Panama in 2005 or 2006 and he might have been inspired by the music there. The Spanish lyric is kinda random, but it fits in with the vibe so nicely.
I’ve gotten to points this week where I’ve heard this song and just didn’t want it to end. Today, the end came so fast cuz I was having so much fun… so yeah, this song is pretty great. Just like 3121 kinda set the tone of what to expect, this kinda sums up all the good things this album had that came before it. It’s a really nice closer. Again, not a big to-do like Purple Rain, Gold, Sometimes it Snows in April. But again, it’s a 2nd tier closer that’s a welcome final track to the album.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 9 (I enjoy this song whenever I get to it, but it’s not a song I go out of my way to hear)

so in order from best to “worst”…

The Word- 10
The Dance- 9.5
Love- 9.5
Lolita- 9
Get On the Boat- 9
Fury- 8.5
Black Sweat- 8.5
Beautiful Loved & Blessed- 8.5
3121- 8.5
Te Amo Corazon- 8.5
Satisfied- 7.5
Incense & Candles- 6

Just on averaging the two marks, it’s better than Musicology. And it’s the highest average components score I’ve seen since The Gold Experience… this makes me excited.

103/120… 8.6/10
oh wow… that’s great!
It’s not better than The Gold Experience, but it’s the best scoring album SINCE The Gold Experience.

This is really exciting 😀 I’m so glad to see this.
The unfortunate thing is that it just made things difficult for Planet Earth. Some people might not get it, but it has personal meaning for me. In a couple of ways. And sadly, one songs is probably going to doom it and ensure it’s not going to make my personal top 10.

Anyway… I think I’ll leave this post open until I’ve watched all the clips. After that, I can officially publish it and share it with people.

For top songs…
The Word- without question. But I’d like to also take along:
The Dance

After all, I’m not going to have 100 Prince songs I gave perfect scores, so they’ll be among the next songs to know if they made the cut.

I didn’t get around to going into the live performances and interviews I watched after I went through Musicology, so this time, I won’t make that mistake.
In order, I’ll watch:

the SNL performances
American Idol
Brit Awards

…and I think Sunday I’ll have to watch the SuperBowl Halftime show again… where this whole thing started- twice, in fact. The day before I joined the purple community officially and the day before I started this whole journey with the albums back in February.

…yeah, the guitar in SNL’s Fury performance was freaking amazing!!! I think I was more into that than everything else. Like I said, I hate the orange and the doo-rag/bandana thing he had going on. But there were moments where he let that sick sense of humor let us know what’s what and that was also absent on record. All the same, I was grooving to the song. So much so that I already felt a cramp in my stomach, but I didn’t care 😛

Beautiful, Loved and Blessed- I liked the blue on him a lot more. And I just noticed- it’s not the same jacket because the design wasn’t on the back, but he was wearing the same colors as he did at the HalfTime… did he know something we didn’t a year before it happened?
yeah, the guys on the podcast were right (forgot who said it), said that Tamar overdid it early on and was out of breath for the rest of the performance. I wonder if she was nervous and just did that or if Prince instructed her that way. Either way, he probably taught her better the next time. He was so accommodating and it was so nice at the end where he hugged her and pointed to her, like a proud parent.

…now back to when I saw him for the first time in modern day (not in a Purple Rain clip or old 80’s video)…
American Idol. In her book, Mayte talked a lot about the great reveal and how Prince liked to make himself known when the show started, not beforehand. And this performance was exactly that. No word of him being there that night- then he was suddenly there…
yeah, I just lost my damn mind all over again…
the way it usually goes on American Idol, it’s usually pins and needles on finale night, not really sure what’s going to happen. Who’s going to win- that year, it didn’t matter so much because I didn’t like Taylor Hicks or Katherine McPhee. But what threw everyone off was Ryan Seacrest saying there were no more special guests and they were getting to results next.
Then the music started and he was there and that brought me back to seeing it unfold as I was watching the show.
The arrangement of Lolita sounds amazing- it’s just a standard drum beat, but it sounded like real drums, unlike the album. Then the synths had a flurry of solos, which sounds cool, but I also liked the synths on the album. There was a part of it that reminded me of a part in “Glam Slam”- the synth string section in that instrumental part at the end.
Then Satisfied- he did most of it in his normal register and only used a few parts of falsetto. He also left out that whole verse about “buried treasure”- which made the song feel a little too short, but I felt more satisfied (haha, yeah, I Know) than I had been with the album version.
Can’t believe how I’d only seen it once or twice ever yet the choreography from this performance is in my head (or at least some of it) stayed with me for every time I’d hear the album.

Just a quick comment on The Twinz- those two back-up dancers he had with him through the 2006-2007 period… I really don’t like them all that much. I found them very distracting in the performances where I wanted all the focus to just be on him. Plus, having back-up dancers seemed like a gimmick Prince didn’t need. The funny thing is- I loved Mayte, but she didn’t draw focus away from him, she made him look good and they looked great together. Cat is great also, but Mayte will always be my favorite back-up dancer. (And that was all before I read the book).
However, with the American Idol performance, The Twinz were great. I loved their choreography and also how they shared a mic for Satisfied while he kept center stage. Also, great dresses too. Really nice design.

Good Morning America- a performance I think I’ve only seen twice also and there was a large gap in between. Yet I didn’t remember anything about it other than Tamar getting a solo song.
…I think I know why I didn’t find it memorable. There wasn’t a lot about this that stood out to me. I think I just like the album version better than this. “Get on the boat” I like a lot for the piano parts- and Prince was on guitar and the piano stuff was done on horns. It’s not quite the same.
Tamar’s song was “Redheaded Stepchild”… I know that’s a cliché meaning that you feel like you’re unwanted or unwelcome. But the chorus was “I feel like a redheaded stepchild. I need somewhere to lay my head”… seems like an odd hook. I don’t know what Prince was thinking with that. I like her in that dark blue, but it was distracting that it was open in a downward vee shape so you could see her midrift and above when she moved around. I know it’s strange of me to say when I was cool with the Vanity 6 lingerie look, but it was distracting. And the Twinz were distracting with their choreography.
Then they ended with “Let’s Go crazy”… he was really liking that song at this time cuz he did that here and at the Brits and the SuperBowl he opened with it…
the best part of the whole thing was Prince’s guitar work on Tamar’s song. It sounded amazing… yeah again, amazing 😛 can’t say much else…

and I’ll be ending it on the best note possible… maybe his best TV performance ever… at least of the ones I’ve seen.

The Brit Awards
I don’t remember the last time I saw it, but I think I’ve seen it so much that I know every inch of it. And I feel I might have hyped it up too much for myself, so it wasn’t as powerful as it was the first couple times. He has the perfect band with him- Wendy & Lisa and Sheila E, who was just killing it on the drums. Loved her in this performance. I still wish Te Amo Corazon sounded more like this on album, beautiful arrangement with more flutes and Sheila E on the shakers creating the right atmosphere. And just the sound of his guitar- it’s not the typical electric guitar. It sounded restrained, but it also felt fuller- if that makes any sense. I love his vocal in Fury in this case.
Then there was Purple Rain and Let’s Go Crazy- the latter was better here than the SuperBowl (I liked his audience call-outs better in this performance and how he just lost it on that guitar solo- sick!). And Purple Rain was better at the SuperBowl… for many reasons.
But it’s so cool that he had Wendy & Lisa on Planet Earth. I don’t know how much they contributed, but something about having them in the credits gives it another vibe I really enjoyed.
But more on that later.

I’ll see if I can find the Black Sweat video…
I found it, but it isn’t quite the video… the ending was a little different- the song kept going and the clips repeated a bit. There’s no official video uploaded anywhere, unfortunately, but hopefully his YouTube channel gets there.
But it’s so funny how he’s totally into it the first part of the video, but as it goes on, he’s starting to think “bitches be crazy” but not in that exact words. And his expressions are worth 1,000’s of words 😛 classic Prince humor. Love it!
the AlMA appearance is on YouTube, but I don’t wanna watch. Not going to let them ruin my favorite song on the album again by trying to make it Latin. Speaking of that, why didn’t he did Te Amo Corazon for that instead? It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Bits and pieces of Te Amo’s video, I can see in my head when I listen to the song. It’s also MIA on YouTube, but that’s ok. Another time, maybe.

And it’s now 12:32am… not any of my later nights, but still time for me to wrap this up.

Up next- Planet Earth…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Trophee Eric Bompard

I guess now this competition is called “Internatioaux de France”- but I’m keeping the consistency up with my posts, so this name will remain the title of this post.

And I guess I was wrong on something I said last week… Javi is competing. I thought for sure he would be taking time off to figure out what’s going on with his skating. But he might have just been off because Brian Orser, his coach, was away because he was recovering from gall bladder surgery. I think maybe commentators got in my head and I thought they said he would be taking time off, but they were actually wondering aloud if he would because that’s what Patrick Chan is doing.
Beyond him, I only know that Max Aaron was competing because he tweeted about flying here.

As it seems to be the case with these international competitions, I get so little chance to see them when they air due to my schedule and the time change (seriously, why couldn’t they just have it taped and air it on prime time so people who work can watch?). I may be able to see the girls compete live if I can get myself up at 7am on a Saturday. Somehow, I don’t see that happening, but we’ll see.

OMG, I’m losing it 😛 all the guys I’m seeing on this YouTube Channel, I’m huge fans of all of them. So excited! But first, the ladies event… as usual, I only see a few I like or pay regular attention to. Like, maybe 4.

Elizaveta is back 😀 so I’ll start with her.
[ahh! Two ads- you suck, YouTube]
oh man, that broke my heart 😦 she fell on her triple axel and mispicked on her second jump. Her final jump was a triple-double combination. As the experts typically say, she’s one of those skaters that relay on their technical score because they can’t bring it on components. That will have to be a personal worst. I know she’s so much better than this- ever since she became World Champion, she hasn’t been able to get that magic back.
53.03- 24 and 29… yeah, that makes me sad.

onto another Russian, Maria Sotskava
that wasn’t the perfect skate she had a few weeks ago, but pretty dang close. She had a triple flip that she had to fight on the landing, it looked under rotated. The rest of the jumps were immaculate. More and more, I think she’s posing a threat to Medvedeva, but she kinda needs her to make mistakes in order to overtake her. A lot of mistakes because the components aren’t strong with her yet.
67.79- 35 and 32

now for someone from Team USA, Polina Edmunds.
I hadn’t seen her in ages and she’s grown quite a bit since I last saw her, so I don’t really know what to expect. The last I saw her, she was still doing programs like Tinkerbell from Finding Neverland or something and I said it wasn’t mature enough for her. I’m not quite sure if this Palladio program was in her style. She had to fight for the second jump on her combination, but the others were better. I think she was going from element to element and not really feeling the program.
56.31- 28 and 27
the commentators were saying how it’s possible that Team USA might not make the grand prix final this year and how they’re not strong enough to compete on the world podium.

I mean… yeah, the Russians are pretty hard to beat. But I wouldn’t rule out Ashley. Never count her out. I hope she makes a wicked comeback at Skate America to a first place finish.

Kaetlyn Osmond
not as strong as I’ve seen her- she only managed a triple-double combination and had a hand down on her second jump. the third was good. The rest was the usual- solid and of course the French music has the crowd in the palm of her hand. I also noticed that she has two jumping passes in the first half- the top skaters have two jumps in the second half. Or you could be like Medvedeva and have all the jumps in the second half… I like her so much, but that just annoys me. The program doesn’t flow with all the jumps so close together at the end.
69.05- 34 x 2- yeah she’s in first, but not by much.

Now onto the guys… Javi is the one who’s been at the top of the recommended column so he must have done a great job. Might as well start with him.

Javier Fernandez
that was so good! wow! he got so much height on those jumps and the landings were so smooth. Quadruple toe loop- triple combination (although I’m not sure if it was worth 17 points- Plushenko did a quad-triple-triple combination worth 13 base points… and they were as good as this).
Anyway, amazing all around. Love this Charlie Chaplin program and it felt like a good program overall. The jumps were spaced well apart from each other. Yeah, the commentators are even saying Brian Orser being here made a huge difference.
107.86- 60 and 47- yeah, I agree with the components for sure. The transitions could be better, but the choreography and interpretation is amazing. It sounds like he didn’t quite beat Shoma, so he has to be leading. But up next in the right hand column…

Max Aaron
I really commend him for having two quads in his program, not many guys in the US are doing that. He had to do a few turns after the first quad and he fell out of his second jump in the combination. The quad salchow, he had to fight for, but he got the rotation. Triple axel solid. I really want him to get a perfect skate with this Les Mis program, even if this music doesn’t quite work as a short program for my tastes. But I love the emotion he brings to the piece, so I think he should have some good marks on components.
78.64- 41 and 38… ugh- a senior men’s score should be 80 or higher. That’s not quite there.
This other commentator with the Scottish accent, I don’t like him, he’s such a pessimist. Saying how Max had a shot for the grand prix final because of how other top skaters have finished, but now he might not get it. Dude, he still has another performance to do. Don’t write him off yet.

Ok, next.
Denis Ten
he fell on his quad salchow, like he slipped off his skate when he landed. The other two jumps were brilliant and such beautiful artistry. The Scottish commentator really likes his components and I agree. He’s so great to watch when he nails his jumps. I kinda lose that from him when he has a bunch of falls.
83.70- 42 x 2- yeah, that’s more like it. Good skate, Denis.

Vincent Zhou
breaking my heart again… what is going on? He’s so good and he just can’t get it together. I mean, he has really difficult jumps- a quad lutz and flip- those aren’t easy for anyone to nail and he just can’t quite get there. And the rest of the program just looked deflated after that. All I can hope is for him to come back at the US Championships and do as well as he did last year. He’s good enough to make the Olympic team, but at this rate, he’s been so inconsistent on the senior level he might not get there even if he gets on that particular podium.
66.12- 32 and 36- they were pretty generous on components. Even when he was a junior, he didn’t get scores that low. They were always 70+

Shoma Uno
ok, let’s see how good Shoma was if he was able to fend off Javi
ok, the commentators said that Javi was chasing Shoma’s score, but he skated lower than he did. I don’t get it- did they lie or did I miss something?
Anyway- his score was still good, but if he landed that quad flip, he’d be in first easily. Nailed the quadruple toe loop- triple combination- and it was in the second half too. Both his other jumps were. The components were great as always.
93.92- 48 and 46- Shoma will need Javi to make some mistakes, possibly, if he’s going to overtake him. (oh wow, not only were there some mean comments… but he’s supposedly dealing with the flu… I mean, I’m not going to say Plushenko skated with the flu and still won Europeans in 2006… Ok, I will say it, but I won’t hold that against Shoma. Especially since Plushenko was the only skater really doing quads in that competition)

Misha Ge
so good! There was something about him at Sochi- I hadn’t seen him before, but he was the only skater in the early rounds I really remembered. Easily the best from consistency and overall artistry. The emotion and interpretation- nobody is better at it. He nailed all the jumps. It makes me kinda sad that he’s the best artistic skater on the men’s side- I think ever. Yet he’ll never be in the same “league” or conversation as the Quad Revolution or Javier Fernandez and Patrick Chan because he doesn’t have the quads. But he also has one of the biggest followings internationally, so there’s no doubt he’ll be remembered.
85.41- 43 and 42- it’s a new personal best, awesome!

Alexander Samarin
the British commentators and I almost said wow at the same time 😛 Wow!
he nailed all his jumps- quad lutz-triple combination worth 19+ points (what!), toe loop and solid triple axel. He doesn’t have the components quite yet, but his skating skills and emotion and interpretation is getting better. But I don’t like how his first spin was just the donut spin, didn’t have anything special to it. The other spins were great. And supposedly, his technical score started crashing- I didn’t see it myself cuz I’m typing this, but I have no idea what the issue is.
91.51- 50 and 40- wow! but why was his technical score only 50 when he had 2 quads and a quad lutz that was immaculate… ok, someone said it was under rotated, but everyone else is crying foul at the judges. I agree.

Alexei Bychenko- last skater, I think 😛 I have so many I like in this competition, it’s insane.
and he’s had another amazing skate. Wow- I can’t believe how great this guy has gotten over the past couple years. The first time I saw him, I clicked on a video of him thinking he was Russian, but finding he was from Israel (found out later he was originally from Ukraine) and he didn’t have a strong skate. Now, he’s really peaking and he’s 29. Kinda crazy. And he’s gotten so confident, I really like that. Yeah, he’s another skater you really can’t count out. He did get silver at Europeans, the first man from Israel to do so.
ah, the video stopped before they could show his score… off to Wikipedia…
total score- 86.79- so he’s in 5th.

So the top men so far:

this guy Moris Kvitelashvili from Georgia (I’m positive he was with Russia originally) who’s been really highly rated at these grand prixes yet I haven’t been watching him- that bugs me
Denis Ten
Max Aaron
oh wow- Kevin Aymoz is all the way down in 9th… I’ve seen him in the junior grand prix series. He’s as good as Misha on the components and artistic side, but he’s had issues with nailing his jumps and that’s cost him medals.

so Vincent just cracked the top 10… yeah, you can tell how much I like a lot of these skaters by the fact I refer to them by their first name. But with Max Aaron, a lot of the time, I just like saying his whole name- I just noticed he has two first names 😛

for the girls

Kaetlyn Osmond has a 2 point lead over Maria Sotskava
OUCH! Elizaveta is dead last 😦
Polina Edmunds is 9th

yeah, I don’t think I’ll get up for the free skates for the girls… I don’t really care for any of them enough that I’d want to purposely lose sleep on a weekend when I get up every weekday at 5:30

The guys skate tomorrow afternoon, so I should be able to see that live on the Olympic channel.

They’re showing all the guys, starting with Vincent.
I missed the first couple jumps and that pisses me off 😛 I just wanted to get my Chai Tea ready to go before it started. He had 4-5 quads and had difficulties with them. He had some nice moments, but the mistakes just were too many. I really hope he can regroup for the rest of the season because he is amazing.
222.21- 88 and 69

Romain Ponsart- local guy- also skating to a Moulin Rouge program, but it’s “Your song”
he had some issues with his jumps too. Tracey Wilson said he didn’t have the rise and fall that a skater needs with their music. I can kinda see that. He has some nice looking skating, but nothing too special or memorable for me personally. Although this is just me seeing him for the first time.
198.12- 63 and 71

Denis Ten
this is another of those bad performances 😦 he fell on every difficult jump he had and did the doubles easily. And it looks like he cut his hand on his blade after he finished. So sad cuz he’s such a nice skater to watch, but he’s had issues with consistency and injury that’ve held him back. Most recently, he’d hurt his ankle in August and I think it’s the one he lands his jumps on, just based on how bad these landings have been today. I love these custom stuffies he’s getting- they’re pillows with his likeness on them 😛
228.57- 63 and 83- the components score is as good as I’d expect from him, he’s really good at that mark

Max Aaron
he probably wants that one quad back- he popped it. He had a quad-triple that became a quad-double. But beyond- another strong showing. It might not be enough for a podium spot in this competition, especially with Javi and Shoma yet to come. But I really like the look of him in this program. He looks like he’s come more into his own with his artistry and such ease in his skating and breadth of artistry. His own unique brand of artistry that I’d grown to appreciate over the past couple years. He’s one of those guys I really hope to see make the Olympic team. He’s one of those skaters that worked hard for it, but just didn’t do well enough at Nationals.
237.20- 82 and 75, another good score for a skater 10 years ago, but not in this new age.

Kevin Aymoz
aw, he looks so happy with that 😀 he had some huge jumps and had difficulty with the first few, triple axels. But he had some great music- Flock of Birds by Coldplay, a dramatic piece called The Conquest and Run Boy Run- the music from which I’d heard in Divergent. He used the music with his artistry and made such a beautiful picture. After he had some difficulties on the junior grand prix series, I’m so glad he got to have this moment. Especially with him being from France. Close to Saint Gervais if I remember right (that was the first grand prix I saw him at and fell in love with his artistry). His components score should be really good, but the grade of execution might bring him down a bit.
220.43- 73 and 77… they’re saying that he’s looking to earn an Olympic spot. I think he should get there, especially if he keeps skating like this. I think there’s only one spot for them, but he’s the best I know of them.

Max is in the lead for now, but the big leagues are about to take the ice.
yeah, anything can happen now… nothing’s guaranteed and that’s what makes it exciting. And with these guys…
they said Javi put up the 5th best short program score ever. Yeah, that sounds about right

first time I’m seeing Moris Kvitelashvili
so he was born in Moscow, but his parents emigrated there from Georgia. I thought maybe he moved to Georgia because he couldn’t compete in Russia. I was him at a test skate in Sochi in 2015 and didn’t see anything special in him. He’s gotten a lot better since then, but still has issues. He popped a quad and fell on the opening salchow. But he had a super solid toe loop- triple combination. He had a medley of Imagine Dragons music including Radioactive and Believer. It worked well for him.
240.50- 75 and 79- aw, he’s ahead of Max 😦

Alexei Bychenko
he didn’t do as well as he did last, but his big jumps were great. He got a little tired towards the end on that final spin, and he turned some triples into doubles. But the good things I’ve seen him do the past few years has me so excited for what he’ll do at the Olympics. He’s so good all around.
247.44- 80 x 2- yep, first place for the moment. 4 skaters left to go…

Misha Ge
I’ve read YouTube comments of Russian commentary where people ask why they can’t shut up or why they’re only quiet for Russians… Misha did a perfect skate with all the triples nailed, gorgeous spins and choreography. Tracey Wilson said “beautiful” once and that was it 😛 I’d never heard it so quiet during a skater’s program… that just blew my mind. And he skated with such confidence. Incredible! And with the combinations and the spins, he’s taking advantage of every point he can without having a quad.
258.44- 86 x 2… oh man, if he could get a medal, that’d be incredible… but 3 skaters left

Alexander Samarin
of course my dad’s around to hear some of this and says that it’s a terrible arrangement of the “House of the Rising Sun”… between this and “Maybe I Maybe You” Alexander really likes these rock star numbers.
He had issues with a lot of his jumps, a hand down on his lutz and a fall on his toe loop. The grade of execution won’t help him on some of the others. He looked winded by the end of it and he has more stamina usually. Artistically, he was very involved in the music, but the components score is still a work in progress. He has a 5 point advantage over Misha, so he could still get bronze based on that. But I think Misha deserves bronze more.
253.13- 82 and 79

and Misha will get his first grand prix medal 😀

Javier Fernandez
he had such a great start, but he fell on a quad, had one that had a double instead of a triple and had another fall. He gave some points away, but held it together to the end. His components score will help him a lot, but the grade of execution on a couple jumps will be potentially troublesome. Tracey Wilson thinks that the audience starting to clap with the music distracted him a bit and that’s why he had those issues.
283.71- 85 and 92

Shoma Uno
oh man, I cannot call this one 😛 it’s going to be tight for him and Javi.
He nailed two quads, but the other two he had issues with including a fall. It looked like he was losing it a little bit halfway through and I was actually yelling for him to keep going. Really pushing him to go for it and he looked like by the end he was exhausted. Tracey Wilson said he had nothing left at the end of it.
273.32- 90 and 91

oh man! I wanted Shoma to win that so bad, but he just missed out.
But congratulations to Misha for his first grand prix medal. Wow! That’s the best thing out of this competition.
I think Javi was the most composed skater, so he probably deserved to win more… I still kinda think he’s overscored on components when he doesn’t perform as well technically. As much as I love him as a performer, I have more loyalty to other skaters besides him.

Oh and it looks like Alina Zagitova from Russia won for the women’s competition. Awesome.
Maria Sotskava is 2nd and Kaetlyn Osmond is 3rd.

I don’t know if I feel like watching, though.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mayte’s book on Prince

Yes, I am starting to write this a few days after I said I’d take a week off from reviewing Prince’s albums and (hopefully) blogging.

But I started reading Mayte’s book today and already have a hundred thoughts.
Firstly- I don’t think a book on tape would have worked for me in this case. I find myself going over certain passages over and over to absorb and really form the picture in my head.

But what I’m going to do- I’m going to go through and each day I read, I’ll remember some points I want to touch on later in further length.
I only did the prologue so far and I’m already loving the book. It has a very cinematic, but honest feel to it, which I really like when it comes to Prince.

*It’s so poignant to read how it’s her and Gia at Paisley Park last April
I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I was in her shoes or those of all the fans that came to Paisley to pay their respects. Being so invested in Prince’s music through the course of 2017 to mark 10 years of my being a fan, he feels very present, so it’s still hard sometimes to think of him not being here anymore.
* Gia not wanting her picture taken by the fence, but Mayte was in a similar situation with her dad and it’s a photo she now cherishes
*quoting the 2nd verse of “Paisley Park” about the woman
I felt like I was in that situation as well. I hadn’t been mad at him exactly, but previous to 2016, I had been getting more annoyed with him for not putting out music regularly and insisting he had to do it so the artist gets full value for their product instead of just a percentage. As well as him not touring like a normal artist where I could buy a ticket and plan a couple months in advance. I like in the Poconos, so Philadelphia and New York City were my best options. For whatever reason, he only came here once since 2007 and it was the Welcome 2 America tour and I skipped out because I thought there’d be a next time. There wasn’t and never will be…
*how he always insisted they were done up with the clothes and makeup before leaving the house and he crafted a “persona” for her
I thought this was particularly interesting because you never saw Prince have a bad hair day ever. He always come out looking immaculate and he seemed to be having all the people around him doing the same thing, going as far back as The Revolution.

*one sentence that really got me when reading how she was summing up what this book is: saying how we’ll find out together how we’ll choose to remember him
I have SO many thoughts on this. Prince is the only artist where this has come up. Before I considered myself a true fan, I had this idea of him being this mysterious Neo-Mozart artist, and that stuck with me. And when he came out of his own world into ours, I took notice and was curious to see what he was up to. 2006 saw a lot of that, including the American Idol appearance that I heard rumors about, but never thought he’d actually do. When I started getting albums, I wanted a few different slices of the pie, meaning different parts of his life. Just to get a snapshot without going completely nuts and buying everything I could find. That IS ultimately what happened, but it was only because I slowly wanted to know more.
Now, considering what happened to him and how/why he died, I decided I wanted to remember him a certain way. That [after 1999 was the first song I heard on the radio after I learned the news] I’d celebrate his life and not spend too much time being sad about how he died or the fact I never went to any of his concerts. And most importantly, I wasn’t going to let any of the haters or speculators tell me how to remember him.

Chapter 1
*talks about when the two of them were born and how they believed they knew each other in another life
*Mayte was born with misformed legs and had to wear leg braces for 18 months to straighten them out
This detail BLEW MY MIND. I never heard this and it’s amazing how far she came after that. I don’t remember who said it, but they said her legs wanted to go in all different directions and came out that way.
*bellydancing was in at the YMCA like Zumba is now- her mom danced in a troupe and Mayte fell in love with it immediately.
*Prince asked her many times if he could change her name to Arabia and she finally said her Mama would kill her if she changed her name
I always kinda wondered about that “Sexy MF” lyric where she says her name is Arabia. I had no idea that Prince had this idea for her, but it makes perfect sense. I’m glad she stood firm on it cuz there’s only one Mayte 😉

Chapter 2
*Mayte and her sister found about Prince through MTV- her grandmother Nelly recorded videos and sent them to them
I found that detail kinda cool because I think the first time I saw Prince was when my dad showed us the 1999 video either in 1998 and 1999. We had this VHS full of MTV videos he recorded during 1987 and I used to watch them a lot. When I finally saw the video in 2007 when my fan journey officially started, there were so many little details I remembered, even all those years later. So for me, it’s one of his most iconic videos, even if it’s just a band performance on a sound stage.
*Her sister took her and their mom to see Purple Rain. She wanted to be Apollonia and her sister wanted to be Wendy
*talked about the massive Wardrobe department at Paisley Park and how Prince had her clothes altered to fit him
That was a detail she mentioned a lot on the press tour for this book and it was cool to get inside trade secrets about the wardrobe department. Mind-blowing!
*being inspired by Flashdance and glad to not know at the time that Jennifer Beals didn’t do all the dance choreography
I haven’t seen that movie in ages- I really need to again cuz I barely remember other than a couple songs 😛
*Fell in love with him watching the MTV interview and quoted many lines from it
I could hear his voice clearly in my head while reading this. It’s easily one of his most iconic interviews.
*those moments of intuition- like the mailbox looked different when there was a letter from him inside of it
Yeah, I can imagine that too. I’ve had moments at work where the radio is playing in the background and the air in the room would feel different when one of his songs came out.
*the fact she didn’t get over Prince boiled down to the fact her parents divorced and wound up reconciling for the sake of the family- she thought there was a chance their marriage could be saved
I wrote this detail down because it explains a lot about her mindset. I never held it against her and never blamed her because I would have too if I was in her shoes and been in that type of relationship. But the biggest criticism I’d seen everywhere is people saying she never got over him or she needs mental help or whatever else. Then there are the jerks after his death that she said wrote the book to make money off his legacy. Considering everything that transpired between them and all the things she couldn’t say or didn’t out of respect for his wishes, this was her way to grieve.
*I recognized that when they moved to Germany [where her dad was stationed for the military], that brought her within Prince’s path some time later.
*her parents passed her off as 16 for a number of years so the clubs and restaurants would hire her- she learned the difference between Turkish and Moroccan styles for the different restaurants
*she and her mom went to a place in Cairo for someone to custom-make her outfits and even she was taken by the fact Mayte helped design them
I didn’t know that Mayte designed her clothes, but it shouldn’t have surprised me so much. She has great ideas and taste and she always looks ravishing in the photos she posts of her dancing.
*she got invited to dance at a restaurant at an Egyptian hotel and it could be something that’d launched her career—
I foresaw her having this major commitment and her contract as Prince’s dancer made her choose between the two, but in reality, the hotel burned down due to lack of smoke alarms during a fire. Kinda scary to think that had it happened while she was there… just wow.
–this led to the opportunity of her family going to Spain on vacation and Prince would be in concert there. After a disappointing Michael Jackson concert (where it was very crammed), she didn’t want a repeat, but her sister’s choice won out. Plus, it was the “Nude” tour which caught her mom’s attention.
I’m about to start chapter 3 which is where she finally meets Prince… I’m thinking of tweeting, I’m enjoying it so far and am kinda nervous to see what’ll happen with Prince gets thrown into the mix, but it’s hard not to be excited about it.
*Mayte’s comments on Prince’s concert in Barcelona. They heard “Thieves in the Temple” at that concert and it gave her parents the idea to send a video tape to him
How she described seeing him in concert… I swear, her reactions were identical to mine when I saw him in Purple Rain doing “I would Die 4 U” and “Baby I’m a Star.” I knew these songs so well cuz they were on a mix CD my dad made of Go-Go Bar hits that were big when he was in his 20’s. And seeing how he performed them… I was mesmerized and my mom said “I think she’s in love with Prince”
To this day, it still surprises me that I didn’t take my dad’s copy of the Purple Rain album or buy a whole bunch of his music after that. I think it was at least 7 years before I did any of that.
*they go to a concert near Germany, give the tape to Kirk Johnson, Prince actually watches it on site and wants to meet her
This was a really exciting moment, but I was also nervous for her not knowing what to expect. Also her comments on her mom insisting they see the tape, I was blushing with embarrassment right along with her 😛
*he saw her from the tour bus and said to Rosie “that’s my future wife”
I remember hearing this quote in an interview and it was cool to see when it happened. Although a tad disappointed he meant it as a joke then, but it wound up becoming reality.
*they get VIP seating at the concert and she gives her phone number- he calls her as soon as she gets home and meets him at his hotel room
*talk about the “foo foo master” who makes up Prince’s hotel rooms to give him a feel for home away from home and to unwind after the show
I had no idea about any of that, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Rock stars have this crazy lavish lifestyle where some request all of one color of M&M in their dressing room. [I don’t know what my concession would be—probably a goldfish bowl full of Goldfish crackers, lol].
But Prince went full out with this. And considering the energy he has on stage and taking into account how he has to power down or shut down after expending all that energy, it makes sense that his hotel room be a home away from home in this fashion.
This was probably one of my favorite trade secrets from the Prince Camp.
[reached end of chapter around this point and so happy I did- I needed the break to process ti all :P]
Chapter 4
*talks over the phone, letters, she’s become a confidant to him. They meet again at Switzerland when she visits his hotel room.
I’d written a bunch of fictional romantic stories where a girl meets a guy who has a mysterious persona about them and she’s the one who gets to learn about them behind the mask they wear in public, whether they’re just brilliant or introverted or have social anxiety. Her interactions with Prince at this point remembered me very much of that, which I personally found interesting.
*they showed Graffiti Bridge at her high school for the midnight show (only part of homecoming she could get to on a working night). Most of the kids jeered at it and she tried to be diplomatic when he asked what she thought- he had a good line about people living through him and when you act how they don’t expect, they blame you for it.
I had been in this spot with a few of my favorite artists as well and I had to take extra time to get to know them through the changes they made to their sound. Jesse McCartney’s 3rd album felt like that and I think I might go through that with Taylor Swift’s new album- even if the edgier hip-hop thing is just a phase.
As for Graffiti Bridge, the way she handled with him, I admire. The first time I saw it, I don’t think I could have been so diplomatic. Now, after seeing it two more times, I can see some of the good among, not bad, but the bizarre.
*tour of his home in MPLS and Paisley Park
*talking about their friendship, artist to artist, and how she tried to separate the rock star image from “her friend” and how people don’t understand how it can be like that
That was a nice attitude to have, I think. It adds more sense to the fact she never called him Prince. I mean, I had some times early on where the name didn’t compute with the person. Like he was more than that.
*he saw her dance for the first time and she notices afterwards he had a pillow on his lap. And he asked her kindly to stop
That was one of those moments in the book where I said “whoa”… one of the first truly human moments I’d read about him. At the end of the day, he was just a man and that can sometimes happen. And I appreciated its inclusion.

Chapter 5
*she talks about becoming part of the NPG and how there are no open positions- Prince sees talent and makes a spot for them
Another interesting detail about Prince I didn’t know, but was unsurprised and happy to hear about.
*talked about Michael Bland having perfect pitch and him matching notes she throws out.
Didn’t know this at all- I just know he kicks ass on the drums.
*she talks about pay and she gets $300 a week- she asks her dad for help because she’s out of her depth. Prince jokes that her dad was harsh with his manager and understands how parents can be (there was no pay raise)
*Prince was dating Diamond at the time Mayte joined the D&P tour
*Prince sent her home once because she showed up to work in sweat pants. She asked about his jean jacket at SoTT tour and he said “that’s different”
Haha! I can totally picture Prince doing that and also defending his own fashion choices 😛
*when he was found in the elevator, he was in black and his clothes were on backwards or inside out- which is a stark contrast to how he carried himself in his life…
That was kinda nuts to think about…
*”The Morning Papers” she picked up where he might start to have some feelings for her
Was kinda disappointed that that wasn’t the actual moment where they become a couple. Dispels a myth I had in my head for years.
*the dynamic of their relationship started to change after she turned 18 and things got a little more flirtatious, but nothing concrete yet
*Prince took her shopping on Melrose, saying how malls wouldn’t be a good place for him. She had “Pretty Woman” moments with the shopping as well as the times she had to leave him
Aww! To that last part.
*talked about him stealing her clothes and having them adjusted to fit him
*Mayte says she has a great sense of smell and is able to pick out different perfumes (Prince apparently wore a lot of female perfumes)
Ah man, makes me wonder what Prince smelled like when he entered a room. He must have smelled so good. And this is something I really hadn’t thought about before reading that.
chapter six
*Mayte talked about how Prince liked to do his videos in collage form. He’d take footage from different live performances or things his camera crew shot
Another fascinating trade secret. It explains why “3 chains o’ gold” looked so haphazard at points in the film. But the fact he had some ideas far in advance as well as doing things without knowing whether he’d used them or not, that’s mind-boggling.
*her song “So Dramatic” got released by the German record label who decided against her record deal to capitalize on her touring with Prince
Yikes, those jerks!
*she overhears people talking about her in a hotel room wondering why she’s there and D&P said how she stuffs her bra and she’s upset and Prince finds out. He says that they know their time is limited and trivialized what they said.
I think I heard about this before reading the book and couldn’t believe that D&P were such bitches to her. Prince’s comment, meanwhile, it was kinda nice to hear him standing by her like that. But he did it in a very Prince-like way.
*their first “fight”- Prince docks her pay when he sees whipped cream, soda and cookies in her dressing room before the show. She’s losing her belly dancer body a little bit and gets it back dancing out of sight of the crow during the sets. He sees this and smiles, but she ignores him
One of Prince’s criticisms is how he treats women, whether he’s juggling them or sometimes telling them to act and behave a certain way. The juggling is one thing, but the other- that didn’t bother me so much because I knew he cared about women. When they were in his band, he appreciated their input and respected them. He was anything but a misogynist. But reading this… that had me saying “whoa, ok” and taking a step back and wondering if those criticisms were actually true. But I accepted it and moved on. As for Mayte’s reaction to him, where he’d see her dancing and she ignored him- you go, girl! That’s showing him.
*supposedly Prince doesn’t like to shake hands because his hands are his instruments, so when he does shake hands, he wants to be close to that particular person and she knew Prince had moved on to someone else when he was shaking hands with her
Again, fascinating but not surprising. This was such a Prince-like thing to do.
*they were beyond friends, but they hadn’t officially become an item yet

Chapter 7
*Mayte stood up to Prince, saying she’s leaving because she can’t live in MPLS and pay all her expenses on $300 a week. He didn’t realize this, genuinely surprised, and tripled her pay.
*supposedly people were afraid to be straight with Prince in this manner…
That was another “whoa” and “you go, girl!” type moment where I was applauding in my head. She was sensible enough to know what was what and kudos to her for being honest. Not surprising, people were afraid to be straight with him and I remember reading in the book how shocked D&P were when she talked about him in a rude way in the dressing room, as if it was just never done.
*he apparently tried to make Carmen Electra “happen” having her as an opening act, but the crowd reaction was so bad that he pulled her act… I think this may have ended her musical career
I’m not sure when it started, but I just have not liked Carmen Electra. I think it was because she played a recurring role in a show where she was coming in between two characters you wanted to end up together and she always played a bit of a bitch. Also- I found her very superficial, but then I found out years later that Prince made her who she became. (Although the implants might not have been his idea…)
*she talked how funny Morris Hayes was and how he could’ve been a comedian
I really knew nothing about Morris Hayes other than him being an NPG keyboard player
*something happened between them the day they started shooting the “7” video and Prince said it’s time for her to get on birth control… talked about setting up the appt and all the stuff that comes with it… she was very respectful of him and their privacy about losing her virginity
Just whoa… that was my first reaction. Then my mind started reeling with all these questions I never thought to ask or just things I never thought to think about before. I mean, if the rumors are to be believed, he slept with a lot of women in his life, so this got me thinking about how or even if he practiced safe sex. The birth control comment had me kinda thinking about the 50 Shades of Grey series where Christian said at one point that he wanted Anastasia to invest in some long-term birth control cuz he hated used condoms and I half wondered if Prince had his women take all the precautions or if he did as well. And I applaud her being respectful of his privacy when she talked about losing her virginity. But again, I couldn’t help but wonder if there were any positions he preferred, if “23 positions in a one-night stand” had some truth to it or was just talk… all kinds of questions. But at the same time, I’m kinda glad not to have anything concrete so I don’t dwell on it too much.
*she comments how the 20 somethings might be rolling their eyes at her over this… being new to this type of relationship and being embarrassed about all that came with it.
Yeah, I read this and immediately disagreed. I’m a 31-year old virgin and I’d never been in any type of relationship. Even now, as much as I want to get into a relationship, I don’t feel 100% cool with myself where I feel like I’m not ready for it. I’m certainly not ready for a sexually active one with someone I’d only been out with a couple times.
*Prince didn’t show affection in public until after they were engaged
*Act II tour had “Funky Night”- bonus for who did the funkiest thing- hilarious moment of her trying mosh it in Germany and nobody tried to catch her
*he let go of Tony, Kirk and Damon and he said he just wanted her dancing on stage with him
*December 1992, she goes home for the holidays in Puerto Rico- he comes by to her grandmas, hangs out. At his hotel, he says he can’t stay cuz the mosquitos are eating him alive (another moment of him being human!) and he said then he was thinking of changing his name and the voice that was there when he wrote Purple Rain told him so.
Kinda interesting that she was the first person he told about that… and him going to Puerto Rico was another Christian Grey type moment that had me going “whoa, ok” that he followed her there, but considering what was going on with him at the time, I didn’t give it much more thought.
Chapter 8
*starts with their talk about hypnosis and that’s how they really talked about things and talked about their past lives and how it goes deeper than sex
he’s got a reputation in bed, but the way she talks about it- I’d love to go under Prince’s idea of hypnosis to really get in touch with myself on that level
*Mayte talks about the name change and how it affected everyone else more than them.
*talked about the contract and why it didn’t work for Prince- started when there was even a debate about what to release as the first single. (He wanted to do My name is Prince, they wanted 7- 7 charted higher).
Personally, I would have used “7” as the single cuz I really don’t like “My Name is Prince” all that much. But he was trying to spin the narrative about him changing his name, that did make sense.
*dodgy scene where in retrospect Mayte thinks Prince might have used and something about her taking an envelope to his office and the black bag he kept with him which included a large wad of cash…
Just thinking about all the comments saying how stupid she was for not suspecting anything– if I was in her shoes, I couldn’t confront him about it if it meant losing that relationship with him.
*she talked about the unpronounceable name and how Prince wanted you to “feel something that was uniquely him” and about art and artist becoming one in a split second…
Listening to the Come album at the moment, I am totally getting that feeling where I don’t see him in it as that person, but I get a unique feeling in his company that I find intoxicating and don’t want to leave
*he was stressed about a certain meeting and came back wearing “Slave” on his face…
makes me wonder if he did that in the bathroom before he went in or he did it in the actual meeting.
*Mayte and Morris Hayes were doing press for Prince, I think when he was back home working in the studio. He did not seem well and Mayte was worried about him. Then he randomly calls later and proposes to her over the phone and they spent 40 minutes going into all the details
sadly, his state of mind at the time takes away from the romance of the situation… this was something I was really looking forward to reading cuz I didn’t know how they got engaged.
*funny moments of her being asked random questions about sizes of her foot and finger and such because his motives were “so see-through”… the prep included her not being allowed to see their bedroom (I think it was being prepared for the wedding day and the song afterwards)
*really romantic scene of him putting notes all over his house like a scavenger hunt that led to her ring, but she knew he was watching and they were both laughing at points
That was one of my favorite parts… it was so sweet and romantic and it was hard to imagine Prince being that type of romantic. I don’t know what I was expecting, though 😛
Chapter 9
*they get married
*Mayte’s mom is all upset cuz she didn’t get to do anything to contribute and she never got a real wedding of her own. Mayte asked the wedding planner to allow her to do something.
*had to smuggle Prince into the church cuz the press found out about it.
*Prince’s suit was in the “Holy River” video
*”Friend Lover Sister Mother Wife” was their first dance song
*Mayte had a Versace dress that didn’t make it to the reception after he showed her the crib and played “Let’s have a Baby”
*they had a “working Honeymoon” and had lined up shows
*hilarious paragraph about pregnancy questions and Mayte saying she’s grateful for little downtime to keep this from coming up- went out of the way to get tested and it was only the 2nd day 😛
*she’s really tired while they’re out seeing concerts and she describes a “Scooby Doo” look like he’s perked up
I laughed so hard at that 😛 so cute!
*then she gives him the news and just feeling that joy- including him saying on the phone to cancel the tour because of it
*I’m on Disc I of Emancipation, so I have to stop here. I want to spend Disc II reading the next part of this chapter. But considering the circumstances, I’m still figuring how to pace the rest of this chapter- whether to do it during Disc III or wait until after the end of the Emancipation set for the bad stuff to finally sink in (been trying to fend it off for a while this week, but it’s not easy)

[looking ahead, I think this was a part I stopped naming chapters. And I also had to scribble down so many thoughts because I had so much to think about and just get out of my head. Especially since a lot of it was negative or unhappy when it came to Prince and how he behaved in some situations]
*now on Disc II… and I chose the perfect time to stop reading. I got to the part where the “Sex in the Summer” back story came in… Prince had a word with the doctor and she let Mayte bring the ultrasound machine back with her so they could use it in the studio. Had this a-ha moment where I saw the lyric in the book- it clicking that it was from this song.
*then there was a RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG moment… it happened after Mayte reached out to his dad, they hadn’t met before, so she goes to the “purple house” to talk with him. He comes to Paisley Park and he and Prince have a few moments together before he leaves. He says he’ll come back but never does.
…shortly after, there’s a night where he doesn’t come home and a security guard had to rush him to the ER to have his stomach pumped, saying he had too much aspirin and red wine for a terrible headache. Mayte sees him and he acts like nothing is wrong, has someone get the hospital records, and they leave. She tries to get him to open up and he doesn’t, only swearing it wouldn’t happen again. And as long as they were together after that, it didn’t (although I hadn’t gotten through the rest of the book yet).
This hit me so hard that I have to get all my thoughts out NOW so I don’t need to revisit them again. I’d heard about this incident in one of the articles that came out after the book release, but it’s something else to get all the details here… and it was terrifying.
I can’t be mad at Prince over it and I can’t be mad at Mayte for not pushing harder for him to get help. There’s no way to know if even she would have been able to help him- as a person he’s so stubborn and stuck in his ways and he can’t change himself unless he is comfortable with it. And on the other hand, if she had pushed harder, they would have broken up sooner and his death might have also come sooner than it did.
It also scared me to think if that had been it… and taking all the timing into account… The Gold Experience could have been his final album. Not the worst album to go out on. But for me personally, I’m thinking that I would have missed Planet Earth if it never existed or seeing his HalfTime show if it never happened. And seeing Purple Rain at the time I did and however little of it I saw that day and hearing that he had overdosed… I don’t know if I would have followed suit with his music… not because it would have tainted the impression I had of him, but the reason I proceeded forward was all the appearances he did in the 2000’s that kept me curious.

Anyway- it’s a lot to think about… almost too much… I’ve had moments after he died where I had felt off. But the two hours of work I had left after reading this part of the book- maybe something’s going on with my physically or I didn’t get enough sleep last night… but there was a point where I thought about him and I had to grab hold of my desk because I think I was about to faint. And I wasn’t thinking of anything specific, but maybe too much things cropped up in my head at once.
Going further into the chapter, there were some more sweet moments- Prince talking to her belly. I was getting all kinds of feels.
Then things got a little rough again- Prince had to return to LA to do something during a time he and Mayte were visiting with her sister and mom for a birthday. And Mayte had to go to the hospital and she couldn’t reach him right away. She was bleeding and the placenta was starting to come undone. The doctor said maybe there was something wrong genetically and the body was sensing that. But Prince didn’t want them to intervene with a test because miscarriage was a risk. And the two of them prayed on their knees every night since.
It was a powerful moment- I could hear his voice clearly and picture him reading his words. Taking that into consideration, I can understand why he decided not to have the test done. And it seemed like things were going okay for a little while after that.
I think it might get to a point where I’ll just have to slam the book shut and read it somewhere I could be alone– I foresee a lot of waterworks.
And as many great moments as there have been, getting to know this side of Prince and his life- I’m starting to worry that I’m going to become disconnected from him or I’ll just be angry with him to a point where the music might not do anything for me- not for a while, until I process everything.
Another thing- Mayte explained the misconception about their baby’s name.
When I saw it in print, I always read it as “their boy Gregory”… so I thought his name was Gregory and I had thought “Gregory looked just like a ghost” from “Anna Stesia” was a very odd bit of foreshadowing… I then read it again recently and realized it said “Boy Gregory”… and I thought it was a weird name, but celebrities also give their kids weird names.
Nope… that name was “adopted” after a stupid paparazzi person illegally got that information from the hospital. When celebrities check in, they use false names and because Mayte’s false name was “Mia Gregory” the incubator said “Boy Gregory” because there was no name picked out yet.
And I thought TMZ was bad…
One interesting thing about Prince doing the baby planning- Mayte talking about how he wanted to put a black tarp over the carriage and that he wanted to protect them from the limelight by not giving their name or gender. Which is why she never revealed the name while he was alive.
I can only wonder, had everything gone well, how Prince would have had his children schooled- if they went to private school or were just homeschooled or if they’d be kept in his bubble like he did the other people around him.
Sadly a lot of questions that’ll never get answered.
Adding more salt to the wound, the last few months were not pleasant.
I don’t know anything about this stuff, so the talk about the delivery being premature because Mayte was getting too big.
I don’t understand that at all. How can she be too big and him not be ready to born? I’m not exactly well versed in this field.
There was another difficult confrontation, this with Prince and the doctor they had. The latest she said was that the baby could have a form of dwarfism, which neither of them minded. But one part she said that she’d been saying for months that something was wrong and kept insisting on the ambio. Prince was so commanding of the situation that she had to ask Mayte if she was sure she wanted to leave against her advice… but good move on Mayte’s part to ask him to take her to another doctor because things could have been BAD if they just went home like there was nothing wrong.
…I started this book with the confidence that whatever I read about Prince in this book, it wouldn’t change anything in how I felt about him.
That is actually changing and not in a good way. But I want to hold onto any blanket statements about him because I’m holding out hope. Plus, with time to accept his flaws and all the red flags (as I’d been calling them in my head), I should be able to turn things around and it won’t completely erase the affection I have for him while listening to him. Especially the love songs.
It just did not feel good reading him actually challenging a doctor’s advice and Mayte saying he wasn’t used to being confronted like that. The one thing that saves it a bit was her saying about the new doctor, something like “he didn’t feel his faith was being disrespected”… there was a lot of talk about God and faith in this chapter and I had no idea how strong his beliefs were. They only occasionally filter into his music in the obvious sense, but I can get how much faith and God is referenced or used as a metaphor.
But seriously… I don’t care if he is Prince or isn’t… it bothers me when a man acts like he knows more about pregnancy than his own pregnant wife– when he’s also a first time parent and isn’t a doctor himself. In his business, Prince is used to getting his way, but this is one area I felt like he shouldn’t have been so insistent about when he’s not the person whose life is directly tied to a baby.
[After the fact, I wondered if his Christian beliefs were so extreme that he wanted to leave their baby’s life in God’s hands… would he have been crazy enough to be one of those parents who didn’t believe in vaccinations? I hate those people because they aren’t just putting their children at risk, but they’re putting others at risk that aren’t old enough to get vaccinations themselves.]
All this being said, there were still some positive moments. During the month or so Mayte stayed in the hospital so everything could observed carefully, he checked in every day he wasn’t away promoting Emancipation. And then when it was time for the C-section, the image of him wearing the scrubs and hairnet and him talking to her during the procedure… this is a side none of us got to see and it’s so tender and loving and just amazing.

Then on Mayte’s part, I can’t help but commend her for being strong through all this. Even without the overbearing husband (part of it made me wonder if the expecting dads go through hormonal changes as well because that would help explain some of these actions that, to me, don’t come off as rational), having to endure that uncertainty and feeling like you’re balancing a sword on your head (Mayte may have been experienced in that, but this was a more difficult balance to maintain). Absolute respect to her.
But as soon as I read the words “It’s a boy”… I slammed the book shut.
I knew I would never get through the rest of Disc II and be able to score it [as I had been doing with Prince’s music this past year] without prejudice if I continued forward. Because as many red flag moments as I’ve had already, there are bound to be more.
And I plan to use the three day Labor Day weekend (that pun was not intentional at all- it just came out that way) to rate the disc, read the rest of the book and maybe try to find that Oprah interview. I can just tell that I’m going to be a wreck through most of it.
I just hope there are some silver lining moments with Prince because I don’t think I’d felt… just mad at him about anything. I’ve been annoyed and frustrated, but never mad. It’s not a good feeling.

so I got through the toughest part of the book up to this point and it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it’d be. Maybe if I had read it without that break in between and I didn’t have time to work through some things about Prince during this period.
Although there is the matter of two other moments.
I can’t begin to imagine, even after reading it, how Mayte felt going through all that. All the surgeries their baby had to go through, all the issues that kept coming up. During that, Prince was a champion, being there for the two of them and… He just would have been an amazing dad. Even in those short moments, there was so much love and devotion and as Mayte said in more words than this: selflessness. That is a great side of Prince nobody else got to see.
But just the period of dealing with his death… oh man… I have no words to describe how I felt reading what she went through. And as a female, feeling what the body goes through after pregnancy and there’s no baby to help with the transition back to normalcy… it sounds like hell.
And she talks about contemplating suicide and her dog Mia “talking” her out of it and how that helped inspire her to start up her own animal rescue.
It isn’t the same thing by ANY means, but it made me think about a week or so after I have back surgery and I was still sleeping on the couch downstairs and I woke up one night in pain- my dog Dodger came down the stairs, let me pet him and I think he stayed with me for the rest of the night.
This is going back almost 18 years (will be November 15) so my recollection is vague, but I remember the gist of it.
He was such a great dog… not that our golden retriever we adopted from my aunt who became my grandma’s caregiver isn’t great, but that moment still sticks with me. Even if it gets harder to remember with the time that passes.
As for Prince, not a lot is sad about how he dealt with it other than two things… ok, maybe three.
There’s another suspicious episode of Mayte’s Vicodin disappearing and her finding vomit on the bathroom floor- luckily it wasn’t another episode of the ER and stomach pumping.
It did get me thinking… another crazy theory… I remembered how Prince said he had seizures when he was a kid and they stopped when he was 7 because he says an angel told him so. It makes me wonder if he actually got bad headaches now and then and the other episode he had really was over a headache.
Maybe there was more than just that hip injury… he might not have had seizures anymore, but bad migraines could explain a lot too. And possibly the music was what helped keep them away.
One of those things was staging his life in a public light so he can pretend like things are ok.
One was the Oprah interview- I don’t know if that was more for Mayte or himself, but he convinced her to do it. And she called it “ballerina face” where she put on an act to keep from letting on the truth.
I’d seen this interview twice- once in 2007 and the other time was a couple days after his death. The OWN channel reaired it. I loved hearing the things Prince said about their relationship and what she was to him. That’s what helped foster my adoration of Mayte from the beginning. So it was sad reading that some of the things he said were personal to them and on the inside, she was unnerved that he’d share them with Oprah and essentially the public.
And possibly to get some of her own back, she talked about ‘Let’s have a baby” and how she got pregnant after he played it for her- and he didn’t seem entirely jazzed about her giving that tidbit away.
Then there was the “Betcha By Golly Wow” video- which she said he recorded while she was pregnant. I heard somewhere recently (along with some other tidbits of the book) that it was filmed after they had that loss. Mayte talked about wanting to slap him, but went along because it was his way to recapturing that happiness and it’d be helpful for the grieving process.
I’m at a point now where they took a trip to Egypt and a museum and hearing about Nefertiti and the pharaoh and the Children of the Sun. It feels like now that things are going to be okay between them. They seem to be in a good place with themselves and each other.
Sadly, things are not going to turn out that way… but I will have to wait a while to get there. Once I saw her talking about NewPower Soul and Crystal Ball and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic… yeah, that was a good stopping point.
And it looks like I’m getting very close to the end of the book already… that alone makes me sad.

…picking it up again while I’m finishing up with The Truth.
We’re in summer 1997 and Mayte is working on putting together a dance company that would dance to Prince’s music. It had three acts, the hits, Karmasutra and new songs. It sounded like a labor of love and something he supported her in and she was enjoying it.
Then she finds she’s pregnant again- they have one show where she doesn’t dance, but is conducting all the lights from within the audience.
Last I read, Larry Graham was somewhere in town and Prince was going to meet him.
I feel so much hope for their relationship at this point, but I’m dreading to see how Larry Graham gets in the way of all that. A lot of people blame him for Prince’s conversion to the new religion, which took away the bad-ass cursing Prince they’d gotten to love. This is unknown territory for me. I just know there was a point Prince and Mayte were closer than close and then next, where Larry Graham is showing up at interviews with him like he’s his new best friend.
Then there’s the question of how and when the miscarriage happens. I feel like things are good and would have stayed that way if a second loss didn’t happen.
Then my mind thinks how some people believe so much in their religion that if you can’t conceive or have children, you’re not meant to be together. I hope that’s not what Larry Graham told Prince and that’s why the two of them separated and eventually divorced.
…going more on that tangent- Mayte was having trouble with bleeding and decided to go to a doctor despite Prince’s protests.
Larry Graham had come with him on the last Jam of the Year dates in 1997 and it seems like the JW conversation has been getting to him a bit. Mayte was present for some of them and while she’s respectful of other’s beliefs, she didn’t feel cool enough with it herself to stand by her signature phrase “whatever peanut butters your jelly”- which she’d said earlier in the book. There was talk about the pagan traditions of birthdays and Christmas. And she made a comment to Prince that there was no way they were telling their children they don’t get birthdays. (She wrote nothing about a response, verbal or none).
Prince was still on this “let nature take its course” thing and he started to quote something Larry said and Mayte said Larry has a child and should be grateful for having her and stay out of other people’s business.
I read that and was half thinking “whoa” and “hell yeah! you tell him!”
She got tested for genetic abnormalities and came back negative…
I’ve yet to find out if she tells Prince about any of this, but it makes me wonder if he did have something wrong genetically. Goes back to an earlier thought I had about whether he actually had headaches- he used to have seizures as a kid and was miraculously cured by the age of 7. But I wondered if he still had other issues going on in his head that led him to self-medicate. And further if these issues could be part of why his children didn’t survive.

I read about them doing “The One” video and all that went into it. How he gave her free reign and encouraged her and even got her the wish for Rita Moreno (as a Latina, obviously a huge idol to her because she wanted to a Latina triple threat because of her) to play her mother in the opening skit of the video.
She wrote how it put their love front and center and the amazing chemistry and so on.
It’s worth a rewatch- I saw it once and loved it as much as the song itself.
I stopped before the Vibe interview- because I have that saved on my YouTube profile and I want to see it first and read about it later (I’d never seen it). She says it started out great and I didn’t want to see where it disappeared to afterwards- cuz Chaka Khan and Larry Graham are also there.
I think I might know what the point of contention was…
It started out cool, although it was heavily into talk about artists’ rights and stuff.
Then “The Christ” came up and Larry was talking about how Jesus didn’t die on the cross. The way he puts it- he’s not saying all this to put anyone down, but you can either do your research and accept the truth or continue to believe what you believe… but the vibe I get is “you can choose to believe the lie and you’ll be wrong”… and then he talked about all of them, including Mayte, saying you shouldn’t say that you’re mad at them for believing what they do or saying what you believe is wrong.
I didn’t go too far into the comments- but two people said the same thing- “It’s interesting to see this after reading Mayte’s book”… oh boy…
I also wondered- they did all these group performances where Prince spent most of his time behind keyboards… The One was last and only got 2 minutes. Why wasn’t Mayte dancing with him? He had two back-up dancers doing her choreography, but didn’t see her at all after the interview. Where she was mic’d up and she didn’t say a word- just kept that “ballerina smile” as she called it on the Oprah interview.
I guess I’ll get to that tomorrow… it’s not gonna be pretty.
So- aftermath of that interview- she said in the book that the whole issue was it becoming a mind-numbing religious discussion like all the others and she said how Sinbad tried to keep it light, but was clearly failing.
Interesting fact- Prince was approached to join Scientology, but he said no because he didn’t want someone else telling him how to worship God.
…the whole way I was seeing Larry Graham on that show, he came off like there was only one to believe and it’s ok to believe otherwise, but you’re still wrong. Nothing was in there about Mayte not dancing with The One performance. Maybe she just wasn’t well enough to do so. Heck, I’m not sure if she’s even still pregnant at this point. It hasn’t really been brought up after she had a XX chromosome removed from your uterus. [It wasn’t a miscarriage the way I expected it, but more or less, after that last doctor visit, the second pregnancy was never brought up again]
She kept saying to herself that Prince wouldn’t have let him go on unless he was into the same idea and also that he was a spiritual seeker and could be smart enough not to get sucked into beliefs so different from his.
It just seemed to get worse… this weird feeling… then she goes to surprise him at a charity concert and she meets Manuela and he shakes her hand. And he acts like it’s nothing. And they kinda have a fight and he says it’s nothing.
I don’t know- it kinda feels like something.
It’s hard to know where to stop reading… but I think next week when I’m doing Rave, it’ll become clearer. And the book will get even closer to being finished.

I thought there’d be more pages on the tracks from Rave… it might sound super cliché, but I’m kinda glad it was only 10 pages on this difficult 1998-1999 period.
I thought I’d go into the tracks on Princevault to see if they offer any clues, but all of them were recorded early 1999 with no specific dates. Not that Mayte gave specific dates when she and Prince fought either.
It was a tough read. It wasn’t as difficult for me as 1996 when the pregnancy was having its hiccups, but nonetheless, it wasn’t pretty.
There were a bunch of fights. There was a house in Spain they wanted to buy together, but Mayte spent most of her time in it alone. Manuela was introduced as someone working for the merchandise branch and she had her suspicions about her even then.
Then there was an end of chapter that knocked the wind out of me- she realized that she was the woman on their way out because she was leaving MPLS and the other one was there. This happened with Carmen Electra years earlier, but now it was her in Spain waiting for him to return.
All the while, the whole JW thing was really getting out of hand. Prince had become so versed in scripture that he was quoting it verbatim to her like Larry Graham had done years before him. And the “Witnesses” as she called them were alienating her because they were clear she wasn’t into what they were.
One of many moments that just plain pissed me off…
It was a difficult fight where she threw a wine bottle against a wall and demanded what she needs to do to get through to him. At this point, he seemed like he didn’t believe in what he was saying, as if he’d been coached into doing this. This being annulling their marriage so they could “renew their vows before God.”
It’s kinda suspicious to me that he had this odd thing about contracts with the Emancipation thing, but he entered into marriage without a second thought and it took him a couple years to realize a marriage contract was the wrong thing to do. Even though it was HIS idea to do that whole sha-bang in the first place.
There was also back and forth like the Gemini thing- sometimes they’d got together and make love and things were as they were. And others, he was a stranger.
There was also another incident with drugs he had flush down the toilet and he swore he’d do what she wanted.
There was also a funny (ironic) moment where she mentioned how profanity was not compatible with this religion and she believed he wouldn’t give in completely and music would win in the end because the nature of his music as it was was a LOT to give up.
Yet that’s exactly what happened- and he’d made at least a dozen albums after his conversion. It’s ironic because so many fans thought this was like all other fads in Prince’s life, that he wasn’t going to be heavily into the Jehovah thing forever and he’d eventually give it up. And that he couldn’t give up cursing. Yet, somehow he did… which is probably the craziest thing ever… nobody cursed like Prince. Now everyone’s doing it and it’s not in good taste either.
Aside from Prince, there was a part talking about Mayte’s sister Jan being happy with a girlfriend and her mom wasn’t accepting of her after she came out. Mayte not only let her mom have it, but her grandma Nelly for trying to turn her mom into another version of her.
All the frustration with Prince was building up in her and it sounds like it had some good results elsewhere.
With him… uhhh… it’s complicated. It’s always going to be kinda complicated.
Anyway- all that was mentioned of Rave was “The Greatest Romance” and “I love u but don’t trust u anymore”- as Mayte called them “the one-two punch”…
It finally got to a point where Mayte wrote Prince a letter, saying she was unhappy and they should probably end things. He doesn’t answer her directly, but is eager to send a lawyer to take care of everything. She doesn’t ask for much of anything, at this point she just wants out because it’s clear he doesn’t love her anymore.
Her not asking for anything, that really should prove to all the haters that Mayte wasn’t a gold-digger who only wanted him for his money. It was hard to read how he had everything that reminded him of her and their life together burned and her being upset their baby’s ashes were among the things lost. I can understand her anger for sure, especially after all they went through.
I heard her interview for Hollywood Exes, saying that when they broke up, she was left on her own and she didn’t know what to do since she’d been in that world for so long. Somehow, she managed to dig herself out and get some jobs in LA including the “Slave 4 U” music video.
She calls Prince when she hears his father died, ironically, the same day Aaliyah’s plan went down, and leaves a message. He calls her back and they’re talking and it’s almost like old times, but she’s careful to keep her emotions in check (especially about The Rainbow Children- and her reading into the lyrics that she’s the Banished One and he is conveniently sent another women by God).
I stopped when he said he was marrying Manuela and she said no (at the same time, she heard he didn’t approve her and Tommy Lee… not sure why… she doesn’t know but she suspects somewhat that it’s a control thing).

so it’s October 7th and I finished the book… I think I will have to go over this whole post to add bits and pieces to it to what I just jotted down as thoughts.
Anyway, it went forward a bit- she saw his Rock n Roll induction and the guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”… apropos timing with Tom Petty’s death earlier this week… how she said to him at George Clinton’s induction that they’ll be there in a few years for his. Only she wasn’t there with him.
She talked about her friendship with Manuela being “it’s complicated”- she can’t quite get over how she reciprocated Prince’s advances despite him being married. I get that.
She and Prince met one other time and it was in 2006 during his 3121 residency. He went to her in the audience and held her and then went back to perform. So I’m sure she thought and I thought that they could have gotten back together if certain events were allowed to happen and others weren’t.
I could have stopped at 2006 and waited until I got to the 3121 album [while going through and editing this now, today being Mayte’s birthday, I’ll be on the album starting tomorrow], but I think I’d dragged this out enough. I didn’t think I’d be quite as invested had I waited.
I also could have left the afterword for after I finished reviewing his final album… but I didn’t. I feel like I work so hard during the week that when I have free time during the weekends, I structure my time way too much and I almost feel like I’m putting too much on my shoulders to do everything I set out to do. This just happens to be one other thing that I should finish so I can focus on other things.
What got me a bit was the last contact they really had and he called her asking, in his own way, why she was selling his clothes.
I remember that finale of Hollywood Exes where she was selling everything. And I get that too. She could either let them linger in storage, in her house and donated and he didn’t return her calls about whether he wanted them back.
I’m also kinda sad that there wasn’t more on Hollywood Exes because I enjoyed that show if ONLY to get to know Mayte beyond being just Prince’s greatest muse and confidant (although at the end of the book, he wasn’t as open with her as I thought, although he was still more open with her than most other people I think). But she liked having the steady money and also the friends she made through it. I just remember Jessica Canesco being a bit of a bitch. There was one episode where she talked about having an abortion and Mayte was in the room and someone said in confession that it was insensitive of her to talk about that with Mayte in the room. And when Mayte adopted Gia, she was shocked how fast it was. I’d be too, but the way she expressed that shock, it didn’t come off well to me.
The whole way Gia came about and how she and Mayte became a family. That was really nice to read. I know how difficult that process can be and how lucky she was that it worked out in this way. Supposedly Gia’s mom saw Mayte on Hollywood Exes on the episode she went to the doctor to discuss her options towards parenthood and reached out. Reading the disclaimer at the end, I don’t think the scenario happened EXACTLY as she wrote it- but I can’t argue with the end result.
Mayte’s convinced if she reached out to Prince and brought Gia with her to Paisley Park- things could have changed and Prince would still be here.
She also talked about her MS diagnosis and it’s good to hear that she’s in remission for the moment- dancing has helped her keep the symptoms from arising and I hope that this terrible condition doesn’t come back and take that away from her.
So the book is over– I checked when I started on this blog post– another funny fate or coincidence thing (as Mayte said a couples times in the book)– I started reading on 07/10/17… it’s now 10/07/17.
And that was when I was taking a week off from Prince after finishing the 80’s.
Now I’m about to do that finishing his 90’s albums.
Yeah, pretty crazy.
She also talked about going to Paisley Park after the fact with his brother Omarr and seeing the doves and how the doves stopped singing and when they played some of his music, that made them sing. So sad- Tyka said that one of the doves died some time after he did.
Yeah, if that doesn’t sum up how I feel not having him here, nothing will.
So now, I’ve come to the end of the post and doing my editing and rereading and such… I think I’m going to post it now.
Also, for Mayte’s birthday, I want to write her a proper thank you for the book and just being who she is. Because coming to the end of the book, she’s more amazing than I already thought she was. And now I have more evidence to back that up.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #28: Musicology

Exactly 9 months after starting this whole journey blogging Prince’s music, I’ve found my way back home [pun intended]… to where it all began for me.

Yeah, Musicology was the first Prince album I ever bought and listened to. [Wal-Mart only had it and “The Very Best of…” in stock so I got them both that first Saturday I was home from college during spring break 2007].
As I’ve told this story many times on this blog, I heard Prince say in an interview that this was a pop record. But upon listening to this album, I discovered our definitions of “pop” were very different. I think I listed up to “Cinnamon Girl” and turned the album off.
Then the next day on the way to the mall, I put it on in the car and listened to the whole thing.
Let’s just say it took me some time before I got to like this album.

Funny thing is, I can’t remember the last time I listened to it. It’s been at least a couple years. I put the album on iTunes in 2014. A move I did after I put the album in my old CD player and it was skipping over my favorite song “A Million Days”… odd thing is, the CD didn’t skip in my car.
Lovesexy had that issue as well, but I’d never had a problem with it. I think my CD player is so old (had it since 1998) that the laser reader is super sensitive to any sort of scratches it reads.

Listening to the album now- after going through 27 before it- it’s a bit of a different experience. A lot more to think about. Plus, there’s the fact I hadn’t heard it in a long time and I forgot a lot of lyrics. So it was kinda like getting to know an old friend again after we’d spent a long time apart.

Another thing Prince mentioned while promoting this album that this was him going back to formula and a time where he played all the instruments himself. But that might not be entirely true- a bit of The Rainbow Children and almost all of One Night Alone- he did just that. But maybe this was the first big commercial release he’d had in years, so he felt that was important to note.
Then there was paying homage to musicians who’ve influenced him, like James Brown, Sly & The Family Stone. So some of the songs are extra funky and have an old-school flavor to them. Meaning they feel like they’re from a different time. Which is what kinda threw me off on the first listen. The two of us come from different generations and backgrounds, so we grew up with different music.

Actually, I think it was only a month after I had this album where I went into it full throttle. It was to escape the crappy hip-hop music everyone else was playing on stereos in the campus apartment courtyard one weekend.
Between 2002-2008, I felt alienated by what was considered popular in the music industry. I didn’t know anybody and a lot of what I came across on stations I used to listen to was rap and hip-hop. Prince helped me get through the last couple years of that- then Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift came on the scene and the radio started to make sense again.

Going back to this album again- there’s some things I can appreciate more.
The organ-like synth line in the title track is like something he would have done in the 80’s, but he stuck it on this song with a lot of funk to it. Blending genres as he often does.
How “Call my name” sounds like something the Temptations could have done, but almost all the vocals are multiple versions of his (astonished to read on Princevault that Stokley was one of the backing vocalists- I had no idea he was on any Prince album, but it’d explain why he was touring with The Revolution as an occasional lead vocalist).

Then there are songs like “Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance” that are just as weird and out there as they were the first time.
Seriously- that was the 2nd song I heard of Prince on my first album from him… you gotta understand why the first listen was so difficult (ok, I’ll stop with that now). It’s almost on the same level as “Poom Poom” on the weirdness factor, but that one is particularly extremely weird.
It was kinda funny the 2nd time I heard it in the car and my mom was questioning some of the lyrics. Like where he says “her name was Doris, but he called her Flo”… yeah, that’s a weird one.
I still don’t really know what that one was about. If Doris/Flo was an old flame of his or he totally made her up.

“A Million Days”- it was a bit of an oddity at first. You’d have the instrumental at the ends of verses. It sounded like nothing I’d heard before and I didn’t know if my feeling about it was good or bad. Looking at the song now, the only thing that detracts from it for me is the bass. It’s so sparse and he plucks it throughout those breaks… if I was producing this time, I’d take it out.
Also, just want to say that I liked this song for years. Long before I heard it was an outtake from 1995 and was probably inspired by Mayte. That really doesn’t change much of anything. It’s an amazing piece of work.
There’s also a video of it in circulation that’s really cool. It shows how he put the song together in the studio- a peek inside the creative process. Kinda sad I saw that only after he’d left us.

“Life o’ the party”- I know that the Peach and Black guys hate this song 😛 I don’t mind it all that much. I like how Candy sings the lead line in the chorus- it gives it a different flavor. I’ll need to go through the lyrics to figure for myself if it’s a good song or not.

“Call my name”- I think I liked early now. Now it’s a little awkward, as I think a bunch of Manuela-inspired songs are going to be (yikes, I hope this crap doesn’t happen with Te Amo Corazon- I love that song- or at least how it was performed on the Brit Awards). But as a song, I can admire how it’s put together. I really love the layered vocals on the chorus. And the musical bits in between the lines of lyrics.
One weird thing- in the breakdown before the final choruses, I was getting “Adore” vibes. It might be his vocal or how the music sounded or how it changes throughout that part. As well as “FLSM/W”… then how the piano sounds… it reminds me of “Let’s have a baby”… and it’s even more awkward now.

“Cinnamon Girl”- I think it was one of the songs I heard before getting the album and was looking forward to hearing it.
It’s a little political and controversial… as of this point, I’m still hearing it as I used to hear it. Where I take the story as a story and not trying too hard to refer it to real life. Especially these days… however many years after 9/11, radicals are still staging these attacks. And it’s annoying and frustrating and I find the political correctness even more annoying.
I think this is a song I’m never going to stop liking or that will be ruined by reading the lyrics. The music is so unique and different for a Prince song and it’s very sing-along-y.
Yeah, I really like this song.

Then after when I got halfway through, I started to lose traction with the lyrics. But to be fair, the 2nd half of the album loses me a bit. Just the way Prince put it together.

“What do u want me 2 do?” brings back the Linn-drum (it almost sounds exactly like The Ballad of Dorothy Parker) and it sounds very jazzy- kinda like a Peanuts cartoon. And that’s a compliment. I love peanuts. It tells an interesting story- almost like “I could never take the place of ur man” but with more at stake.

“The Marrying Kind” and “If I was the man in your life”- I thought I might take points away because they aren’t complete songs. But they are. They’re also very confusing to me. I still don’t know what Prince is singing about and it kills me that I don’t quite get it.
There’s a breakdown at the end of the choruses in “The Marrying Kind”- I was thinking today how it sounds very Beatles. It’s not identical, but it gives me the same vibe as the musical lick that George Harrison does at the end of the verses in “Something” and he ends the song with it (one of my favorite musical moments ever- it sounds so nice).

“In the Couch”- I remember not liking this song… I still hate it. The Peach and Black guys wrote it off as him playing a role and hamming it up and not being serious. Even then, it sounds completely ridiculous coming from Prince. Definitely not genuine. Leave this subject matter for someone else to tackle- they can have a #1 hit with it.
I think I can only stomach it one more time, honestly.

“Dear Mr. Man”- it has some really cool music. It’s very politically charged, but Prince holds back compared to how he handled “Avalanche” and “The Rainbow Children”- he referred to some specific things in this song, but the song as a whole doesn’t feel super specific and you can take it however you want. I mean, it’s election season and I am not voting. And I had an a-ha moment when I heard him say “ain’t no sense in votin’, same song with a different name”… I have this lyric in my brain, but I totally forgot it came from this song.

and “Reflection”… aww… it was like a much more laidback version of “Last December”- Prince was very laid-back and chill, reminiscing on things… I love when he does songs like this that are very reflective. And it’s something all of us can take something away from for ourselves.

Day 2- and it was a good day to have this album in my car.
a) so I can stick it to “The Man” and pump my fist in the air on that lyric about voting and how pointless it is… I wish people on Twitter would find ANYTHING else to talk about besides politics and the latest acts of violence… and these are people I like, so it’s not like I can just unfollow them.
b) it was sleeting and raining on the way home and the music helped me keep calm through all that.

Prince is really good at calming me down no matter what’s going on (although it can’t be The Rainbow Children album, apparently… or rather, obviously). And this time, I was able to get through the whole album without having to finish it off in the driveway.
And “Reflection” is not a song I want to rush to get to or through once I’m there.

Kinda sad reading Matt Thorne saying how this was an album he put so much work into promoting, but supposedly 10 years later, fans are struggling to find anything positive to say about it.
I mean, it isn’t a perfect album by any means. It has its little issues and weird moments. But there’s some great parts of it.

“A Million Days” I still love so much.
What I really like about it, compared to “Call My Name” (although today I slipped back into it and was singing it as if I hadn’t been away from this album that long), he sings it in his natural voice instead of the falsetto. Nothing against his falsetto- it’s amazeballs. But there’s something special about the mid-range voice I find pleasing to my ears.
I think I also like singing along to it and I feel freer to do so when there’s room for my voice to fit alongside his. There aren’t many Prince songs that allow me to do that.
It feels like home.

It was cool to go through “Call My Name” and I just started singing- I didn’t do much of that yesterday because I didn’t remember these songs all that well and I didn’t want to mess up. But I only needed the one day to remember the lyrics and it felt natural.

It’s interesting to think of those two songs- The Marrying Kind and If I was the Man in Ur Life- as the latter actually being the song written first. I wonder if Prince really wanted to bring it back out and was just waiting for the right moment or otherwise. If he wrote ‘The marring kind’ with the other song in mind and wanted to connect the two.

…nothing to add on day 3- other than loving how this album sounds on headphones. I’m hearing more on the title track, backing vocals and such that I don’t think I’ve picked up before.

It’s an odd arrangement, though. How there seems to be two halves to the album because we suddenly have storytime between tracks 7 and 10. It makes the album feel like less of a complete package than it having multiple parts to it.
Plus, I feel like tracks 8 and 9- they’re so musically different from the rest of the album, so it throws me out. “On the couch”- as much as I don’t like it, at least it has “Call my name” to touch base with. But to me, it feels like the rough draft of “Satisfied” from a musical standpoint. And I get something out of “Satisfied” (or I had been as of last year- when I really got to like the song).

Onto the podcast…

MC was the lone defender of “Illusion Come Pimp & Circumstance”… the others thought it was weird or when the album started going downhill… but he said it was funkier than Musicology.
They weren’t entirely dismissive of “A Million Days”… but again, MC saved the show, being the only one really giving the song all the compliments I’ve lavished it with myself.

Then there was, as MC called it, “The Death o’ the Party”…
speaking on that track myself, there are some really cringe-worthy lyrics.
The part that always bugged me was the bridge where the song just goes completely off the rails with these random comments…
“I’m the life o’ the party long as I got ur body- shakin’ like a leaf on a tree”… I hate that lyric so much. As well as him saying “make ya wanna holla”… I know that’s a common phrase in black culture, but coming from him, it just sounds weird to me. Like it’s a lyric he put zero thought into or it sounds like something someone far younger than him would use among their friends (whether they’re kids, teenagers or in their 20’s).

ultimately the consensus was four 7’s together… which makes sense to me.
Although with Prince albums, the ones I’ve given 7’s are average/good and/or could be better if it weren’t from one or two songs I don’t like that much.
As much as I have personal connection to this album (it being my first ever) and that might lead me to give some credit to tracks I find average otherwise… I think I might still give it something around the 7.0 range. Which is where albums 2-4 considered home and the 8.0’s started piling in with 1999.

I’m sure I did like Call My Name much more the first few times I heard it. I don’t know why I’m not super into it now. Maybe any track about Manuela after reading Mayte’s book will just carry a stigma, which I hope won’t move into 3121… now I’m just repeating myself.

What do u want me 2 do? I also loved that song, but for whatever reason, I don’t like it as much now. I feel disconnected for whatever reason.
I was thinking about a lyric where he says “didn’t your momma teach you better? dressed like that somebody gonna get her”…
is there supposed to be a comma in there somewhere? Is it “dressed like that somebody gonna get her” or is it “dressed like that, somebody gonna get her?”… meaning, does he mean that she’s dressed the way on purpose so someone is going to get her… or is it because she’s dressed like that, it’s bound to catch someone’s attention… I don’t know why I’m reading so much into that, I never had before. But this week, it’s been bugging me a bit.
If the release of this article today isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is 😛 I’d been going to it every day as the writers go through 365 Prince songs in a year, one for each day.
I guess now’s a good time to watch this performance back. I have several others sitting in my YouTube watch later queue from this era, this needs to be watched before I go into my track-by-track scoring.

As for that lyric, “do you like my hair this way”… for me, I don’t know why, but during this era, Prince looked like more like his age. Then when 3121 came around and he did the American Idol, GMA and SuperBowl appearances, he looked much younger. I think the curly hairstyle he was sporting at the time, plus the throwback suits, had something to do with it. Then he smoothed out the curls and his clothes looked fresh and new and colorful.
But I’d always had a soft spot for Reflection, even before the time we’re on in now. As much as I loved the big bombastic numbers he did, I like these acoustic moments a lot too. Especially since they seem more personal to him or at least reflect (not sorry about this pun!) a more personal side of him we don’t often get to see.

I gave the album one final listen while doing my puzzle pages this morning. And I was finished with both of them with a couple songs to spar 😛 I’m usually pretty good with those, but I feel like listening to Prince helped the brain juices get going easier. I found that my production at work was also a little better this week and felt less tedious with this album.
The Rainbow Children have had the opposite effect easily, just saying…

I’m sure this song was more bangin’ live, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not detracting anything for that. (I think I did see it when he did Jay Leno, although it has been a while).
It’s a good way to set-up the album, real musicianship with real instruments. I love the synth solo and how that puts his own unique spin on things.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 8.5 (It’s not 1999 or Let’s Go Crazy… I don’t get nearly as excited when I pick it out to listen to it, but I enjoy it for what it is)

This song has its charms for sure. But it’s not for everyone. It’s one of those weird yarns Prince spins and we never know exactly why or how he came up with or the idea to put it on an album he saw as his mainstream comeback (despite him saying “what am I coming back to?” as if he never left… be honest, Prince, you did). The record scratches are a little annoying and his voice always sounded off-key to me (deliberate or not, that’s an issue). But the guitar parts are really cool. The last couple minutes are the highlight for that reason.
Technical Merit- 3.5
Components score- 3.5
Total Score- 7

If I had my way, this song would’ve been the single and the one who won the Grammy. The commercial appeal is very much here and for Prince, it feels like something special. I love the story and how emotional invested he is in it. Amazing guitar parts. I kinda hate how the chorus is only sung once and the song feels kinda short, but I’ve noticed that the instrumental break after the first verse- I think THAT is the actual chorus and the vocal chorus is a bridge that connects the two halves of the song.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5 (that darn bass! If it wasn’t for that plucky bass in that instrumental chorus, it’d be a perfect 10)

or “death of the party,” whatever floats your boat…
I mean, I’m not going to be super harsh with this one. Like with everything on this album, I kinda like some things about it. But there are some things that really bug me. Let’s face it: these lyrics are so pedestrian in places that ANYONE could have written them.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (let the record show I gave 0 for lyrics)
Components Score- 2.5
Total Score- 6

Looking at this song more closely over the week… it has some things that bug me… and they’re mostly in the second half. When he has that “Adore” section where he rambles about all this stuff and twice, he says how her beauty gives one pause, at the beginning and the end. To me, it comes off like he didn’t know how to end that section, so why not use the same lyric twice? The second time, I think works better because he adds “it slows me down”… the first time, comparing the moon to a beauty like hers gives a one pause… uh… yeah, ok…
Admittedly, the chorus is very simple and anyone could have written it. The fact it got a Grammy feels kinda predictable. I mean, he’s done so many ballads that are more Grammy-worthy that never got nominated.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 8

The music in this song, like A Million Days, is what makes the song stand out. Never mind the political commentary (although it is an important issue to address), the story is told well. And he makes it commercially viable. Although it was probably too controversial to release as a single or nominate for a Grammy. Supposedly the music video got flack because it shows an Arabic girl daydreaming about bombing an airport… but I remember the animation being mixed with live action footage, almost like people were rotoscoped in, but not entirely. The Peach and Black guys called the song “generic”… I disagree.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5

I love the music of this song and the jazzy undertones. They tell a good story, interesting for sure. I don’t know if I had anything more to add. I’m not super excited for it like I used to be. But it’s a nice laid-back piece of listening.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (“quit trying to get me under that icy plunger, boy oh boy what a scare”… that is probably the lamest euphemism for sex I’d ever from him… “icy plunger”… give me a break)
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

I’m liking this song more each time I listen to it and I think it has to do with the music just being so different from anything I’d heard from him. It’s very big, bold and dramatic. Maybe a little over the top in place, but whatever :shrug: it’s Prince, what are you gonna do? Right now, it’s really sticking in my brain.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (that lyric “I’m gonna put her on the same diet Missy went on- you know she eat too much”… :sigh: it’s just such a random comment about Missy Elliot… and saying that this girl eats too much… that’s not very nice to say about a woman you’re threatening to steal away from her man because he doesn’t appreciate her fidelity enough)
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

One of Prince’s better attempts at rapping. Interesting story about Prince telling a woman that because her mom is cheating on her, she should cheat on him and he wants to be the other guy in the situation. Another lame lyric in this one “better get your Mac on”… is that some black slang I should know about? I kinda know what he means by it, but it’s still another odd lyric for me. On the other hand, I love that lyric “hanging around your neck like a cheap gold chain- he don’t deserve to say that he ever knew your name”… I always sing it whenever it comes around.
Technical Merit- 4 (also- I don’t like how the song ends with some random jazzy drum and stand-up bass solo- as if he had no idea how to end it properly)
Components Score- 4.5 (I think I like how it’s put together and the lyrical content better than the other song before it)
Total Score- 8.5

… yeah, I never want to hear this song again. It does nothing for me. A lame cheesy ballad about a situation I doubt Prince personally found himself in. The Peach and Black guys, one of them, wanted to know what woman mad Prince sleep on the couch… as if that’s possible for someone like him, lol
Technical Merit- 3.5 (not to mention it meanders so much and feels like it lasts forever)
Components Score- 1.5
Total Score- 5

One of Prince’s better attempts at political commentary. He makes some good points without making himself out of to be naïve or it coming off goofy. The jazzy musical showcase that goes with it helps give it a sense of class. Something I appreciate a lot. And it isn’t super preachy. But I gotta dock something for that lyric about dropping an oil slick in the ocean… I’m not going to type it out because I always forget which order the words go in, but the rhythm of that rap just doesn’t quite work. It’s a little clumsy. But a highlight- the Clare Fischer strings, even if they’re just a sample and weren’t composed for this specific piece.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5

bleck, I hate these albums that get all these non-committal 8.5’s from me 😛 which kinda tells me that this album is pretty average overall… but there are some big highlights on it.
Including this last song.

the Peach and Black guys said that would have fit on his first album or The Truth better than this one and doesn’t quite work as a closer. Well, we can’t always had a big bang final like Purple Rain, can we? I thought they were being too hard on it.
One of the easy highlights of this album for me. It’s open and honest Prince with some flute, drums and an acoustic guitar. His performance with Wendy, even more so. And I think she was playing the pretty melodic parts and he did the main groove. Some lyrics are a little lame and cheesy, but it comes off like he ad-libbed them rather than thought them out. Like he’s having a one way conversation with us, the listeners, and I can’t fault that.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 5
Total Score- 10 (yeah, it’s hard for me to nit-pick or take anything away from this song… it’s simple, solid and beautiful… sorry, couldn’t get another s word in there for some sweet alliteration)

Let’s see now…

Still technically one of the stronger albums he’s done… although the strongest average a score of 9/10 or higher for technical.

8.1 out of 10… that’s still really good. I thought maybe it’d fall to the 7.0 range, but it still managed to stay out of that.

For top songs… uh, I don’t want to just take Reflection with me… A Million Days is such a personal favorite of mine that I have to bring it forward as well.
Of course I have to bring Cinnamon Girl forward as well because I also gave it 9.5. But I don’t think I’ll take that into the top 100 with other songs I’ve given the same score. It’s not as good as Pop Life, let’s put it that way.

But I’m very happy with this.
It’ll be interesting to see where 3121 falls because early on, these two albums were fighting a lot for my attention when this all began for me in 2007.
Meanwhile, I have a bunch of performances to watch, including his “Art of Musicology” unplugged set.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 NHK Trophy

Aww… I think Yuzuru withdrew. His short program isn’t listed on this YouTube channel 😦

I read on Twitter that he had a hard fall on a quad lutz in practice yesterday and they were icing him up and it’d be a game time decision.
But that’s probably good because if he’s going to be healthy for the Olympics, he’ll need to rest up and take care of himself. That makes me so sad… I just hope it’s something he’ll be able to come back from.
Cuz I’d hate to conspiracy theorize and say Dick Button did some sort of weird voodoo so that no man will ever become a back-to-back Olympic champion after him…
I mean, Plushenko would have done it, but the Canadian judges had to be jerks and downgrade him where he shouldn’t have been. And it’s even worse what they did to Johnny Weir, who was way better than Evan Lysacheck was, from the artistry department anyway.
I mean- if, God forbid, something happens and Yuzuru can’t get back in shape to compete at the Olympics next year… I blame Dick Button (I’m still not over him degrading Plushenko’s Godfather program to “jumps and arm movements”… ahh, ok, I’m done ranting).

Looking at the faces here… without Yuzuru, it looks like it’s the first competition this season where there are no members of the Quad Revolution taking part…
but if it can help any of these guys punch a ticket to the Grand Prix Final, Yuzuru’s loss could be their gain and it’ll be nice no matter who it is or how many/few quads they have.

I’m excited about a couple people I haven’t seen yet this season- Sergei Voronov and Satoko Miyahara.
Again, I’ll start with the ladies because there are few of them I have a big interest in.
Ok… 6 is more than I thought it’d be. Last week, I only had maybe 4-5.

I’ll start with Carolina Kostner
On her opening combination, she had to fight to land the second jump, but otherwise, a very smooth, beautiful program. As easy as breathing. And Celine Dion singing in French is a perfect… they go well together (couldn’t think of the right word to finish that sentence. I hope it’s not old age).
74.57- 37 x 2… yeah, I think Medvedeva is her only competition at this point, really.

Satoko Miyahara
I saw snow fly on a couple of her landings, but other than the combination where she could only manage a triple-double, they looked good to me. She still looks like this little Japanese ballerina inside of a music box. So petite and beautiful to watch.
65.05- 31 and 34

It looks like Domo-kun is the mascot of this competition because it’s in the kiss and cry here and I’ve seen a few thumbnails of videos with skaters holding them after they finish performing.
Other than him being big in animé and Japanese pop culture, I don’t know that much about him.

Rika Hongo
the crowd liked that 😉
I think I just missed her short program a few weeks ago. But she skated to Carmina Burana, but it didn’t have a whole lot of dynamic to it. It had the core melody underneath with this operatic female over the top of it. I just wish the song had more ups and downs to it. Kinda one-note except the start and finish.
She had two solo jumps with the hand over the head and she stayed on her feet. Including the double axel, where that’s the toughest to pull off. The step sequence came immediately after that last jump and it had a couple of parts she spun so fast I thought she’d fall over, but she was fine. That spin at the end was a real highlight as well.
65.83- 34 and 31
yeah, she’s working on those components and getting better, but much work still needs to be done. (She got a Shaun the Sheep plushie- these Japanese girls love their plushies)

now for a couple Americans… who, funny enough, both competed at the same competition at the start of the season.

Mirai Nagasu
she came to play!
triple axel- she had to fight to stay on her feet, but she did.
this particular Nocturne by Chopin, I’ve heard probably lots of times in figure skating, but this is the first time I recognized it and was just following it in my head.
She had to fight for everything, but no glaring errors that I could see. And she’s a skater who’s good at components so this should fetch a good score. [Oh, looking at slow motion, her other foot touched before she could get that free leg back, so it’ll be a little under rotated, unfortunately]
65.17- 34 and 30- yeah, they gave her credit for that triple axel for sure. Giving her a season’s best.

Mariah Bell
based on the thumbnail, she probably had a fall or two and was sore by the end of the program.
that thumbnail lied! she didn’t fall at all.
She brought back her Chicago program and made it such a fun routine to watch. I really loved that. As a technical performance… I think she under rotated at least two jumps, so that’s not going to bold well.
57.25- 26 and 30… yeah, she did under rotate some jumps… that’s unfortunate. Of this last group, she’ll be least.

Evgenia Medvedeva
this is the first time I’m seeing her short program this season.
she’s skating to the same Nocturne, but a different arrangement. just a violin and harp strings. But with the start and finish, it looks like this program is meant to be a dream and at the end she wakes up.
I have to admit that her approach annoys me in the short program- putting all the jumps in the second half. Not just because it makes it impossible for anyone to beat her, but because the program just feels off balance to me. Something feels missing for the first minute without the jumps. It doesn’t come off as well.
That said, love her costume and she nailed all her jumps… not much else to say 😛 I love her free skate programs, but not the shorts so much.
79.99- 41 and 38- bloody hell! she’s almost at 80 points… a guy that’s good at this sport gets short programs in the 80’s. although this isn’t a season’s best, so I think she has gotten there before.

so in order:

Carolina Kostner
Rika Hongo
Mirai Nagasu
Mariah Bell

yeah, it’s a two girl race at this point and it’s pretty obvious who the winner is going to be. But whatever, I look forward to seeing the free skate again. It’s really good this year.

Now the guys… it’s so weird not having the top guys from Sochi here… Yuzuru, Patrick Chan and Javi… although I think Javier Fernandez might have had a different grand prix assignment.

I’ll just go in the order they appear on YouTube in the margin.

Jason Brown
as always, he knows how to put on a show and it’s awesome. This is his best short program ever from an entertainment standpoint. (Although “Writing on the Wall” last year was really cool when he got it right).
His jumps were mixed. He stepped out of his triple axel, which is his best jump (as far as technical and just overall success). But for components and just showing the Japanese audience a good time, I thought it was great.
85.36- 40 and 44… yeah, that’s about what I’d expected. And of this point, he’s in 3rd place. And I think the announcer at the arena said “number 7”- so there are still 3 skaters left to go.

Sergei Voronov
wow- I can’t remember the last time I saw Sergei perform, but this is the best I’ve seen him.
It almost seemed like he had that same choreographer as Plushenko because I saw a lot of similarities in the footwork.
He opened with a KILLER quad combination. The quadruple toe loop doesn’t mean as much now as it used to, but that’s the strongest one I’d seen from him. It was really impressive.
I thought maybe he was still from the old school of Russian skating by doing all jumps in the first half of the program, but he actually put his triple axel in the second half and nailed it. I don’t know all of what the commentator is saying, but it sounds like he’s saying that Sergei has a good chance to medal or win this competition because of who isn’t competing.
90.06- 49 and 40- a season’s best for him, maybe a personal best. I’ve never seen him break 90 before. Wow, I’m so excited 😀

and while I have the old school vs. new school thing in mind, I should see Dmitri perform next. Again, because of the people not competing due to withdrawing, he has a really good chance at a medal here.

Dmitri Aliev
I don’t know what happened… he fell on his first jump, oddly a triple lutz (not fully around on it) and fell out of his triple axel. Yet his quad-double combination was his best jump. I still don’t think this music really suits his style. That plus the bell-hop type outfit. Just doesn’t work for me for him.
77.51- 39 x 2- he seems to be taking it well, which is good. I’m still sad, though. He doesn’t have a shot if he doesn’t get 80+. He’d need a lot of help and a PERFECT free skate for a podium finish.
for this, I just see him going from one element to the next, not really a good program from that standpoint. That’s why I like his artistic programs better. They feel like they have more flow and substance to them.

Alexei Bychenko
one of his best performances, landed all of his jumps. His quad and triple axel were huge and he landed with no effort at all. And he had Jewish folk music so he was really playing to the audience. On that respect, he has Sergei beat… but it’s gonna be close. I think he’s the last skater to go.
85.52- 45 and 39- well, he didn’t have the quad combination so that’s probably what made the difference.

Adam Rippon
the only thing missing in that program was someone shouting at the end “you better work!”… I feel like a huge difference happened in the quality of Adam’s skating after he came out. Now it feels like he’s so comfortable in his own skin that he’s cool with wearing a skin-tight almost see-through shirt and skating to what sounds like runway music. I criticized Jason Brown’s free skate (and costume) for coming off a little too feminine, gay or that it might something a lot of people might be uncomfortable with. Adam’s program is just short of crossing into that territory.
I think this was the same program he did last year, so I don’t know why I’m making this an issue.
By the way, he did nail his program. No Rippon lutz, but he had a quad and triple axel. At the end, though, it looked like he fell out of his spin, but he was going into a final pose, so that might have been intentional.
84.95- 43 and 41
I do like Adam- I remember him saying how he missed out on going to Sochi because he had issues with injury just before qualifying to go… I know going to Olympics means a lot to him and I’d like to see him to get there. I don’t know why I even made that rant… I guess I was just imagining all the mean comments he’d get from a more conservative audience. Someone commented below that Jason is overscored… yeah, I can agree to that, but I don’t think Adam was better than him in this particular case. Not on components anyway. Technically, he was very strong.

Deniss Vasiljevs
ah, he fell on a triple axel… looked like a bad fall. No quads. He had a lutz combination to start and his last was a triple flip. He had this really cool move towards the end, kinda like a spread eagle combined with a cantilever and it went into his final spin. Really impressive. Great spins as well, but don’t expect less from a pupil of Stephane Lambiel 😉
76.51- 38 x 2- a little more on components… yikes, him and Dmitri are at the bottom of the barrel here :/

Nam Nguyen
oh man, that was a disaster 😦 I don’t know what went wrong, but his first two jumps, he fell. The second was a quad and he fell on it hard and it looked like he might not get back up. But he finished the program and had one good jump after the issues. I feel so bad for him…
65.82- 32 and 35

so… let’s see the leaderboard…

Sergei Voronov
Alexei Bychenko
Jason Brown
Adam Rippon
Dmitri Aliev
Deniss Vasiljevs
Nam Nguyen

Dmitri is 7th- Keegan Messing from Canada and Kazuki Tomono are 5th and 6th…

so on NBC they mentioned Yuzuru withdrawing and showed the fall on the quad lutz… that was hard to watch 😦 his ankle buckled badly on that landing. Has me thinking that might be a jump he should not attempt again. He has enough quads at his disposal that he doesn’t need to go that extra step.

the ladies are up first

Alena Leonova from Russia
she’s doing a program kinda like Elizaveta did in my first season seeing her- a Scheherazade type program, but without that outright sex appeal. But so far she is nailing all her elements.
And she killed it 😉 I’d only seen her a couple times, but this is easily the best I’d seen her. To me, her step sequence after all the jumps didn’t fit the demand of the music. A little too slow skating and the footwork wasn’t as consistent or sharp as it could have been. But she’s stoked after a clean program, so that’s pretty cool. Also noticed she has the same coach as Dmitri.
190.95- they announced in the middle of the following program- currently in first.

ah, they showed Osaka castle. My dad’s been there to this city so many times for business and he always takes a picture of the castle when he goes.

Mirai Nagasu
her triple axel was a little better this time, but still under rotated. She’s fighting through all her jumps, but not all of them look like they’re perfectly done. Maybe some will be marked down for under rotation. But she attacked this as she did with the short program. All the commentators are saying that she has this extra fire and determination and it’s all about getting back to the Olympics.
194.96- 66 and 63
omg, she covered her mouth with surprise when she saw her scores. She’s definitely happy with that. first place.

Satoko Miyahara
she had a triple-triple in there this time, but she doubled a triple flip. She then had this cool combination spin where she spun one way for 4 turns and then flipped the other direction to do another. I’ve seen Evgenia do the move as well. It’s difficult, but when anyone pulls it off, I love it so much. She later had a salchow that looked like a whack-xel, it was all wrong. These mistakes piling up will probably take her out of contention for a medal. Supposedly she’d come back from a hip fracture and still isn’t fully back to her normal self.
191.80- 2nd place overall.

Evgenia Medvedeva
and she fell on her first jump? What? and her second jump also… but after that, everything was perfect as always. She also threw a triple-triple later in the program and it was solid.
I don’t know if that’ll be enough for Mirai Nagasu to win Gold, but it opens the door for Carolina Kostner if she nails hers.
224.39- 70 and 74

even then, I think she’s still gonna win 😛 nobody’s gonna catch her and I’m sure all the comments are going to say she’s overscored.

Polina Tsurskaya from Russia
her senior debut, but she was off for a season after dominating juniors due to a genetic condition- they didn’t say what.
Her jumps are so high, wow! I love her costume, black and form-fitting and it shows off her pale skin. Yeah, this is really good. Nice flow through her jumps. Tara says she still needs work on her components score and that’s why she’s not at Evgenia’s level yet. After the short program, she was in 3rd place, so this could be a good run for the podium.
210.19- 74 and 65 (amazing technical score!)

Carolina Kostner
…pressure’s on…
and I think she felt it. her first combination was a triple-double and she had a triple-jump combination with the half loop in between and she fell on the last jump. Tara said how she’s similar to Jason Brown, who relies on the components score because they aren’t as technically strong as their competitors.
At this point, I’m hoping this will help Mirai get a medal, but I don’t know if it’s gonna happen.
212.24- 62 and 75…

yeah, I’m with Johnny, I don’t think she was better than Polina was. She should have gotten third.
poor Mirai, I feel bad for her not getting a medal, but she made an amazing effort. I hope this is a sign of good things to come.

and obviously, Evgenia punched her ticket to the grand prix final and so did Carolina Kostner.

Now for the guys… where it’s still anyone’s game without Yuzuru… which I hate to say 😦 but for whoever wins, it’s going to feel great for them.

Adam Rippon
he brought back his Coldplay music, but with a more glittery sea-green top. A little too many sequins for my tastes for a dude. Moving on…
he opened with a quad lutz (Johnny said it might be under rotated and I told him to shut up 😛 )
Nailing all of his jumps so far, really strong today. He might have a combination where he meant to do a triple and ended with a double…
I don’t know if he ever had a perfect performance of this program, I can’t remember, but that was AMAZING. He should be so proud of that.
261.99- 91 and 85… that’s as good as it gets… I think that’s going to put pressure on everyone else because this is an open field.

Sergei Voronov
OMG- I cannot even think right now… this was his best competition ever! I think the only mistake was a slightly under rotated solo quadruple toe loop. The rest… phew… minus the outstanding level of charisma, it felt like watching a Plushenko program. Where I was holding my breath on all the jumps, how the jumps were like moments in the program where your attention was just drawn to them like they were making a statement. With his 5 point cushion from the rest of the field, I think he can win this, but I’m going to be holding my breath and probably cursing all the other skaters to have mistakes 😛 I was cheering so loud at the end of that. It feels like I haven’t been this excited in ages, but it’s probably only been a few weeks.
271.12- 94 and 86- a personal best overall and he’s in first…

oh boy, now I gotta wait through 2 more skaters 😛

Alexei Bychenko
Two solid quads to start, but fell on his next jump. And he had a triple axel go wrong and a jump combination that ended with a double instead of a triple. Johnny said that he needs to hit the jumps cuz he usually gets poor components scores. But he fought for this program, which is always good. And apparently he has competition next week at the France competition.
252.07- 85 and 80- he’s in 3rd

Jason Brown
yeah, he ditched the Russian unitard! Black pants and a nice blue top with a seam down the middle with rhinestones. Very nice.
A solid triple flip to start, but he fell on a triple axel. A couple more falls and uncharacteristic mistakes. He’s usually one of those skaters you can count on to hit all the non-quad jumps. So which is a shame because the choreography and the new costume create a really nice look for him and he just did not have a good day in the jumps today. I got my wish for the winner, but I still feel bad. He looks so sad in the kiss and cry.
245.95- 72 and 89

Great job, Sergei! Woo-hoo! I hope he can continue to ride this momentum and maybe get a ticket to the Olympics… him and Mikhail Kolyada would do Russia proud, but Dmitri (oh shoot, I just realized they didn’t show him… I guess he didn’t do that well) and Alexander Samarin will also be contenders depending on how their next competitions go.
and Adam Rippon got a silver medal for his birthday today 😉 that’s so nice.

so far, only Mikhail Kolyada has punched his ticket to the Grand Prix Final.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment