“Prince” Album #19: EMANCIPATION [disc I]

This album is a MONSTER… so this post will inevitably be split into 3 parts…
***

When I compiled my first list of must-have Prince albums, I saw this as the cornerstone. My collection would not be complete without it. So first off, a TREMENDOUS thank you to my fellow purple knight for my copy. I didn’t just want the music, I wanted the physical copy with all the cover art and the album booklet. I love all the little notes he scribbled next to certain songs. Like I’ve said a few times, I go through the cover art and booklets before I listen to the albums the first time so I get a peek inside Prince’s mind and see what to expect.
Just to drive this point home, I’ll have to look through it again and make notes of them.
Right now the one that comes to mind and is most relevant to this first part… him scrawling in backwards test “For Wendy, Lisa and Susannah” next to “In this Bed eye Scream”

And this is usually the point where I bash whatever Matt Thorne wrote in his chapter on the album… not so in this case.
I mean, my first thoughts were “well, he trashed my favorite Prince song, it can’t get much worse than that”… it shocked me how he seemed to come to this album’s defense and painted much of it in a good light. At the same time, there were negatives, but they were negatives I could easily concede to. He made a comment on how Prince relied way too much on sound effects on this set [Captain has went into this a bit on the last few albums- all under that umbrella of overproduction] and even had an (Argh!) in parentheses at one point. Not what I’d call professional journalism, but considering the track he was discussing, why not?

For me personally, the sound effects Prince added into his music never bothered me… but with, again, this one song, it DOES. And I’ll get to it soon enough.

He actually interviewed an engineer Prince had during this time, someone that had been a victim of die-hard fans who claimed he ruined Prince’s music… and some interesting points came up. Like how Prince will come to an album with some songs written for it, but others arise during the production and are written for the project once he nails the concept of it and others are configured around them. That would certainly explain Prince’s insane process of writing all this music and not releasing much of it.
Then he spoke highly of “The Love We Make” and “Let’s Have a Baby” and how much this engineer loved “Joint 2 Joint”- and then offered probing questions about “Somebody’s Somebody” and “Damned if Eye Do” and also put a good spin on what some call Prince’s ill-managed cover of “I can’t make u love me”
The most negative- the overthinking/overproduction of “Sex in the Summer” and overproduction of “Slave” and “New World” and “Jam of the year” and “Get Yo Groove On” not being songs to hitch your star to. And of course, the title track adhering way too much to Purple Rain blueprint and being weak.

But overall it was the kind of chapter that made me pick up the book in the first place- these types of discussions about what the music could possibly be about. The type of discussions I have about Prince’s music with myself and other people who care about him and his music and that are willing to listen to me babble πŸ˜›

As for why I wanted this album so badly and that cornerstone comment…
Prince has called this album he was born to make and he did a tremendous amount of press for it.
It was the album to signify his freedom from his record deal (as is the tagline for DJ Jedi’s show on Emancipation Radio: “This is what freedom sounds like”).
This was the album where Prince was at his happiest. When he was very close with Mayte, married to her and when they were planning their family.

For better and for worse, Prince became a different person after this album’s release. He was finally free to live his career on his own terms. But due to some unfortunate circumstances, Prince sought a different path in his personal life that shaped the person he became through the rest of his career.

And because this is Prince we’re talking about, that could mean a number of things and there are many. I’ll touch on some of those further down the line, but not on these Emancipation posts.

As for the unfortunate circumstances… I won’t go too deep into them, but they will be addressed in Part II.
I’ll take note of when these tracks were written and see if any happen to line up with October 16 1996… [none so far… but I’ll have this down so I remember the date]

DISC I
(the first year/years are when the track was written, parantheses are for me to remember guest stars and the second year is the last time it was played live)

Jam of the year: late 1995-early 1996 (Eric Leeds; Rosie Gaines)- 2012
Right Back here in my arms- mid 1995- Poet 99- only in 1999
Somebody’s Somebody- nov 1994- 1999
Get Yo Groove On- summer 1996- 1999 (Eric Leeds; Rhonda Smith)
Courtin’ Time- 1992-1993, 2013
Betcha By Golly Wow- late 1995- early 1996 (NPG core band)
We Gets Up- summer 1996 (Eric Leeds; Rhonda Smith)
White Mansion- late 1995-1996 (never live)
Damned if Eye Do- late 1995-1996 (hornheadz) never live
Eye can’t make u love me- summer 1996 (Rhonda Smith; Eric Leeds)
Mr. Happy- 1996 (Scrap D returns)- 1999 (never live)
In this bed eye scream- late 1995- early 1996 (never live)

Getting to certain tracks on this album today, I remember that some of them were really hard for me to listen to last year… you know why.

But this album starts on the best note with “Jam of the year.”
Before hearing Chaos & Disorder last week, I thought this was the big return of Rosie Gaines to the NPG. It was so great to hear her back, especially with a song like this. This song, to me, is what freedom sounds like. It felt as open as a stage in Paisley Park (maybe because I saw him perform this on Oprah). The horns are great on it.
Just found out today that Eric Leeds is on several tracks, which would explain a lot. He has that certain touch that gives Prince music that added dimension. In this album, just more life. Not to say Come and Gold were devoid of life- but he helps up the happy atmosphere.
It might not do a whole lot for however long it is (it’s a pretty long album opener), but I never get bored or want to leave the party. As is the case with much of the album (where Prince tacked a lot of things on to make each disc exactly an hour), I don’t mind the length of most of the songs. However, I do take issue when I have this album in my car and I only have a certain amount of time allotted to get through all of said music.

“Right back here in my arms”… I always found this synth line a little sad and that got buffed a bit last year when I had that feeling about Prince.
This would have been a great single- very poppy and catchy. I’ve always enjoyed it.

“Somebody’s Somebody”… THIS was a hard song for me last year. Extremely hard. I had this album on my iPod and I was laying in bed getting ready to sleep and I put this on. Not only did I not connect with the song, but it just made me miss Prince so much.
Today, all I asked was just to have the right set of circumstances on my drive where I could fall in the pocket of the song, under Prince’s spell, and it was everything I could have wanted. I mean, I’d prefer being in bed with the lights out and having this to lull me to sleep.
It just made me think that I’ll never get another great listen out of it this week because that’s been the pattern of the other albums so far. I get one good listen and every other time after that just falls short.
This is also another of my favorite karaoke Prince songs where I like to go all over the track like a feature and let loose with it. In good taste, of course.

“Get Yo Groove On”… I always thought of this as a throwback track and I always have fun with it. It’s the first instance on this album of Rhonda Smith rocking the bass. The dialogue is always funny to listen to. And of course Eric Leeds with that saxophone- all these years, I should’ve known it was him. It’s just so good. I especially love that hook that repeats throughout the 2nd half of the song.

“Courtin’ Time”- I completely forgot about it. It always reminded me of a quickstep type of song. To this day, I still don’t know all the words to it, but it’s not as if I made the effort to learn them either.

“Betcha By Golly Wow”… I’ll say this about the covers, I’m not familiar with the original versions, so I have nothing to really go by.
Prince sounds so good on this. The lyrics aren’t his, but the Come/Gold NPG line-up crushes it.
I love the spoken moments he has- so genuine and he’s definitely in love with Mayte at this point and it’s unmistakable. I swoon at how in love he was and want so bad for him to have that happiness forever.

“We Gets Up”… the grammar in the title ANNOYS ME to no end. There are some cool lyrics, although my favorite part is the 2nd half without any vocals and the instrumentals are free to air themselves out. It’s very mechanical and computerized, but I like the revving guitar and the claps in time with the beat.

“White Mansion”… ok, THIS is the song. Matt Thorne wrote some good things about it and the impression I got from him was that this song could have been so much more than it became. And it was ruined by that stupid sample heard at the beginning and end of the song. I don’t understand it at all.
It presents such an interesting idea and could be about Prince’s first trip to NYC in search of a record deal. But then the lyrics take it array in the third verse. For me anyway. I’m on board with it until that point and then I’m just scratching my head. I’ve always kinda liked this song, but it has its issues.

“Damned if Eye Do”… I’ve always liked the beat on this one. All Hornheadz and they do it well.
Matt Thorne answered a question I’d wondered for ages… “I won’t do it like Kevin”… who the hell is Kevin? (he actually asked the question, but maybe not in these words)…
Kevin is Kevin Costner in “Waterworld,” which is considered one of the worst movies ever made, and there’s a scene where he drinks his own pee. So the explanation in the book was that he won’t serve her piss, and he called it one of Prince’s oddest jokes within his music. Point well made, sir.
Maybe this one goes a little long with that conga section, but I really like that guitar solo towards the end.

“I can’t make u love me”… I get teary when I hear Prince sing this. I know it’s an overwrought American Idol standard by this point, but I heard his version first, so I always feel something for it. In the book, it was described as using the song to appeal to someone like Vanity or Sheila E. rather than being true to the song’s original intention. (Interesting- Prince saw a kinship with Bonnie Raitt cuz she’d been wronged by her record label as he was and her brother gave Prince his first rehearsal space… it’s all relative, apparently).

“Mr. Happy”… according to the book, that one engineer called this song a waste of time. But Matt Thorne seemed to defend it, saying how hip-hop is important to this record.
:sigh: if I had my way and configured my own version of Emancipation, there wouldn’t be any hip-hop on it. [This also marks the return of Scrap D- who one could argue ruined “I rock, therefore I am” on the last album].
For the first time, I actually listened to the lyrics and there’s some good ones. But the “Mr. Happy’ persona and the title itself just ruins any chance it has. I couldn’t help but think that this guy is “Mr. Happy” because he’s “Rockhard in a Funky Place”… if you catch my drift…

“In this bed Eye scream”… I love this song. It was an early favorite on this album and it remains so. It’d be a great single- just shorten it and edit out the last minute or so of merry-go-round whirlwind effects and such.
Last few times, though, I always sing the wrong thing on the first line… I want to jump to the 2nd line “telling ’em how I cried the day you ran away” when it’s supposed to be “telling them words I wasn’t strong enough to stay”.
One of the best choruses he’s ever written.
The sad thing, though, is as much as it is an apology to Wendy and Lisa and Susannah… there are issues. Prince was the one who fired The Revolution because he wanted to focus the music back on himself rather than being in that group dynamic. And he’d asked them for input on this song, but their ideas weren’t used in the final product.
It kinds puts a damper on things. But I still love this song regardless of how much truth (or lack of) is to it.
***

I figured that it’s good to give myself this 2nd listen and take a break for a few days. I’m still really enjoying this disc and I see myself listening to it at least two more times (once at the end of the week and the 2nd will be listening to the whole album in one go… I’ll speed-run through one of my favorite video games while doing so- last time I did it, I think I still had half an hour of game play left to go).

But one thing I went to go into, but forgot about:
This won’t go into the overall scoring system, but it’s another way to process this massive album.
I already wrote a post about the ultimate playlist of this set after listening to all the Peach & Black episodes on the album. But as with all the previous entries, I’m not going back over what I’d previously written and incorporating old experiences I remember into new ones.

I’d hate to do this to Prince, but with an album this massive and not-so-solid, I feel compelled to assign each track an identifier. Saying whether it’s great, good, filler or just plain skippable. There’s a fair mix of material, 36 songs, so why not go there?
Taking into account all his albums so far, this is probably the first one with any notable filler. I rarely skip songs as it is and on this album, the few times I’ve listened to it, I still don’t. But in the interest of time, maybe it’s worth the time doing so.

On Disc I…
Mr. Happy is the only song I’d really consider filler. Other than having a little rap and hip-hop on the record, it doesn’t have much to offer.
The one thing I get out of it is “NewPower Soul”- the music in the verses reminds me so much of the sound of that NPG album. I’m sure that those two albums (and some of the Crystal Ball stuff) were written in the same period, so there will be similarities.

But taking into account what others have said, every song has its little flaws or things I don’t like about them, that I would have done different- but I’m not a musical genius or really have any musical inclination except singing.
The first half of the album, I really don’t have anything to nit-pick on.

Jam of the Year is a great album opener and puts you in a good mood to start things off. And if you’re a long time fan, the presence of Rosie and Eric Leeds offers some comfort. Among the scores of other album openers, it might get lost, but it’s good for what it is on this record.

Right Back Here in My Arms- there’s that one lyric “don’t want you calling my farm”… that always bothered me… Prince doesn’t have a farm, WTF is he talking about?
Other than that, it’s great. Today in particular, I almost wanted to skip to this song straight away. Love the music on it and the backing vocals- I think it’s all Prince clones.

Somebody’s Somebody- if it was possible, was even better today… Cloud 9, baby.
There might not be too much to it and it’s nothing special, but it’s the atmosphere of it I love. Kinda like a toasty blanket.

Get Yo Groove On- it’s hard to figure whether I like this or “Jam” better. When I listen to it to and from work, I get to the first three songs and by the time I get to this one, 8 hours have passed. I think this one wins out a bit more because I can follow with the beat and really dig into it. Then there’s the funny dialogue that gives it great atmosphere.

Courtin’ Time- it’s one of those songs I could share with people who are weirded out by most of Prince’s other nuances. There’s nothing about this that’s offensive or weird. The only weird thing is Prince doing a quickstep jazz song that sounds like it’s from the 1930’s. Maybe it’s him trying to be traditional- in the way a man would ask a father’s permission before proposing to his daughter. [Prince didn’t do that in reality, but this might be his attempt at that… I also read in the book that he was inspired to write this after hearing a classical piece, which was written by someone at a club when a woman got up to dance on a table and they had no choice but to keep playing until she stopped dancing… and there’s supposedly a longer version of this in the Vault and Matt Thorne wanted to hear it]
Again, this song is extraordinary in its uniqueness, but I don’t get a lot out of it myself.

Betcha By Golly Wow… it’s just wow. It makes me all warm and gooey. And also a little sad… for reasons I’m not ready to go into yet. Not on this disc.

Then the rest of the album happens and it’s hit and miss. If Prince went out of his way to extend any of the prior songs, I couldn’t tell.
The seams are a lot more visible.

We Gets Up- I really like the music on this a lot. I could tune out of the lyrics (and the horrid grammar) and enjoy the rest of it.
It’s obvious that the ending was tacked on, but he makes good use of it, I think.

Big White Mansion- edit out all the sound effects and that damn dialogue sample and we’re in business.

Damned if Eye Do… this was the song where I started to think about the ordinary vs. extraordinary stuff.
It’s good for what it is and good enough for this album. But the lyrics are kinda meh. Where it’s hard to believe the same guy wrote [insert Prince standard here]. I really like the beat and I like the extended part, as tacked on as it sounds. Although today I was kinda over it and wanted to get going to the next one.

Eye can’t make u love me… speaking of being over it…
ever since the first time I’d heard this song, whenever he stretches it out and breaks it out… and he starts singing the first part again, I groan and say “c’mon, enough already”… however long this track is, it’s too damn long.

Mr. Happy… I think the worst thing about it… is the name. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the rest of the song and we never really find out why he has that name. Nor do we care.

In this Bed I scream… this is probably the strongest track on the album. It stands apart from the rest of the material and it’s put together so well.
But it has flaws as well.
Whatever that thing is jostling in the background, to me it sounds almost like shaking a cassette tape inside the case… it annoys me and I wish it wasn’t there.
And the ending that whirls around like a really fast merry-go-round, grinding against the metal supports… it really doesn’t have a point other than extending the ending of the album to make it fit into an hour. Or he just didn’t know how to end the song.

So I might listen to a little of Peach and Black tomorrow… the podcast is an hour and 23 minutes… I could probably do the 23 tomorrow and still have plenty to spare for the drive home Thursday and Friday.
I’d rather not listen through the disc again tomorrow.
***
it’s Thursday.
Since the album is 12 songs, I figure I’d do 3 songs per direction, in the morning and afternoon, over the next two days. Then I’ll do my rating after finishing the podcast. That way I don’t risk getting sick of the music by doing a full listen on Saturday.

Captain spent much of the review up to this point complaining about the plasticy sound- I think that was something a lot of fans were annoying about as it was happening.
At least he said “Somebody’s Somebody” is a good song… on a different version, which I’ll have to give a listen one of the next couple nights.
But everyone lost it when he said how much he liked “Get Yo Groove On”… I figured he would because it has the comedy bit on it.
Player called “Courtin’ Time” a weak rockabilly track… I don’t get that at all. It’s freaking jazz/jive/quickstep music.

I will give “Courtin’ Time” this- it’s a nice short song and not a second of music is wasted. Unlike some other songs where they’re stretched out too much just for the sake of making this album an hour long.
Captain called “right back here in my arms’ the weakest and most skippable on the album… which worries me… I’m calling it that he’s going to say “Mr. Happy’ is the best song on the album. Because he’s that type of guy who likes that type of stuff- whatever the hell it is.

But like a complete dork, I’m finishing the comments on “Courtin’ Time” sitting in my car in the driveway with it still running… just because…
Not sure if I ever mentioned that when I respond back to the comments with the “Oh my God”s and “Oh No”s- my voice has an Aussie accent to it. It’s been that way for several months now- I’ve listened to them so much that the accent rubs off on me for a while. But when I’m talking to other people, it goes away just as quickly.

Well, I was half right… there was a 3 vs. Captain situation (I thought of this notion, but haven’t actually typed it until now- it’s common enough where it should be a thing and will be)… and of course, the results are hilarious as they often are.
The song in question wasn’t “Mr. Happy” but “We Gets Up”… the other 3 said it was the most skippable, Prince by numbers, lazy, filler… all that stuff… of course Captain is alone in loving it.

I guess I’ll have to tweet this at him or simply wait for him to read this himself.
The lyrics are WEAK- to the point where I don’t think there’s any single lyric I care for.
But if this track was an instrumental, I’d rate it higher than I’m going to. I really like the music. It has a great beat and so much happens in it.

It doesn’t happen nearly as often… but there’s been at least one other time (forget which song, unfortunately) where Toejam was a huge fan of a song and the others weren’t quite on the same page. But it’s never to the point of extra polar opposites.
Anyway- he talked up “White Mansion” a lot and painted a really nice picture of it. I agreed with everything he said. And to think of Prince watching TV and hearing that random sample as he puts it in… I can get into that… will have to keep that in mind the next time I hear the song.

In this bed I scream got a lot of love- which is great.
I had one last go at the album over these last two days.
I had the best time with this song… I think mostly because I finally nailed the lyrics. I know them so well, but there are a few that trip me up when I hadn’t listened to them in a while. I don’t know so much whether I felt Prince in the car with me, but we were definitely “think[ing] with the same mind”.

I can’t make u love me- I think I might have been harsh with MC when he said he didn’t like it.
Now I’m at the point where I could really do without it. It’s okay, but like I said, it overstays its welcome after a while.
I had a thought about the ending, though. I really like how he ends it on this really heavy sigh. And I thought to myself- did he do this with another song? I think he did something similar at the end of “Silly Game” on Rave… well, there isn’t a sigh that I can recall, but it ends on a similar musical note. But I could listen to the end of this one song and imagine “Strange but True” starting right after it.

Captain said what I had said earlier- Mr. Happy would fit better on NewPower Soul.
Then the guys decided to put it together with “I rock therefore I am” and “Dig U better dead” as the “trio of doom” from this year… and two happen to feature a rap by Scrap D. Someone called him Scrappy Doo and everyone lost it.

So I guess the only thing left is to really round out this part of the album- this third.

I think I’ll do things a little differently and I’ll first list the songs in order from what I like the most to the least and I’ll designate each one as “good,” “great,” “filler” or “skippable”.

Somebody’s Somebody- great
In This Bed I Scream- great
Get Yo Groove On- good
Right back here in my arms- good
White Mansion- good
Betcha By Golly Wow- good
Jam of the Year- good
Courtin’ Time- skippable
We Gets Up- skippable
Damned if I do- skippable
Eye Can’t Make U Love Me- skippable
Mr. Happy- FILLER

That’s my initial feeling on these songs. And it will determine where they end up in the grand scheme of Emancipation… if you were to limit it to however many songs or minutes… I dunno… I might take this part out if it doesn’t really work for the next two discs.

Here we go… my Excel spreadsheet is getting pretty massive by the way. Not just having a different spreadsheet for each album, but this one runs for 48 rows. That’s kinda nuts.
And Crystal Ball- which will be coming up very soon after I’m done with this monster of an album- it’s gonna be the same story.

JAM OF THE YEAR
Putting this at the bottom of my “good” tracks isn’t to say it’s any less good than some of the others there. And it isn’t as if the album gets so much better after it. To be perfectly honest, I’m usually in the moment with this album where I’m not pining to return to a previous song or I’m thinking about it so much that I neglect the one I’m on. If anything, I get to a couple and say “when is this over so I can get to some ones I really like.”
It’s another good opening track- it introduces you to the sound of the album, very open with a little air of freedom to it. (Even on the songs that are a little depressing, the production feels different in that Prince feels completely comfortable not being Prince anymore and seems more at ease with some things). Maybe not so much this disc, but this album has some great piano bits (Prince is even more underrated on piano than he is on guitar and he’s rarely in the same breath as Jimmy Page or Santana or Jimi Hendrix for that matter) and this is a good introduction to those. And Eric Leeds features in a bunch of songs on this disc, so it’s good to reintroduce him out front.
If anything, the song succeeds in putting you in a good mood where you’re ready to take on the other 11 songs. Whether or not lasts depends on the individual.
(Man, it’s hard being concise when I hadn’t listened through the whole disc beforehand).

Technical Merit- 4 (plenty of good points to it. I had to look up the lyrics and the bridge has a reference to “Hide the Bone”- a song meant for Come or Gold and wound up on Crystal Ball. It never bothered me that I didn’t really know what some of these lyrics are. But they’re not great. The vocal arranging is definitely a Prince thing and the way he uses the piano, but overall, if you heard it not knowing it was him, would you pick that up right away?)
Components Score- 4 (omg- that was hard- spent at least 5 minutes figuring that score)
Total score- 8 (Great album opener again, and I like a lot of what’s happening in it. But there are also other songs I enjoy listening to more or look forward to more)

RIGHT BACK HERE IN MY ARMS
Don’t know what more I can add about this one. I like it a lot. IF not for a few tiny things, it’d be a “great” song.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (Prince doesn’t have a farm… surely he could’ve found a better word or phrase to rhyme with the titular lyrics)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5 (I picked my components score solely because this feels like the perfect total to give it. It’s not the most original R&B song and Prince had made better attempts at this. But I feel a good mix of emotions whenever I listen to it)

SOMEBODY’S SOMEBODY
yeah- my feelings on this song are already pretty clear. Easily one of my favorites of the whole set. At least top 5, maybe top 3
Technical Merit- 5 (this is probably one of the few songs on this album where I couldn’t change a single thing about it if given the chance– although it’s one of two I’d be curious to hear Linn-drum on to see if that’s a greater improvement
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (you’d think this would be a 10 with how much I’d praised it… there is nothing wrong with it that I’d change so it’d get that extra bump. It’s probably one of those 9.5’s that could be a 10 if something intangible was involved. A feeling like I get from “Shh” on the last album- being completely floored and in awe of Prince’s talent. This one, it feels very comfortable, sometimes like a second skin- or a good pair of shoes.

GET YO GROOVE ON
Oh yeah, this is a good one.
This is probably the one instance where Prince incorporated a skit into a song and it perfectly fit into it and runs alongside the song with neither really interrupting the other. Usually the skit is somewhere in the middle and ends and the instrumentals take the song home. Here, once introduced, it comes up throughout the song. I still find it funny to listen to.
Technical Merit- 4 (yeah, so far, this album hasn’t been great with cool original lyrics that I know Prince is more than capable of. The most unique thing about it to him is the dialogue and the sense of humor
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 8.5 (better than Jam of the Year, but not by much)

COURTIN’ TIME
the only thing about it I find memorable is it being so different than the rest of his material in general. otherwise, however well put together it is, it’s not the most memorable.
Technical Merit- 4 (this is a first- I’d never had a song where I’d think about how identifiable it is with Prince… and I find nothing that reminds me of him)
Components score- 3
Total score- 7 (I don’t hate it- just don’t find it super memorable. It certainly doesn’t make me want to listen to it a few times on its own)

…so onto the first cover… I’m making this part up as I go, but they’ll obviously be graded a different way because Prince didn’t personally compose them- even if he did add things.

BETCHA BY GOLLY WOW
A really sweet song- makes me smile so much, but I also feel sad that “my love for you keep going strong” wasn’t for forever.
So for technical- music represents the instrumental performance, lyrics is if the delivery feels genuine, vocals are obvious, structure is the arrangement, and that extra point is whether Prince has you believing this song is his (even though it isn’t) or the cover feels like a legit addition to the album.
Technical Merit- 5 (very well executed overall)
Components score- 4
Total score- 9

WE GETS UP
(bleck! that horrid grammar…)
As a musical showcase, it’s brilliant. But because there are lyrics and vocals, it doesn’t go over as well as one would expect. Especially from Prince. I really like that extended ending, though. Lots of great instrumentals.
Technical Merit- 3 (not a single redeemable lyric, some annoying vocal moments… it has all kinds of issues)
Components score- 3
Total score- 6

WHITE MANSION
Another song I like, but I have a bunch of issues with it. Some I will address now.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (sample aside- when I listen to this song on speakers, I gotta sing along with the chorus and make my own way through it. Prince has layered vocals, but the loudest one- I dunno- I don’t like the way he sings it. Almost like he’s off key. There are some odd lyrics in here too, but if I ever figure them out that mark can be remedied).
Components score- 4 (one of the few songs by Prince where I have more bad impression than good, but I like it enough to reward it for that)
Total score- 7.5

DAMNED IF EYE DO
The more I listen to this song, the more I’m not liking it. Prince has done so much better- this almost feels unnecessary. Heck, almost filler, really. If this album is dedicated to Mayte and the family they were preparing to have, this song doesn’t feel like it’s part of that storyline at all besides some salsa music in the latter portion. I used to like this song, but having been through so many good ones up to this point… this just doesn’t come off as well to me.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (had to look up the lyrics- and I had no idea there was something in there about smelling vermouth… some vocals are hard to discern lyrics from. The lyrics aren’t all that great to begin with. And the one thing that lets me know this is Prince- that guitar solo towards the end)
Components score- 3 (ok, I don’t hate it that much- I’m indifferent if anything. but it isn’t brilliant either)
Total score- 6.5

…man, this has been going downhill really fast these past few songs…

EYE CAN’T MAKE U LOVE ME
Another cover, another song I like less than I did the first time…
Technical merit- 4 (there are a lot of good points- but the interpretation with the vocal and the fact it just runs a minute or so too long is a problem)
Components score- 3
Total score- 7 (some parts I do like a lot, but it just overstays its welcome)

MR. HAPPY
…:sigh: filler… why is this here?
The title and this persona just ruins any chance it has.
Technical merit- 3.5 (lyrics and vocals bring it down… I just wanna be done)
Components score- 2
Total score- 5.5

…yikes… this last song is so great, but this disc really has no shot at a good score now… too many negative marks in a row

IN THIS BED I SCREAM
I’ve sung its praises enough already. Not just a standout on this album, but one of the best of the 90’s. Love everything about it except for some effects and how it ends.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (like I wrote earlier- the ending kinda spoils it for me. The rest is done so well… great lyrics, vocals and music)
Component score- 4.5
Total score- 9

All right… let’s see how these songs rank in order compared to where I had them previously, this time going by the numbers…

Somebody’s Somebody- 9.5
In This Bed I Scream- 9
Betcha By Golly Wow- 9
Get Yo Groove On- 8.5
Right back here in my arms- 8.5
Jam of the year- 8
White Mansion- 7.5
Courtin’ Time- 7
Eye Can’t make u love me- 7
Damned if I Do- 6.5
We Gets Up- 6
Mr. Happy- 5.5

certain tracks moved around, but overall, my first instinct was right on.

it’s a technically strong disc of music despite its many issues. but the other mark is quite a bit behind. And is probably what will make the difference.

Total score is 92… divide by 120… this is gonna be ugly…

okay, 7.7 isn’t all that bad… it being an 8.0 was definitely out of the question after a certain point. but that’s a respectable score. That’s close to where Controversy wound up.

Going forward to my all-time favorite Prince songs… I’m not taking any covers with me.

So the top 2 from Disc I were what I always thought they’d be:

Somebody’s Somebody and In This Bed I Scream

…now I’ll end the night with one of the mixes of the former of those two songs… then I’ll get some much needed sleep.
Almost 1am on a Friday night. But at least that means I’ll get more sleep Saturday night cuz I won’t be up doing this πŸ˜›

The live version of Somebody’s Somebody… not sure if I liked it that much. The arrangement wasn’t nearly as smooth as I’d like… a little too much going on, so I couldn’t really fall into the pocket of it. But that’s what happens a lot with me- I get so used to one version, the first version I hear, that nothing else will match that same feeling.
However, I do have another to work with in a bit.

The live “Jam of the Year” track was really good- Prince singing in his normal voice opposed to the falsetto, but the recorded falsetto and Rosie’s backing vocals were played in the background. It could have been something if it didn’t end at 5 minutes and change… which sucks.

Maybe after hearing another remix of Somebody’s Somebody I might go to sleep with the original. Depending on what I’m in the mood for tonight. At least I won’t be staying up super late again, I can sleep in and I can RELAX tomorrow. I don’t get to do that much- I always feel like I gotta do something whether it’s blogging, finishing some writing project or whatever else.

Right back in my arms is kinda calling my name, so I think I’ll put that on. Must be cuz I put that Jam of the Year cut on just now.

I felt like I really needed that (had some tough moments today- much ado when it was time to buy Purple Rain deluxe… FYE has been so great over the years with the Prince albums they’ve had in stock- they had a bunch today, including SoTT used but in two separate disc packages- I hope whoever buys them knows to get both of them or they’ll lose out on a lot…
the ado was the fact Deluxe with 3 disc + DVD was 34.99 and the cashier sold me on a trial membership cuz it’d save me money… go through all the info giving, only for them to need a dollar on a credit or debit to ensure they could charge me for a subscription fee if I choose to go full time on membership… I did not want to do that so that wasted my time and made me feel like crap.
Yeah, I could have gotten it for cheaper at Amazon, but it’s the princ(haha)iple of the thing. Price is no object with Prince- if the set was $50 or $100, I’d still buy it if I wanted it bad enough. But way to make me feel guilty about spending (plus a year of insurance cuz I won’t get to listen to this quite a while) $40 on 3 discs and a DVD in one package… I did not appreciate that.
Call me crazy but I have my way of doing things. Just let me do them, dammit!)

But yeah- this song is only 4:30 or so in minutes, but it felt like 10 minutes and 10 minutes of therapy I really needed. And just having Prince right there- it felt like it was all worth it.
I still don’t feel like I’m returning to FYE for a long time. Not after all that crap. Shove your damn membership up in someone else’s business and let me spend full price for merchandise (unless there’s another handy buy 3 used get one free sale- that was a sale in process on 07/07/07 when I spent over $100 in music, which included 4 Prince albums).

I should just to get this last song and close this entry out before I dump more personal drama on top of everything else. However, I am happy with the score I gave this song. I like it a lot, but it isn’t the absolute best he’s done either. Almost a 9 but not quite.

Oh man, that was good…
I’d love to edit out the record scratches and what sounds like him hmming in the background every couple beats… but I love the production on this. The chorus felt like listening to Space or one of its remixes.
Ultimate Fantasy remix.

Yeah… I guess this is it. Be back next week with Disc II- where things get more romantic, but a little personal and tough to talk about, but it must be done.

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“Prince” album #18: Chaos & Disorder

Yeah, anyone who read to the end of my review on “The Gold Experience”… change of plans.

My fellow purple knight hooked me up with another album and as with the others he’d sent me over the years (one of which I will get to very soon), eternally grateful.

And this series of posts is seeing a first… it’s seeing me review a brand new album for the first time.
Wow… it’s been forever since I’d reviewed a brand new album. And by that, I mean a new old album. An album that the majority of fans have had for decades or more. Not a brand new release we’re all getting at the same time.

This happened with MC on the Exodus podcast with Peach & Black and it was kinda interesting to get that perspective.

To my memory, this will be the first new old album I’ve gotten since, I think, Batman. And that was 2009, the same day I finally found a copy of Thriller… hint: it was after June 25 when that was oddly impossible to come by in a store.

I think I’ll start with a few comments on Mayte’s album, though.
Someone from .org who’d spent me a couple things (one of which was the original cut of Strange Relationship with Wendy & Lisa’s contributions more audible) spent it to me years ago and I’d only heard it a couple times since. One of those people I regret not staying in touch with after leaving the site (my account hasn’t been deactivated yet, but I haven’t been there since 2012, I think). Great guy.

I figured the timing was good for the album- especially since she went into it in her book. Very briefly, but enough to make me get it out.

It’s produced really well. Prince did a great job creating that image for her. “Children of the Sun” the song is still in my head and I listened to it 7 hours ago. Some songs remind me of songs later on in Madonna’s “like a virgin” album, others 90’s soft rock, and others (like “In Your Gracious Name”) reminded me of songs I’d heard on some soundtracks I have- soundtracks where most of the songs had nothing to do with the movie, but I love them all the same.
There’s a definite market for these types of songs. Unfortunately, it didn’t go beyond that because most fans just weren’t up for it. And really, Mayte’s a better album artist than live singer.
But I tweeted that those who hate on this album- they need to remember that Prince kinda talked her into it.

I mean- yeah, she refused to let Prince change her name to Arabia, but she couldn’t refuse this..

There are two spots where it’s not the best listen.
“Love’s no Fun” is a song I like for how it’s put together- but Mayte’s voice isn’t meant for belting out like that. It’s kinda hard to listen to.
And there’s another song that’s a little too explicit- where I feel like I’m getting a view into something meant to be private. “Mo’ Better”… also, it sounds like he wants to have sex with her while she’s asleep… just doesn’t come out right.

Speaking on those grounds, “If I Love U 2night” makes me sad to listen to. It’s an amazing song, beautiful. But the song was originally about talking someone out of suicide and it got turned into a love song. I listen to it with that in mind and it doesn’t take my enjoyment away from it. The last few seconds where she’s making pleasurable sounds- it’s on the level of what Prince did with “I can’t make u love me”… except it’s him rewriting his own history.

Then I get to the end of the album- love the Spanish version of the song. Then there’s “The most beautiful boy in the world”… I hear the music and immediately swoon cuz it’s like checking in with an old friend. Even though I’d only left this song a couple days ago.

I like how some Spanish was on this record and how “love’s no fun” got followed up by something like “Baby don’t”… which is practically in response to the storyline of the last song. I doubt Mayte had this song in mind when she and Prince broke up– way too many other things reeling in her head at the time.

But I digress… great stuff worth a couple listens. Also another nod to Prince’s versatility.

Prince is on this “to the nth power” genius level that when he does less than that for other artists, it doesn’t get the same reception and just dismissed right away. Another one of those caes where that’s kinda unfortunate. Some songs off Mayte’s album are better than some Apollonia 6 tracks (not hard to do, but you get my point)

So Day 1 and first listen to Chaos & Disorder… I’d call it “A Tale of Two Albums”…

First off- I don’t know much about this album going in. I just know it was the last album before “Emancipation” and freedom rang and that’s a rock album.
I also knew that “Dinner with Delores” (which I’d heard once ever and don’t remember) and “Zannalee” are part of it.
Then I found out yesterday that it’s a band album with a lot of NPG input. And Rosie Gaines comes back- and I thought for years that “Jam of the year” was a one-time guest re-appearance.

So on my listen, because I didn’t know the songs as they were coming, I would nod and say “a-ha” once I learned what the title was. That’s always something kinda cool with a first listen.

I was in my car with this on my iPod and it was a nice smooth ride. Best I could have asked for.

So the “two albums”…

it’s funny- for roughly the first half of the album, the music sounded very rock-driven and very 70’s. Seriously, the only thing missing was a Rolling Stones cover.
Maybe it was the rock aspect or the live sounding band aspect, but it sounded like another take on the Undertaker sessions, only with different songs.

then Zannalee- which was part of Undertaker- got a makeover and actually was the start of the 2nd album of these two albums I was hearing.

The energy between the two were so different… the energy in the first half was riding a certain wave and not straying too far away from it.
I’m not saying this as a bad thing, but it was a stark contrast with the 2nd half where there was a lot more variety.

I really liked the first two songs- the title track (the contradictories in the verses was very unique and different from what Prince had attempted previously) and “I like it there.”

“Dinner with Delores”… don’t know what it was, but I wasn’t a fan. At least I didn’t really get excited over it.
“The Same December”- I’m still figuring out… but the fact it has December in the title makes me think of “Last December” and no other “December” song could ever top that. I’m not sure, in this current case, whether he means the actual month or he’s referring to the winter of someone’s life (the way I personally see the Come album as his winter album).
“Right the Wrong” has some potential, but I have to get to know it more to be sure. It’s somewhat gospel.

Just because it’s familiar, “Zannalee” was something I really enjoyed. Sure, the police scanner stuff was a little cheesy, but I didn’t really care.

Then “I rock, therefore I am” came on… it got a little too long towards the end and maybe too much rapping later on. But I felt like I was waking up when this song came on and it was a great feeling.

Again, nothing against the first half of the album. The energy is great as it is, but it’s good to have a change of dynamics.

“Into the light” I see a lot of potential in as well. Prince was inspired to write it after reading “Embraced by the Light,” which he was pouring into around the time he was writing The Gold Experience album (Matt Thorne read the book for research and just went on a mega rant- pretty much calling Prince insane or just stupid for taking the book as seriously as he did… that doesn’t change my own curiosity about the book- if only to just borrow it from the library someday).

“I will” was a little too one-note and ran a little long.

“Dig u better dead” was great- although I’m still figuring out what the title means within the parameters of the chorus.

“Had U”… there were fans theorizing that Prince intentionally put this at the end in order to mirror his first song with WB, “For You”… he denied it.
I’ll quote “Rockhard in a Funky Place” in saying “what kind of f*** ending was that?”
It just felt very random and one-note and just meh.
It was a string of two word phrases- where the second word was always “U”… it’s an interesting idea, but it makes the album kind of a downer.
Prince is really good about ending albums on a positive note… and he didn’t do that this time. I get his reasoning, but it doesn’t suit me personally.

So that’s all for now…
an interesting start…
it doesn’t really feel like the album that follows The Gold Experience or was recorded at that same time… but there are hints of what’s to come with Emancipation. If only tiny hints…

Day 2: Flashes of the Future

The album feels a little more like a whole now.
My tastes are starting to take shape a little bit more. But since there’s a couple of hours between the time I listen to the album in the car to when I get home- the songs aren’t staying with me long enough to remember anything specific.

But that’s ok. I just hope I have a better idea of where I am with these songs before I got into the podcast- which I plan to span over Thursday and Friday as I have these past few weeks.

As of this point, there are some tracks I’m liking a lot, some I’ve warmed up to a bit since yesterday and… I think my stance on “Dinner With Delores” and “Had U” are roughly the same.

I really like the music for “Dinner with Delores”- but the story is just a downer. He really doesn’t like this person or care for them that much, so by extension, I lose interest in the song.
“Had U”- if it was possible, I had even less interest in it.
So I’m going to look up some lyrics as I’m doing this part of the post.

Going back to the title of the post, I really don’t see any connection to The Gold Experience beyond the band involved.
But, I think, The Same December- something in the music reminded me of “Fasincation” but I was also getting hints of “Rock n’ roll Love Affair” and “FIXURLIFEUP”
Then with “I rock, therefore I am”- the rhythm of the chorus felt so familiar, especially in the last couple lines. I went through my brain and found “The Everlasting Now”
I was also getting feelings from the MPLSound- “Dance 4 Me” kept coming to mind with one song (not sure which) but I don’t exactly know why.
The fact he worked with Michael B and Sonny T on the Lotusflow3r set might be influencing that.

I figured what the big change in the “two albums” was… this didn’t continue into further songs. I just noticed that “I rock, therefore I am” has synths featured rather heavily in it. There’s so much guitar on this album, but when those synths came back, it’s like remembering that this is a Prince album. Having that familiarity.

Chaos & Disorder (the song) is getting better with every listen. It doesn’t completely feel like something from the 70’s, but I think because it’s one song whether the organ features along with the guitar riffs.
I like it there is more of that 70’s vibe. It’s very simple in its construction where it’s a song that might not be taken as seriously for that reason. There’s one lyric I picked out both times that didn’t quite sit well with me- where he says something about a baby and something like “don’t abort this love”… there’s a lyric in “The Good Life” that’s something like “slippery like a baby out the ho”… this is going to sound so weird cuz we are talking about Prince, but the choice of words with these lyrics doesn’t sit well with me. He’s someone who’s written about sex using so many different innuendos and euphemisms and so on. But this stuff… I’ll just leave that comment there and never speak of it again…
However, it’s not enough to keep me from liking these songs- it’s just a bit of personal commentary.

“Zannalee” is an interesting song in that- there’s not a whole lot to it. It’s very bluesy. The verses repeat the same line twice, then the next two lines are different.
It actually reminds me of a John Mayer song called “Crossroads”- it was short also. It had only 2-3 verses and a guitar solo in the middle. He sings the same line twice in each verse, and then the next two lines are different. Makes me wonder if he was inspired by this particular song because I know he was one of those people who talked fondly about Prince after his passing. [looked up the song- it looks like it was written by someone from the 30’s… completely blew that theory]

I’m still figuring “Into the light” and “I will”- it didn’t help today during the latter that I had some jerk tailgating me when I was actually going faster than the speed limit (45 on a 35).

“Dig U Better Dead”… it has this really cool guitar thing I hear in the left earbud that happens throughout the track. But I’m still trying to figure out the chorus.
“in life there’s always peaks and valleys, when you’re lost, they won’t show you the way. the same person says ‘I dig u better dead”… [ok, this is paraphrasing]
that doesn’t make much sense- the latter lyric leads one to believe that the person would help you, but they’ll let you down in the end… unless that’s the whole point… and it almost sounds like this is a stab at WB the way the last song is, but with a much longer way of doing so.
I really like the dual voices on the chorus. It gives the song a bit more momentum to it and it feels really unique in Prince’s music (the guitar- c’mon!)

Looking at the lyrics- I don’t know if I’m getting any more out of these songs from them than I am already. “The Same December” is still kinda confusing.

“Right the wrong”- I did find something… I thought the narrative in the beginning was about someone stealing another girl’s heels… the lyric is “hills”…
apparently it’s about Native Americans losing their land to settlers and such… but I like my version better… it’s something different. But then again, the whole Native American is also something Prince hadn’t touched before.
The lyrics are really interesting and help support the title well. As I hear it more, I’m sure it’ll grow on me more. But for the moment, it feels like it runs a little long.

“Zannalee” sounds like it’s going to be a really funny Peach & Black discussion… don’t let me down, guys.

“Into the light”- just on paper sounds so amazing… the piano and whole vibe of it reminds me of “Curious Child” in Emancipation… that part of the album in particular.
“I will”- I’m still not quite getting, even with the lyrics in front of me.

As much rock and as much angst as there is on this album, there’s a good amount of spirituality as well- something that has been a little absent from his music for the past couple years. I don’t think there was a great amount of it in any given album since “Graffiti Bridge” and considering the time he was in with WB and such, the extra spirituality feels like something he’s been in desperate need of to right the ship.

I think I might bring an index card or something to write on while I listen to the album at work. Make some notes before the podcast.
I’d like to have a basic idea of it before I get any more input on it.
And I’m still not sure if I can even rate it at the end of this run.

The album went so fast that I almost couldn’t keep up with it.
I was at a good point at work where I was able to take my time with the rest without losing too much productivity. I took some notes.

1) Rosie’s vocals are so cool to hear on the chorus- and I like the way the chorus is broken down. It’s a little different than just singing it straight out. There’s a start and stop to it.

2) I feel like it has more in common with later music than what had come before it. I find the Shakespeare lyric kinda funny– Shakespeare has written so much that not much would sound original afterwards. Prince has said MANY things that Shakespeare never has- and some more brilliant things (and I’m not just saying that because I can understand Prince better than Shakespeare)

3) there’s a break down halfway through that reminded me of his earlier music

4) the bridge has a “rock n’ roll love affair” feel to it. There’s a musical section after the first chorus (and I think after a couple choruses) that reminds me of “Man in a uniform” (I thought it was “Fascination” the other day).
Then there’s a change where everything slows down- it’s so 70’s. Either “sail away” by Styx or the bridge in “Blinded by the light”

5) “Right the wrong” has so many cool musical things in it that I can’t name them. So many cool things. I really like listening to this song. And the deep voice at the end is halfway between the 1999 opener and the Rainbow Children “Darth Vadar” voice.

I didn’t have much to add for Zannalee or Dig u better dead.

Into the light- there’s some really cool piano work that creates a great atmosphere. It’s a cross between the vibe in “Curious child” and the piano from “The Love we Make”. There’s a bridge that descends into the chorus- it sounded so familiar and then I tried to put words to it.

“it’s happened before- I knocked on your door- but you wouldn’t let me in”…
I gotta see if this was recorded around the same time as “Dolphin”

“I will” has some great piano and then guitar comes in later. I heard a bunch of different things in it- from the end of “The Cross” to some Planet Earth stuff. It was kinda nuts.

This listen overall was more about getting into the music than trying to make sense of the lyrics.

So I’m roughly halfway through the podcast on the album.
It was only into the first song and it was already controversial πŸ˜› a lot of conflict.
There’s been talk already about different versions and MC was gushing about how great “I like it there” was at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

…it’s been a long time since this has come up, but this is one of those albums where I don’t have alternate versions to consider- so this is all I’m gonna get.

Captain was on another rant about stuff being overproduced and it’s gonna be another album like that.
He didn’t care for the extra effects in the opening track. It was really funny, he was practically giving Prince attitude over adding things and rather him just hand the album over the WB and be done with it. I think there was a voice crack in there somewhere, but I was dying laughing πŸ˜› those moments are great so great.
He liked the 2nd song better than the first.

Amazingly- Dinner with Delores practically got panned by everyone.
I was hearing Player’s review and he said he used to hate this song and tried to get himself to like it by listening to it a lot, and I was bracing thinking “don’t tell me you listened to it enough where you like it now”… but he said he likes parts of it.
Wanted to high-five him cuz I totally agree.
Everyone was more or less the same. And there was talk about whether Prince picked it as the sole single or WB did. And someone said Prince might have given them this lesser song on purpose.
I’m so glad I wasn’t alone in my dislike for it.

The Same December- Captain made a bold statement saying it was the best on the album and the best of his 90’s music… everyone flipped out… and so I did… no way is it the best of the 90’s.
Of this album… eh… it’s debatable. I could name a few songs I like better, though.
MC said once you get what the song’s about, you really get into it, and if not, you don’t. But he didn’t want to share his theory- kinda disappointing cuz I was curious.
I’m still trying to figure it out myself… and until I have that a-ha moment, I’m not going to fully connect with it.

I got as far as “right the wrong”… and so far, Toejam and Player don’t like it. It’s either too countrified or it’s too upbeat for something so serious. Player called it “hill-bily” and his impressions of lyrics in the chorus were hilarious to listen to (he also mentioned during C&D the song about how Prince might have been trying to play to the Beavis & Butthead demographic– I have no idea how, but it’s so funny how he also made a Beavis & Butthead comment on the Gold Experience review- which was recorded after this one). MC said he enjoys listening to it… and I agree. It is a fun listen.

And that’s it for now.

Captain said how great it’d be for “Right the wrong” to be in concert- but he hates all the overproduction.

This was a continuing theme throughout the podcast and after a while, I was in the realm of “oh, c’mon!”
Every song going forward had certain negatives and it always wind up pointing to one conclusion:
This album is a contractual obligation that’s going to WB- how badly can I screw it all up?
It got kinda depressing.

Now I’m not going to say the album is pure genius or that the songs that got the most flack weren’t entirely unjustified in receiving said flack.
This is still a new album for me- tonight will be my 5th listen EVER. As with anything relating to Prince, I don’t want to denounce anything he does negatively unless I fully investigate and reach the same conclusions myself.

The two songs that got the most- “I rock, therefore I am” and “Dig u better dead”
…the second of the two, I went ballistic and was screaming for someone, anyone to like the song.
It was “The Max” all over again- nothing good came out of it, everyone hated it and wanted to be done with the album.

Toejam did have a good point in saying the use of the f-word in this song was the worst he’d ever done… very good point… one of the back-up vocalists echoing “wtf” in harmony… I thought that was so lame.

I thought Captain would at least like the rapping in “I rock”… but nope… that was probably his biggest “what can I do to screw this up for WB” rant.
It definitely wasn’t a Tony M rap- in my D&P review, I acknowledged some good ones were there. But since then, there’s not much I liked by him.
Toejam more or less said he liked the song, but the rap completely ruined it for him.

MC went ” Into The Light” and said he got something out of it that sounded like a game-changer, but he didn’t specify.
I really wanted to get his thoughts on that.
Toejam was being weird again about the whole religious thing… for whatever reason, The Rainbow Children never bothered him despite how specific it was, but whenever Prince does a religious type song and makes it specific to something, he says it takes him out of the song. I still don’t get him sometimes. But there are also lots of times where he does great cinematic-type reviews of songs and it’s a play-by-play so great that I can hear the song in my head as he’s discussing it.

I forget which song on this album, but Player was really enthusiastic about it. He’s usually someone who’s very cool and collected, but maybe the tone of his voice is what doesn’t give too much away. Very even deep tone. But there was a moment or two where it had extra energy to it to the point he almost couldn’t contain himself.

Back to the overproduction thing- Zannalee had a bit of debate about it, but it was the best time. Captain hating on the police scanner and chief/policeman banter and MC and Player saying how its the best part of the song. To the point where they were running some of the dialogue themselves.
I like both version myself- they’re just two different visions of the same song.

“Dig u better dead”… I love that guitar, it’s so unique sounding and different. I do know it is on a loop and that was supposedly part of the issue.
Then there was the “I rock” issue where it sounded like a song Prince wrote around a cool sounding phrase and not getting there. Toejam figured with this one that someone said it to Prince and he wrote this to slam back at them.

“Had U”- I kinda saw this coming anyway- it got praise. Maybe not a whole lot, but it wasn’t completely dismissed. I still don’t get into myself.
Given the choice between it and “Solo” (which is the closest thing to this and they’re still very different), I’d choose “Solo”… if I could skip the first part the song “so low… so high… so quiet… going insane.” If I had to loop one song on repeat forever, it’d be “Had U” cuz maybe I don’t like those first four lines of “Solo” as much as the rest of the song.
Not surprisingly, Captain said it’s weird, but he kinda likes it on the grounds it’s Prince doing something different. I can definitely appreciate that and with certain songs of his, I do. Just maybe not the same high level of admiration- but my admiration extends further in some other areas, that’s all.

Into the light/I will, there was talk about seguing two songs together and how Prince did that a bit in the 90’s.
They brought some tracks in Emancipation into it… Saviour/The Plan, Curious Child/Dreamin’ about U (cannot WAIT for that one), and what he did throughout the Come album, stringing songs together. It’s a cool concept.
I do see these two as different songs though. But only because I like “Into the light” a lot more.

So I had my 4th listen last night… and I was fighting off sleep deprivation again.
By the end of it, I really found that I was listening to the music a lot more than the lyrics. They’re still new to me and haven’t all sunk in yet. But maybe they’re just not as strong as the music so they’re harder to hold onto as I’m trying to stay conscious.
“Dig u better dead,” I swear I was on the verge of figuring out what it’s all about, but I was physically unable to stay in it.

Prince kept strange hours and I’ve been doing that on the nights where I’m finishing up these albums and giving my scores.
Tonight won’t be that case… I’m exhausted. I kept getting up in the middle of the night last night (thank God it’s the weekend… )

so I had a “Get Wild” performance saved up and I finally watched it. I could easily see his face through his ToraTora “beekeeper” mask πŸ˜› and it was kinda cool Mayte doing some Spanish on it.
Makes me think back to her album. When this is all over, I think I might give it a permanent spot on my iPod. I don’t have my girls as friends, but I kinda feel like she’s one of my girlfriends at this point- her book’s been such a great read.
Even with some of the questionable stuff starting to surface a bit… just makes me think how Prince was so protective of his image that he still kept a lot of things to himself and that might be ultimately why he’s no longer with us. Which makes me sad. But it also makes me consider how I enjoy my own solitude and maybe why I should try to be open with people around me, especially the ones I care about.
Again, none of those negatives change how I feel and how he’s impacted me these past 10 years.

Watched “Dinner with Delores” on the Today Show. And then “Zannalee” right after.
Phew… I just got so sucked into seeing him perform on that stage. The last time I saw him had only been a week ago, which isn’t a long time. But it feels like it has been.
When I spend a lot of time with an album and it’s nearing the end of that time together, I lose perspective a little bit and finding these performances on YouTube help me stay grounded and remember why I’m here doing this.

And I just want to be clear… if I hadn’t been yet… I would have done this anyway. Spending 2017 revisiting all his music in chronological order if he was still alive.
In fact, I thought, had that been the case, I think I would have tweeted him once per album, saying one thing about it I wanted to share with him.
Now I wish I thought about it back in February- I could have done a “Letters for the Dead” thing [there’s a great YA book about a girl who does this as part of a school assignment and it takes on a life of its own] where I’d write a short letter to him about every album. Unfortunately, if I ever do, it won’t be for a long time. I put a lot of time and energy into all these album reviews. I don’t think I could go through all that again so soon after finishing.

The mere idea of finishing this terrifies me… but I should just get to finishing this album first… it’s nearing 11pm now. It usually takes me an hour after listening to the album to do the final thoughts and numbers game. So I’ll probably be done by 12:30-1am. At least I hope I will be- otherwise I’d have made myself into a liar πŸ˜›
and this time I’ll do it with the lyrics right in front of me.

I’ll say this much- this album has been a unique experience and I doubt anyone has had the same one. Knowing the rest of Prince’s music so well (well, maybe not the two HitNRun albums yet) and then having this added into the mix… I don’t just see where he’s been, but I can see hints of where he was heading. More in fact of the future- and I see mostly the last few albums of his career- the Lotusflow3r set and PlectrumElectrum.

yeah, having lyrics definitely helped. but there are a couple I feel like I need a little more time to figure out what the heck is going on before I’m 100% sure how I feel.
That being said, I’ll do my scoring system and perhaps in a couple years I’ll revisit and see if those numbers change.
I’ll do nutshells of the songs, adding some late minute comments or recent realizations, and then do the numbers.

now if I can just that guitar from “Dig U Better Dead” out of my head…

CHAOS & DISORDER
I’ve warmed up to this song quite a bit over the past few days. I always thought it was a good start to the album and it presented some interesting ideas. What words used to mean and social commentary about how things have changed. Really like the main riff and how the organ adds more dimension to it. The same goes with having Rosie’s vocals on it.
One small issue I have- the chorus is amazing- but the last line has way too much stuffed into it.
…and yes, I had to look up what the hell a “mortar” is. He’s more or less says he’s always in the line of fire- and it might be referring to the press making a big to-do about his unpronounceable new name.
If only that line condensed, then it would hit- because “chaos & disorder ruinin’ my world today” is a killer punchline.
And there’s talk about overproduction on this. The one instance I find is the incorporation of that circus sound effect on the 2nd verse… it’s very clichΓ© and lame, but I like the beat he tacked on the end of it so I can kinda forgive the fact it’s there.
Technical Merit- 4.5
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5

I LIKE IT THERE
I got into the first song so much that I just didn’t connect with this one as strongly. The delivery on the verses- it reminds me of “Love like Jazz” but parts of it make me think of “The One U Wanna C.” I really like how the song starts and how it’s so simple in its construct. And while not every Prince song has to go somewhere (this criticism has come up with other songs and I say I couldn’t care less)… it kinda bugs me that this one just doesn’t. Then there’s that 3rd verse I went into detail about earlier- a certain lyric.
It’s a great title and it’s a great idea of a song- I just wish it was done a little better. Make me wonder how much MC’s favorite version (the one he saw at the North Sea Jazz Festival) varied from this.
Technical Merit- 3.5
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 7

DINNER WITH DELORES
…so far, I’ve been a little hard on this song. But going through the lyrics, I sorta had an epiphany. And it’s a rather stupid one to have now when you consider the artist we’re talking about here.
…he doesn’t really mean “dinner,” does he? Suddenly it becomes a new song with an added sense of intrigue it didn’t have before.
the 2nd verse where he says “pick another subject please… introduce the carpet to something other than your knees”
It made me think about this scene from the VERY-short-lived Hulu reboot of “All my Children”… it was a controversial scene that never would have made the show had it still been on ABC.
As a teenager, the guy was really smart but he was a dork who wore glasses. And the girl was from a rich family and wanted nothing to do with him. Now that he’s grown up and hot and rich and successful, she wants him. So the scene is she tells him to talk all technical to her while she’s giving him a blow job. We only see him from the chest upward, but his facial expressions say everything.
Taking all THAT into account… yeah… WTF do I do now? πŸ˜›
Technical Merit- 4
Components score- 3.5 (in a couple years, this could potentially become a 4)
Total score- 7.5

THE SAME DECEMBER
There is still a piece missing with me and this song. I feel like I’m getting close to finding it, but I’m not getting there this time. It just kinda bothers me that I don’t know what the title is referring to. The chorus is something you can get caught up in easily, but that confusion keeps me out of it. The way it’s put together is different (slowing it down halfway through and then slowly building up again at a faster pace) and that’s what makes it kinda cool.
Technical merit- 4 (his vocal at the beginning sounds a little off to me- a little out of a key. And while his charisma is there, it doesn’t wholly feel like something only he could put together)
Components score- 3
Total score- 7

…also should add that it’s hard for me to remember “the same December” after “right the wrong”… these songs feel similar to me in their sound. And “right the wrong” has so much more energy that it sticks in my brain a lot easier.

RIGHT THE WRONG
I feel like I’m getting more out of this song each time. I feel very close to locking into it and once I reach that point, it’s going to be a favorite among the album material.
Much of it is about mistreatment of Native Americans… and now I’m getting that the fact this grandpa got buried in the Black Hills his family used to own, that alone will help them secure the land back for their people. That’s what “getting 6 feet of it back” meant.
One of the catchiest choruses he’s done. I really like it a lot and the sentiment at the end of it gives you something to think about. If anything, it’s a precursor to the Rainbow Children feel, but maybe better than most of the songs on the album. In that, the subject matter isn’t too abrasive or hard to understand if you’re not within that group.
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 4 (potential upgrade to 4.5 one day)
Total score- 9

ZANNALEE
This is one song I didn’t need to the lyrics for πŸ˜›
I think MC went into this one saying how Prince can do these bluesy tracks without even trying. He and the band can practically do them in their sleep.
Not much more to say, my feelings are pretty obvious.
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5
(oh- and he says they’re playing pool and how they watch him sink the 6 and the 9… 6-9… wink wink)

I ROCK, THEREFORE I AM
Another one of those songs the guys over at the podcast were pretty harsh on. I mean, the lyrics might be a lot of BS or about a lot of BS. But to me, it “sounds” good. I really like the vocals, the synths on the chorus (very MPlS sound- the genre, not the album). The music overall is great and feels good to experience. Other than the self-righteous attitude of the titular lyrics, the one major issue is the rapping. The first rap- I have the lyrics but have no clue what the hell they mean.
Then there’s a part, I think, Prince and Rosie go into and there’s some stuff there that caught my interest. It sounds like he’s talking about the importance of education again- but about robbing kids who go to private schools of that chance and supporting public schools that send people into a system that dooms them to failure… what that to do with the song, I’ve got no idea…
Technical Merit- 3.5
Components score- 3.5 (if there was no rap, this would be a 4 easily)
Total score- 7

INTO THE LIGHT
In Toejam’s negative review of this song, he referenced the lyric “even a baby knows” and he questioned it immediately. I admit, that sounded weird in the first listen… still does.
I like this song a lot. It makes me wonder a lot about what he was going through at that given point, what he was really feeling. I can feel what’s that like, but I want the truth- not just lyrics with occasional clichΓ©s sprinkled in. Was this 100% from that book he was reading or was something happening in his personal life at that point?
Having this and “I Will” together is an interesting idea, but I can’t help but wonder what’d have happened if “I will” never happened and this song wound up becoming a great poignant, almost-Purple Rain type moment, but without the super epic guitar solo.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (if this song had more to it, this would be a 5)
Components score- 4 (again, potential to score higher- maybe at a later date)
Total score- 8.5

I WILL
(Wendy & Lisa also had a song called “I will”… theirs is better- just saying)
I still feel a bit of a disconnect with this song- only because I like the first part so much better.
Technical Merit- 4
Components score- 3
Total score- 7

DIG U BETTER DEAD
…here we go.
With this song, I’m at a point where I’m not liking the chorus as much as I used to. I like how it sounds, but there’s a disconnect trying to figure what the hell it means.
The verses, I feel like I’m very close to figuring it out. The first verse sounds like he’s talking about a long distance relationship- but this person tells the other “I need some space”… and then this person realizes it was a toxic relationship and they should just not return to it.
From there- the peaks and valleys… I guess it means you can’t really learn from your mistakes.
The titular lyric somehow feels out of place… but it might be one person telling the other I’d like you better if you were dead. And this person is self-righteous and heavily into their faith or holds themselves in higher regard than other people due to a sense of entitlement- therefore asking if their God is what they say.
The other lyrics more or less fall in line with that story, but there’s a bunch of lyrics scattered throughout that don’t make a whole lot of sense. And that’s what keeps the song from fully succeeding for me- now that I’m at this point.
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 3.5
Total score- 7.5

HAD U
…damn this song is short… I briefly glanced over Matt Thorne’s short discussion of this album. He didn’t like the overproduction on Zannalee, but offered an interesting visual for this one. Something about the lyrics being what you’d scrawl with lipsticks on a mirror at the scene of a crime that was committed. Very sick and twisted, but it words.
For “Orgasm,” I said it wasn’t a song because there was no melody, no real lyrics or any legit musical instrumental elements.
This one has singing, lyrics, and music. Toejam said it reminded him of “In a Spanish Villa”- the last song from the Apollonia 6 album. So funny Captain saying he hadn’t heard it in ages- they did a podcast on it only a few months ago. But this was also one of the earliest podcasts.
I wish it was longer and more hashed out… but it might be best if it wasn’t.
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 3
Total score- 8

ok, by the time I’m in bed, it’ll be 1:30am… so I did wind up lying..

Zannalee- 9.5
Right the Wrong- 9
Into the light- 8.5
Chaos & Disorder- 8.5
Had U- 8
Dig U Better Dead- 7.5
Dinner with Delores- 7.5
I rock, therefore I am- 7
I like it there- 7
The Same December- 7
I Will- 7

Total score- 86.5… divided by 110… 7.9/10

…wow, did not expect that..
but this is only after 5 listens… so take this with a grain of salt if you don’t completely agree.

As for taking anything forward to my all-time favorite Prince songs list… the only one I feel 100% positive about is “Zannalee”… so that will be it.

Starting next week… oh man… a really big undertaking… 3 discs, 36 songs, 3 hours worth…
and potentially the biggest game-changer for Prince since Purple Rain, not just in his career, but his personal life as well…
for better and for worse…

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“Prince” Album #17: The Gold Experience

In case anyone is wondering why I put “Prince” in quotes for this and my Come entry (one of a few things I forgot to mention)… he was going by O(+> at the time much of this material was recorded.

As I had said during my Come entry, these two albums are siblings. But more than that, they’re practically fraternal twins. Their material was recorded between 1992-1995 and certain tracks appeared on configurations for the other album before finding their current home.

I didn’t quite realize until now how much I’d been looking forward to discussing this album.
We have a really long history with several ups and downs.

[Speaking of ups and downs– my obligatory commentary about Matt Thorne’s book, which I’d been reading alongside the albums– I had a really bad feeling that, given past chapters, he was going to trash parts of this album.
I can understand the overproduced commentary. To a point, I will agree. The comments on P. Control being the wrong opening track for an album introducing O(+>… I concede the point. Calling “Now” and “319” forgettable– fine.
But when you call “Shh” a “run-of-the-mill Prince ballad”… and worse… “Gold” a “failure”… I wanted to quote Billy Sparks in “Purple Rain”– “what the *** is wrong with you?!”… but to try to temper myself, I thought about how Marvin the Martian says when he’s angry…

I was fuming over a couple tweets and over the first hour back at work after my lunch break… by the time I got back to the album in my car, I finally calmed down and his comments faded away..

Then with the ups– he called “The Ultimate Live Experience” an underappreciated tour. While the stage set-up didn’t justify the solid material, he’d welcome a live album. Considering this would have included “Days of Wild”… he makes a good point.
He also pointed out various financial difficulties Prince had during the show and how he was at war with the sound guy.

I’ll say it again- I like reading for the facts because I don’t know a lot of what happened behind the scenes. But when you start to exert an obscenely negative opinion over something- particularly songs that many die-hard fans freaking “Adore”… you’re asking for it. I’ll leave it there]

So- my history with this album… we have a very long history with many ups and downs. Probably the most insane rollercoaster I experienced with any Prince album.
Way back in 2007, the first time I’d been home and off campus since seeing Prince’s HalfTime show, talking with fellow fans online and learning about him… I was finally able to buy albums.
Saturday, I got Musicology and The Very Best of… at Walmart.
Sunday, I got The Gold Experience and 3121.
Around somewhere between then and the following week, I rented Purple Rain from Blockbuster and saw it at least 6 times- one day, I watched it twice.
Of those discs, TGE was the third I got to.

But the history started even earlier than March 2017… I was doing my research, trying to figure out what albums I wanted to invest in. I also watched whatever interviews, music videos and live performances I could find.
My first impression of this album was the “Dolphin” performance on Letterman. I have not watched it since… because I just find it too difficult to see again. It broke my heart to see him like that- not feeling the performance, “dying” in the end and Mayte dragging him off stage.
I’m sure a few people, who read my reaction, told me that he was being overdramatic because he was protesting WB refusing to release the album. But that doesn’t change the fact I never wanted to see him like that again.

Sometime later, someone messaged me with a link to “Love 4 One Another” to sell me on the album.
The one outstanding negative about that made-for-TV movie, which I didn’t piece together until I got the album… none of the songs except “Gold” was part of that special at all. That just made no sense to me at all. And I didn’t really care for much of the other material there.
Then again, that one album track… that made ALL the difference. More on that later… much more…

After L4OA, I decided that I’d get the album if I was ever able to find it.
I just never expected to find it when I did.
FYE is my go-to place for my music. It still is, even though I hadn’t been in quite some time.
11 of my albums came from the one nearby or back where I used to live.
Anyway- I’ve never bought anything used before Prince and at least 3 of my albums are used and I’d never had a problem with them glitching out on me.
that special Sunday, I went to FYE and audibly gasped when I saw TGE on the shelf. It was used for $17.99. I knew this was a super rare find. And I haven’t seen a copy of it since.
Part of me still wonders why someone sold it back. Did they pick it up and were so put off by some of the same things I was and return it right away? Or was it a quick way to make money?

So I put this album in my CD player and gave it a go… my entire body felt like it was on fire and I really don’t remember how the rest of it went…
Considering the type of person I was at that time, this album was my kryptonite. Despite the good material on it, it had everything I originally disliked about a lot of Prince’s music. I was a virgin (still a virgin, but that’s not important) who HATED rap and was uncomfortable with cursing. Plus, I didn’t like Prince’s screaming. Two songs in, I was practically dead.

I don’t recall how long it took me to fall in love with everything but the one song… but eventually, I came around. I don’t know how- but little by little, it happened.
After this last listen… I may have overcome that final barrier.

I thought about “Now” and predicting I’d be giving it 1.5 as a components score. It’s a song I’ve always skipped. I’d only heard it maybe 5 times ever and mostly that first year.
But I noticed I’d given 1.5 on two other occasions- and they were two songs that I didn’t really like anything about them. There wasn’t one moment or lyric that stood out in a positive light.
The funny thing is: I barely listen to the song, but there are certain lyrics I remembered.
Again- I hate when Prince incorporates rap in his music or tries to rap and act in the gangster guise because I don’t see him as that person.
But on most accounts, if the lyrics are good and they don’t feel too jumbled up and they seem to be saying something, I’ve been coming around.
But I have more confidence now that I could give it 2.5 and the album’s stock wouldn’t crash. Especially when there are so many heavy-hitters on it.

“P. Control”… this was my first encounter with a song where Prince had shortened the official title on the album tracklisting to get it past the censors (or at least make it seem too explicit)… I didn’t know much of anything those days about anything sexual, but I knew enough for “pussy control” for it to leave a bad taste in my mouth.
And that first lyric “good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and MF’ing girls”… add that and the final line before the chorus… yeah, we didn’t get off to a great foot.
I didn’t find out until later that this was supposed to be a song about female empowerment. It tells the story of a girl who got beat up in school, she went on to get a master’s degree in college and hire the guys who beat her up as a kid and made them work for free. And she didn’t put up with any BS or fall for a man with no money to his name.
After those first couple months, I didn’t mind it nearly as much. Although Prince attempting to be gangster (and how, at this time, he really went into the black rapper street lingo)… to me, it felt like putting an act and he really didn’t talk like this. He certainly didn’t during his previous 16 albums.

But what I always take away from this song when I listen to the album as a whole– the music sets the tone for the rest of the album. That electro-spacey sound like he was coming down from the mothership from another planet. Especially that instrumental break within the last minute before he does the chorus one final time and it fades out.

“Endorphinmachine”… plain and simple… this song scared the hell out of me. The screaming, the guitar… those final 30 seconds… it took me the longest time to come around. And it was the same way it was with “Darling Nikki”… sooner or later, I just got into it and I’d been a fan ever since.
Any die-hard fan will tell you how they hate the album version because it has bloody cowbell. I’d only heard a non-cowbell version a couple times and I can see what they’re getting at. But this is the only version I have, so I’m not gonna complain.
And today, I didn’t lock in for most of it (maybe cuz I was too worried about whether I had time for one more song… and I did)… but during the second to last scream, I just let loose and it felt amazing. That final scream is probably my favorite Prince scream ever– just wow!

“Shh”… this was an early favorite on this album and early favorite Prince song because I had access to it so early.
This is quite possibly one of my favorite Prince songs ever. I’m talking top 10 here, potentially top 5 or even 3. Everything about it. Starting from the Michael Bland drum solo to his crystal clear vocal in the normal register, nicely place falsetto notes… and those guitar solos. They’re my favorite guitar solos on this album and among my favorites in all of his music. However, I do have this issue where I like them as they are on the album and any variation that goes too far away from the original doesn’t give me that same enjoyment.
However, Prince did perform it live in 2003 in Hong Kong- I have the video somewhere and I’d watched it a bunch of times. That’s the best version I’d heard beyond the album.
The guitar work is so good here because it’s powerful and emotional. Prince channels through it the words he’s unable to speak.
And for me personally- I’ll listen to this song and if everything is just right in the world around me, phew… before I habitually put “gasm” at the end of words, that was a freaking eargasm if there ever was on. I’d describe the feeling as “making love without words but with pure emotion” and to quote Automatic “we kiss, not with our lips, but with our souls”
I really don’t visualize anything but Prince performing this. I don’t see myself in this picture at all, but by the end of it, I am spent as if something physical happened. And I have cried- whether it was during the final guitar solo or when the song ends and fades out and I’m sad it’s all over. It breaks my heart, but simultaneously it feels like the best thing that’s ever happened.

Yeah- it’s going to become fairly obvious which songs I’ll give the big scores. To me, this album is kinda like a long term relationship that works. We spend all this time apart, but when we get back together, the magic rekindles as if we’d never been apart. I’d used this analogy before, but it’s like slipping on a favorite jacket.

And as I said on the previous post, I won’t count the NPG Operator segues as songs. So there are 12 songs I’m working with here. With one exception, possibly 2, every song is getting 3+ for components scores from me.

“We March”– first off, the synth notes at the beginning of this, that reminded me of “P. Control” and that’s what helps bind this first portion of the album together for me.
Occasionally, I skip this one. I don’t mind it, but when I have this album on heavy rotation, I don’t care it for nearly as much as the 10 other songs. And it comes down to the subject matter. It recalls the world of Martin Luther King, but gives it a current twist. It’s about the world rebuffing you and not allowing opportunity to improve your quality of life because of your race, class or background and people banding together to change that.
It’s kinda funny how these past couple years this song might have been appropriate to bring back into the set list. Instead, Prince wrote “Baltimore.”
Ultimately, as a white girl, I’m not going to get much out of this song. Not going to find that emotional connection.
It tells a good story and there’s some good lyrics, but as a whole… I’m not crazy about it, but it’s ok.

“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”… there was much ado about this song. Much history. It was first Prince’s first independent release under the new name and it was a huge commercial success. But most fans will say how they hate this overproduced version.
For me- I heard this version first, so to me, the original version sounds too stripped down. The chord progression in the musical part is too subtle and feels unspectacular to me. I thrive on those bright and beautiful synth notes. Matt Thorne complained how much he hated this new version with the actual ticking clock and various sound effects.
I can concede a point that maybe we didn’t need the ticking clock and we didn’t need the shooting star effects either. But everything else- I love and want to keep as it is.
The one deciding point between the two versions- I love the ending of this version. I hate the original because it doesn’t have that beautiful downward progression- it just keeps going and fades out. A song this good- capitalize on that- do a great finale that’ll kill you, but leave you wanting more. I think about that ending and my eyes threaten to tear up- it’s one of many beautiful song endings that make me do that.

Anyway- what can I say about it? It’s a perfectly written song. The lyrics are on point without being too clichΓ©. Prince’s vocal performance– so good! Although my favorite is when he has that spoken portion πŸ˜›

“Dolphin”… another song with much contention about overproduction… I can concede a point or two, again. Maybe we didn’t the actual dolphin sounds in the last 30 seconds… but that doesn’t change anything. The Undertaker sessions had a really good version- but there isn’t much to that. Just a verse and a guitar solo and the song ends and there’s a coda.
The 2nd verse sometimes comes off a little odd to me- almost like it doesn’t fit the song, but considering songs like “We March,” it kinda fits the album and Prince’s mindset at the time.
This is a song I’ll always sing along with in my natural voice. When it gets to that bridge before the guitar solo, I really pour into the “but you wouldn’t let me in!” lyric. Another great guitar solo. The lyrics, I can relate to a lot. It’s about wanting to be yourself, choose your own path in life and wanting to drown out (pun not intended) the voices saying you can’t. [Maybe not entirely what Prince was going for, but I get my own thing out of it and it’s a good feeling to have a song like this to always vent to if I need to].

“Now”… the standout for me is the lyrics. The way he starts the verses with numbers, it might be a little clichΓ©, but I don’t really care. They make for good rhymes. I’m half hoping I’ll one day be able to rap this as good as Prince (who isn’t the best rapper to begin with) cuz there’s some cool stuff. The music is kinda… meh. It sounds like a “Days of Wild” knockoff. I don’t care for “Days of wild” much to begin with, but I can appreciate it for what it is and I know “Now” is just a cheap imitation meant to be a more commercial number.
The two parts I really don’t like– the dope reference (not because I don’t like drug discussion in music but it just feels like it comes out of nowhere) and when Prince screams his head off at the end… it feels like he’s trying too hard or that it’s just unnecessary. Maybe he just didn’t know how else to end the song.

“319”… this number is a bit of a joke as in it’s not meant to be serious, so I have fun with it. There are some hilarious lyrics in between the verses where Prince does commentary on what’s going on at the moment. And of course it’s one of those numbers that Prince ingrained into my brain. I see 319 and I can’t help but think of him and this song.

“Shy”… I’ve always liked this one. It’s a cool change of pace. Prince is great at storytelling yet again. The question is how much of the story is true. Really, I could care less.
the “passed my initiation” lyric- I always think of that line from “Purple Rain”… what initiation? but then she tells us.
When I first heard “Walk don’t walk,” I immediately thought of “Shy” because it has the same opening percussion bits.
It’s one of those great chill-out tracks. And the coda, maybe it lasts a little long sometimes, but other times, when I’m in it, it’s all good. It’s not one of the big flashy numbers on this album, but I love it all the same. That’s why Prince is the best. He can win people over on quiet little numbers like this one.

“Billy Jack Bitch”… this was one of those songs I had a problem with in the beginning just on the title alone. It’s kinda weird that I liked “Irresistible Bitch” despite the title, but I hated this one.
But it had a lot more to do with that “BITCH!” sample put throughout the song. It’s at the point now where I’d all but tuned it out. But I really didn’t like it and found it offensive and annoying. The song didn’t need it to succeed.
This was Prince hitting back at a journalist who made fun of his new name. And what a kiss-off this is. The delivery alone makes this song so catchy and fun to sing along to. The backing vocals from the NPG in between the choruses and verses and throughout the song… they just do a chorus of “whoas” but they’re among my favorite backing vocals ever.
I’ve always thought of it as the last big party before the album gets serious. So when the NPG Operator tells us to “choose another experience” I always go “awww…” like “do I have to?”

“Eye Hate U”
…phew… this song is a monster. It made a big impression the first time and each time, it always does. Great vocal, heartbreaking lyrics. Then things change and we’re in court– that’s a cool change of pace. Then things get really out of hand, the emotions escalate…
Today, I really got into that final line “I hate you because I love you”… I did it at the top of my lungs (although I was in at full blast starting at “did you do to your other man the same things that you did to me?”)… that guitar solo pours so much into it… yet another great guitar solo.
But this one… I freaking kills me… you have no idea… the whole song is so emotionally charged that when I get to the end of this one, my heart is beating a million miles an hour, I’m panting…

I don’t care for segues in general… but I am so grateful to have the one between this and “Gold”… there’s no way I’d be able to bridge that gap unless I just put the album on pause until my vitals return to normal.

It’s all been building to this…
There are so many good songs on this album, but there are times where I block this out because I don’t want the album to be about waiting for it to come on. I want to appreciate everything in between before getting to the big finale.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard it. It was the final performance of L4OA.
From the first note, my ears perked up and then the opening chords… the first note… something extraordinary happened. And now it’s hard to put into words, so I’ll come out and say it:

“Gold” is my favorite Prince song. I never have a good solid answer what my favorite album is, but I knew very early on that this was my favorite song.
And it had been there for me many times where I felt like I needed answers. There was always a word or a lyric that sang to me and that was the message I took away from it. And whatever I was stressing about or depressed about, it made everything feel better.

That first week with these new albums- I had an episode where I was experiencing overload. I was overwhelmed by all the music I already had (and it wasn’t much). I was overwhelmed by the lyrics in this album and how much I disagreed with them. And I felt uncomfortable about the sexual side of Prince’s music.
To call this song a “failure”… I can understand why people call it a “Purple Rain” rip-off or copy and that’s fine… and it wasn’t just putting in the same sentence as “Graffiti Bridge,” another song that tried to do the same message but not quite getting there. Yes, the lyrics for “Gold” are clichΓ©…
but if it wasn’t for this song, I would have failed as a Price fan. I might not have progressed beyond those first few albums.

All I can about what happened… it felt like divine intervention happened. I felt like I connected with Prince and I heard his voice giving me advice on how to go forward. Mainly doing things at my own pace, doing what I was comfortable with and not worrying what everyone else was saying (people were telling me that I was stupid to get myself into this when there was so much about his music that I wasn’t comfortable with… they were on Housequake… I didn’t spend much time on there after that beyond watching the videos- until the site got shut down by the WebSheriff)…
and it was like reassuring me everything was going to be okay.

Go ahead and call me crazy… but even these days, I connect with Prince through this song one way or another.
I don’t think I got anything from the lyrics– except the “ocean of despair” and I thought about how all of us were so sad when he died. I wasn’t sad before hearing this song today- but there was a moment somewhere where I wanted to get in touch with him and again, he reassured me everything was going to be ok.
And I typically do cry during this song, if not from the beginning, then certainly as it’s ending and for moments afterwards.
Then there came a point where everything just felt like it was back to normal, but I felt almost enlightened, without a care in the world.

Needless to say, I need to be sure not to listen to this song too much this week.
I think I’ll play the album twice, hear it in L4OA, and then maybe one last time when I hear the album once more. I never want to lose the feeling it gives me, so I don’t play this album terribly often.

day 2 was a rollercoaster and it ended on a downer…
in the whole time I’d been spellbound by “Gold,” I’d never had a listen where I got nothing out of it. I just felt like something was missing and it made me sad. I was tempted to restart the song at a point, but I didn’t have the luxury of time to do so. And I figured I’d have other opportunities.
I almost gave into despair and got upset about it, but I rationalized it a couple of ways.
Prince was in spirit with me very strongly yesterday and just maybe someone else was missing him more than I was and he was with them instead. And that’s ok.
It could also be that I had such an amazing moment with him earlier in the day that it was too much to ask.

I had the best experience with “Shh” I’d had in a long time. And by that, I don’t mean it hadn’t affected me very strongly in a long time. What I mean is that I hadn’t had the perfect set of circumstances for the absolute perfect listen in a long time.
It didn’t put me over the top, but it met the top at the perfect angle. It didn’t make me tear or get overly emotional and I wasn’t sad.
It kinda felt like the best sex ever, but we made love without words. Or rather he did and I was an extremely willing participant.
…I’m not making much sense, am I?
It was the best experience with any song of his in a long time… I’ll end it there.

It’s an odd song on the album because, unlike the rest, where I can picture Prince in the current time frame… when I listen to this, I picture him as he was in the early 2000’s when I was first getting to know him. Mainly because of that 2003 performance in Hong Kong I have saved somewhere and had seen a bunch of times.

I finally had the opportunity to really let loose with Endorphinmachine- it just hadn’t been working for me 100% in the morning. I get maybe 70% of it what I really want to. And it’s usually within the last two minutes with the guitar solo, the bridge and the screams.
So I found a couple live performances on YouTube- although one was the prize you win if you beat the Interactive game. Either way, really cool… the second one, he looked like he was wearing ample eyeliner and shadow, but he wears it so much better than most girls do.
He was very feminine during this time period in his look- between when he did The Beautiful Experience up until he filmed L4OA and was doing these live appearances.

Going between the two songs I like the least on this album…
I think that We March might actually be at the bottom with Now just above it.
…it’s to the point where I actually don’t mind “Now” and could give it 3.
The technical side might actually be the Achilles’ heel. The music isn’t terribly original and there isn’t much of it. Prince’s screams at the end are over the top and hard to listen to. The lyrics are ok.

as for We March, the technical side is ok- the music is good, it’s put together well… but I don’t know how much of it is particularly unique to Prince. I don’t get much of his particular brand of energy in it at all.
There are also a couple of lyrics that are odd to me.
First of all- the whole rhyme of “dammy” and “mammy”… it’s worse than rhyming “moon” and “June”… because “dammy” isn’t even a word. And because “mammy” is a word that’s part of African-American culture, that takes me out of the song immediately and it’s hard for me to hook back into it.
Also- the 2nd verse is completely irrelevant to the rest of the song- it’s about a sister you call a bitch who will leave your broke ass in a ditch and not being able to find a reason to call her… that’s all I got.
The first and third verse all relate to the reasons for marching- but this thing about the estranged sister… I don’t get it. Maybe Peach & Black can explain that one to me.

I’ll be spending the next two days with them on my commutes home… I figure I’m good with the album for now and I can always play songs that catch my attention if I so choose.

“Now” is probably one of those big joke tracks where Prince likes to go over the top, but there are little bits of truth in there… I think…
the funny thing is- when I try to rap along with it, I feel like my level of expertise is level with Prince– in that, his rapping really isn’t that great, but at least he’s trying?? …I dunno.
I also noticed he used the lyric “and that’s a fact”… he’d used that before… in the same song where he said “work this mother to the max” and in “Now” he says “the booty pumping the max”…
oh yeah… Housequake… I wonder he realized that when he wrote this song he’d used some lyrics before.
“Now” also has a nice tie-in to P. Control- the 2nd verse sounds like it’s talking about that character.
I know the first 2 verses pretty well, though not perfectly. But I lose my way in the next 2.
it’s so weird how the music and mood changes in the 3rd verse- I only remember the 2nd part where he says “would you rather die alone- if you change your mind, you can reach me on your video phone” and then the “2 bloody cents” lyric- which is why .org had a :2cents: emoticon.
Then I look up the lyrics and the lyric is “would you rather DINE alone”… I thought since the “death” of Prince was a big thing at that time that “die alone” made perfect sense.
It’s kinda cool to think how Prince was talking about video phones… we got that on our cellphones some 25 years or so after he wrote that line.

By this point, I have a really good idea of how these songs will rate with my whole system. The majority of the technical scores will be high. Several 5’s.
I know certain songs I feel like they’re a 3.5 or a 4 or a 4.5. And which ones will get a total of 9 or 9.5.
But there are a couple I’m still on the fence about. Very few, though.

Prince is probably the most underrated guitar hero in all of rock music.
I can’t think of an album that’s a better showcase of that.
Nothing against the Purple Rain guitar solos- they’re all awesome.
But in this album, I feel like there’s a lot more range emotionally. It gives them another dimension.

Endorphinmachine is the standard.
Shh has power, but also comes somewhere between joy and sadness. It often strikes me as sad even though it’s a song about seduction and the rapture that comes afterwards.
Dolphin is conflicted with flashes of anger.
Eye Hate U… omg… forget it… that’s furious and emotional and it just kills me every time.
And Gold has a very celebratory feel to that final solo. Considering my personal relationship with it, this might sound strange- but I’d rank it below Eye Hate U and Shh. I think seeing him perform that solo on L4OA won me over more than the actual solo itself.

Billy Jack Bitch- I wanted to comment on this earlier… I love that keyboard hook that plays throughout the song, usually before the start of a verse and it also ends the song. Maybe it’s because I saw him perform this one while wearing a hat- he also wore this hat during the “Jam” performance in L4OA… it sounds either country or something that you’d do a Texas two-step to. When I hear that hook, I move my hips back and forth to it like I’m doing a cha-cha step in place.
I’ve always done that and it’s still fun every time.
This is maybe my favorite track that features a Tommy Barbarella solo- his work throughout this track is so great. Take that and the horns away and it’d be very boring.
And going by princevault, I’d already seen the lip-synched performance at the AMA’s. The performance I saw where he wore that hat was at Wembley for a live TV appearance.
Another interesting thing- he premiered this at Paisley Park along with Eye hate U, Days of Wild and Now… and he had recorded “letitgo” earlier that same day… he doesn’t waste any time, does he? πŸ˜›

some other random comments I’m picking up while going through princevault… it actually talks about how the fans disliked the overdubbing on Endorphimachine cuz they’d heard it live before the release (they said Fury and Zannalee had the same thing happen)
I don’t ever want to hear the Tevin Campbell version of “Shh”… I like it Prince’s way and no one else’s will match it. [I also find it interesting that the last live performance was 2013… Endorphinmachine was last hear in 2014]
TMBGITW- he performed this at his last concert… there was a performance at Monaco I remember rather well- he and Mayte were completely in sync… I found it…
Dolphin- 2013
Shy was only performed live once… wow… I know it’s not a big bombastic number, but still… it’s good for acoustic sets, I think.

back to that TMBGITW performance (the world music awards in Monaco)… I don’t remember it all that well- because back then I didn’t like Prince having this feminine look. Everything about this worked. So what if it was lip synched? The performance of it was what mattered. He and Mayte together- this is the best I’ve seen them so far. The chemistry makes it so obvious that they’re together at this point. And I actually saw her do a little ballet at the end- I learned from her book that she had a lot of ballet training. It was nice to see some good comments about her. But there’s always a couple of jerks. One called her a backstabber… they have no freaking idea what they’re talking about… I haven’t finished the book yet so I don’t know exactly what happened after it all, but I have a good idea just from the snippets of interviews and such.
But I just fell in love with Prince all over again after that… and that’s always a good thing πŸ˜‰

and Gold was last performed in Sydney in 2012… other than those 5 songs, the majority didn’t make it out of the 1993-1996 period, which is kinda sad. But I think all the ones that got brought back were the best from the album.

I don’t know how much further I can take this without giving the scores… so I’ll call it quits for now and return with some Peach & Black comments.
I’d been looking forward to this podcast for a long time- I know it’s one of MC’s favorite albums and he’d brought up Dolphin, Endorphinmachine and Shy in other album reviews… and I’m curious to see how they’ll go into the tracks I don’t particularly care about- see if they feel the same way or they like them- in which case, I’ll try to keep those comments in mind for my next listen.


so it’s been a couple more days and I finished the podcast.
It’s kinda disappointing how the guys didn’t hate some of the moments I did (Prince screaming at the end of “Now” and the “bitch” sample on the other song… I still hate that)

But some bold proclamations…
firstly how everyone (even MC was still rating albums at this point) gave it a 9 or higher, which is pretty awesome.

I think when I wind up doing the rankings for these albums at the end of it at all… just to determine what my favorites are, I will drop the lowest scoring track to even things out.
In the old ordinal system of figure skating, I think they would sometimes drop the highest and lowest score. And there’s a good chance I could do that and it’ll work just as well.
I might test both and see just how much I’m willing to give away- but with albums where there’s more than one perfect 10 track, it’s going to be irrelevant

I was also a little disappointed reading Mayte’s book because there was very little on this album at all. I could only do a page or two and then we were in Emancipation territory.
That section’s probably going to be so long that it’ll span the three weeks I’m working through that massive set. But it’s not as if I have a lot of free time to read at work and there’s other stuff I’d rather be doing at home.

“We March” and “319” got passed over as album tracks… they’re not singles or filler, but they’re just album tracks.
I’m surprised the guys didn’t go into the lyrics of “We March” and brought up my previous point about the 2nd verse not making much sense in the grand scheme of things.
Then with 319, MC said it’s not the greatest, but he had so much fun with it. He talked about how if you took off We March and P Control and maybe one other song, it’d be a solid album. And Toejam was like “really?” when he didn’t put 319 in that category.

“Shy” got a lot of negatives… love for the music, but hate of the lyrics that kinda spoil it. They didn’t quite get why she says she’s shy but she also killed someone and told a random stranger (aka Prince) about it at a bar.
Then they said something that kinda blew my mind cuz it was something that should’ve been obvious that I didn’t figure out until the same time they revealed it.
“The girl was rough but he called her bluff”… they said that she probably made that whole story up to make herself look cooler than she is. And “fact to fiction he wondered” could just be them in bed together where the “rain and thunder got wetter”…
I always read that line as him trying to picture how to turn this real life experience into a fictional song.
I still like “Shy”- that storyline never bothered me.

Player made some funny comments- one was talking about seeing Showgirls and the other guy in the theater.
He said how they played P Control at a club and this girl was digging him, but she left cuz she hated the song (I kinda realized then that’s why he has that name… but I’m kinda disappointed that Captain didn’t reveal that he got his name from the “this is your captain with no name speaking” lyric in that song… maybe it could have just been because he’s a Trekkie)
He was the one who seemed to be the most in-the-know at this time because he was aware of nearly all the songs and had heard them before the album came out. And he was kind hard on Endorphinmachine… but there was a funny reason for that too.
He thought Prince had ripped off the riff from “Smoke on the Water” and he joked how Beavis & Butthead did that riff all the time… I can’t believe he knows about Beavis & Butthead. Or how that even made it out of the US. That was such a great show πŸ˜›

Toejam was a little tough on Dolphin being overproduced. Captain was harsh on several… he didn’t like my favorite part of TMBGITW which is the outro…
the last time I heard the song, I actually only listened to the music cuz that’s my favorite part. The lyrics are good, but they don’t grab me nearly as much as some others he wrote.

With Dolphin, they wondered if it was the first time he addressed reincarnation of a song.
I thought about and said “guys, you forgot 7… you know, the ’12 souls from now’ lyric”
Toejam said how fans tend to overrate it… I’m not sure if it was this song or Gold where someone joked that .org was gonna get him for having an unpopular opinion.

The final three songs got a lot of praise.
Toejam was the only one who didn’t rave about Gold or had anything negative to say about it… saying that Prince tried too hard to follow the Purple Rain template.
I can concede that point…
I had this tremendous fear that someone would say something bad about it or that Captain would say it’s just overproduced like much of the album… he said it was ok.
Then he and MC made a bold statement that MC actually responded to when I tweeted about it.
They said that Gold was better than Purple Rain… I couldn’t believe it.

Here’s my take… Gold is my FAVORITE Prince song- it had been tattooed on my soul since I first heard it and it’s been my special connection to Prince.
But with Purple Rain… it’s hard to disregard it. It’s a solid power ballad with so many good points to it. But it doesn’t carry that personal stamp- the first time I really felt that special connection was seeing the movie after his death… all the words just fit how I felt at that moment and I’ll never forget it.
MC’s reply to me was you never know what to expect on the podcast and I replied back saying that’s what makes it good.

Then there was a lengthy discussion with a lot of Captain’s ranting… first about what could have been with this album if it was properly promoted by Prince and WB… then he asked multiple times “what’s that guy gone?”- the one who played new music at concerts instead of the hits.

Oh man, if this album got the proper promotion… that would’ve been it πŸ˜› and I mean that as a good thing.
Then Captain moaned how this was the last great album or the last of bad-ass Prince. Then he got married and it went downhill from there…

Geesh! I mean, no longer having that bad-ass NPG line-up is one thing… but the marriage itself didn’t ruin the rest of Prince’s career. And I don’t like hearing that mentality from anyone… that’s why .org and I started to move in different directions.
If nothing tragic had happened and they remained together, things would have turned out fine. Heck, Prince might have even retired from the business if he wanted to and his so-called “legacy” would speak for itself.
But it’s because the tragedies happened that he sought out religion, which changed his whole method of musical production. And may have led to some other consequences in his life.

I mean, I might not give Emancipation the best score, but I’m not about to call it a failure when it was THE album I was dying to own because it represented so much about his life.
Had I been unable to find Gold… I think I might’ve been ok with it until I heard this podcast πŸ˜› then I’d be dying to get it and wouldn’t be able to find it.
Like I said, my copy was used at FYE for $17.99… I checked my receipt and it said the date was 3/11/07… add those numbers together, you get 21… I’m not reading too much into it, but I think kinda cool. It was fated to be.

It would have killed me if Gold got passed over as a Purple Rain rip-off…

then Billy Jack had another funny moment from Player who said how CJ is an idiot for cheering that he wrote a song about her and seems to have no idea it’s a diss.
Since the first time I heard the story behind it, I couldn’t help but think of Rita Skeeter in the Harry Potter universe… exact same thing.
I’m amazed how much this song got praise. Not that it’s bad, but it was surprising.
I figured that it’d get lost among the bigger numbers, but it is just as good.

I had thoughts on what I’d give Endorphinmachine…
the odd thing is that unless I’m in the mood, the half the song passes me by and I don’t really get into it in the 2nd half.
But the 2nd half also has three moments that drive me insane. I listened to it at work and it was almost a disaster πŸ˜› I can’t help but almost scream my head off when he does. I had to keep all that energy inside or I’d just look like a nutcase.
If they don’t already think I am because I don’t engage conversation that often.
What I mean is that I can’t give it a lesser score in order to be fair to the other albums when it has 3 “blow-your-head off” moments. It’s just impossible.

Yesterday I did the late night mix of “Eye Hate U”… I don’t know what the heck happened, but it just wowed me so much. I’ve always liked this version, but I think I just missed the courtroom scene. As the dialogue got towards the end, I just got so suckered in that by the time it ended I was in utter disbelief.
He’s just SO GOOD at this. It’s crazy.

I think I also have a plan for this last listen… I think I’ll go through the whole album, but stop before Gold… then I’ll watch L4OA and listen to Gold at the end of it… then I’ll do the number game.
Unless something shakes loose in the final listen, I think my scores are pretty much set as they are.

But now I have one final obstacle in my way… which hopefully won’t dismantle everything…

The Revolution have their concert tonight and I’m going… still doesn’t feel real yet, but when it happens, I think I’ll just die πŸ˜›


The Revolution was the best concert I’d been to, but that’s another post in the making.

“Gold” had been calling out to me earlier today, so I’m gonna give the album one final go. I’ll listen through the whole thing on my laptop… stopping at the end of the final segue… then I’ll watched L4OA which ends with “Gold”…
then… I’ll make my final judgements and see if this album can beat Purple Rain or at least stack up against its predecessor, Come.

So on previous listens, I’d laid in bed listening to these albums one final time and I’ve had issue with staying awake (nothing against Prince- my work schedule and my sleep schedule are always in conflict)… this time, I had the album going in my laptop with my headphones on and grooving in my computer chair, sometimes tapping my fingers to the beat.
From 319 onward, sleep deprivation was starting to take hold, I could feel, but I kept everything in rhythm to stave that off.
Finally, I got to “Eye Hate U” and by the time the final 45 seconds came, I was wide awake, going through the motions.

The scoring is going to get extra interesting because I might be changing some things that I thought I was positive about. And if that shows I cannot be unbiased with this album, so be it.

Now onto Love 4 One Another- which I don’t think I’ve seen in a couple years.
Other than that first time where I decided I wanted the album, I’d only seen it one other time.

I really loved the storyline of this special. And of course I felt like I could relate to it, although it was way too early to say I’m his biggest fan and I never will be. There are many other people who went to great lengths to see him in concert several times and had been to Paisley Park and so on. I never did any of that and some things I won’t ever get to do.

I loved the interplay between him and Nikki (loved the name cuz it was a reminder of “Darling Nikki”- probably was intentional) with the dictionary definitions. I don’t care how clichΓ© it is, I’m a sucker for that stuff, especially the way he spins it.

So the setlist was:

Rock n’ Roll is Alive
Days of Wild
The Ride
The Jam
Purple Medley
Gold

I think I liked the version of “Days of wild” better in the Beautiful Experience, or whatever version has the organ hook in the chorus more audible than it is here.
and of course after hearing The Undertaker sessions a few times, this version of “The Ride” just won’t cut it.
I liked the set-up of Rock n’ Roll is alive with everyone dressed in snow attire. Especially Mayte with her cute little earmuffs.

The Purple Medley, the first time was absolutely insane. I didn’t know any of these songs yet so it was kinda cool to see this years later and be able to pick out all the songs.

But Gold… that is something else.
I think what the problem I had the other day was… whenever I’d hear this song, I was always going through something and one lyric helped me make better of that situation. And I don’t grab the record and put that song on in those situations. The case usually is that I’ve already had the album with me that day and it just came in handy.
This time, I didn’t respond to any one lyric, but the song as a whole- listening to the nuances in the music and really getting into the performance. I just knew that it felt like home.

And when I feel at home with Prince, everything is right with the world.

Also wanted to add- Nona Gaye’s song was really nice. I didn’t like her quite as much in The Beautiful Experience (a bit annoyed in fact that she doesn’t think she’s beautiful cuz guys don’t approach her… she is gorgeous… I’m not and I have that same problem, but I also have walls up a lot of the time so it’s hard for people to get close enough to know me that way).
And I half wondered if Dave Chappelle’s stand-up was written by him or by Prince- because he talked about hypnosis and going through past lives. Prince did that with Mayte and vice versa.

The very end with Mayte with the ribbon- that image hasn’t left my mind since I first heard the song. And when I saw “Friend” as the circled dictionary word, I was like “awww…” but also kinda sad she and Prince never met face to face.

So… moment of truth… so crazy that I listened to these starting 2 hours ago. It feels like forever. And another day gone.

P. CONTROL
I thought about this one the other day and realized that Prince might have wrote some of it after Mayte told him about her childhood. She used to get beat up in school because of her Puerto Rican heritage and this producer recorded her singing a song she wrote and wound up not making her a star. Then after getting closer to Prince, “So Dramatic” was getting airplay and she thought how the janitor at the record company made more than she did (at least at the time).
But the rest could be representative of all women who want to stand on their own and make their own way without riding on someone else’s coattails.
While the story is great, the way it is showcased with the music makes for some mixed results.
Technical Merit- 5 (the language can be a little harsh in places but if you can get around that and appreciate what the story is… it’s all good)
Components score- 3.5 (it’s a fair start to the album, although I’m with MC in saying it’s gotta be the weirdest start to a Prince album ever… and this was my 2nd album, really. But the thing is I like it fine… but I don’t get super enthusiastic about it nearly as much as some things coming up next)
Total score- 8.5

ENDORPHINMACHINE
After seeing a few live versions, it’s hard to get Mayte’s dancing out of my head. That is a compliment- I love a good visual while listening to Prince.
Lots of great guitar work, some cool lyrics, the rhythm of the lyrics is always on point… the screams are insane. Best Prince scream ever is the last one on this song. I don’t know if this song so much fills me with endorphins as it does adrenaline.
Technical Merit- 5 (cowbell be damned, I ain’t taking anything away from this mark)
Components Score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5
I thought about this one a lot- more than anything so far… there are some moments that are ok in this song, but there are some tremendous highs. I really like the 2nd verse and the breakdown, the guitar solo halfway through and the two killer screams. I cannot get behind those killer screams and not reward it for that. Typically 4.5 and above for components means excessive enthusiasm.

SHH
One of Prince’s best bedroom ballads ever. The vocal is like silk with just the right amount of ad libs to keep things engaging all the way through. Amazing instrumentals. The guitar solos- both are out of this world, among his best ever. And the impact at the end… it almost always leaves me breathless and occasionally in tears (not since that first time of the week, though, but that’s fine). The only thing I don’t like are Nona Gaye’s contributions… but I can tune her out and put myself in her place and get everything out of this song. Well, almost everything.
Total score- 10
(I don’t have to break anything down for this one… pun absolutely intended)

This strong start is about to stumble…

WE MARCH
Like Peach & Black said, there isn’t quite enough here for me to lock into the song after the first listen in a while. I really like the beginning, but when the verses start to come, it gets a little… I’ll get the numbers to speak for me.
Technical Merit- 4 (the music and vocals are good and it’s a well put together song… some lyrics are solid, but as I’d explained before, there are some duds (rhyming “dammy” and “mammy”- c’mon, man…), and while this is making positives out of a negative situation type of song, there isn’t enough here for me to feel like it’s a Prince song. Where is he in all this?)
Components Score- 2.5
Total score- 6.5 (there are some moments I do like, but not enough of them

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD
this last time around, I really fell back in love with this song. I’ve always liked this version a lot. I’ve had some off moments with it this past week… I just love the musical production on this a little too much to give it anything less (beyond the sound effects, I’d strip those away- I love every other addition).
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (It’s like Endorphinmachine- I feel strongly enough about certain points of a song, I need to reward that… but if I put this up against some other love songs Prince has written, it probably wouldn’t rank as high since the competition is fierce)

DOLPHIN
Despite the performance where he dies at the end on David Letterman, this was one of my early favorites when I first got the album. It and TMBGITW helped me through those first few confusing listens with all the other crazy stuff. It’s funny how Come looks like a dark album, but Dolphin is angrier than anything on the album… but it was also meant for that album at one point or another.
I don’t care for the 2nd verse quite as much as the rest, but that’s not going to change much of anything.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (okay, I took half a point off for the 2nd verse…)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9 (not quite masterpiece status for me, but very solid- should’ve been a single)

…now another dip…

NOW
I’d come a long way since I started this journey- when I hated any attempt Prince made at incorporating rap to his music. Like with P. Control, I can admit that some parts of his raps are good. This one might be a little less successful. (Also the kind of music in the verse that starts with “40 45 snakes alive”… the backing vocals remind me of “Fame” by David Bowie… not sure if that was intentional or not).
Technical Merit- 3.5 (ouch… the only musical component I like are the horns, don’t like the verse about drugs- someone on the podcast found that odd also cuz Prince never promoted that stuff in his music before… and the crazy screams at the end… was that really necessary?)
Components score- 3
Total score- 6.5 (if pitted against “We March,” at this moment, I’d take this one. Some parts I kinda like, but other parts I really don’t. Probably will stop skipping this one and maybe skipping the other. Kinda amazing they both got the same score in the end)

side-note: the NPG Operator is saying to access another experience and is stuck on commitment… I hear voices of pleasure in the background. First time I picked that up.

319
This is a fun one, but after repeated listens… not all of it is getting me excited anymore. The story is great, though. It’s full of great humor. But it gets a little lost among all the heavy weights on this album
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8.5 (P. Control would win in a head to head against this one. Also- it’s funny how the podcast said how this reminded me of Robert Palmer… I totally get that now)

SHY
Prince storytells so well. The visuals are very strong with this one. I’ve always liked this one and it feels a little underrated. A little forgotten sometimes too. This is one of those scores that was predetermined a while ago.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4
Total score- 9 (it’s nothing really special in the context of Prince’s work, so it can’t get a really high score. That being said, I like it enough personally where this feels like a solid score)

BILLY JACK BITCH
Lots of great stuff on this one. Prince is firing back at someone who spoke/write ill of him in style- his own personal style. The best band mentality song on the album- lots of participation and solos from everyone.
Technical Merit- 5
Component score- 4
Total score- 9 (this would rank higher than Shy because it is so bombastic with its mob mentality and such. But I don’t get super excited about this one nearly as much as what’s to follow. Plus- that damn “Bitch” sample is still annoying and, I think, unnecessary)

EYE HATE U
I had a lot of back on forth on this one. One of my favorites on the album. Easily a highlight and should be a classic “done me wrong” Prince song. The one thing holding it back is the final… sometimes it is just too much that I can’t handle it. Too many emotions Prince is channeling here.
Technical Merit- 5 (again, solid all around… several of these tracks are and have been)
Components score- 4.5 (I just can’t do it)
Total score- 9.5 (this is so close to being a perfect 10… nothing wrong with the song itself. I just can’t handle it sometimes. And that feeling makes it a tough transition to the last song if there was no segue separating the two.

GOLD
…you know what’s coming… and I’m not going to be super clichΓ© and give this song 11/10 because even that is too high for any Prince song.
Total score- 10

So here we are…

Gold- 10
Shh- 10
Eye Hate U- 9.5
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World- 9.5
Endorphinmachine- 9.5
Dolphin- 9
Billy Jack Bitch- 9
Shy- 9
P. Control- 8.5
319- 8.5
Now- 6.5
We March- 6.5

This has to be the top technical score so far. And it is… the components score, though… it’s not bad, but not the top so far…

Okay, combined total is… 106… divide by points possible… 120…

8.8/10…

it didn’t even make 9.0 😦
I mean, it’s third overall and not too far away from Come either…
but that still makes me sad that what feels like my favorite album ever isn’t reflected that way.

And as much as I want to avoid the Purple Rain clichΓ©, I don’t think I have an album left that can beat it.

I’ll have to revisit this another time with maybe that method of dropping the highest and lowest from every album to come up with my official favorite album list.

Shh and Gold are easily two of my favorite Prince songs ever. Gold is #1 without a doubt and Shh could make the top 10 or even 5.
I’m very happy with those.

Meanwhile, it’s 2:31 am… and I’m so freaking tired… and almost feel like staying up to do all this wasn’t worth it…

not too much left to add. I have some remixes left and I’ll go watch that VH1 performance of P. Control.
There was one good R&B remix of TMBGITW that I liked a lot. But there was an extended dance mix version that had me going “why???”… it was just unnecessary. Maybe Captain’s theory was right- WB let Prince release only one song independently so he recorded 18 different versions of it πŸ˜›

I have Rock n’ Roll is Alive- I’m always going to refer back to L4OA cuz that’s where I heard it first.
The breakdown towards the end of the song reminds me a little of something in The Rainbow Children- “Last December”- but it’s something that stuck in my mind in the time between when I saw the special.

There’s also one mp3 I had named after that song, but it has some others on the back of it.
“Bambi” from The Undertaker Sessions, which got me SO excited. And then “The Ride” from L4OA.

Also heard the Purple Medley remix- not so much a remix, but the same idea with different Prince songs.
It started with an odd version of Pop Life that kinda sucked the authenticity out of it, then it got better with Housequake, When Doves Cry (with some cool vocals that sounded like they were brought up from the back of the mix) and it ended with the 2nd part of “The Continental”– which probably became the version on Crystal Ball.

So this leaves for an odd situation…
for the first time, not counting any NPG (band or music club releases), the next album in sequence is one I don’t have.
I do not own Chaos & Disorder. Years ago, I think I heard the album through on YouTube, but it didn’t stay up there long. I don’t remember all that much about it- but it was years ago.

Which means there will be a small piece of the puzzle missing… unless I can scrap together some of the songs and performances on YouTube.
And then there’s… I’ll have to check the site to see IF Peach & Black did this album. I’m pretty sure they did. Yeah, they did.

But in all likelihood, there will be no review of this one. Maybe some comments, but no review.

I think tomorrow I’m going to listen to Mayte’s Children of the Sun album because that’s the next thing she talks about in her book.
And after that, I’ll listen to Captain’s podcast with two people who saw The Revolution live… just so I can relive that feeling again and compare notes.

Then when I get home, I’ll try to find a couple C&D tracks on YouTube and do the podcast over a couple days.

With the music in my car, I don’t know what I’ll do these next few days.
But Emancipation will be a huge undertaking and a really thick part of Mayte’s book.

I hope I’ll be able to go to it while it’s still summer- just cuz I typically like playing Disc II in the summer time just cuz of the name of the first song and it kinda reminds me of that season as a whole.

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The Revolution at AC

I almost can’t believe it happened. I spent so much time worrying about last minute cancellations (with bobby z’s heart you never know. We saw some fire engines heading for a building and that was the first fear that came to mind but it wasn’t our building and it didn’t appear to be on fire).

Lots of people wearing old tour t-shirts and mostly older and white but a good amount of blacks (my dad thought it might be nearly all black- that was the case when I saw Morris Day and The Time but that was an R&B festival where they were the headliner). One woman I saw in the orchestra area was wearing a raspberry beret and we tried to get a picture from our seats with little success- a hand flew up during one attempt and the 3 of us were dying laughing.

I got decent seats on the mezzanine level that could’ve been better because there were heads partially blocking our view (sorry for my sister who had two ladies stand in front of her for the second half of the show). But I got an eyeful full of Lisa pretty much the whole show and plenty of brown mark and bobby z. Wendy was hit and miss and Dr. fink was mostly miss. But having Lisa right there was comforting. And when I saw everyone I could see them well with their faces so familiar.

Brown Mark took the lead early on which was really cool. He’s the member of the group I really knew the least about mainly because he had no lines in Purple Rain. I only recently found out that he made pancakes for Prince at the request of his girlfriend who was also working there.

Wendy took lead the other half of the time and for a handful of numbers, a guest performer (usually they were strings of 3-4 songs and he’d disappear for a while and come back). His name was Stokley and he sang lead for certain songs where Prince sang lead and they were one man band efforts. He was good and tried to get the crowd pumped and keep them pumped with shout-outs- the oh wee ohs made me think they might do “it’s gonna be a beautiful night”- they never did but that’s ok. And it should be said that he was no substitute for the real thing- not even close but I appreciated the effort. Some die-hard fans more in love with Prince than I am (and I love him a lot) probably didn’t appreciate it but at least he didn’t attempt any bedroom ballads- that was the only thing missing from the set which is self explanatory.

The first song was “Computer Blue” and I recognized it from the first drum beat and I lost my freaking mind. The rest of the crowd did when they opened with the Wendy and Lisa intro. Brown Mark sang lead. I can’t remember if they did 2 verses or 1 I think they did both but they did the extended version of the Father’s song section which was cool (maybe that’s how the remaster went- I still haven’t gotten it- but I am still on the gold experience… that’s gonna be so awkward to get back to)

And they did the “la la las” section from the movies band rehearsal scene. And it ended when Lisa said “chauvinistic computer it’s time someone programmed you” and with a bang.

They went into “America” and Id heard that this band kills but they didn’t go too long into it. The “boom” shout outs went on for maybe 3 extra minutes.

Again I lost my mind when they did “Mountains” because I said on twitter I’d love if they did it and I want to believe it’s because one of them saw my tweet (the band and Wendy and Lisa follow me although I don’t quite get why… at least with the band’s account I’d made a comment on a tweet and they answered me and followed after seeing I’d tweeted about going)

With Mountains the studio version is still better but it was still so cool hearing Lisa play the keyboards live . It was a personal highlight all the same.

Then Automatic and again lost my mind because it was unexpected. The keyboards and synths were so cool to hear live. But Bobby Z really went heavy on the cymbals on the last 30 seconds before the song wrapped up- it didn’t hurt my ears so much as the sound was like a very loud distorted hissing and I really hated that feeling. Thankfully that was the only song where that happened.

Take me with U was a lot of fun. And like the typical live performances brown mark had us sing the title when it came up. And hearing the hook coming from Lisa’s keyboards was another cool moment. I’m sure most fans had heard it before many times but it was my first time.

I think next was when Stokley came out the first time for a few songs and where my memory is starting to blur. I remember what songs were sung together but not so much when in the show they were.

His first song was Uptown (the only dirty mind track in the set) and he did all right.

This was the first moment of maybe 5 in the show where something in my body felt very off and I was fighting it off so my attention was a little divided. (I’ll only say that I could not get up for the bathroom in the middle of the show- couldn’t afford to miss anything).
Another weird thing that was happening during the 3rd-4th-5th song, around that point, I hadn’t screamed much at all, but my throat felt sore and I was coughing to try to fix it. Either it was another way that having eaten only an hour before came back at me or something else… it wasn’t like I was missing Prince terribly at that point.
Possibly- my mind was thinking that I might die after this concert is over because missing the opportunity was the only regret I was ever going to have at the end of my life. I regret never getting to see Prince or making that extra effort to try, but this is as close as it gets. So after the show I could drop dead and die happy.
But I recovered around the time they did Take Me with U.

Uptown was a nice addition and it went into DMSR which I always thought was a fully realized version of the last song. They did all the original lyrics opened it with having us say “dance” “music” “sex” “romance” and later we sang DMSR. A good attempt and having the original first 2 verses intact was great but I know this song would’ve blown up if Prince was here.

There were some moments later where the absence of Prince was much more obvious and I felt it or could still hear him but for the most part the band filled the void so well.

I think DMSR went into 1999 and we all lost it. Bobby Z had the linn drum hookup and everything and I wasn’t the only one doing Prince’s “2000 00” hand gestures from the video. My mom recorded some of it until her phone started dying. Despite the warnings on the screens beforehand people still had their phones out. Mine was off the entire time.
[my mom emailed to me so now I’ll always be able to look back on it]

But another highlight.

Wendy spoke for the first time and wanted this song to be for him and she told us the chorus so we could sing along. Paisley Park.

She messed up a lyric in the first verse- instead of the line that ends with “speaks with profound inner peace” she started the 2nd verse line of “he died without knowing forgiveness” and after she corrected herself and finished the line she apologized. I felt kinda bad but she was still professional about it. Brown mark had a mistake later where he tried to sing a lyric from a later verse on a different song. Other than that they were super tight as Prince taught them to be.

It was a nice interlude.

I think Controversy was next… it was hard not to pick it up from the opening drum beat. Brown Mark might have messed up a lyric on this song… but they did the first two verses- the first bridge, skipped the second one, and revisited the first and took it through to the end.

Wendy took the lead on raspberry beret and it was another crowd favorite. (The other day my sister said she heard it on the radio and recognized it- that was so cute and I hope she enjoyed it live)

Someone asked if Atlantic City was an Erotic City and I’m sure some of the older fans appreciated that.

Which reminds me that before paisley park and after Stokley left for a bit- Lisa took the lead and I didn’t know the song but I had a sneaking suspicion just before brown mark took the lead back that this was the previously unreleased Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden and they took that moment to plug the new release (I’m kinda bummed they didn’t have copies for sale but I didn’t have enough for that and a tshirt which I had to get while I wax there. They were selling meet and greet passes and they were limited and they were $150- I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t want to ask my parents for the money after my dad took us out for a super nice dinner beforehand- I would’ve felt bad and considering my body’s situation I was glad I didn’t cuz I didn’t want to meet them while I’m out of sorts. Someone in line complained how expensive it was and that you could probably get the shirts on eBay. I don’t care if that’s true or not but it was annoying all the same)

Anyway- the inclusion of the “new” music was kinda cool. A little something for die hard or new fans who got the new set as their first album (I think most of the crowd were veterans who saw Prince many times- I’m not bitter or anything just stating a fact)

Stokley also took the lead on “let’s work” which might have been after erotic city. I shook my head to it as I always did (think Brenda and Susan’s sex shooter choreography). Another nice inclusion.

They did 23 songs, I think, and I remember them all, but not the exact order. But I remember which songs were coupled together.

They got a teaser of “Head” in there somewhere and that was the first time Dr. Fink was highlighted at all and he did that mad scientist crazy ass synth solo as well as he did it on record.
And I’m sure that was the song where everyone got a solo and they had the crowd chant “go [insert name here]”- Brown Mark killing that bass was, again, cool.
My favorite solo, though, was Lisa because it was so different. It got so atmospheric with a spotlight on her and she was doing these beautiful classical lines with such passion.

Then came the halfway point where everyone took a breather… except Wendy & Lisa.
Wendy gave a little intro before they both started “Sometimes it snows in April.” She changed a few words here and there to fit the situation. She and Lisa did such an amazing job. The harmonies on the chorus were clear as always. At towards the end was the first time I teared up all night.
My mom said that was one of the highlights for her as well.

The second half is pretty easy to remember as far as the songs and the order they went.
Not many songs left.

To pick up the mood… “Let’s go crazy”… and the synths were just as they were at the beginning of the movie. It wasn’t the extended version like in the movie, but everything else, they nailed like a well-oiled machine.
Then they went into “Delirious” which was cool hearing that synth hook live.

Stokley came back out and encouraged the ladies to sing along when he did “Kiss.” The band played it as Prince had done on the album. It wasn’t some dramatic reinterpretation.
Then “When Doves Cry”… of course, the studio version is gonna be more impressive because it’s all done by one guy, instruments and vocals. But they hit all the notes like the recorded version, although maybe not the guitar solo or the Linn-drum– that wasn’t entirely the same, but I forgave it.

Finally- Purple Rain. It was the five of them on stage again, all playing their own roles. Wendy took the lead. And then they all played the extended solo as if Prince was still there. There was no impressive guitar solo as he would do, they did their parts around him.
And we all did the sing-along chorus in the audience and it wasn’t as deafening as Captain had described it at one concert he went to (either the crowd wasn’t fully invested anymore or the acoustics in the place were better suited).
Again- I teared up a little, but I wasn’t a complete mess like I was seeing that scene in the movie.
And I swear I heard Prince do the final “oh oh’s” before the string section at the end.

I saw that as my opportunity for the bathroom and luckily nothing like the fears plaguing me throughout the show.
Then as I came back, I still heard music going and the doors were still open and we were able to go back in.

It’s conceivable that I had missed “I would die 4 U” because “Baby I’m a Star” was the final song… but if I had missed “I would die 4 u,” I could live with it. That’s a special song that I can only really hear Prince doing and seeing the movie performance was when I started to fall in love with him (the next song sealed the deal).

Stokley came out to sing lead on that and he did a decent job again. My mom and I were standing at the back just letting loose and dancing and it was the best time. I felt like one of the girls on the balcony in the movie. (And actually the seats in the back might have been the best in the house because you got a full view of the stage and everyone very clearly).

So the setlist, just for my own recollection– in case I put this into a playlist later.

1. Computer Blue
2. America
3. Mountains
4. Automatic
5. Take me with U
6. Uptown
7. DMSR
8. Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden
9. 1999
10. Paisley Park
11. Controversy
12. Raspberry Beret
13. Erotic City
14. Let’s Work
15. Head
16. Sometimes it Snows in April
17. Let’s go Crazy
18. Delirious
19. Kiss
20. When Doves Cry
21. Purple Rain
22. I would die 4 U?
23. Baby I’m a star

with 2 from Dirty Mind, 2 from Controversy, 4 from 1999, 7 from Purple Rain (only Prince could ever do The Beautiful Ones or Darling Nikki), 2 from Around the World in a Day, 3 from Parade and 2 new Purple Rain tracks & a B-side.

I will come back to finish this post another time. Meanwhile… I have an album calling my name and another review to finish (minus the usual B-sides and unreleased tracks).

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone from the band for doing an amazing job.
Bobby Z, Wendy, Lisa, Dr. Fink, Brown Mark- thank you so much for adding another east coast date to your tour so I could come see you. As someone who’s loved Prince for the past 10 years, this was the best tribute I could have asked for. I know we all miss him so much, but the way everyone came together and did their best by him, I feel now that we’re all going to be okay.

I’ve been to concerts and been totally awestruck and starstruck by the artists I came to see. (I hadn’t been to many, but the ones that come to mind was Jesse McCartney, Hall & Oates, and Morris Day and The Time).
This concert, I was super excited when everyone came out, but all I could feel the whole time- other than what it was hearing these songs live, the ones I expected to hear and some great surprises sprinkled in between- I felt like I was with friends. Old friends that I’d known a long time, but have never actually been in the same room with before. The Purple Rain album and Parade in particular- they’re among my favorites, I feel like they’ve been part of me for years and this is just an extension of that. It felt like coming home.

And to keep this feeling alive, I think Captain posted another podcast with two people who went to one of the concerts, so I might download that and listen tomorrow.

I swear- if I had gotten the opportunity to meet The Revolution, I would have asked them if they knew about the Peach and Black podcast and ask them to tour Australia because these guys really want them to. I mean, I spent the better part of Thursday at work thinking of what I’d ask each of them if I could, but that was something I always planned on if the opportunity came.

Oh well… maybe one day MC, Captain, Toejam and Player will get their wish granted…

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“Prince” Album #16: Come

I alluded to this in my previous post, but I’ll come out and say it there:

While Matt Thorne discussed the Glam Slam Ulysses show Prince held at his former night club (where he set his songs to scenes from “The Odyssey”), he had one sentence about this album that summed up his personal feelings.
This isn’t verbatim, but he basically said it’s Prince’s “most unappealing” album- citing that the song “Papa” keeps it from fully succeeding as a slow jam record.
As I read this passage, I had only a few gulps in my Dark & Stormy- so I had such a good buzz going that I just LETITGO- as I said on my previous post.

I’ll come out and say that this is one of those Prince albums where, unless you’re into this sort of thing (more details to come), I’d only recommend it for “expert level” Prince fans.
That being said, I was not a seasoned admirer/supporter when I bought this album. If you count “The Very Best of…” as an album, Come was my 7th album (I literally counted just now- I had no idea it was #7).
As was the case with Gold Experience (more on that next week), my gateway to considering this album came from a .org discussion. Someone recommended I check out this made-for-VH1 film “The Beautiful Experience” that featured the music from this album. Especially since I had been singing praises about TGE- everyone says they’re basically brother/sister albums because Prince intended to release them at the same time under two different names. Come would be “old” “Prince” material and TGE would be shiny new material under the O(+> symbol. Obviously, WB wasn’t having this and more troubles brewed as a result.

This is one of the first bits of Prince history I learned way back in 2007 and because it centers around two albums (spoiler alert!) I’m particularly fond of, I’m able to type this out without enlisting princvault or another source.

As for this album in particular…
I’ll start in saying it’s one I really hope is supported by my ratings system because I have a little bit of personal history with it. If you consider a 10,000 word album-inspired fan fiction a little bit.

I don’t know exactly what happened that day. I just know I was alone in my dorm room (I had no roommate that semester), laying in bed on top of the sheets and I was spinning this album on headphones.
There’s a lyric in the title track that says “just lay back and dream”… I never fell asleep, but starting with “Space,” my imagination ran wild.
And I’ll just post a link to the post where I basically copy/pasted my story into it.

Listening to the album today, only the visuals I wrote about Loose!, Race and Papa came to mind. The rest of the time… it was either raining REALLY hard and I was focusing on not dying or getting in a wreck… or I just wasn’t fully connected. But it was hard to avoid some of the obvious puns that came to mind in the title track… I’m not going to fill in the blanks. I’ll leave that to you guys.

Let’s just say it’s something I don’t like to listen to unless I’m the only one in the room. My thoughts aren’t particularly obscene or anything, but this is kinda “my time” with Prince. And even though telepathy isn’t a thing in reality, I’d like those thoughts to kinda stay private. It makes the experience personal and special, much like this album is to me. (Man, that sounds so cheesy, but it’s all true).

There are times where I’d even considered it my favorite Prince album- which is something that often changes depending on what I’m listening to. Not sure if the numbers will back me up, but we’ll see.

Through the course of this album’s history (and TGE as well), it’s undergone several revisions and configurations. Different songs were swapped between albums.
During this process, one song in particular was decimated and scattered throughout the album. It’s kinda interesting to note that Prince was so fond of doing segues in his albums in the 90’s, but this is the only case where they were integrated into the different songs on the album. In other words, with the exception of the last segment, these segues are not skippable. And it’s something that has annoyed fans for years- and still does, I think.

That being said, I’m going to take a controversial stance here and say that this album, had it not been a “contractual obligation” album (albums Prince recorded and rushed to release in order to escape from his newly inked record deal with WB… The notorious Black Album was one of them)… Prince could have given this album the LoveSexy approach and made it one continuous track- I wouldn’t mind it at all.
And in almost every case, I’ve listened to this album as a whole. ALL OF IT. There are only a couple I’ve ever listened to on their own… I think they’re Space, Pheromone, Letitgo and Dark. But there could be more. I just know I’d never gone out of my way to listen to the final track, Papa and the title track. It’s impossible with the title track πŸ˜› I’m so stoked for the rest of the album I just can’t hit pause or stop.

But before I leave this subject completely behind…
the final track- Orgasm- will not be rated or go towards my numerical score for this album.
And this isn’t because I want to save the album from an abysmal score after what happened with the Symbol album… not gonna lie and say it hasn’t crossed my mind, though.

Had “Poem” been on this album as a whole instead of being broken into pieces, this would be a different story.
On its own, Orgasm does not qualify as a song.
Basically, it is the amalgamation [first time I’d ever used this word in my life and yet I somehow know what it means] of two samples from 2 tracks Prince wrote and/or released in the 80’s plus the ocean wave sample and a brand new spoken vocal from Prince.
The two samples- I oddly found their original sources after this album. The guitar solo is from the end of “Private Joy” and segues into “Ronnie talk to Russia.” The female is Vanity on the unreleased Vanity 6 song “Vibrator.”

For me, a proper song needs lyrics and if not lyrics, at least some sort of melody or rhythm to it.
Basically, this is a vocal track with one instrument wailing and distorting and sound effects. [“Papa” could fall under this same umbrella- but there is a cool backing track, Prince sings in the chorus and the final refrain is a musical number… so it still qualifies. I wouldn’t consider it among my favorite Prince songs, but I still stand by it. Certainly as part of this album as a whole.]

That being said, I’ll still give it a little discussion and then I’ll never speak of it again πŸ˜›
Again, and I may be repeating this phrase a lot in this post, “unless you’re into this sort of thing,” it’s not something you can play to other people.
But considering the segues that weave through the album and its different track, I always play it because the album feels incomplete with it. Weird, maybe, but that’s just how I roll.
Prince’s dialogue… I love playing this album on headphones on principle (no better way to hang in Prince World than with headphones)… but hearing him practically whispering in my ear… OMG! it’s like anytime I hear him speak on an album, it feels like the best thing ever. He’s a musical genius who has mastered 27 instruments, but his speaking voice is just as enjoyable.
I don’t get hot and heavy listening to this or any of his music… but the euphoria in my head in moments like this is a greater higher than any drug. And other than caffeine and alcohol, I don’t do any drugs associated with that kind of high.

I guess in that earlier disclaimer I should have said, if not an expert, it helps to have an open mind when you listen to this album for the first time. But really, the “worst” of it is at the beginning and end… and “Papa” isn’t exactly a crowd pleaser.

The rumor about the title track of Come was that Prince officially released this version as his way of flipping off WB for restricting his recording output. I have no way of knowing if that’s true, but a lot of people on .org certainly believe it.

[From here on out, the puns are going to come whether I want them to or not. I’m not going to apologize for every one. There’s just not enough time]

Come is an 11+ minute track that eats up a good chunk of this album. It’s the longest come-on Prince ever wrote. While it may have been recorded this way as a diss… if his intention was to turn on his audience, I think he succeeded.
Although the oral sex portion is still kinda awkward to hear. How Prince managed to record that, nobody knows and I’m not sure if anyone really wants to. But with a great instrumental chunk after this part, it’s very easy to either doze off or just let your mind wander. Whatever your style may be that day. I’ve had it both ways.

First off, I love the music in it. The bells make me think of sleigh bells, which make me think of winter. And maybe Prince had them here to paint this album as his winter- the end of his life as Prince. Some of the coolest horns on any of his songs. They practically move the song forward and make it very cool and chill.
Sometimes this song runs long for me, sometimes it does. It’s all about what’s in my head that day.
But a definite headphone track. I can crank it up when I’m driving alone in my car, that’s cool, but I much prefer when I can just get lost in it. That way, we both have a good time.

Space is DREAMY… one of those songs I probably should put on a “Dreamy” playlist. Not because they’re what Toejam calls “dream songs” (that sound like Prince wrote them in a dream), but they transport me and they put me under Prince’s spell.
I love all the instrumentation. I love Prince’s vocal. It’s half normal register, half falsetto, half spoken. Pretty much everything you could ask for. The lyrics are a little oddball in places, not fully making sense. But it’s the vibe more than anything that I go crazy for every time.
And yeah, there are some remixes out there and I’ll need to dig those out of my flash drives later on.

Pheromone is another of those guilty pleasure tracks… the lyrics paint such a dark picture (and I have my own interpretation of it… might be different than anyone else’s… hint: the “pistol” in the final verse is actually a gun and not a metaphor for something else).
“Darling Nikki” kinda sets the standard for “guilty pleasure” Prince songs. The only thing missing in Pheromone are those screams.
I was singing “pheromone” along with the chorus… I don’t know if it’s because I had the volume cranked up in my car or I’d been stressed about the rain, but my voice felt like it was breaking as it tried to sing that. Maybe I am just that enthusiastic about it or caught up in that moment.
And not even reading that Carmen Electra served as the inspiration for it is going to ruin that for me. (in the Princevault entry, a fan apparently asked Prince about it and he said “Carmen Electra and the Crazy Horse”… which I think is a brand of perfume or cologne.
The music creates such a cool (another overused word already) atmosphere. And while the lyrics are disturbing, all of us who indulge in it are just as a guilty as Prince who wants to watch as much as he wants to intervene.

Loose! is definitely one of those tracks I liked early on from hearing it in “The Beautiful Experience.” It’s a techno track before techno was really a thing. I picture Prince performing this on stage at a nightclub and he’s showing a wallflower like me how to get their groove on. And then the WB execs walk in during the final chorus and he calls them out from the stage.
I wrote that in length in my album fiction and it still holds true. A fun track with a lot going on, but great instrumentation (despite the call-outs, this is a sole number… which is crazy to think about. I’ve never said this about Prince ever, but “how the frick did he do that part?!”… wow).

Papa, I’ve always heard as a poetry reading at a hipster jazz club where you snap your fingers in place of clapping your hands to applaud. Even in that atmosphere, it’s an odd choice of a poem to recite in a public venue. Whether it’s from his childhood or it’s another jab at WB is up for debate. You could read it a number of ways. It’s not something you can really play to a general crowd at a party. It kinda kills the mood. It’s about child abuse and how everyone knows about pain and love wins in the end and there’s always a rainbow… I was waiting for a freaking rainbow to appear because the sun was fully out by that point. But I got a rainbow at the end of Purple Rain once, so I can’t expect to get that lucky again.

Race has that sample from The Continental (so it was kinda cool hearing it in the latter song months afterwards) and it paints an interesting picture. Another one of those songs I imagine him playing to a crowd when he’s fully aware that there are WB execs in the room.
More great horn lines. Prince is great at storytelling in general, but this is one of his better examples and this song somehow doesn’t feel conventional to me. Maybe because it’s coming off the heels of Papa. The “Face the Music” sample (which I just found was from one of the Steeles) doesn’t feel out of place to me like so many other samples in Prince music. That’s gotta speak volumes.

Dark… I don’t think I liked this song for the longest time. But over these past few years, whenever I play it in the car, it’s my karaoke track πŸ˜› I sing along to it and sometimes go over the top with some of Prince’s ad-libs. I think one or two of them hurt my throat.
I thought I saw the sun trying to shine through the clouds, but there were so many of them. Plus it was above my car and it wouldn’t be safe to try looking for it while driving.
The church organ is a nice touch- kinda sets the song apart from the others on the album. It sounds like a church service. Perhaps even a funeral service… his own funeral (you know, Prince 1958-1993… before the name change thing)… whoa, just blew my mind.

I never fully fleshed this song out in my head as far as a scene goes. All the other songs, I have a visual in mind when I listen. In my story, this song is mentioned, the execs have heard it and they take measures in an attempt to come out on top regarding this feud, which is already in full swing.
But maybe one day, I will visualize a scene and write it down.

The metaphors and lyrics are so good and such an amazing vocal. Very emotional and impactful.

Solo is a point of contention for the fan base. You either like it or hate it and most hate it.
For me, it was a tough first listen because it took me a while to figure out where to put my volume and by the time I figured that out, the song was already a minute into it.
The poem was written by David Henry Hwang, whom Prince was going to collaborate with on an opera or musical or something (something about an interactive sexual experience, which is what The Beautiful Experience film was about). He wanted something about loss, but he owned this like it was his. It’s very haunting and spooky to listen to. Especially now, but it always had been.
After getting the volume figured out… nearly every listen since has given me chills.
I always pictured him recording this in a dark room lit only by candlelight. Maybe even laying on the floor.

Letitgo… this one is particularly special because it was a cool moment. Whenever I got a new Prince album, I always looked through the artwork first. And without a mirror, I was able to read the backwards text in the booklet.
Then I heard it in this song and suddenly remembered it and it just gave that verse more weight.
I like how it’s the newest song on the album, but the music in the background echoes that of the opening track. The sleigh bells are back. I love the woodblock. Especially in the instrumental portion near the end. It makes it sound like a train leaving a station on old wooden tracks.
Another cool visual.

On the one hand, songs like “Loose!” and “Dark” are so great to take on the road with me. Especially “Loose!” when the speed limit is 65 and I can easily go up to 70 without having to worry about being pulled over for speeding (hasn’t happened yet and I’d like to keep it that way). And “Dark”- I can’t go over the top with it unless I’m alone.

However, there are a bunch of songs on this album where I feel I can’t fully appreciate them unless I’m alone with Prince and just chilling in bed (not in the way!)…
I really got into “Come” this time around and everything within traffic ran smoothly so I don’t have to worry about too much else but the song and what was ahead of me.
Then “Space” started going and I got to the road up to my office where one lane was blocked off for being repaved… I was beating myself up through much of the morning because the song got completely away from me since I was too stressed about navigating the road.

I’m not a lax driver by any means. I just prefer it when the going is easy and I don’t have to deal with crazy people on the road or having to worry about merging traffic.

And really- this is an album meant for some downtime. That’s how I had that trippy experience where I imagined a whole storyline from these songs.

I did “Pheromone” and was very into it like the other time… but then I got distracted. A couple thousand feet in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice 2 vehicles having issues with road rage. A mini-van and an SUV, they were almost like bumper cars. Someone flipped the other off, one speed in front of the other… I was expecting to see a wreck happen in front of me or maybe I’d see them on the side of the road further down the route.
Either way, it took me attention away from Prince and I don’t appreciate that.

So Prince and I will need to have some alone time to hang out while I’ve got this album going on rotation… that way, I can get the most out of the experience and I don’t regret not getting everything I came for.

…yeah, there’s no way to talk about this album without it coming off sleazy or messed up πŸ˜› I mentioned something like this on Twitter earlier because my tweets were hard to put out without me wanting to explain myself. 140 character leaves very little room for error. [Also- trying to tweet the O(+> symbol is very haphazard because if you’re off by a few spaces, it’s going to split between the lines and lose all meaning. As much as I want a O(+> emoji, I don’t want everyday non-Prince fans throwing it around the way they do the poo emoji… I’ve never used it by the way]

I started the podcast because it’s a 2 hour podcast and I’d like to finish it over the next couple days.
Come had a great long discussion… but of course, the innuendoes were hard to avoid and the lyrics were hard not to laugh about. So it was a tough review to get through with a straight face.
Space- I started listening to and I remembered someone saying “stalker alert”… it was Toejam. Way to kill the mood, dude! He or MC called it Dreamy Pop… and I went nuts πŸ˜› but of course they couldn’t be talking about me- we hadn’t made contact yet.

of course it figures… just like in every romantic movie… the moment I get time alone with Prince, I’m fighting off unconsciousness through much of the Come album…
I was into it for the first few songs, but during Loose!, the lethargy was starting to get me. And it was my fault… I took an allergic pill beforehand cuz our shorehouse typically makes me sneeze if I’m there long enough. it made me drowsy. I feel bad.
It is a great album.

The Peach & Black review was good as always. MC said he was tempted to give it a 10, but backed off cuz he didn’t want to be controversial.

Dude, why the hell not? If you feel that way, freaking go for it.
I’ve often thought of this was one of my top 7 albums and sometimes it was my absolute favorite. When I was really into it.
The guys also said it might be Prince’s most exposed, honest album. Which I think is a nice thing. Strap away the “Prince character,” as they call it, from 1999 and some of those early 80’s albums and you get someone just as great to be around but without all the flash. I guess it comes down to what you’re in the mood for.

MC also said Solo was his favorite song on the album… that’s pretty cool. Not many people would agree. It’s up there for me. Not just as a Prince song, but a song in general. It’s so unique and out there, but for him, it works like an absolute charm.
It’s not going to be my favorites all time, but on this album, it’ll rate high due to respect, ambition and the chills I get every time I listen.

Yikes, I should start The Beautiful Experience sooner…
I kinda don’t want to be tied to my laptop the whole time and to get this out of the way.
Plus without people constantly over my shoulder

And that did happen a little bit, but not enough to totally take away from how good “Shh” was.
Cannot wait to talk about that one.

Unfortunately, this was kinda disappointing… even though someone uploaded this somewhere and I was able to download it, the volume was minimal or completely gone for all the Come tracks…
It really sucks because these are the songs that helped me want to get the album.
Race, Pheromone and Loose in particular. Papa, I don’t think it would have made a difference either way. But I remember really liking Pheromone and Race was kinda different.

Race looked like they filmed it in an old elevator shaft with the metal bars up front, but it had a cool garage band feel to it.
Pheromone had Mayte dancing with a would-be… not sure what to call this guy, but he wasn’t a good guy and she didn’t seem intimidated by him.
Also gotta say how weird it is to see Mayte now after reading the book. Not that it takes away from her being on stage, but the skimpy outfits she was wearing, I totally forgot that was part of her act and I didn’t read the book with that image in mind. I think I just picture her in belly-dancing clothes.

Anyway- there’s the track listing.

Interactive
Days of Wild
Come- fashion show, he’s not in it
Race- very disappointing, this cut of the video had the volume muted due to copyrights…
Acknowledge Me
Pheromone- no volume!!! grr!! (also- at Glam Slam Ulysses, this was done during Circe’s island and she turned Odysseus and his comrades into pigs… there were a bunch of people in animal costumes in cages)
Funkyman medley- lots of bass, introducing all the men in the band- I think it’s called “All Blues”
Shh!
Loose! (volume again!!)
Papa (volume!)
TMBGITW
Now

I might do my own playlist of this another time. Although “Now” might be a problem.
I hope I’d at least come around with that track where it doesn’t completely sink The Gold Experience. Again, another of my favorite albums ever… I just hope whatever happened to the Symbol album doesn’t happen again. I think it and “We March” are the only two I’m not completely on board with. “Now” I skip- that’s how much I don’t like it.

On another note, I listened to a couple other tracks meant for one of these albums.
Peach is one I’ve always really enjoyed whenever I put it and when I put it back on the first time in a while, it’s like I’ve never left. His vocals on it remind me of Interactive.

Maybe I should rate the album now and get it over with… but I think I have to listen to some of those track again. Maybe not Papa, but the others that didn’t make the cut.
…I wound up listening to all the songs except for the first two. I’d already heard Space an extra time and Come is too damn long to give a time of day on its own.

Hanging by the water, I realized just how perfect the atmosphere was. It had rained earlier, but the new deck was mostly dry. A lot of clouds, but the sun occasionally peeked through.
I grooved especially to Pheromone and Race. It’s weird, the top half of my body is right on point, but whenever I try to get my legs involved with anything, my rhythm gets thrown completely off balance.
Dark, I really loved getting back to. Even though there were people around me doing their own things, I was able to lock into it. Maybe one day I’ll put the song in my earbuds and I’ll just sing along to it and put that on YouTube. Although I’ll have to figure out how to ad-lib certain lines so they’ll be in good taste.

I finished reading my song the “come experience”… there’s a lot I’d like to edit. There are some terrible typos I’d like to fix, but I might just share it anyway and put a disclaimer out front to apologize for how badly written some of it is.
The story is maybe a little convoluted, but so is the story of Graffiti Bridge and 3 Chains o’ Gold. Surely, this can’t be nearly as bad in comparison.

Also- TBE was edited much better than 3 Chains o’ gold. I want to say that.

I also thought how Captain questioned some lyrics in the podcast… one was the “garden tool” lyric from “Loose!”
When I heard it, I picture Prince holding a black symbol guitar, holding it in front of him and stroking the neck to make it into an obscene gesture. [It was really weird to see him with a dark blue Cloud guitar during that video- didn’t match my vision at all].

If I think of more later, I’ll write it down, but by the time I get back, I think I’m going to finally do my rating. I’m not giving any song less than 3 points for a components score, so it should be 8.0 or higher. Probably not as high as Parade or LoveSexy, but I’m hoping it comes close.

Also, forgot to mention- I also listened to a remix of “Pink Cashmere” which “reggae-fies” it… I don’t like it as much as the original. This comes off as overproduced and maybe he was trying to hard to do that genre. (Blue Light was nice and easy).
And a remix of “Pope”… I’d never heard the original. I always remembered the backing vocals “rather be the pope… somebody help me”
Prince goes so heavy into the rapping that I didn’t even recognize his voice, but I love the spacy dreamy synths on this song. I could chill to that easy 😎

I think I’m going to do this now…
I’d rather not have to stay up late to do this like I had every other time. Next week will be a bit trickier since I won’t have that luxury. It’s a good thing these two albums are practically twins, but it’d be hard to make a drastic move to another album because I have an event coming up next Friday that might throw this whole process into chaos for a while.
Potentially…

So, I’ll go through the songs one by one as I always have, try to sum them up and give my scores.
I’m always afraid when I get to the numbers game that I can’t be objective about it. This time, I’m worried I might not be able to be subjective enough.
I don’t see myself foregoing too many technical points, though. It’s a strong album in that respect.
Purple Rain beat everything out so far because it was solid on both sides. The one album where they were so close together- and that has nothing to do with both sides being identical.

Ok, here we come… couldn’t help myself…

COME
Probably will be Prince’s lengthiest slow jam ever… the only thing that could beat it is the long version of “Adore” that he told Captain and MC about. I think he said it was 17 minutes.
Anyway- Prince’s longest album track and longest title track through the course of his albums.
But really, he uses every second to his advantage and not many people can do that. He creates this amazing sensual atmosphere with the sleigh bells and soft touch on the horns. (Horns are a real highlight on this whole album– never got around to saying it, but I really love how the horns were used throughout it). He has a great lead vocal and the backing vocals give amazing support.
The oral sex portion itself can be a little uncomfortable for some and the other reason beside the length I can imagine anyone being turned off by this track. And also the explicit nature of it. “Darling Nikki” talked about an obscene act with a magazine in the first verse, but this does not hold back. Kind of a cool contrast with the horns and beat tracking in the background as a velvety backdrop.
Technical Merit- 5 (yeah, it has some crazy lyrics where some don’t make sense, it can be long and uncomfortable to listen to at points… but beyond the first few listens, that ceased to be an issue. Couple that with the fact this song never felt long to me, I can’t fault it)
Components score- 4
Total score- 9 (any Prince song I give a 9 is solid, a gold standard if you will. The trick is often is determining whether something is 9 or 9.5, giving my components score 4 or 4.5. Typically, I give 4’s because as much as I like it, there are some I like a lot more. And 4.5 is a step below perfection or I just don’t felt like giving it that extra 0.5)

SPACE
[on an original configuration of Come, we had Come-Endorphinmachine-Space… but I much prefer the coma-like state I get in when I have Come & Space one after the other]
Thanks to the subtle beat and the dreamy synths and a very charismatic vocal, this song is a very spacy dreamscape for me. It was the song that led to the story I wrote, which ultimately opened my mind to loving this album as much as I now do.
Prince was seductive in the previous track, but here… OMG!… it’s as out of this world as the title. For me, it’s one of those ultimate fantasies. I don’t know if I quite hit the stratosphere this past week… other than maybe the day shrouded in pouring rain. Which is odd- but the first time is usually the greatest for any Prince album I’d done and that magic is hard to recapture.
I also cheated this time around… I gave the song a quick listen before doing the score. But that didn’t change anything. I just hoped maybe one last time, I’d get back there.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the only negative that takes away from the song a bit for me… the space launch dialogue… it kinda kills the mood)
Components score- 5
Total score- 9.5 (I can’t fully give this a 10 because it’s not quite on that level of masterpiece… and dang it, it’s not entirely a song that only Prince could come up. But I was giving it 9.5 no matter what. I like this song that much and it holds a special place for me)

PHEROMONE
Prince has done his fair share of songs with obscene imagery and really pushing the envelope. This might be his best…
The percussion is on point and I love that wonky horn hook. It’s so unique in this song and you never forget it. Peach & Black had a solid point- if Prince was the one doing these acts, it would not reflect well on him and I’d probably give this song a basement score because of how offended I am that he’d personally go there. But being the observer takes him completely out of it and I’m able to make my own interpretation as he does. [And that “what happens next- it all depends upon your style” ending was perfect cuz I like my version of the events and wouldn’t want that ruined by him saying that the pistol is just a phallic symbol and not a literal gun].
Great vocals all around- he picked the perfect range (although knowing him, he could sell it in any register).
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10 (yeah, I could not give this anything less. This song has always been a trip for me. Every element is done perfectly and I get a little too into it for my own good sometimes, but dang it- nobody but Prince could convince me otherwise)

LOOSE!
Prince brings forth the ultimate rave with this techno rager. The “loose!” backing vocals that go side to side through headphones is what always stands out and there’s no mistaking it. Again, this is something different and special. But unlike the songs so far, I don’t have that personal connection, but I still enjoy it for what it is.
Technical Merit- 4 (this song isn’t totally unique to Prince, but he does his best with it. Going out all with the vocals is perfect in this atmosphere. And those instrumental solos are cool)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8 (I already have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to give all these songs, mainly what I imagine their total scores will be. I’ll give this song a bit more also because it’s one of the best to play when you’re able to speed on a highway… I’m not a speed demon by any means. The fastest I’ll go is 75 on 65 when I’m really in a hurry to get somewhere and that’s very rare)

here’s hoping this next song doesn’t cause the whole stock to crash…

PAPA
Prince does a lot of new things on this album and things I don’t believe he ever replicated at another time. This is another example. This is Prince at a poetry club where he gets all angsty and real on us for just under 3 minutes. The story of child abuse is a little… disturbing and it’s hard to know if there’s anything real to it. Part of me thinks it’s a reference to his current difficulty with his record label. And like with any dark song, it’s good that Prince ends it on a positive note so it isn’t a complete downer. [another first- I have to let this marinate while I eat dinner… that’s why I do these at night typically, I do it all in one go. The first time I’m taking time away from it to do something else…]
Technical Merit- 5 (it’s unconventional, but it’s so hard to fault on this side of things)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8.5 (I didn’t think this was better than Loose! but the number say otherwise. I have respect for this song because it’s so different- I’m sure I’ll give that comment to “Solo” soon enough. And I’m not neutral on it, I do like it, maybe just not as much as the rest of this album and it’s not a song I reach for unless it comes to mind, which only happened just this afternoon cuz my session with the album felt incomplete without it… I wound up listening to everything else anyway, regardless… even the final part of the album).

RACE
The horns give an interesting twist on this song and help define its unique sound. Probably the one thing throughout Prince’s 90’s music where he dabbled in using sample shout-outs where I didn’t feel like it took away from the song. “Face the music” fits in perfectly, but maybe because Prince had it as part of the chorus.
Prince is the storyteller again and it’s, again, something different. It doesn’t feel forced like some of his other political tracks. At least not to me (I’m not typically a big fan of those- and so far I haven’t been). The backing vocals offer great support as well and the song would be incomplete without them. Which is why it’s a good example of an NPG performance, even if it’s understated compared to their other material (this ain’t no “Days of Wild”- a fan favorite I’m still not 100% on border with).
Technical Merit- 4.5 (yeah, this doesn’t entirely scream “Prince track” to me, which is why I took that half point off. His approach is unique and different, but there isn’t enough there to set him apart, I don’t think… even though I hadn’t heard anything similar to this from anyone else)
Components score- 3.5 (I always like it when it comes on and I get into it, but it’s not one of the tracks on the album I’m always excited to get to. Compared to some other heavy hitters, it kinda gets lost. If not for some cool lyrics, the band element and the horns and “Continental” record scratch, I’d just be neutral)
Total score- 8

And now it kinda seems like I’m intentionally stacking the cards in my favor… I don’t care… I don’t find any of these tracks really skippable and I like them all for different reasons. Just some more than others.

Also- Race- I never got that one lyric for the longest time. “in the space I mark human”… I’m sure someone on .org mentioned this before, but when Player said it, I finally understood. On the forms where you mark your race, Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, etc. So he says “human” instead of any of the above because “we all bones when we dead… both the blood is red”

DARK
…this is getting a solid score because it’s a very solid song. [had to step away again…] I don’t think I liked this one for quite some time, but each time it comes on now, I really get into the performance [I like this song so much as it is that I don’t like the “So Dark” remix on the Crystal Ball compilation set… it brightens the song up too much].
Great lyrics all around, amazing vocals, great horns again… and it has a nice string-like fadeout that’s a perfect Segway to the next song
Technical Merit- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10 (yeah, I just can’t fault it… it hits all the right notes and might be an underrated less-well-known Prince masterpiece that non-fans might like… the only negative they might not get is that high note at the end of his “hurt me!” tirade)

Yeah, I can’t believe how much I like Space, but I can’t give it that perfect score that I gave to 2 other songs… but like “I would die 4 u,” it’s a personal favorite that I’ve had some good experiences with (and I’m talking the original here- although the remixes aren’t bad… Universal Love is really good- same song but with new lyrics)

SOLO
Prince took a lot of risks throughout his musical career. He’s done songs that push the envelope about sex, more than any other artist and he always did it with class… or just showed why he’s in a class of his own. That being said- this song isn’t explicit or overtly sexual (it’s mentioned within the lyrics, but nothing is really revealed about the physicality of it)- but it’s probably the biggest risk he ever took on any song.
An operatic vocal that hits many highs and lows. He gave someone else the theme of “loss” and received a poem in return and he performed to someone else’s words. Being able to trust someone that much speaks volumes. However, it’s one of those love/hate songs. There is no in-between. You either like it or you don’t. And I’ve always liked it. The first time I heard it- once I got past the volume control issue- by the time I got to the end, I felt something. I don’t remember exactly what (I haven’t looked at any of my prior entries of Prince album reviews cuz I want to come in fresh and not base it entirely on past experiences) … maybe it was “what just happened?”
Technical Merit- 4.5 (the vocals in those first few seconds can be piercing if you’re not prepared and some vocals are a little low to hear unless you crank up the volume. They’re amazing vocals, don’t get me wrong, but it took a little while to figure out the right volume where I could hear everything without deafening myself… it’s a very small nit-pick at this point, really)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5 (this feels like the perfect score for this particular song. it’s unconventional but I don’t mind it, but because of how it’s put together, I don’t like it nearly as much of his other music. But I also respect the hell out of it).

LETITGO
It’s amazing to think how this was written after much of the material on the album yet it fits perfectly. It brings back the bells from the first song and it has horns. But unlike most of the other songs, it’s built like a single. Yet another Prince single I wish made it to actual radio because it has commercial potential for sure. It kinda sums up his feelings while working on releasing this album. There’s the usual metaphors and figurative language he’s so good with, but some stuff is more obvious. It’s a great catchy earworm, the woodblock is a nice touch… there’s not much to take away from it. I’ve always really liked it.
Technical merit- 5 (it’s as solid as they come)
Components score- 4.5 (yeah, I really like this one…)
Total score- 9.5

Yeah, this is going to be a big score… Now I’m just hoping that because I don’t like “Now” on TGE that it won’t sink the whole album… because it’s another album I really like.

Now back to this one…

Total up the two marks…
Same technical merit as Purple Rain, but the components score is a little less…

Pheromone- 10
Dark- 10
Space- 9.5
Letitgo- 9.5
Come- 9
Solo- 8.5
Papa- 8.5
Loose- 8
Race- 8

81/90… a solid 9.0

Wow… I was all worried for nothing… except now this puts pressure of Gold to get close… if it doesn’t score higher than 8.5 because of one song, I swear… but I know there are two I’m giving perfect scores and at least a handful of 9’s and 9.5’s.

Pretty much what this came down to… it would have beat Purple Rain as my favorite album if I’d given Letitgo a perfect score (or Solo a 9). But instead of 3 perfect scores, I gave it 2 and 2 9.5’s and a 9.

Anyway- I got what I wanted in the end. Although it’d be pretty insane if I got through all this and Purple Rain is still #1… despite everything I say about him having better albums that shouldn’t be overlooked.
But c’mon… it’s Purple Rain… it’s pretty awesome.

But I think that if any other album could topple it, it’d be Come or TGE… and it doesn’t seem like anything else can do it…

Then there’s the whole top 7. I used to be able to count what my favorite Prince albums were. And so far, Parade and Purple Rain are in it for sure. LoveSexy was a surprise, a very pleasant one.
…if Gold doesn’t get one of those top 7 spots… I don’t even want to think about it…

So I’ll just focus on this…

Pheromone
Dark
Space
Letitgo

Among my favorite Prince songs ever… not a bad selection…

So I’ll retire this post for the night and come back after hearing some other versions of Space and other remixes.


I also found some Exodus tracks among my stuff…
I REALLY liked The Good Life- there are two versions I have and each is great.
Free urself was a promo for the album with a few bits and pieces, but the mixing was so low I couldn’t hear it unless I cranked it.
Then two mixes of Get Wild- it’s not a bad song, but I just got bored of the same beat going through it.

There were remixes of Controversy and Head that were maybe electrified. Controversy was kinda meh- the original was better. Head- it was a nice touch. I really like both songs, but maybe… it’s hard to believe, but I think I liked Head better because it’s more explicit.
I was so uncomfortable around this type of stuff before “meeting” Prince through his music. Now I’m really into it…

the Letitgo remix is good. The same song, but with a different backing track with some musical similarities. I miss the wood block, though πŸ˜›

two remixes of Space… I really don’t like that odd ad-lib Prince did throughout them- and in both cases, they ended with it.
Space, for me, is about the seduction. That ad-lib isn’t a turn-on for me- mainly cuz I don’t know what the heck he’s saying.

I really like Universal Love… almost more than the original, but both have their pluses and minuses.
The funky stuff remix… there wasn’t enough of the original track’s feel in it (the attitude in the vocals and such) and it’s not a turn-on.

Speaking of Space- I found one final version.
Someone on .org sent me 5 tracks early on in my time with Prince. Each is named for one song, but it has several songs on them.

Come has the electro-version of Come, Mad (reminds me a little of “Acknowledge Me”) and the acoustic version of Space… this is SO NICE… I almost like this more than the original. And now I wish I had it on its own. I think I’d listen to it so much that – had it been on CD or vinyl, I would’ve worn it out in no time. It’s that good.

And then it ends with “Get Wild” (cool thing- one version had a backing track that was the percussion from “Right back here in my arms”) and then some crazy electric guitar solo out of nowhere.

So I’m gonna try to finish this tonight… and I also started listening to the album again.
I got up to Papa (which I barely listened to at all) as we got home and I’ll do the rest of the album later tonight.
Loose- I really enjoyed.
Despite my giving “Pheromone” a 10, I wasn’t feeling it this time. Maybe because I’d gotten plenty out of it already.
Or… even stranger… I feel like it’s a song I have to be alone to get into. Not because I’m afraid those thoughts and imagery will seep through my mind into others. But there’s an uninhibited nature about it and I’ve found over the past week that I really get a lot out of it when I’m on my own.

Yet I was able to really go into “Come” and “Space”- two songs that had bumps in the road cuz I was listening as stuff was going around me that was distracting- I hadn’t had such a good experience with them in ages.
With “Space,” I actually came back to the same place that inspired that whole story I wrote. Which was really nice.

I listened to the Peach & Black Exodus review to kinda bridge these two albums.
The interesting thing was that MC had only had 3 days with the album before doing the review. And of course Captain gave him a hard time for taking so long πŸ˜›
and he kept saying “it was 1995 so it had to be good”… I’m just thinking that in 1995, I was only in 3rd grade :falloff: I had a great teacher and had my first crush (and rejection) ever. But it was an odd year because my teacher said I was oddly anti-social, not hanging or playing with the other kids.
I’m still like that quite a bit… that hasn’t changed, but a lot about me has.
I said on Twitter how I had no NPG albums (other than NewPower Soul) and Captain said to me that I needed to check out Exodus cuz… his response was something like either “you haven’t lived until you heard Exodus” or “you’re not a real fan until you’ve heard Exodus”

I will take his word for it. I might not rectify that for a long time, but if the opportunity comes up to get it and GoldNi**ga, I’ll check into them.
If only to hear “The Exodus has come”- the final song on the Exodus album. There was a little toss-up about the other songs. Toejam didn’t like Sonny as a lead singer- didn’t think he was good enough a lead singer to lead these songs, felt the same way about Hannah from 3rd eye Girl singing lead. Captain kept saying how certain parts were so hilarious.
The one where Sonny shoots a TV and his girlfriend/lover asks “do you need a hug?”- that was the sound bite they used- THAT is hilarious. It’s the most random response and one that probably wouldn’t work πŸ˜›
And then they talked about how this album had one track with electric violin, the only time beyond the work with Vanessa Mae (my dad loves her- brought a bunch of her albums back from his trips to the Far East for business). And Captain said how he told Prince to release that album and Prince is like “what are you, my manager?” and he still remembered that the next time he met him and MC. I can’t say I’m surprised, but it still boggles the mind, haha.

So I’ll publish this and I’ll include the link below of my story. In case you wanna read it. Just fair warning: the writing isn’t the best. There’s a bunch of grammatical errors in it that I noticed re-reading it. And some of it is vague and overreaching.
But it’s a freaking fantasy and my interpretation of some of the material.

Also- one last thing on Exodus, the guys said how it was at the height of the WB dispute. And it is similar to the Gold Experience because it has that live feel.
But like so many people I’ve talked with, they say TGE is overproduced.

I’d heard this album maybe once or twice since Prince’s death… it’s been over a year since then, so it’ll be an interesting experience for sure. Plus… got more rain in the forecast. Hopefully not nearly as bad as it was last week.

I never got to go into the Come tracks and when they were done live.
Very few made it out of 1992-1995.
Pheromone, the guys said that it was in an Australian sample set in 2012
Race was last done in 2006 along with the song Musicology
Dark… he performed it at his last concert… wow… it looks like he brought it back for 2013-2014 as well.
Letitgo made up to 1996 and just vanished.

And speaking of Letitgo… I forgot that’s what I called my story: “Learning 2 Letitgo”

https://dreamypoproyalty.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/learning-2-letitgo-a-come-production/

if you get this far reading this, congratulations.
if you read my story, thanks. whether you think it’s good or stupid or crazy, feel free to let me know πŸ˜›

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an NPG review, the name change and The Undertaker

Sometimes I feel like I’m burning through these Prince albums as fast as Prince recorded them around this time period… doing an album a week has its pitfalls.
But early on, I used to stay with albums longer than a week, but I felt like I was also hanging around too long. It’s hard to strike a balance while getting everything out of the experience.

So I figured I needed a little bit of a break before getting to this next album. And it seems like a good spot to do this because it’s a HUGE turning point in Prince’s career.

This first NPG album- according to Matt Thorne’s book, it was a consolidation prize for Tony M, Kirk and Damon Johnson (aka TDK). Prince was giving them a platform in order to continue their careers.
But by this point, I know thanks to his appearance on Peach and Black that Tony decided to walk away from the NPG and Prince World because he wanted to start a family and get focused on his own life. He’s a very gregarious person who likes to spend time in the places where Prince toured with the NPG and after a while, he was getting sick of being within that bubble. Prince is cool with being in it, but it can drive anyone else crazy.

Mayte commented on the album, saying she didn’t particularly care for it. Especially this song “Johnny” because that’s her father’s name and there was something in the lyrics about condoms.
It was maybe a little too braggadocio (I learned a new word from Matt Thorne’s book!… but I’ll come back about some other interesting tidbits I picked up from him) for her tastes. I can get that.
There are a few tracks like that in Prince’s catalogue I didn’t care for.

I don’t own this album. I never intended to get it. First of all, the name is GoldNi***a.
Even if this is Prince, I don’t feel comfortable with even writing that word down.
I didn’t learn this until the podcast- but this album wasn’t officially released. It was a giveaway at the Act II tour in Europe. And supposedly there was an original pressing that had a McCartney sample that they didn’t have permission to use so they took it out (and according to the guys, you wouldn’t really miss it).
However, I have seen a copy of this in person. It was in the Prince bin, I believed used. And I think it was 10 years ago when I bought a slew of Prince albums on the same day. 7/7/07.

Anyway- I was so dismissive when Peach and Black announced this album review because I don’t like the idea of listening to a review on something I don’t have.
However… I needed a break from Prince after the whole Arrogance/Flow that sunk my rating of the Symbol album… and I figured it’d be a good idea to stay within the mindset and what kinds of songs Prince was writing at the time.

The way Toejam tells it, it might be worth a listen just to get a further look into its supposed concept.
There are a bunch of segues either about Tony and a girl or negotiating a record deal. MC wanted to skip over these segues, but Captain makes an interesting comment on the length of these segues… each one is bigger than the last… I don’t have to go any further than that.
Then there’s the title track, which is broken into three parts throughout the album.
Black MF in the House- I dismissed the other day because I just didn’t get it. But when the guys really explained it, I think I jumped the gun. Apparently, it’s Tony and Prince’s way of responding to the Rodney King situation. And it was the first time he really addressed race in his music.

Of course there comes a point where someone said that because they’re 4 white guys from Australia, they’re “divorced” from what the album really talks about and the song “Together” kinda brings everything back into perspective.

I mean, when it comes to Prince, I see his talent and ability and charisma and the color of his skin is simply that. But I do admit that when he addresses race and black culture, it does lose me a little because I can’t find that personal connection.

Probably the funniest part of the podcast… Player was talking about a song from this album being featured in a movie. And he went to the movie just to hear the Prince music. Then someone joked “you probably went to see Show Girls to hear 319” and he admitted it and someone in the theater was a little too into the movie.
Everyone just fell over laughing. Not nearly as badly as a few albums ago where MC said something that killed the whole room for a while… but it was still hilarious.
You could hear Player blushing before someone else pointed that πŸ˜›

Toejam listened back to the B-sides show and found that he dismissed “Call the law” and his mind completely changed. Someone said they should re-record it and Captain said “along with every other show where we said ‘that’s another show'”

If I could request anything, I’d request another poll of the top Prince songs of the 00’s and 10’s.
Another review of the next two Time albums.

I know there are other things I want to hear discussed, but I can’t remember πŸ˜›
maybe the guys’ personal favorite songs by Prince.

Ultimately- totally worth the listen, but it IS Peach and Black. It’s always gonna be good.

so Prince has officially changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol… I can’t believe I’m finally here… and yeah, it is the most confusing part of his career.
In one of the books, I read someone saying how things were great until Purple Rain and after that he got everything he wanted that was a bad thing… I guess I can understand that. That album is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. Kinda like Prince’s talent for songwriting.
It got to a point where he was so inspired he couldn’t stop himself.

Going into Matt Thorne’s book, I finally found a chapter (or maybe it’s the first since LoveSexy) where I didn’t have a problem with anything he said.
His comment on the Come album… it’s debatable, but I was more than halfway through a Dark & Stormy, so I wasn’t sober when I read that chapter. I just freaking LETITGO…

He had lots of interesting tidbits about the name change and how that came about. Peach and Black had a little as well. Saying how Prince was busy recording and he had other people negotiate this $100 million record deal- he wanted a number that would make news and beat out a deal Madonna got recently. But some publishing rights and various royalties were sacrificed in this poorly made deal, so that’s why Prince spent all that time trying to get out of it.

You’d think Prince of all people would know to read the fine print. But he also had this thing he did during 1995 where he said an agreement (not contract) should only be a couple of pages because otherwise, it restricts the person who’s agreeing to it.
At the end of the “Gold” performance in L4OA, the crowd does this hand gesture where it looks like they’re holding together 2-3 pieces of paper. (also- it’s amazing how I can just trivialize that performance… more on that later… let’s just say it’s gonna be big).

In the book, there was also a comment asking why announce the fact he was retiring from recording. What strategy there could behind it? That whole discussion was, again, interesting to ponder. He made some good points legitimately worth considering. And he did in a matter that wasn’t mocking or trivializing. He seemed concerned, as any good fan or Prince admirer would be about him at this time.

On another note, I listened to some Carmen Electra tracks on YouTube… not a fan… the rap thing just doesn’t work. Not for me, anyway.

The Undertaker was one of those legendary projects that got a lot of discussion on .org.
I usually keep track of who sends me what (to the point where I label the folder “courtesy of”
I have no idea who sent me these tracks, but again, I’m very grateful.
However, I’d only heard them maybe twice before today.

And I heard them twice today. Once in the car and once via the music video.
I think I saw the Undertaker video once YEARS ago, but all I remembered was the “Honky Tonk Woman” performance… because whenever I hear the original, I always think of what Prince did with it since his version was the first time I heard of it.

Watching it again… just to get to the point… all it is is a performance video of Prince, Michael B and Sonny T (aka the Paisley Power Trio) crossfaded with Vanessa Marcil tripping out on pills she took.
The video starts with her showing up at Paisley Park needing to use a phone and she tells her boyfriend Victor she’s changed and she wants him to take her back.
But she takes the pills and… that’s the rest of the thing.
It kinda bugged me that her story arc wasn’t resolved. She didn’t have to interact with Prince, but they don’t even show her leaving Paisley Park. The only resolution we really get is that she sees pills spilt on the floor during “Dolphin,” she pushes them aside. I know it’s not Prince’s style, but for me, it just isn’t enough. She’s gorgeous of course, but this could have been done without her and it would have done well as just a glamourized rehearsal video.

Playing the album on my iPod while driving home… this was another of those cool experiences I’ve had with Prince that I could never replicate if I tried.
First off, I look at the track listing while I’m sitting in the car waiting for the AC to crank up before leaving the parking lot… my iPod, for whatever reason, had the songs out of order. But I had no choice but to go with it.
As it turns out, it worked perfectly on this particular day with these given conditions.

The first track was Bambi, followed by The Undertaker, Dolphin, The Ride, Poor Goo, Honky Tonk Woman and Zannalee.
Bambi is an old Prince track… very old by this point, really. I heard this version before the original, so of course the screeching guitar was startling and I didn’t like it for the longest time. (when I got back to it months ago, I gave the song a perfect 10. I think my first ever perfect 10 track). But hearing Michael Bland doing the drums on it… that feel of momentum is freaking awesome. And hearing the guitar solo again… oh man… best part of the song.
However, I wished a couple of times that I could combine the two versions. Taking out Prince’s drumming in the original track and replace it with Michael Bland’s bad-assing drumming and mix and match the guitar parts from both versions. Prince’s guitar work has gotten even better over that decade or two, but I wished this had a couple more solos like he had in the original. More dimension and more high points. Maybe not top fret, but close to it.

I got one of two things from the tracks as a whole.
Prince’s guitar playing sounded very much as I grew to know over these past 10 years. When I’ve seen his TV appearances where he did guitar work, it has that same sound to it and he does the same acrobatics with it.
And there were several moments where it felt like I was listening to the Lotusflow3r album.
If I hadn’t known that Prince brought back the Paisley Power Trio for that album, I would have looked this up and blew my mind to pieces.

The Undertaker… this was the key thing about this listen that could never be replicated if I tried.
The sky was getting dark during Bambi, but outside of a couple bolts of lightning, the storm hadn’t happened yet.
I got maybe a minute into this song and it started pouring and everyone slowed down and I was half freaking out and half praying that I wouldn’t hit anyone or nobody would hit me. Meanwhile, I had that deep thick bass pounding in my ears.
Needless to say, I survived it.
This song runs kinda long, but it took until the song was maybe 2 minutes from the end before everything let up.

This has happened so many times since Prince passed away… I can’t help but wonder if he’s had an effect on the weather when I listen to his music. It’s not all the time, but it’s happened enough during certain songs where it just feels like it’s meant to come together in this way.

Dolphin- hopefully I’m not super sick of this song after next week cuz it’s on that next album.
It’s kinda nuts how it just comes and goes so quickly.
Some people prefer this version because it’s not overproduced the way it was on the Gold Experience. TMBGITW has the same issue. At least according to some people.

The Ride is bluesy funk the way only Prince could do it.
The cool thing about this listen was just how the drive went. Keeping up with traffic, speeding up to merge onto a highway, etc, etc. Those moments fit in almost perfectly with the music like it’s acting as the soundtrack for my life as it’s happening.
Probably wouldn’t be able to repeat that if I tried.

Poor Goo… I have no idea what he’s on about. But it continues on from where The Ride starts as far as its sound goes. Apparently it’s named after a studio engineer in Paisley Park. But the way Prince is singing about him, it’s like he wants to take a girl home, but just can’t manage it. Then he makes a weird comment that he can’t have Cap’N Crunch (he brings up this cereal again in the Emancipation album) but he can have Trix.

[Another Segway here… Captain commented during the Symbol album review how Prince put all these little things in his music and they have a habit of popping up in various songs… and it’s cool to find these little things as you go through more of his music. I’ve never commented on this directly, but in the early days when I was building my collection of Prince music, I picked up on a couple of these little things…and yeah, that’s pretty cool]

Honky Tonk Woman is great. I still think it’s great. I just kinda wish Prince sung another verse and chorus.
There aren’t many lyrics in this album compared to instrumental solos. But I wished he did more singing on it. It could be even better than it already is.

And Zannalee, I’ve always liked, but it kinda sucks that this version is so short.

Supposedly, it’s an anti-drug album… or maybe it’s just the video in general.
I never would’ve picked that out myself without the video.

And Prince’s look… he has the same hairstyle from the previous 2 albums, but his beard is like from this era… he’s in between eras here… kinda interesting to see a work in progress.

One final comment:
according to Princevault, Prince had several copies of The Undertaker ready to give away in magazines. But then WB found out and confiscated all the copies and put a coating on them that would render them unplayble.
…that just freaking killed me… I mean, the songs still got out, obviously… but still…
It kinda adds more weight to that Dolphin lyric.

“How will I know if I’m even in the right key… if you make me stop before I start?”

Up next: the Come album…

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Prince Album #15: O(+>

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

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

Now it ALL makes sense…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So this just leaves me with the other 9…

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

But anyway- the rest of the album…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and it goes downhill for a while… ugh…

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

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

…getting back on track now…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total score- 122… divided by 160…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prince Album #14: Diamonds & Pearls

I’m giving myself a slow start with this one… I listened to the album through only once this week and it’s the day after that.
And it isn’t just because I actually liked Graffiti Bridge so much that I needed to drive songs like “Thieves in the Temple” out of my head before getting to the next. Plus I didn’t want to burn out as quickly as I got the spark back.

But there’s something else too…
I don’t know how many people reading this had followed my blog at all in 2016- those people, if you’re still with me, might have an idea of where I’m going with this.

When I first got Diamond & Pearls [according to my receipt, Sept 1 2007]- firstly, it was one of those key albums I wanted for my collection. It was a huge success and it also produced 4 songs that ended “The Very Best of…” (3 of 4, I liked a lot).
And it was a moderate success, I thought. Some tracks I really liked a lot and others I really didn’t like or care too much about.
After a while, I got to like it more, but it was never among the first albums I’d listed as personal favorites.
Maybe because I didn’t find that personal connection until last year.

It was either March or April 2016 when I started listening to Prince again for the first time in a long time. Started picking up albums and trying them out like slipping on jackets, seeing if they still fit all right.
I had been meaning for a while to listen to D&P and give that another try. I figured maybe I needed another time or place to see if there was something extra special there.
That day was April 21st. It just felt like the right time to put it in the car.
I got through 4 songs that morning.
“Thunder” blew my head off with all the different nuances and bits and pieces of it.
“Daddy Pop”- I read into the lyrics and understood more about what it’s really about.
“Diamonds & Pearls”- the harmonies, Prince’s baritone, the instrumental break halfway through- they sang almost like I was discovering them for the first time.
“Cream”- I just had fun with it, more than I had in a long time.

Work came and went. I turned on the car and the radio… I discover shortly after what happened to Prince…

Cut ahead to 15-20 minutes down the road… I finally turned the album back on because I had enough of the radio.
So “Strollin’ ” was the first song I personally played after learning that Prince had died… and it wound up being the perfect song to offset all the shock and sadness. The songs went by and every now and then, the news would cross my mind and I’d try to push it away and push it down and get back to the music.
I don’t remember the last time I decided to play “Jughead”… it was often a track I skipped. But I decided at the last second to just let it play- I decided I needed to get Prince off my mind, so the best way to do that is let Tony’s rapping drown all that negativity out. And it was actually a big help- strange as it sounds.
“Money Don’t matter 2 night” was a solemn moment where I absorbed everything and got into the song just as I always did (one of the highlights from “The Very Best of…” and also the final track on the disc).

I get to “Live 4 Love”… I’m within 10 minutes from my house. I crank the volume in my car up to 31 and fist pump and scream at the top of my lungs with his screams to really savor that energy. And it was a good release.
But I was out of sorts for at least the next 3 days (and I had to go to work the next day, which wasn’t great- but at least I was set up away from the open air department so I didn’t have to be around anybody). Throughout this time, though- I did bring out The Gold Experience and Parade and The Truth, but D&P was the album that I kept close by like a security blanket.
Even listening to it yesterday, some of those feelings resurfaced, but I didn’t spend nearly as much time being sad. I had a great moment with “Insatiable” the 2nd time I listened to it last April. And I don’t know if it’s something I’ll be able to replicate.
It was the first time I listened to any Prince song where my brain just had this tremendous dopamine rush- an eargasm.

…anyway, I thought it might be a nice move to open this post with a personal touch so I don’t get stuck in the rut of routine.

I’m reading the chapter in Matt Thorne’s book throughout the week and that approach has gone well.
But again, that moment happened where he said something that just turned me off.
He said that it lacked edge and innovation or just plain wasn’t interesting. He pressed the hell out of LoveSexy and Sign o’ the times, so I guess there’s no more praise he can dish out of any other album.
When I stopped today, he was about to say that Cream and Gett Off are the only two gems on the album. “Daddy Pop” isn’t the best song, I agree. He also said how Prince wrote 8 songs in this time period about playing cards. Well, at one time he was also “obsessed” with ponies because they kept showing up in lyrics. So what? “Willing & Able” and “Jughead” also got some shade thrown their way (but who HASN’T thrown shade at “Jughead” is what I wanna know… ok, I don’t care to know that badly). And “Push”… yeah, I agree that it sounds like its about self-empowerment and it’s very non-coherent in its messaging.
He said “Live 4 Love” had too much thrown in that the heart and soul of the song (paraphrasing here) was lost.
That might be true… I only have this version to go by.

I’m sorry for doing what I usually do with this guy… but I hate the notion of crapping all over something and coming off as someone not willing to give it a chance.
Especially with Prince music. I heard so much of it on .org, people saying how Planet Earth was his worst album ever or he’d release a new song and it got bashed immediately because it’s not the next [insert single name here].


it’s now Friday… I hadn’t been on my computer or this post since Monday. Since then, I had a trip to the dentist that ended with having to make an appointment for filling cavities. No fun.

Anyway- I’ve listened through the tracks twice. Once Wednesday and then split the album between Thursday and Friday, listening to the Peach & Black podcast after hearing the tracks again.

But one last comment about this chapter the book, I promise that’s the end of it…
I spent the better half of that afternoon after finishing the chapter absolutely fuming.
In a nutshell, he said the album wasn’t anything special and it’s one of the few that doesn’t “get better with time” (that’s me paraphrasing a future Prince song).
I don’t think he had a single good thing to say about any of the 13 songs.

Money don’t matter 2night was especially infuriating because he revisited his commentary on “Pop Life”… I don’t want to read the damn paragraph again, but it’s basically him calling Prince’s integrity into question. This song is supposed to be about social commentary and he takes it as Prince telling people not to moan about how unfair your life is.
I’ve always taken these two songs as in this lyric from “Free”– “there’s others doing far worse than us so be glad that you are free.”

It’s gotten to the point where I’m wanting to ask “what the hell did Prince do to you to make you hate him so much?”
and I know he doesn’t hate him, but his fandom of his music is very selective.
He knows all this history about his songs and all these unreleased tracks, but he’s too damn critical.
I’m sorry, but despite all the time and effort he put into the research and all that, this feels like an essay he was assigned to do in high school and just did not want to do it. Or someone higher up saw an opportunity to capitalize on Prince’s death by publishing such a book and he didn’t personally want to do it.

This is a really good album, not perfect or excellent, but it’s not a punching bag [and after what happened with Graffiti Bridge, I don’t know if I’d have a candidate for that].

So I got through all the podcast except for the final track.

And I probably should unveil some more thoughts on the tracks.

“Thunder” is a helluva start to the album.
I don’t know how long I’ve thought this, but for some time now, I’ve imagined it as being another song he wrote about “the night”… when he pulled the Black Album. Particularly the 3rd verse.
when he talks about Love, I think about “God is Love”… how he found God in music.
The second verse involves sex and again, finding God… but maybe there comes a point where he overindulges, mistaking lust for love and falling into temptation.
“Only the children borne of me will remain”– that’s his albums, and that’s something he might have realized on “the night” and it’s why he pulled the Black Album.
The musical aspect of it is really impressive. I always loved that about this song, where he’s just going to town in the studio, putting all of his skills to the best use and creating such a cool vibe.
Peach & Black loves talking about “interplay”– there is so much good interplay in the final couple minutes on this album, it’s ridiculous.

“Daddy Pop”– one thing I’ve really noticed these past few times… this is one of the funnest choruses to sing along to. Just so catchy.
I could’ve freaking used it as a catchphrase on .org– Pop Dreamy, Dreamy Pop… I need more lyrics πŸ˜›
I recently described it as something you’d find at Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro. Kinda like this big parade number with a float and everything.
All about the positivity and maybe pushing back at the critics who don’t want to follow along with Prince’s new direction. Also a good way to introduce the band.

“Diamonds & Pearls”… such a beautiful video. The videos were what first introduced me to this, Cream, and Gett Off.
I recently read that Prince wanted Mayte to be in it, but the director didn’t think she had the sultry sexy thing they were looking for.
there wasn’t a lot about this album in her book, but there will be plenty for the next few albums. Definitely looking forward to that.

I’ve always kinda liked this one. It’s hard to believe there was time it wasn’t a duet. Just recently read that. I like how Prince does the low end between the two of them and in the verses, he sings in his normal register with some low notes thrown in there.
I always thought of this as “All I have to give” by The Backstreet Boys, but executed WAY better. I know the BSB song came out years later, but it’s the same concept. Prince just adds so much to it musically and vocally that it doesn’t come off clichΓ© or cheesy. It feels genuine and beautiful.
I always like it when it comes on, but among all the ballads he’s done, I don’t know if it’s one of my top favorites.

“Cream”— again, I’ve always liked it a fair bit. It’s a fun performance video as well. But I don’t get as excited about it as some of the non-commercial hits (particularly the beginning and end of the album).
I like it a little more than “Kiss” but I have the same feeling about it. Where maybe I don’t get why it was so huge with people.
But when I get into this, I REALLY get into it.
Captain has raved about the Cream maxi single “Do Your Dance- KC’s Remix” on the podcast. It’s unfortunate that Prince’s death had to come to pass in order for it to make its way onto YouTube and stay there for a year so I’d be able to find it.
It sounded so cool in those first few seconds and then for the first minute or two. But after a while, it maybe gets a little repetitive, but that’s just me. I love that synth line, it’s so operatic and open and full of energy.

if I remember right, there was a poll on Emancipation Radio with DJ Jedi where they had the voted 5 worst Prince songs of all time…
three of the songs were from this album and two from Graffiti Bridge… I don’t remember the exact order, but they included Strollin’, Push, NPG part 2, Jughead and Graffiti Bridge.

I probably used to think “Strollin’ ” was kinda meh. But these past few times, I’ve always gotten a smile on my face while listening to it. It’s easy breezy and a joy to listen to. It feels nice to just kick back and relax with it.
It’s hard not to think about the video where Diamond and Pearl quit their 9-5 job for the day and just get out and enjoy life. All of us need that feeling every now and then.

“Willing and Able”– I forgot who said it on Peach & Black, but they described it as “gospel country funk” and pretty much nailed it.
The Steeles come back after Graffiti Bridge for another cameo and this song wouldn’t be the same without them playing backing. It gives the song a little something extra to set it apart. It’s a great NPG track overall. Rosie has some great lines.
And Tony… oh geesh, Tony M… he’s got a cool rap to close the song out.

Captain probably raised everyone’s eyebrows as they listened to this and hearing him sing Tony’s praising and simply telling us to stop being so hard on him.

I don’t know when the hell this happened… I didn’t like Tony. I used to skip the tracks he was on or just skipped before his part came on.
But I think I got used to him after a while.
Now it’s at the point where I can see the genius in some of his stuff and… yeah, I can listen to Jughead and get into it. But the chorus is just stupid.

Anyway- I really like Tony on “Willing & Able”- kinda saying the same thing as Prince, but with a different vocabulary. Smooth and chill.

“Gett Off”… this was another 180 for me. When I first saw the video for this, it freaked me out. How it started with Prince on the bottom of a pile of dudes. I was super uncomfortable and for a while, I felt that way about this song.
I don’t know when I started really liking it, but these days, I do really get into it when I get to it on the album.
I’m in the car with this album and I sing along to this in my normal register. And during Tony’s parts of the chorus, I do a Vanity/Apollonia type vocal that’s meant to be sultry.
But I still need to figure out whether or not to change pronouns in the rap section. It’s kind of a cool rap.
And might be a guilty pleasure track right up there with “Darling Nikki” for me.
One good thing I found in the book… I didn’t understand that set-up in the video at all the first time I saw it. I still kinda don’t. But apparently Prince was very into the movie “Caligula” at the time and that was paying homage to that.

And according to Mayte, he was REALLY into the Godfather movies. Forever answering the question why he wanted to use the name Apollonia in Purple Rain.
He said how when Michael met her in the movie, he got hit with a thunderbolt. Then she died in a car bomb and met Diane Keaton. And he scoffed “she ain’t no thunderbolt”

“Walk don’t walk”– I’ve always liked it, but it’s one of those songs I kinda forget about sometimes. I like the chorus of the car horns. It’s an interesting concept that I wonder if Prince was really thinking deeply on the lyrics when he wrote it. There might be more to this than most of us think.
Matt Thorne was especially hard on this song because “Rebirth of the Flesh” was never officially released (until the NPG music club did) but this was… I didn’t understand the correlation until the podcast and someone said the “sha la la” chorus was lifted from that song.

“Jughead”… I really don’t know what it’s about, honestly. To me, it sounds like an attempt to create a brand new dance.
And I do picture choreography in my head for the chorus. A lot of heads shaking from side to side on the “get stoopid!” lines. And that one move where you hop on one foot, but you grab the one foot with your hand and rock back and forth on the one foot… it was a thing in the 90’s or at least when I was in high school… sounds about as stoopid as the song, doesn’t it?

I like all of it but the chorus. The music is fun to groove to. And I like the skit at the end. I get so into it, I go “oh!” whenever someone gets slapped.
Someone on Peach and Black joked about it being the reverse of what people think– that Tony was getting slapped instead of the manager.

The good thing about this album is that there’s a mix of everything on here. It’s not super into the hip-hop and rap all the time. It has it just enough to show another side of the band. And it allowed time for some of us to get used to that extra element without the change being too prominent or overwhelming.

One thing I got from the podcast… the guys kept bringing up the Symbol album in the discussion, not just because it was the previous album they addressed, but they sounded like they were still high on its energy. It’s gotta be a really good review. Already excited.

Money Don’t Matter 2night… I’ve always loved this one. Ever since “the Very best of…” and having that as the last song left a lasting impression.
I really love the backing vocals on it. Maybe the best backing vocals of any Prince song ever. And I only found out a few years ago that it was Levi. [I found it interesting to learn that he was brought up from bass to rhythm guitar on this album going forward when Sonny Thompson was brought into the band… Levi has some great guitar work in 1991-92. I also like his work in Strollin’.]
It’s a good video… but it just bothered me that this man (who has a wife) also had kids. The lyrics didn’t mention anything about kids. Going from some cues from the videos, I picture this as a couple that’s been together a few years when a Great Depression hit and they’re struggling like everyone else is. It’s also kinda odd to think of a father gambling in the first verse. And there’s a lot of talk about the intimacy between the two and how their money problems get in the way of that sometimes.

Push was another of those songs I skipped along with Jughead, but I don’t mind it as much now. I like the Clare Fischer string samples on it that give it a little something extra. I like the 2nd verse, especially singing to it. And the lyric “maybe the cartridge you was playing don’t fit in your video game”… nice timely reference.
Tony has a good rap, Rosie gets to let everything out [I laugh whenever she says “I’d rather hear rapping than pushing this song”] and Prince gets to be a complete goof. I like how he uses all the titles from the songs in his rap. The first time he did that on an album.
This feels like a song that was recorded late at night and everyone was having a midnight jam session.

Insatiable- I love the cinematic nature of it (this isn’t even taking the video tape metaphor into my thought process). And my mind can really wonder with it and where it goes. It’s that I call it cinematic, but I hate the video. If it was just Prince in the room with the videographer, that’s fine. But there were too many women in the room. At one point, a bunch show up behind him and open up their shirts to show off the bra underneath.
It’s hard for this song to be intimate with all these damn people in the room!
Let me have my eargasm in peace, thank you very much.
There was debate on the podcast about why using the name “Martha”… MC swear he heard mother or someone had heard he was saying Mayte even though they hadn’t met yet…
from what I’ve recently gathered, Prince and Mayte met in August 1990. Insatiable was recorded in October.
But considering she was only 16 at the time, that’s maybe a little gross, considering how sexual this song is. [I know he wrote so many songs about her, but this song in particular pushes the envelope just a bit… although when she auditioned for the D&P video, they had her put down as “Martha George” to avoid some legal stuff… I think the dancer in the piano room on the other side of Diamond and Pearl was meant to be her]

Live 4 Love… yeah, this is one of those songs I’ve always had a liking for.
It’s yet another reference to the Gulf War– I think. It was originally recorded in 1989 and I don’t think Desert Storm happened yet. [the gulf war was 1990-1991].
Maybe it’s just reference to war in general.
Another song with so much to consider.
This is probably the best rap Tony did on this album. It reinforces what Prince spent the better part of the song saying and it just feels cool to nail it.

All week, I haven’t been fully into this song, which I found very disappointing. Distracted by wanting to finish the album before getting home (I had to stop by the mailboxes and finish it before finishing the trip home) and one day I had a beetle in my car that I had to kick out… either way, I lost connection with the song and Prince World in general and was never able to recover.

Today, I had a crazy moment that made up for all that.
After nailing the rap, I played along with the guitar solo. Really was getting into it. At one point, I could picture Prince wailing on his guitar like he was in the car with me. Really cool.
I always loved that ending. When I first got my iPod and put this song on it, I don’t know if it was that version of the software or what, but it cut the song off right before it finally ends. [The same thing happened with Alexa de Paris and Welcome 2 the Dawn, I think].
But one of the first impressions I had of Michael Bland’s drumming– so killer in this song.
I think the guitar work in it is underappreciated. It doesn’t get a lot of chatter that I’ve seen.

At this point, I’d say this is another album was some huge highlights. While there’s nothing I’d want to skip, there are some low notes that don’t quite hold up to the rest.

I’m now wondering whether to watch all of the D&P video collection again… I watched it a year ago. The first time I really saw Prince perform after his death. And it was an incredible hour or so of footage where I didn’t feel sad at all. I just enjoyed spending that time with him.
Considering my own commentary, I might skip out on “Insataible” because I’d like to hold onto my own idea of it. I don’t really like his (or whoever’s idea it was)…

First things first, I need to finish the podcast.
I’ll have to decide whether to keep going with this album because I really hadn’t felt super connected to it. At least not all the way through. I want to keep the rhythm going through these albums, but I don’t want to feel like I’m rushing through them.
Things will feel better overall after I’m over my PMS and have those cavities taken care of. They’re weighing too much on my mind that I really can’t be fully focused on Prince.
Plus I’m juggling two books and I want to get through those chapters on the next album as I’m working on it.

…now’s a good stopping point

Since I’m kinda stuck inside watching the Open Championship (if I go outside, I’ll miss things… good tournament so far today), it’s a good time to finally get to some remixes and unreleased tracks from this period.

“Open Book” was for an album for one of the steeles but this track is prince’s initial recording. A programmed drum beat with some really nice keyboards. The lyrics sound like they’re contrary to the title. The lover says Prince isn’t an open book, but he says the open book is closing on their relationship. But I just get this cool vibe from it like I’m listening to some stuff later in Wendy & Lisa’s first album. I’m always a sucker for those. My comfort zone.

Horny Pony- the song originally meant for this album but later replaced with Gett Off because it got such a huge response at the clubs Prince gave it to.
I really like the synth lead line on it. His voice is the same as it is in Gett Off, although maybe not as low in the register. A bit of a rap where he’s trying to invent another new dance. The backing vocal ad-libs I hear from a female vocalist sounds like Rosie’s contributions on “Jam of the year”
I think Peach and Black talked about this on their B-sides show and voiced opposition to the female commentary throughout. That is really annoying πŸ˜› just shut up.
I think it might be Robin Powers.

I also copied a couple Cream remixes to my laptop when I was going through D&P last year. So I figure I’ll go through them before the rest of what I have on a flashdrive.
I hear a lot Tony interjections and the record scratch with the female groan you hear on “My Name is Prince”… I think it might be Mayte.
I don’t think this song has anything to really do with “Cream”
There is another “Do your dance” remix, but it’s lacking that cool keyboard synth lead line that opens the song as I heard in KC’s remix.

There are 6 version of Gett Off in this set. One is extended, but the rest are remixes… that seems a bit extreme, don’t you think? Most are probably nothing like the song or are really any good compared to the song.

Oh wow, I DO have the “Do your dance KC’s remix” in this set… it just wasn’t called that. So I’m gonna have to fix that.
This is great! 😎

And there is a remix of Cream that is actually Cream redone with different music in the background. The vocals and guitar are the same, but there’s mostly a dance beat in the background with occasional keyboard stab and vocal interjection not from this song originally.

I gotta switch to Gett Off after this… a little too much repetition for my liking. I’m gonna hear the song at least 2 more times before I review the album officially. The video and the album once through again.

There’s also an extended cut of Thunder (which I’d heard before and it’s kinda nuts… I just hate that it ends abruptly before the song actually finishes. Not as mind blowing as the final note of Live 4 Love, but I love how these songs bookend the album with great final notes.
Listening to it now… just wanna say how much I love to drum my fingers along to the music on this one πŸ˜› I’d done ever since I first got the album. As well as imagine Prince do some choreography to it- mostly guitar soloing and some Egyptian/Indian hand movements.
Judging from the notes on princevault, this sounds like it was “The Thunder Ballet” NPG music club release– it’s 10:50 in length and it started with some crowd cheering and there are some reactions– which are kinda scary. Like something bad happened to him on stage (by this, I mean he’s acting out the song and the “only the children borne of me will remain” lyric becomes reality). After the first part of the song, which ends before he says “don’t do it like that, do it like this” and it has a beat in the background going back and forth, some synth moments and vocal moments throughout and it slowly gets more instruments and builds. More vocals, string synths build tension (it sounds like a ballet or Broadway musical)… the screams are freaking terrifying to listen to… but then it all quiets down again and the original song resumes, I think, just before he gets to the final chorus.
I mean- this just needed one more second on it- that abrupt cut-off just bugs me cuz it just doesn’t finish that final note.

But this is a great headphone song- Thunder in any form you find it.
It was so cool to hear the guys fangasm over the song when they started the podcast. I don’t think it gets nearly enough appreciation- D&P and Cream stole all the commercial buzz and the fans love Money don’t matter 2night… then songs like Jughead and Push get a lot of talk for just not being great.
The bookends of this album are seriously underrated and appreciated. I don’t think I have any other Prince album where I feel that way about the first and last song. So that’s one special thing D&P has always had. For me, anyway.

And I guess I do have the original “Get off” that was on the NPG maxi-single… I gotta re-title that one too. It has the same backing beat as NPG, but it also kinds sounds like Electric Chair.

Clockin’ the Jizz has some instruments that sound like Emancipation tracks. The drum beat and bass is the same but some other stuff is going on. The title comes from Tony saying that phrase throughout.

..going back to the podcast, they were talking about Insatiable and joking about he says it’s 2:45, we got all night and then he’s done at 2:49… and there’s some comedic musical effect so it sounds like a joke. Someone in the background did a descending whistle and “bam” type sound effect. It might have been Toejam, I’m not sure, but he freaking nailed that and I laughed so hard πŸ˜›

there’s one Gett Off remix with no extra signifier in the title- it has the same beat with some extra keyboards, Tony rapping through most of it… maybe I should listen to their interview with Tony again before listening to the Symbol review. I think I might save that one for the drive down to the shore house Friday night.
Only a couple of lyrics from the actual, Prince saying something throughout and ad-libs from Rosie.

After this, I might just watch some D&P videos from my DVD. Not all of them, but most of them. Nearly everything but Insatiable πŸ˜›

I think this might be called Gangster Glam because they’ve been mentioning that a few times.
Violet the Organ Grinder has the same music from “Gett Off” but with all new lyrics.
He’s even more gangster in this one… and more obscene, but I’m almost turned on by it… it’s kinda nuts πŸ˜› there are some Clare Fischer strings that finish it up- they’re cool.
Yeah, that’s insane.
I’m just trying to avoid any remixes that are the same as the original song because I don’t want to hear it more than twice today (from the video and the album).

Gett Off… damn… that video is absolutely sick. My mind just had to be really freed up to fully experience it. I don’t like how Prince is dressed with his hair tied back or up or whatever, but somehow, that charisma and sexual energy just won me over.
I think I need a cool down after that and the Strollin’ video seems like the perfect way to do it.
It’s short, but that’s ok.
Cream and D&P will be the way to go next.

the Cream video is pretty iconic. Definitely among those first videos I saw of Prince and the production was amazing.

Diamonds and Pearls… I saw and felt so much with that video. Like falling in love with him all over again. I saw the dancer that Mayte was auditioning to play and thought how this was the same person she knew and this was when their relationship started.
And just the way he looked and how he sounded… even if it isn’t something like Insatiable or The Beautiful Ones, if he sang this to me, I’d be his. And bits and pieces of him in this video, I saw he looked in Purple Rain and other than the beard, he’s ageless between those times.

Got through the rest of the videos I wanted to see… Money don’t matter 2night- just to see him perform or lip-synch…
but Live 4 Love is incredible in the live footage at the end of it.
I could see the future and what he’d do over the next few albums and so much to look forward to.

There’s a track labeled instrumental and it’s really cool and dreamy with keyboards and such. Then it ends with a prank phone call asking the person what they think of Cream and Prince is the prank-caller. And I think at the end of the podcast, the guys parodied this.
It’s the “Ethereal Mix” on the Cream maxi-single.
Another didn’t even have a title- the user who gave it to me didn’t know what it was called.
“Get Some Solo” seems to match because it’s the same length of time.

Princevault is such a great website- just gonna say that right now. I didn’t know what most of these were until now. But this is the first time I’m really taking the time to listen to them.

Now for the album… and I’m going to try listening to this on my CD player.
Maybe it’s because I kinda don’t want to put Jughead on my iPod πŸ˜› but I just want to really experience it with the good headphones and not the earbuds. Unfortunately, I might have to put the CD in my laptop because the batteries are giving out.
And they’re my mouse batteries πŸ˜› I listen to my CD player so little these days I don’t even give it its own batteries.
…and I think I could hear the batteries start to give because static was coming in towards the end of “Insatiable” and towards the beginning of “Live 4 Love”- so I quickly put my disc into my laptop to finish the album.

Yeah, these late nights really aren’t working because… not that Prince isn’t exciting or that this album is… but it’s hard to keep my attention. With my work schedule letting me get little sleep. Plus sometimes I hear the same songs twice in a day… so now to finish…

I get the feeling this is probably one of those albums I just have to be in the moment and in the mood to listen to it and really enjoy it. Other than my personal favorites, I’ve only gotten one good full listen out of it this week. But it’s all been a crazy week.
But of course, if I had any album with me on April 21st, I’m glad it was this one. It channeled all the emotions and had certain works that I needed for that particular time. Positive things to remember, things to keep in mind and just living 4 love- namely, the love of Prince and his music. And to stay positive when it comes to him. But then, it was rarely the opposite when he was alive.

Now to ready the spreadsheet… it’s been a while since I’ve had a long album like this…

THUNDER
In a number of ways, this is nothing like the rest of the album. It’s Prince singing and playing everything and it’s an album credited to him and the NPG- their first official co-credited album. Other than the masterful keyboard work and guitar solos, it’s so different. But it’s an attention-getting opener and one I’ve always had a soft spot for. It tells an interesting story with the lyrics and the music takes it all over the place after the story is done.
Technical Merit- 5 (it’s immaculate in every aspect. one of the best examples of his multi-vocal tracking. awesome music throughout, cool lyrics, and it’s well put together)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (One of Prince’s best album openers for sure and doesn’t get talked about as much as Let’s Go Crazy and 1999- although 1999 is pretty genius that it can’t be denied… it doesn’t hit me every time, but when it does, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m out of breath afterwards)

DADDY POP
This song is so cool and upbeat. You don’t realize until reading into the lyrics that this is a song about hitting back at all the critics and people that’ve wronged you over the years. Or people that just don’t get you and you should worry about upholding your own values. Although it makes for a really catchy and fun chorus- I just don’t get or like the name or character “daddy pop”… it just doesn’t quite work for me.
Technical Merit- 4 (I took half off for the rap… I’ve gotten used to it, but it’s an abrupt change for the song and the rap part just doesn’t work with the rest of it. Prince said all that needed to be said lyrically and the rap really doesn’t add much more to the narrative. And for the whole character thing)
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 7.5

DIAMONDS & PEARLS
It’s not often that Prince does a conventional love song or ballad like this. Not something this contemporary and it’s a nice change of pace. Not just for the album (where it’s been kinda hard hitting up to this point) but in general. And I said it earlier- he takes something that sounds cheesy and clichΓ© and it makes it work in a way only he can. With killer music and a nice balance of male and female vocals.
Technical Merit- 5 (again, flawless)
Components score- 4
Total score- 9

CREAM
This is one of those “only Prince could write it” songs and perform it and make it work as a whole. That much is true.
Technical score- 5
Components score- 3
Total score- 8 (I can’t remember if I’ve always felt this way about this song- I’ve always kinda liked it, but I never full-on hated it. It’s for what it is, but I don’t often feel a strong connection with it personally)

STROLLIN’
Probably unlike anything else Prince had done before or since. Very chill, happy-go-lucky song with fairly tame lyrics. I don’t think there are even any sexual innuendos, which is nuts. It goes as far as laughing behind dirty magazines while eating ice cream and just leaves it there. There’s not a lot of love for this song from the fan community, but I’ve always kinda liked it.
Technical score- 4 (the chorus is kinda weak and it doesn’t exactly scream like something only Prince could put together, but the music and vocals are really good)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8

WILLING & ABLE
The guys at Peach & Black raved about this song. I like it a fair amount, but I’m not super fanatical. At least not at their level.
It’s a little something different on the album that took me a while to get into. It has its charms and its moments and sometimes I really get into it. But by the end of the album, it’s not among the songs I readily recall afterwards.
Technical score- 4.5 (I have a feeling that another artist could have written a similar song and have had a hit with it. It’s someone in a genre I don’t listen to or know that well, but this doesn’t have a full-on Prince vibe like most of his material)
Components score- 3 (Tony’s rap might actually be the best part, but most times, I feel neutral about the song and don’t generally get excited over it. although I have once or twice)
Total score- 7.5

GETT OFF
…oh boy…
now THIS is a Prince song. It’s got everything you could expect from- except for maybe Tony as part of the chorus. It is sexy. It is hot. It’s something uniquely special and Prince’s brand of unconventional to a tee. Despite whatever score I give it, I still think it sucks that it was the only Prince song on VH1’s greatest 100 90’s songs list… and it was at 93 or 97. Way too low. And he had so many other great songs that people just forgot about, conveniently, when he changed his name. Now, onto the score…
Technical score- 5 (what else, right?)
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (I believe I gave Darling Nikki the same score… it only seems fair… the past several times I’ve listened to the album, it’s what I enjoy listening and singing along to. As crazy as that sounds- considering my personality and history with this song)

WALK DON’T WALK
This doesn’t seem like a Prince song on the surface. But when you listen to the lyrics, they fit him perfectly. He comes off very confident in the studio and on stage, but not always in person. He’s not the easiest person to get close to. And after a hard-hitting song, it’s a nice interlude or break.
Technical score- 4.5
Components score- 3
Total score- 7.5

JUGHEAD
…oh boy, I’ve come around a bit with this one, but it still might wind up killing the album…
It’s a rap track. Tony gets the first verse, Rosie gets the 2nd and Prince gets the third. There’s a really stoopid chorus, lyrics hard to understand because they’re going too fast, and a skit that ends with Tony slapping a would-be manager.
Technical Merit- 3.5 (it has a good structure as a whole and the music is a hit and there are bits and pieces that scream Prince. The rest… not done quite as well.)
Components score- 3
Total score- 6.5 (in the course of the whole album, I don’t mind it. But it’s not a song I reach to skip to)

MONEY DON’T MATTER 2NIGHT
Early on in my time with Prince, way back in 2007, this was one of my favorites. And to this day, I still feel the same way. It’s a serious social commentary track, very polished and well-executed. Amazing backing vocals that really make it work (nice job, Levi!). And it’s kinda special in the final chorus where the music builds in the background, the backing vocals become limited to a few moments and Prince gets to be at the center. Especially now, that’s something I feel is needed every now and then. Just to feel him there.
Technical merit- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5 (the only thing I can take away… it’s not a track I can listen to all the time because it’d lose whatever makes it special. And also the subject matter- it’s not the nicest thing to come back to too much. But when I bring this album back out, it always greets me like an old friend).

PUSH
…quite possibly another song that could kill the album.
There are some good points to this song. Clare Fischer’s strings give it that something extra, but might not be enough to keep this song from not being overly good. Some good lyrics. But some cheesiness as well.
Technical merit- 3.5 (the music doesn’t have anything really special about it other than the strings. the lyrics are a mixed bag in general. and you can’t always pick up that it’s a Prince track. Doesn’t quite fit his character as an artist).
Components score- 3
Total score- 6.5 (I don’t mind it when it comes on, but it’s not one of my favorites or one I often look forward to getting to).

INSATIABLE
In the school of the later, greater Prince ballads… this is my favorite. I’ve sung its praises enough times, but I’ll add more. The vocals are immaculate. The beat is simple, but it’s very calm and peaceful. Great lyrics… although him talking about Martha a couple times kinda takes me out of it. Not because that isn’t my name (ha ha), but it feels like the obligatory namedrop to kinda set the song apart. But then, something would be missing from the lyrical rhythm without something there and I wouldn’t know what to substitute it with. But this is just me nit-picking.
Technical score- 5
Components score- 4.5
Total score- 9.5
(I’m not sure what it is, but I just don’t want to give anything on this album a perfect score. There are a bunch of contenders, but none that are on that extra level of perfection that really set them apart in the whole catalogue)

LIVE 4 LOVE
Like I said before, this album has the best bookends: best start and finish. This song is unique to Prince and there’s nothing he’d written before or since that’s anything like it. He gets into the cockpit and puts himself in the mindset of a war pilot, trying to figure if it’s the right thing to do. And Tony does a rap at the end that really drives the point home. Funny how it’s his first rap ever on a Prince album, but it’s the best on this one. “Willing & Able” is really good as well, but this one just beats it. And probably one of Prince’s best and underrated guitar solos on any song.
Technical score- 5
Components score- 5
Total score- 10

I really thought I’d give this and Thunder the same score… but I just couldn’t bring myself to give this song anything else. It’s great for what it is, nothing detracts away from it. And it’s another one I always look forward to hearing. And what a way to finish the album. Easily one of his best closers. Maybe moreso than Thunder being one of his best openers.
It may be unfair because this is the last song I heard and it’s still fresh in my mind… but it’s 2am. I don’t care anymore.

Wow- the average technical merit is a huge number. The components score, not quite as much. But this isn’t exactly the most well-rounded album either.

Live 4 Love- 10
Insatiable- 9.5
Money Don’t Matter 2night- 9.5
Thunder- 9.5
Gett Off- 9.5
Diamonds & Pearls- 9
Strollin- 8
Cream- 8
Daddy Pop- 7.5
Willing & Able- 7.5
Walk Don’t Walk- 7.5
Push- 6.5
Jughead- 6.5

Total score for the album overall- 109… divided by 130 (points possible)…

8.3 out of 10

wow… so those meh tracks didn’t kill the album after all… but there were so many good ones on this… I don’t think I’ve given out so many 9.5’s before…
there’s 5 of them… and with one perfect 10- I could take half the songs off this album and it’d be freaking amazing.

Going forward-

Live 4 Love
Insatiable
Money Don’t Matter 2night
Thunder
Gett Off

I may add more to this post tomorrow, but that takes care of the important part.
I think I have 2 other albums in the 8.3 range and it’s in good company. But it’ll be interesting later ranking these albums overall and how that’ll break down.


Getting into the final extra tracks on that flashdrive- a couple more versions of Gett Off.
One was an extended version with a long opening before you get to the song.
The other (House mix) is the same song with some extra instrumentals, some of the extra verses from the extended version- but the music sounds like the music from the Cream video in the train station. It’s kinda cool.

It was so crazy when I finally got these songs today… I’d been so wrapped up in the Open Championship (Jordan Speith had the worst start, but finished in AMAZING fashion)… I was listening to Prince and it was like I hadn’t heard him in forever. Or maybe ever… o_O
some cool flute work in this House mix version.

And there’s an extended cut of Willing & Able… it sounds like either the version from the D&P video collection… or it might be an earlier recording of it because there’s a lot of differences in the sound. More bass work and horns and a different vocal from Prince.
I’m not over the moon for the song, but hearing a fresh interpretation is a good way to keep things fascinating.

I’m thinking of giving my favorite D&P tracks one final listen before finally closing this chapter.

I don’t believe I’d listened to Symbol since Prince died… I listened to it either March or earlier April in 2016. I hadn’t in ages and it was a fun return.
Just wanna say I’m both nervous and excited to finally enter that chapter of Prince’s career where Mayte was a member of the NPG. I can’t wait to find out more about it in the books I’m reading. But I’m scared about seeing how it all plays out, being let down when it all ends… and from there… it’s going to run downhill so fast and it’s all going to be over…

Okay, that’s enough of that. This has been a fun journey and I plan to enjoy every moment of it I can.

Also- my birthday is Saturday…
and it’s nice to have a good album like this to listen to and work through that day.

But then, these next few albums… not to spoil too much… but I’m really excited to get to them… I’ll leave there.

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Prince Album #13: Graffiti Bridge

I’m going to open with a couple random comments having to do with numbers:

Yesterday was 7/7/17.
The radio station I listen to in the morning [it has music from the 60’s thru the 80’s] had a theme for requests (as it does every Friday)- songs with “7” or “17” in the title… and it was killing me because, in all likelihood, they didn’t have “7” or “17 days” on file.
I would’ve called in a) if I wasn’t driving and b) it wasn’t pouring really heavy.

10 years ago on that day, I bought the most music I ever had in one sitting. Over $100- and this included 4 Prince albums, 2 of which I got used and two others used- but one was free.
It was a satisfying shopping spree that yielded 3 albums I’d never find again: Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, Sign o’ the times (used), and O(+>. But I was wiped out afterwards- maybe feeling I overdid it. It was the first time I bought more than 2 Prince albums in a single day [my first weekend home from spring break, I bought 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday- more on that another time].
Then it blew my mind when I heard Prince did 3 surprise gigs in MPLS for 7/7/07.
As anyone who knows Prince as his most devoted fans do, it’s his favorite number. And we both did something special to mark that particular date. What I’d give to be in MPLS that day/night…

Now onto some numbers with Graffiti Bridge…
I checked my gift receipt [a birthday present from my fellow purple knight] before watching it last night… it was 7/7/17, I had to do something special, and it was the first time I’d really spent time with Prince [beyond hearing Peach & Black just talk about his B-sides in two amazing shows] since the previous Saturday or Sunday.
I watched it at the shore house the day after I opened up the package.
According to my receipt, that was back in 2012. I hadn’t watched it since.
The numbers thing I was getting at… as stupid as it sounds that I’m even bringing this up… I got Graffiti Bridge 5 years after my fandom officially began in 2007.
It had been 5 years since I watched the movie. I just thought that was a funny coincidence worth sharing.
yeah, I’m a total dork πŸ˜›

So Graffiti Bridge… where do I start?
Maybe I should address that 5 year gap… I don’t think it had to do with the quality of the movie so much as one notable detail: I hated Morris Day so much in this movie that I just didn’t want to deal with that. At least not for a long time.
Also- some time after that, Morris Day and The Time were coming for a concert very close by. I decided I had to go. And I wanted to enjoy myself. So I deliberately put distance from that movie for that one reason. [And the concert was awesome and nothing from it aside from a couple songs- I think “Shake” and “Jerk Out”- neither I have recollection of from said concert].

And I think I just forgot to really get back to the movie. Or I just wasn’t in a hurry.
Watching it again- it was an interesting experience in that I really didn’t remember a lot about it. The placement of certain songs wasn’t lost to me- particularly how I didn’t like how “The ? of U” was placed in the movie and how “Still would stand all time” was the “Purple Rain” number that made everything okay in the end.
And I also remembered that there was only one scene that really made me laugh. It was Morris Day and Jerome with Aura (The Kid’s love interest- played by Ingrid Chavez) at his place, Prince turns the lights off, and Morris accidentally gropes Jerome in the dark and their reaction afterwards when they realize this and the lights come back on. I was falling over laughing- that’s how much I loved that part.

One thing that bothered me, but I now understand- what Aura was really supposed to be to the plot. She’s not just the Apollonia character or token love interest the two guys would spar over. She’s human, but she’s also kind of a muse or angel that’s not only to inspire The Kid not to give up on himself, but also to save Morris Day from going further down this “greed is good” road he’s on.
And supposedly, this inspiration and this reconciliation finally comes about because she’s told by whatever spiritual being sent her to walk in front of a runaway car and get herself killed. It was hard to know whether she was human or an angel because those lines are so gray. But also- if she’s an angel, how can she die as she did? And just the way she was run over… it didn’t look fatal to me. [But then again, “Chances Are” had a similar deal where Louie gets run over at the start of the movie and dies, but it doesn’t look nearly as bad as it does in the movie… I guess it was just the way they did it in 1989/1990].

My problem with Morris Day is that he’d just gotten such a big head. He wants to own all the clubs at the 7 corners like it’s goddam monopoly. It just doesn’t make sense. And he really isn’t good to anybody. In fact, there was one point in the movie where I swear even Jerome was thinking he’d gone off the deep end. [Or maybe that’s just in my head after seeing how Lefou in the latest “Beauty and the Beast” changed sides at the battle at the castle after seeing Gaston descend into that madness].

Watching it again- I can understand why The Kid is in this place with a different band and his club Glam Slam isn’t pulling in the same crowds. And also why he was writing letters to his dead father- his voiceover while writing these letters were his way of telling us what was happening without breaking character- where The Kid really is a man of action and not words.
But I thought his thoughts wrestling with suicide- he’s considering it at least 3 times during the movie, maybe 5. But he mentions it so dramatically in the voiceover at points that I have trouble believing it.
“Thieves in the Temple”- I’ll give more thoughts on this song later on- but I find the placement in the movie a little odd. He performs it on the street when Morris and Jerome are driving Aura home. He’d seen her around a couple of times, but they’ve yet to say a word to each other. So how exactly are they stealing her from him? It was maybe too soon in the movie.
“The ? of U” plays while he and Aura are making out against this brick wall by the club where he’d painted lyrics and trash is blowing everywhere thanks to a wind machine. This song is SO GOOD- the video depicting it just didn’t do it any favors.

Several Graffiti Bridge tracks were songs reworked from 80’s recordings.
Joy in Repetition, The ? of U, Can’t Stop this Feeling I got (which- by the way- was NOWHERE in the movie- aside from a few non-vocal sound bites and he’s putting the song together on his computer at the start and end of the movie. But according to Matt Thorne’s book, a performance scene was shot, but somehow wound up on the cutting room floor).

Tick, Tick, Bang was among those tracks from the early 80’s. I think between 1981-1982. It was completely revamped for this eventual release.
More on that later…
but within the context of the movie, it was the “Darling Nikki” scene. Not so much attacking his girlfriend in a public setting, but it was a performance at a critical time in the movie. Where he was already on thin ice and he did a song that nobody but him would get.
Darling Nikki is a kick-ass song. Tick Tick Bang, while it’s not exactly subtle, the way Darling Nikki wasn’t… I’m sorry, but the performance was kinda painful to watch. Because nobody really understood it and he come off as the submissive in an BDSM type of relationship. He didn’t assert control of his situation.

After that tumultuous time I had with LoveSexy, I can wrap my head around plenty of the movie and Prince’s character and stuff like that.
And there were two moments where I felt genuinely invested in him- where I felt like we clicked and were on the same plane.
One scene- probably before Tick Tick Bang where he and Aura are talking by the Graffiti Bridge and he’s very discouraged- I really felt bad for him.
And “Still Would Stand All Time”… that was such a big important scene for the movie as a whole. But the first time I saw this movie and every time I’d heard the song (which isn’t often)- I never felt anything. And in the movie, I found its inclusion super cheesy and following a little too closely to Purple Rain with a song just not as good.

Maybe it’s because I’d been away from Prince for some time [yeah, about as long as Anastasia had been from Christian Grey before she wound up getting back together with him… I think that was also 5 days] and was getting back on that same plane as him again- or maybe it’s just getting to understand this character he’s playing… but it felt like there was a wall there.

It’s also possible that I’d put so much distance between myself and this particular project… that I’m half struggling to think of it within the narration of his career while half struggling to keep it from assimilating into that… and so many other thoughts in my head from hearing Mayte’s book and looking ahead to Diamonds and Pearls and the albums that follow that I’m really looking forward to.
Someone at .org, someone I was friends with and who had sent me mp3’s of the first Madhouse album and a couple other things- including the original cut of “Strange Relationship” with Wendy & Lisa’s contributions in full.
He also sent me the Prince tracks from Graffiti Bridge with the exception of “New Power Generation Part II” because it had rap on it. And at the time, I still didn’t like Tony M’s contributions to Diamonds and Pearls.

I had the album on my iPod years ago and listened to it through maybe twice.
Then I was only listening to “New Power Generation,” and “The ? of U” and “Joy in Repetition”- then those last two songs… that kinda gives you an idea of where this album review is going.

I can’t remember the last time I’d heard either of those songs, but it’d been a really long time.

Matt Thorne titled this chapter “What’s Wrong with Graffiti Bridge”… so I thought maybe he was going to come to its defense.
Nope… but he also wasn’t more negative than any other person who’d discussed this project with disdain. He didn’t like “New Power Generation”- which I was unhappy about, but I can kinda understand why.
Tick Tick Bang, Graffiti Bridge- both songs got a bad rap and justifiably.
He also talked about it being in continuity with LoveSexy.
And I half thought about the original idea for the LoveSexy-Rave-Graffiti Bridge trilogy. How that would have come across if he was able to do that.
But considering this “what if” is almost as pointless as the original Dream Factory/Crystal Ball… it’s something that never happened, so why dwell on it?
In my head, I’m considering whether there was a better way to address the narrative within Prince’s albums so the continuity makes more sense.

It’s kinda cool that Prince is the type of artist where there’s enough material to have these thoughts about… but it can also be exhausting.

Now for listening to the actual songs… and I have quite a few thoughts on them. Mostly on why certain ones just plain don’t work for me.
When it comes to Prince, I hate to be negative or to really criticize his music. I’ll try to address the album the best I can in a positive light, but let’s just say I can’t make promises.

And to be honest- I’m only going to be reviewing/discussing the 10-11 songs from the album I have- that someone from .org was kind enough to send me. All the Prince/NPG tracks with the exception of NPG Part II.
Speaking on that really quick- it was a funny running joke throughout the movie. This one dude from the NPG kept saying how much he wants to rap. Or, at one point, how he never got a chance to rap. I asked myself if that was Tony πŸ˜› which would be even funnier, given his notoriety among the fan community. But of course I’ll get into on D&P and the next album.
But it’s TC Ellis in the movie and I believe he was signed to the Paisley Park label and he did a cover of a Prince song. But I forget which one.
And he does finally get his chance- during the credits.

The album as a whole has 17 tracks, which means I’ll only be going into 10 songs for this post as well as my ratings system. And to be sure, strapping down the number of songs won’t hurt the overall score too much. It makes for a more compact package.
But I also haven’t had a super long album yet to really affect the ratings in that way. Sign o’ the Times was the longest with 16, but everything so far has been between 8-12 tracks.

So anyway… some thoughts to dispel with early regarding these tracks.

It was an interesting start. And I’m not talking about the voiceover (though it was kinda cool).
Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got- it reminded me very much of later efforts where Prince tried to recapture that 80’s sound with the Linn-drum and all that [some stuff from MPLSound and 20TEN]. It’s among the songs he resurrected from the 80’s and revamped/rehashed. According to Prince vault, it was originally from 1982, re-recorded in 1986 and finished up in 1989.
Makes me wonder how much of the original song is still in this final version.
And taking that date into account…
See, my biggest criticism about this song (and I swear I’ll only bring it up now and that’s the end of it)… IT SOUNDS LIKE “FOOTLOOSE”… I always found that so distracting. And I don’t think it’s going to go away- even though it seems to be more likely Prince didn’t rip it off or wasn’t listening to it and subconsciously layered down a track with a similar beat.
I’d say “I dare the Peach and Black podcast to bring this up”… except for the fact they recorded their GB episode ages ago πŸ˜›
Also found it interesting that there was a lyric or spoken line where Prince says “pardon me for living, this is my world”… because that sentiment returns in the second song. Kinda cool how that ties them together.

New Power Generation
This song is so damn catchy, I cannot help but sing along to it. There’s not much to the lyrics, but there’s a lot of cool sentiments in it. Although I don’t know how well it represents the actual band… Prince might not have believed in it as much as he did at the start because he’d never performed it live. Kinda crazy.
Also- I just found out today that Morris Day played the drums on the track. That’s pretty neat. Especially since it’s a rarity for him to play drums on any Prince song. “Cloreen Baconskin” is the only one I know off the top of my head.
This song itself- it might not carry the impact an anthem named for a famous backing band needs… but as a pop song, I just love it. [Also- to be noted- this was one of the later songs recorded- in 1989]

The ? of U
Looking at the article, apparently the title is “the question of U” but it was changed to this shortened version when he started doing it live in the 2000’s in a medley along with “The One” and “Fallin'”… but I’ll still do it this way.
This is one of those songs much beloved by the fan community and for good reason. It’s just something special only Prince could do and do brilliantly.
It’s also in VERY good company- recorded during the same sessions as Girls & Boys, Love or $, Do U Lie? and Venus de Milo. Although not considered for any Parade configuration, that would explain why it’s beloved. Certainly why I respond to it like I do.
There’s not much to it as far as lyrics, although they are deep lyrics. What I mean is much of the song is solely instrumental (with occasional outbursts from Prince, multiple voices calling out at once). My one criticism about it was that its usage in the movie didn’t do anything for the song. Prince’s “make out choreography” is already kinda awkward to watch, but with these deep lyrics, I don’t feel like the chemistry (or lack thereof) between him and Ingrid Chavez stood up to that lyrical standard.
I’ve got plenty more to say about this song, but I’ll save for another time. As you can figure out, my inability to shut up offers a positive outlook.
Also- his track record with the songs so far haven’t been great- didn’t bring them back to concert, if at all. This one he loved quite a bit late in his career, in the 00’s. And he last performed it on March 2016. [I’ll have to go through all these album posts and compile a list of the songs he performed in 2016- because it shows how much he still enjoyed performing them and maybe a pattern will develop and I’ll get a better idea of where his head was at in those last few months. And by no means is this meant in a negative way, in that particular context].

Elephants & Flowers
I think my initial reaction to this song wasn’t positive. Namely, figuring out what the title meant- how they are representatives of male and female body parts.
I’m not quite sure why… it’s much more subtle than other innuendos he’s used in the past. The performance number in the movie helped it make more sense for me. Particularly how everyone was dressed and the colorful makeup (almost tribal colors). It kinda speaks to that hippie movement about free love and all that [the 2nd verse has lyrics that sounds like this is being performed in the middle of an orgy].
But it’s surprising to find it’s a bit of a spiritual track. The chorus ends with the line “for those who love God a lot”… while it sounds like a weak lyric anyone would have written, I get what he was going for. And it furthers the idea that started to brew in my head while listening- this is a bit of a spiritual album. Not to the same caliber or level as the LoveSexy album, but I’m getting those types of vibes.
[On that front, this song was recorded while he had time off from the LoveSexy tour, along with one other… which really explains ITS spiritual message… and holy crap, he played this song on April 14 2016 in Atlanta… it seems like it was one he also grew fond of in the 00’s because it made a heck of comeback to the live sets…
then going into that- the ? of U might actually be about God, not a woman… lots of new possibilities]
this song also reminded me of some other Prince did… I think it’s the melody he sings in the verses, it reminds me of a part in “4ever” [where he says “I can be your future lover, you can be my future girl”] as well as “My Computer.”

We Can Funk- went through a lot of changes, starting with the verb in the title being changed from something a lot racier [that version is now officially released as part of the Purple Rain remaster]- 1983 as the start, title change in 1986 and finally re-recorded in 1989-1990.
So… I hate when I have these moments with Prince songs where it say one little thing just kills the song for me… but maybe I’ll spend enough time with this album where I’ll just “grow out of” that… I hate the chorus. I get the notion of “testing positive for the funk” like a urinalysis test… but then the cup overflows… it’s not a pleasant image, especially when he keeps going despite already testing positive.
I think the chorus might’ve come out of the fact Prince and George Clinton passed this song to one another, taking turns “peeing on it”… his words, not mine.
there’s a scene in the movie where Morris and Jerome are leaving Glam Slam and Morris says a house plant looks thirsty and he pees on it and lights it on fire. Firstly- ew! Second… that’s just mean.
Lots of funky stuff happening with the music, the horn line and other things. If I can keep my mind off that damn chorus… there might be hope.

Joy in Repetition
…yeah, there’s a reason I love this and “the ? of U”… they’re so hypnotic and I almost hate for them to end. Plus, kick-ass guitar solos.
It was recorded in 1986, the day after he reworked “I could never take the place of your man” and… didn’t know this… Susannah does backing vocals. That’s pretty cool.
At one point, it was considered for Crystal Ball, but dropped from the track listing when he was forced to just do 2 discs for the album.
It’s an interesting story he tells- really cinematic and the movie does a really good job with this. Although I prefer whatever visual comes into my mind. [I had my own visuals for these songs before I saw the movie and I hope to keep it that way– not a knock against the movie, but I like having that bit to myself].
This song came out in the movie this last time and I swear the hairs on my neck stood up.
[also part of that April 2016 set list… and a song he brought back quite a bit in the 00’s, including a live cut for the ONA Live album]

Tick Tick Bang
…here we go…
yeah, this was originally recorded in 1981 and completely redone for this new version.
I really like the original version and I listened to it a bit before getting the GB tracks. Then hearing what he did to this… I’m thinking… just why…?
Today when it began, I actually said the line with him “oh, I can’t hold it, ow!”… maybe because I just wanted to say something after that previous song was so wow. Or Lady Gaga opened a song once where she said “I don’t speak German, but I can if you like, ow!”… the “ow!”, thinking about it now, it might be a Prince reference. I heard her “Born this Way” album was influenced by him.
I don’t care much for the music, how he tries to incorporate it into the sound of the rest of this album… just doesn’t work.
Then listening to the lyrics- they start out okay, but the metaphor he’s pushing just gets to be too much.
“I can’t hold it… getting all over me”… I’m sorry, but ew…

Dang, this is gonna be the “ew!” album, isn’t it?

Thieves in the Temple
I loved this song on “The Very Best of…”
I knew the song wasn’t going to be enough to sell me on the album (I already knew of its reputation too well). But every now and then, I’ll take it out and hear it and just be blown away. The most disappointing thing is how it was shot as a music video (and in the movie). It’s nothing like how I imagined. I imagined it being inside a tomb filled with gold, something from Aladdin- the Cave of Wonders. With all kinds of Egyptian, Middle-Eastern artifacts.
Early in my time with Prince’s music, it was one of my favorites, but over time, it’s gotten buried a bit under all his other music. The musical content is so unique and different from anything he’d done up to this point. The lyrics tell an interesting story and, again, so cinematic.
the last song recorded for the album. and he performed it in March 2016 also.

Still would stand all time
it’s very mesmerizing and you kinda want to hold your breath to keep from disturbing the atmosphere.
it was recorded the same day as elephants & flowers. originally considered for the batman soundtrack, but later replaced with scandalous. It doesn’t really make sense for that last album, but considering some of the spiritual undertones of this album, it’s the perfect cornerstone.
it’s strange that it’s about as repetitive as the ladder, but I feel like I’m getting more out of this one. even stranger that he didn’t bring it back after 1991.

Graffiti Bridge
I’m still undecided as to whether I hate this song or can be okay with it. The different vocalists make it sound so cheesy and broadway. as does the music.
funny enough, the bridge where he talks about “the love of a boy, the love of a girl”… it made me think of a bridge from “Resolution”… another song just as hated in the fan community.
I’ve got my own thoughts for it further down the road, much further… but I don’t think I’ve listened to it in years. The last few times I’d played Planet Earth, I stopped after “lion of Judah”

day 2- and maybe it’s because this is still a roughly new album for me, but I’m starting to “get it” a lot more. Maybe it’s because it has the movie, but it feels like another trip into Prince world. Where you get a certain feeling or vibe and it stays with you for the whole album.
Parade and LoveSexy are the two off the top of my head that give me that same feeling and it’s a good feeling for sure.

The trick yesterday was trying to figure out the volume on my iPod while driving and having to troubleshoot without being able to look at the volume gauge. so that took me out of the first song for the first couple minutes.
Today, I lucked out and it was near perfect.

I got the “Footloose” out of the song and was able to get into a bit more. The delivery makes it very catchy, but not all of the words come clearly.
I hear a bunch of different Prince songs within it, but it’s hard to isolate which ones. Also what parts he added and which were from the original. The drumming certainly sounds older- kinda like “Jack U Off” except that was on Linn drum and Bobby Z performed that. The really fast drumming part sounds like early 80’s, but the guitar and the air it gives off in the beginning of the song, that feels new. The synths that vacillate- they remind me of some song he did, but it’s hard to isolate that. But when there’s a breakdown and he says “pardon me for living”- that reminds me of that break in “Play in the sunshine” where he says to Susannah “let’s get out of here.”

“New Power Generation”- I just tried to remind myself that Morris Day did the drums on this one. With so much going on, it’s hard to pick that out. But I want to add I love the bridge before the chorus- favorite part of the song. The melody, the rhythm of delivery and of course all the vocals on it. Rosie Gaines’s first credit as part of the NPG πŸ˜‰ and what a debut it is.

“The Question of U”… there’s too much in this song to talk about. I love the use of space. The swampy sound of the drums- they sound muddy, but that gives the song character. By no means do I mean that as a negative thing. Great guitar solo, of course. It sounds like it was recorded live. I think my favorite part of it are the hand claps in rhythm and ending with a “ha!” with a multiple vocal track. Such a unique quirky thing.
And all things considered, it’s funny that I never referred to Prince as quirky- EVER. And he really is that.

“Elephants and Flowers”- if it wasn’t already such a perfect album, I’d definitely put this on LoveSexy because it feels like it fits in that particular dogma. One of Prince’s most signature things within his music- his combination of sexuality and spiritualty and this is a prime cut example of that.

It also got me thinking about how I see the album’s structure- how it starts with him in his current mindset and the next few songs are flashbacks that eventually led us to the Lovesexy concept… GB has that a bit too. “Can’t stop this feeling I got” is about what’s found and the next few songs are sifting through that mystery and arriving at a conclusion.
Only this album doesn’t do that as cleanly. There’s a little meandering and some songs that don’t fit into that concept [We can Funk, Thieves in the Temple, Tick Tick Bang]. It takes until “Still would stand all time” to reach that ultimate prize of this album. And I guess “Graffiti Bridge” is how everyone wants to achieve what Prince has.

“We Can Funk”- I thought about this yesterday and didn’t get around to saying it until now. The synth hook that goes throughout- it’s a slower version of the synth hook from “My Drawers” By The Time. Also another bridge I like within this album because it makes me feel like something’s about to happen. [It might also be hearing Wendy and Lisa on backing vocals].
The song really becomes a jam as it goes on and it goes for a while. It ends before it starts to feel too long. But as the backing vocals build up, I get more into it.
Considering the timing of everything, I’m super curious about how I’ll like the original version of this song via the Purple Rain deluxe edition. Before Prince and George Clinton peed all over the chorus and ruined it for me [nope, never letting that go].

“Joy in Repetition”… I get so into this that I stop breathing and I have to remind myself when the song ends. That’s the biggest compliment I can really pay to Prince. Not the suffocating part, but just being so in awe part. I’ve had that experience a bunch of times watching Evgeni Plushenko skate [been a long time since I’d blogged about him or even mentioned him…].
It’s almost like breathing would disturb the calm peaceful whatever you call it vibe I’m getting from them.
This guitar solo just goes on for days and it’s crazy. Love how different things are happening in both ears, so you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. It probably sounds even better in a dark room.
There’s a trend throughout the song where you hear three notes played. One time- it’s two notes the same and the third is a step higher. Another, it oscillates- the first note is in the middle, the 2nd goes down a step and the third goes a step higher than the first. That second variation is my favorite- I’d say I wish that he did that the whole way through, but then I might get sick of it. Either way, having those nuances in the song give it that something extra.

“Tick Tick Bang”… I almost don’t know if I dislike the new music or lyrics more. I don’t think anyone could have made this song work. It almost sounds as bad as the cheese of 90’s music or really the things about 90’s music people who lived for the 70’s and 80’s hated.
To me, it feels as bad as people felt about Prince trying to incorporate rap into his music- like a sell-out.
I have a feeling, though, that Captain might be crazy enough to like this new version of the song. I’m sure he likes the older version because it has that rockabilly thing going for it.

“Thieves in the Temple”- at times, this song almost feels too short, but it’s also just enough to get the point across.
I really like the hook that you first hear after the lyric “come save me from all this cold despair” that pops up throughout the song. All those Middle Eastern things in the song that really set it apart from anything he’d done before. Almost like it’s the final product of what he started with the song “around the world in a day”… just coming away with a completely original idea that’s his own [how’s that for redundant?]
I don’t like the extended version for one reason- the deliberate skipping on “kicking me in my heart”… I find it jarring and it takes me out of the spell the song puts on me, which is getting swept up in the cinematic nature of it.

“Still would stand all time”… the Steeles make their first appearance on a Prince album [they show up once in D&P and Symbol] and really give the song the extra weight it needs. Plus it needs to be different enough from various attempts at Gospel he’d made over the years.
I really like the piano on this song. I don’t know if Prince gets enough credit as a piano player and this is a prime example. That added emotion you can’t help but gravitate towards (although I did resist for a long time– I did a complete 180 on this song since I last listened to it ages ago)

“Graffiti Bridge”– I think I’m going to go on record and say that “Resolution” is worse than “Graffiti Bridge.” Because this song about the hope of achieving an abstract concept and it’s more internalized. “Resolution” is a blatant and naΓ―ve call for world peace. Its lyric lacks gravitas to validate the attempt at the concept.
At least with GB, you can kinda dream and hope for something better. Even when it doesn’t come across as well as it could have.
It’s growing on me a bit, I think. I’m not going to give it a high components score, but certainly not something in the basement.
The one thing I don’t like that kinda makes me grind my teeth a bit- the 2nd part of the chorus where it’s all accapella and it sounds like everyone is falling down the chromatic scale to achieve some “great effect” but it comes off super cheesy.
Among Prince’s massive catalogue, it doesn’t really seem like much and it doesn’t really have anything that exemplifies him as a musician. But I take away from the optimism and positivity and that’s something he brings his music frequently enough and I enjoy that.

I’m a little leery about going into the podcast after only hearing this album through a couple times… I like to have an album hashed out before I take in other opinions and I don’t want my feelings for some things tarnished by certain opinions.
I mean, some of these songs aren’t the best in the world and I’m not going to fight tooth and nail to defend them. But they’re good enough for me- the ones I like.

Kinda crazy how resistant I kinda was to this album at first, already looking ahead to the next few albums as well as the time when Prince and Mayte get together… but now I’m in the thick of it and having a good time.
I guess it’s good I did take that break from Prince’s music last week… I needed a good refresher and getting back to enjoying this time I spend with Prince instead of feeling like going through the music and doing these posts are becoming a chore. I may be sharing these posts on social media, but I’m doing them mainly for myself. Just to go through these songs and figuring how I feel about them and so on.
And I should stop this for tonight before I meander too much more…


It’s Friday and I’d finished listening to the Peach & Black podcast. between this that and the other, I just haven’t gotten back to my laptop to keep writing. And that’s probably a good thing.

I honestly don’t know where I’m going to stand with this album by the end of this whole thing… but I have a good feeling that I’m not going to pan it like so many other people from .org have. In fact, if they heard I might give it a good score, they’d revoke my membership. But I hadn’t been there in several years, so it really doesn’t matter. I already got crap for liking Planet Earth when everyone else hated it.
If my not like “Adore” or “Scandalous” didn’t get me kicked out of the fan community, this certainly would.
But who cares? I always felt free to like or hate the songs I want to and not give a damn what everyone else says.

I should really extend that to the guys, but I will still give Captain a hard time for not liking the same songs as me and the majority of fans πŸ˜› or most of the guys on the podcast for that matter.

So, wanna know how crazy Captain is? He actually doesn’t mind “Graffiti Bridge” the song… the rest of the panel panned it (ha ha), but he actually came to its defense. How it does what he wanted it to do. And how it’s considered one of the worst Prince songs ever.
He likes the most oddball songs by Prince, but this takes the cake.
Yeah, even more so than him liking “Release It.” Yet another “battle” between him and MC over whether Morris Day’s delivery was good or just lazy.

The guys went into ALL the songs on this.
Toejam actually confessed to burning a mix of the album with JUST the Prince songs. And MC had done the same, but omitted the final two tracks.
The protΓ©gΓ© tracks pretty much got ripped apart.
Someone commented that maybe Prince intentionally gave The Time the bad songs to get his revenge on the years they were 1-uping him in concert. You gotta admit, it makes sense.

Then there was the part where the podcast almost died toon-style… check out the Graffiti Bridge podcast around the hour 15 minute mark… someone makes a comment about Tick Tick Bang (Toejam) and he nearly killed the whole panel. They sounded like they were literally ROFL. And they almost didn’t recover.
Beforehand, Captain said the song could blow your head off in another way, MC took a while to figure out where he was going with him and once he did (he and I had our aha moment almost at the same time) and Captain’s like “Took you long enough”.
Unlike the guys, I think I’m gonna be harsh with that song in particular. I’ve just heard a better version of it so this sounds pedestrian and way too explicit for my tastes.

Some more Captain comments before moving on… I’d said way too much already.
He didn’t like “We can Funk” when it got so much love from the rest of the panel.
“Still would stand all time”– one of his favorite Prince songs ever and one of few that can affect him on a persona level.

It’s my personal experience [and a couple of people I’d been in touch with] that a good number of Prince songs really hit me at the core. Of course there are several I adore.
Maybe my tendency for emotional response to more than a few Prince songs just comes down to being female and just being me [I can tear up if a song ends on the perfect note- that’s how ridiculous I am… like the final second of “Separate Ways” by Journey, I half wanna cry, half wanna scream and pump my fist in the air- SO GOOD!]

No score from MC on this one, but he did call the album underrated. Which is kinda nuts, but at the same time, I think I might be agreeing.

I realized today that I didn’t really listen to any other tracks from this era… so I might give them a chance now. Just to say that I did.

I got an NPG remix… supposedly two of these other songs are from the NPG maxi-single.
A lot of extra sound effects in this, but not adding too much to a killer song [for me anyway- it’s such a great song to have as a single]
Lubricated Lady [dude, I don’t even wanna know what that’s supposed to mean, lol]- it sounds like the same backing beat, but with a guitar and most of the other instruments stripped away with different lyrics. And “get off” keeps being namedropped πŸ˜› he keeps saying how he’s quick with a whip. Then after a while, it just becomes repetitive.

Geesh… the 50 shades references keep coming to mind and I can’t stop them πŸ˜› there’s something wrong with me.

Loveleft, Loveright- I hear a vocal delivery from him very similar to “Sexy MF”
not much to the beat in the background, but I really like the lyrics and the vocals on this. The bridge & the chorus especially 😎 great energy
although Robin’s backing vocals are a little annoying.

There’s a remix of The Latest Fashion here… kinda of a cool beat. there’s a sound effect here, like a hammer hitting an anvil, I’d heard this in some other Prince song.
Kinda of a cool party track with a bunch of references from previous Time songs.
It makes me wish he wasn’t so vain and mean in Graffiti Bridge. I tell ya, power changes people…

there’s a cool Thieves in the Temple remix that sounds like an Arabian techno track. The tight drumming and my favorite bit was taken out, but it kept my attention all the way through. A cool ride 😎
and “clap your hands and stomp your feet” from the LoveSexy album was sampled a few times. not enough to become annoying, though.

“heaven is keeping score” was planned for the maxi single, but remains unreleased. it’s a piano piece where Prince speaks with it. it sounds like it was recorded that way initially. kinda cool.

all that’s left is a live recording of “Still would stand…” but someone says “will” and Prince calls them on it.
even when it’s acoustic, you can just tell when it’s Prince playing guitar. He has such a special unique sound.
he’s singing it in falsetto, but it sounds like he’s adding different lyrics.
He calls them out just after the 6 minute mark πŸ˜› it sounded like someone in his band [Boni Boyer, maybe… not sure… the guys at Peach and Black kept calling her the “late great Boni Boyer”… I had to look it up- she died of a brain aneurysm in 1996 at age 38… so sad 😦 and apparently she was in “The Adventures of Ford Faraline” somewhere- I sat through that movie once cuz I found out Morris Day was in. Kind of an oddball movie].
Then after 8 minutes, he rips into this outrageous electric guitar solo that lasts maybe 30 seconds.

I want to see the movie again at least one more time… but I’m not gonna have time tonight. Not to mention- I mean, Prince can be like caffeine to me sometimes- but I don’t want him to have to keep me awake. I want to actually be awake.
So maybe I’m thinking earlier tomorrow, I will. And then that night, I’ll go through the album once more and give my official scores.

Still deciding whether to watch the movie and listen to the album or just the album…

I’d been reading Mayte’s book throughout the week- the little time I have during lunch time at work and a little when I get home… so many other little things going on and distracting me. But I also don’t want to rush through. It’s another companion book to this long journey I’m taking through Prince’s discography.
Anyway- the point I was going to make was that she saw Graffiti Bridge at her high school homecoming. Most of her classmates laughed it. She could understand some of the stylistic choices he made and didn’t think it was nearly as bad as everyone else did.
Then when they talked over the phone about it, she tried to be diplomatic, but he said something in response that was kinda deep and cool.
Saying how people start to live through you and when you do something they don’t expect, you’re the one who gets the blame.

So Prince acknowledges that it’s not something everyone would get. If he was ever good at anything [besides the musician and performer thing, of course], it was staying true to himself and not changing to suit anybody else. [Although incorporating hip-hop and rap into his music might be another story…]

I’m really loving this book…

anyway, back to Graffiti Bridge… no matter how this comes out at the end of the night, it’s definitely been one of the cooler journeys I’d been on with an album so far on this whole thing. Very unexpected…

I left my decision of what to do up to a coin flip. Heads, I do both the movie and the album. Tails, just the album…
It’s gonna be another Saturday night where I’m up until 1-2am with Prince while math determines how I feel about his albums…
yeah…

the movie is 90 minutes long… why does it feel like it’s longer than that?

…then I watch it and it kinda flew by.
Yeah, the people at prince.org would definitely revoke my membership if they read this. Not that I’m going to praise the movie and call it a bloody masterpiece.
But aside from some cringe-worthy moments, it certainly isn’t God awful like the majority of the fan base there seems to think.

I said I wasn’t going to rate the protΓ©gΓ©/associated tracks as part of my system. I hadn’t done any of that business for The Time, Vanity/Apollonia 6, Madhouse or anyone else, so why start now?
On the album- there are 17 tracks. 11 are by Prince and the NPG (but mostly Prince). The other 6 are:
Round and Round- Tevin Campbell (I think it’s a fun 90’s track good for an R&B artist just starting out)
Melody Cool- Mavis Staples (man, when she talks/sings in this movie, you can’t help but listen. She is so cool. An established artist Prince was a fan of and wanted to work with. Along with the Steeles with backing vocals. Always a cool number to watch. All about that attitude).
and 4 by The Time…
Shake is probably my favorite just because I really like the beat and the keyboard/synth riff and the vocals sound good on it. The lyrics just aren’t anything special.
Love Machine- the female vocals on this are just awkward to listen to. Especially with Ingrid Chavez lip-synching to a voice that isn’t hers. It just sounds too cutesy. And I just can’t see Morris Day being a quote “love machine”. I mean, he’s cool, but that just makes it sound like he’s full of himself. Like in the entire movie.
Release It- it has that classic James Brown beat [either sampled or stolen, I have no idea], but beyond that, there isn’t enough in for me to get into.
The Latest Fashion- I don’t remember it at this point, but hearing the extended mix the other night, I liked it enough.

So it’s definitely going to be past 1 am by the time I finish this. Gotta listen to the album.
Just can’t help but wonder if Prince had those moments of doubt like he did in the movie or if that was just part of a character he was playing. Reading Mayte’s book and how he and her got on, there might be more truth in there than he lets on. But some parts are overdramatized in an attempt to make a “creative” picture out of it.

I’ll amend one thing I said earlier… there isn’t even any kissing in the “? of U” scene in the movie. But the choreography of them in the alley, him spinning her around and changing how he’s holding her in his arms… it just distracts from the song. Not exactly brilliant acting. and doesn’t really make us believe there is chemistry.

Now onto the music… and final comments…
oh man, this is gonna be a long night…

It’s been a crazy ride.
I went from not thinking of this as part of the catalogue, dismissing the idea entirely- now it’s been a solid part of it.
But like with most of the albums so far, there finally came a point where I’d just had enough. But I’m not usually the type of person who likes hearing the same songs twice in one day either.
when “joy in repetition” is lulling me to sleep, you know it’s time to move on.

CAN’T STOP THIS FEELING I GOT
…speaking of not feeling like a part of a whole…
This song is only heard in song bites early in the movie and there’s no performance number. But while wracking my brain, I think the last time I’d been blown away by an opening track was “Let’s go Crazy”… since then, the case has been that the opening track is good, but it doesn’t get me super excited for the rest of the album.
I thought this the other day and only just got around to writing it… the vocals and the drum beat sound like they’re from a home recorded demo tape. They have that 1982 feel. The other elements are now, but the two meld together really well where neither feels out of place.
Technical merit- 3 (the music is great, but everything else, I just find very average. It runs a little long and meanders about. Some lyrics are hard to make out cuz the vocals… I can only remember the damn chorus, okay? πŸ˜› I’m sorry)
Components score- 3
Total score- 6 (I feel bad that the guys at Peach and Black liked this song, but I just don’t feel the same way. It’s an ok album opener and an average Prince song all around. Nothing really stands out about it).

NEW POWER GENERATION
…now this is a start to an album- if this was the opener and part II was the closer- perfect bookends. But I don’t have part II, so so much for that theory.
This is a good, all-around fun track. It comes off as the funkiest letter of intent ever. And what an adrenaline rush whenever it comes on.
Technical merit- 5 (I don’t really want to show favoritism, but I just can’t help myself. One of the catchiest songs Prince has written, I think. Certainly memorable).
Components score- 4.5 (I wouldn’t call it masterpiece material, as the other 5’s I give out, but it’s just such a good song, I gotta reward it for just making me happy whenever it comes on).
Total score- 9.5

THE ? OF U
…my username DreamyPopRoyalty came from the fact Prince just puts me in a dream-like state when I listen to him and the right song is playing… this album has two prime examples of that and this is the first.
The lyrics are written almost as a sonnet- 14 lines of text if you write them down a certain way. Full of rhetorical questions that could be asked of anything or anyone. I think Prince might be asking them of God, but it could be someone or something else.
In the podcast, someone said how this song was often played in concert in sequence with “under the cherry moon”… it makes sense in so many ways that it’s ridiculous and it’s mind-blowing.
Then there’s the music as well. Then the instrumental portion that takes up the second two thirds of the song. The melody is replayed on live electric guitar, so beautifully. There are hand claps, a harpsichord. So many little things happening, slowly leading you along, spell-binding you until the end finally comes.
…I don’t think I can take a point from it anywhere. It’s just so good, I can’t take it πŸ˜›
it’ll be very interesting to determine where this will fall in my favorite Prince songs of all time- whenever I get that list together.
Total score- 10
#Masterpiece

ELEPHANTS & FLOWERS
…talk about a 180…
I didn’t like this song when I first heard. Now, I’m getting like it more and more each time because I get more out of it each time.
Prince talks about being lonely and wanting to find someone. A shy angel in a city so bold. A savior in a city full of fools. But it’s not about sex, it’s about going beyond the flesh and pleasure and about finding God within that unity. He’d written so many songs about this very idea and this is another good one. It would’ve been perfect for the LoveSexy project, but I still wouldn’t change anything.
Technical merit- 4.5 (just that one lyric- “there will be peace for those who love God a lot”… it just seems pedestrian compared to a lot else on this song, which is brilliant)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5

WE CAN FUNK
…aw, funk… things were starting to go so well…
Prince is a master lyricist, but I’m pretty unforgiving when something just doesn’t come off right. I’m not going to go through it again. But there’s a lot to give credit for as well. A funky jam with some elements from different times in Prince’s career because he’d take this song out of the Vault numerous times to work on it. Great synth hook, love the horns from Eric Leeds and Atlanta Bliss, backing vocals from Wendy & Lisa… but that damn chorus…
Technical score- 4 (only took half off those certain lyrics and from the song as a whole cuz it runs a little long at the end)
Components score- 3.5 (there are a bunch of elements I really like, as I mentioned, but as a whole song, I’m not over the moon for it. I just simply like it despite some misgivings)
Total score- 7.5

JOY IN REPETITION
Prince’s storytelling and blistering electric guitar work at, possibly its best… in a single song.
Another mesmerizing, dreamy track that transports to another place. And it’s given me goosebumps on multiple occasions.
Total score- 10
…whether it or “the ? U” rank higher than the other will depend on the day. This past week, I’d rarely been over the moon about both songs on the same day. But they’re both masterpieces because when they hit, they kill me. They’re both so good. I’m really glad Prince brought them back from the Vault so we can experience them like this. Even if it’s on an album not often appreciated within the fan community.

TICK TICK BANG
…it’s just a rollercoaster, isn’t it? Thankfully this is the last bump in the road.
I’ve already given this song a hard enough time. I should probably just give my scores and press onward.
Technical score- 3 (the music sounds cheesy with not enough soul, the only lyric I like is “…chain around my hip, I want a 24 karat relationship”, and I gave a full point for Prince just being ballsy enough to release this on a major soundtrack. But it’s nowhere near as masterful as Darling Nikki)
Components score- 2
Total score- 5

THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE
…this song is something special and I wish the radio would play it. It falls within the confines of the general length most radio stations allow. It’s catchy, poppy, great storytelling, and cinematic. I just wish the music video reflected the vision I had in my head when I have “the very best of” on heavy rotation.
Technical merit- 5 (the music is so unique in this point of his career- nothing else like it, great lyrics, vocals as well as great backing vocals, really put together well… need I say more?)
Components score- 4.5 (I can’t really want to call it a masterpiece, but it’s definitely one of my personal favorites)
Total score- 9.5

STILL WOULD STAND ALL TIME
The truly gospel songs Prince had done so far are The Ladder and The Cross. This one is better than both of them. In that, it tells a compelling story, uses the same elements over and over, but it never gets boring. It gets emotional. I think what had been missing for me from this song until I recently got to this album… I need to experience moments in my life where I felt alone or hopeless and I needed something to believe in. If I knew then what I know now, I’d have played this song so much and given myself more peace of mind over things.
Technical merit- 5 (again, just can’t fault it)
Component score- 4.5 (I’ve felt a personal connection with it, but it doesn’t run nearly deep enough to give it full credit)
Total score- 9.5

GRAFFITI BRIDGE
…we’ve finally reached the end.
And I like this song. I’m not over the moon in love with it, but I like it a lot. I kinda like having this bright hopeful song after the last one to leave off the album (at least the way it was given to me) on a better note.
The message is fairly simple and who doesn’t want to find something to believe in, a reason to believe there’s Heaven, someone who makes you laugh when you want to cry… those are lyrics I really responded to because of where my head is at right now.
Technical merit- 4 (I took a little off for that descent of notes down the chromatic scale, it’s just really predictable and cheesy. This also is a song I can’t imagine only Prince being able to write. Positivity is one thing, but it’s not something only he would be able to put out there)
Components score- 4
Total score- 8

Okay, now for the math… and it’s almost 2 am now. Geesh… I can’t wait to sleep after this… if I can.

The ? of U- 10
Joy in Repetition- 10
Thieves in the Temple- 9.5
Still Would Stand all time- 9.5
New Power Generation- 9.5
Elephants & Flowers- 8.5
Graffiti Bridge- 8
We can funk- 7.5
Can’t stop this feeling I got- 6
Tick Tick Bang- 5

Total score is 83.5. Since I have 10 tracks…

yeah, my score for Graffiti Bridge is 8.35, possibly to be rounded up to 8.4.

I had such a hard time getting albums to break the 8 point barrier within my system… and Graffiti Bridge managed to get through.
That’s insane.

Of course I want to take my two 10’s along for the ride, but the material on this album is so good… I gotta throw the 9.5’s in to the mix too.

So going forward…

The ? of U
Joy in Repetition
Thieves in the Temple
Still Would Stand All Time
New Power Generation

I won’t go through all the details again…
but I have 6 albums scoring 8.0 or higher… and this is one of them.

Call me crazy if you want, but I can’t help how I feel.

Now hopefully I can break away from this album well enough so I can go onto the next.

I’d say for when the really good stuff starts to begin… but this one was a lot better than I expected it to be.

Biggest surprise so far, hands down.

And when I hit publish, this would be my 7th and finish revision on this particular post. But to be fair, a bunch of the saves were from the last several hours πŸ˜›

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Prince Album #12: BATMAN

I’m seriously considering taking a week off from this massive journey through Prince’s career after this album…
As enjoyable as it is, it is an exhausting endeavor. And updating my posts every day over the course of a week… yeah, it’s tiring.
I know I should probably give myself an extra day off, but I’m afraid I’m going to forget some things I want to cover. Not that any of these are going to be ground-breaking revelations like what I used to in the earlier days of this blog. Well, they were ground-breaking for me, anyway.

I woke up this Monday morning with Lovesexy (the song) in my head and I’m worrying I’m not going to be able to make a clean break and transition to this next album.
But I did give Lovesexy one final listen- a proper farewell- early in my shift. I’d been kinda not feeling “Eye No” much this past week and “Alphabet Street” was back to being kinda meh.
“Glam Slam” was where everything came alive and pretty much stayed that way the rest of the ride. That song just makes me come alive and it felt like nirvana. So good.
Then I spent the afternoon on Depeche Mode to get myself completely away from this album.
Also ended the day with two B-sides- Scarlet Pussy (yeah, wrong album, but Prince’s voice is buried) and Feel U Up (which made me SO GLAD I saved it for last cuz I wasn’t going to be able to keep working much longer afterwards- the rhythm freaking kills me, man).

I’ll be up front about this- even if it wasn’t following Lovesexy (especially after this amazing trip I’d had with it last week), Prince’s Batman album is not one I’m going to have a tremendous amount of praise for.
Considering that June 25th (the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death- alongside 2 other Prince-related milestones) was yesterday- it seems kinda appropriate to mention this.
I bought this album the same day I bought “Thriller.”
Yeah… while people were running around buying Michael Jackson music, I was whining that I couldn’t find “Thriller” for the first week or so. I mean, it’s such a groundbreaking album, I thought EVERYONE freaking had it already.
(and just to finish the Michael Jackson discussion- I wouldn’t call myself a bandwagoner. I just got this album and “Bad”… and I actually prefer Bad so much more over Thriller. I like him more than I originally did, but I’m still not the biggest fan in the world. Certainly not the same fangirl level I am with Prince and my other favorite artists).

I got Batman because I hadn’t gotten a new Prince album in a while πŸ˜› that’s basically why. There was no song from it that I really wanted. I was familiar with Partyman and Batdance from the music videos, but I wasn’t a huge fan of either.

With Batdance, I had a freak occurrence happen while watching the video- I avoided it up until the point I got the album. More on that later…

It was another short chapter in Matt Thorne’s book. He gave a little background to this time in Prince’s career that I really had no idea about.
I heard that he recruited Al Magnoli to direct music videos for him, but I didn’t know that he’d fired his management team and he became his sole manager. And was considered a fatal mistake that killed his career (okay, that’s just harsh…) because both of them were artists and in disputes over creative decisions, someone needed to be a tie-breaker.
Then he mentioned how the band he brought to the “Electric Chair” SNL performance seemed under rehearsed. [All I saw was awesomeness].

But he did make some comments on the songs themselves that offered interesting insight. There was talk of the B-sides and songs meant for the album, but Prince thought maybe they were too dark. (Or maybe that was just “Dance with the Devil” which I plan to listen to tomorrow).
So many fans have bashed “Arms of Orion” and he was another of them.
“Lemon Crush” got a sentence or two and it was kinda funny (multiple types of funny). Apparently he’s an English professor who “sees innuendo in everything”… he interpreted “lemon” as a part of the female anatomy and the “crush” as it in action as well as the physical result of said action.

…when you think of it that way (and I’m not going to spell it out because I’m not comfortable with doing so beyond the previous sentence)… the song makes a lot more sense than it ever did to me before. In fact, it might have turned a corner for me.

I guess I’ll just go into the tracks and initial reaction:

The Future- either I’m going to feel it or I’m not. The Clare Fischer strings (which were lifted from a past collaboration that never fully materialized) give it that atmosphere, but it might be the best part of it.
Electric Chair- I cannot help but dance to this song. As well as think about that SNL appearance.
Arms of Orion- okay, as of this time, I don’t mind the song. In fact, I kinda like it. Some of the lyrics are super cheesy (apparently Sheena Easton wrote them and sent them to Prince and he set them to music) but he was going for this type of song and succeeded. I know it might seem “beneath him”– but it made me wish he did more songs like this. Hitting that sweet spot in the middle of his vocal range. (yeah, that makes it sound like I’m so bored with his exquisite falsetto, doesn’t it? :P)
Partyman- another super fan track I love quoting. It’s so super quotable. That attitude is so… I guess awesome?

Vicki Waiting was one of those standout moments that bared mentioning today and couldn’t wait. [I just realized I wrote that- so I gotta add “pun not intended”]
Supposedly, it was called “Anna Waiting” and was repurposed for the movie and the title changed. [I found this out initially from Peach & Black].
Prince changed the lyrics to fit the movie… but I really don’t care for them that much. I know this soundtrack is Prince’s interpretation of the movie, but much of it just goes way over my head. Even if I watched the movie 100 times, his idea of it was never going to make complete sense.
I think I would have preferred this song in its original form and in its own album. No mention of Batman at all. Because it has the potential to be awesome and the lyrics hold it back.

Trust- I pretty much checked out. And didn’t care much for. I don’t know why, but the song just never worked for me.
Lemon Crush… I dismissed this song as most skippable ages ago… now, I don’t think it’s going to become my favorite on the whole disc, but my stance is softening. Even without thinking about the revelation from the book… there was a bit of the percussion that I was recalling on a previous track and I’m wondering to myself “what song is this form”… and then I got to it and I’m like “really?” It might be too early to say this, but I think I just had a “Rockhard in a Funky Place” moment- where I’m recalling the song out of nowhere and when I listen to it, I’m oddly on board with it.

Scandalous… this is going to be a tough track to go into. First I need to hear the Sex Suite (all 19 minutes of it) a couple nights from now when I can really be alone to experience it. If I had listened to it, it’s been a VERY LONG TIME.
But this song… it’s tough because it’s so beloved in the Prince community. But Prince’s vocal (can’t believe I’m saying this) ruins it for me. Everything about the music is so romantic and beautiful. But his voice in the first couple minutes of the song, it gets gravely and grainy. I know it’s probably emotion he can’t hold back, but for me, it gets in the way of a clear beautiful falsetto like he’d done on many of his great ballads.
But today- the vocals still grated, but I was mesmerized none the less. I check the time as it’s fading out and it was 6 minutes or so. The fact I hadn’t checked the time the whole time… that’s a testament to Prince’s power as an artist.

Batdance… so the story with this song… there’s a line when he talks about putting a “7 inch in the computer”… I didn’t hear “Ducky”… I heard him say my name [that also ends with an “ie” or “y” sound] and him saying “what are you still doing at the computer?”

I still remember it clear as day. I was alone in my college room. I forget the time of day, but it was my 2nd day of binging on Prince music videos. And I’m sure I was in a dark room.
Needless to say, I stopped after this one cuz even Prince thought I needed to get out and away from him for a while πŸ˜›

The song as a whole… more on that tomorrow…
these are just some early snippets. Maybe I dismissed this album too quickly or maybe it’s just the honeymoon phase. I’ll know for sure after giving it a listen tomorrow along with some other remixes.


Day 2

“Dance with the Devil” really was dark and I can understand why Prince decided not to use it for the movie. The piano part reminds me of the theme music used for the opening credits of “House” and some of the added voices and effects were just creepy.

The set I got from one .org user had a folder full of stuff from this era, so I just put that whole folder on my iPod.
There are three remixes called “Batman”… I listened to one- it’s freaking Batdance. And I only heard maybe one or two small differences between it and the official release.
I didn’t steer away fast enough and went right into the Purple Party Mix of “partyman”- where only a few of the original lyrics were mentioned. It started with a bunch of random soundbites from other Prince songs- and it was pretty cool. Having that familiarity.
Then I heard a really heavy bass come in and I think it might be the one from a YouTube video that so many people had seen. Prince is in the studio recording the bassline for a mix of “Partyman”… and it was so cool seeing the magic happen.

And the video still exists πŸ˜‰ a couple people uploaded it apparently since Prince’s death. But anyway… gotta watch it again cuz it has been some time.
Still killer.

Moving on…
I hadn’t heard “200 balloons” before and given the history of it and how it’s beloved as a B-side… well, why not…
so the music was EXTREMELY familiar… it’s all over Batdance, where all these songs from the album and (I assume) his Vault from this time period, that were considered for the movie or the album.
And I wanna say right now- I like the song so much more than Batdance. But it’s more centralized and focused.
Geesh… why the hell was this not used for that parade scene in the movie? It’s way better than “Trust”…
and if 200 balloons was used for that scene, Trust either wouldn’t have been made or it would be still stuck in the Vault, never to be released cuz it wasn’t good enough.

I turned my iPod on some time later to play Edvin Marton’s version of “Kissed by Rose” (which had played on the radio moments ago)- but another song started playing. This happens when I stop my iPod and turn it off when a song hits the tail end and it’s ready to roll over into the next one.
“I Love U in Me”- I don’t think I’d heard before, so it felt like… a bit like “Power Fantastic”… unmining a gem. The layered vocals Prince did reminded me of an outtake way back when called “Down a Long Lonely Road.” It’s a very short track, but that vocal stood out in my memory.
It’s hard to describe how I felt with that song. I wasn’t 100% in love, but I liked it a lot. Another great Prince love ballad.
Just one tiny detail: the lyric goes that she’s saying “love u in me”…

This is another conversation onto itself and probably would be something I would never post publicly on this blog. I’d spent all this time with Prince and his music and it goes without saying that my mind can wander when I listen to these types of ballads.
Anyway- even if I was lucky to land someone with Prince’s sexual prowess or whatever that x-factor is, I would never say those exact words. That’s just a little too on the nose for my personal tastes.

So I get to the album on the way home and I have the perfect amount of time to go through the whole thing. But I think I also have been strategically hanging behind cars or trucks going 60 miles an hour (opposed to the speed limit of 65) to give myself more time.

The Future
It’s hard to imagine this song without thinking of the dank streets of Gotham City. Not because of where the song is placed in the movie (which is barely audibly in a car passing by early in the movie), but that’s the vibe I get from the lyrics. While they’re a bit odd and kinda weak, they do paint a picture along with the foreboding synth line and those Clare Fischer strings.
It’s his idea of the Future. Batman’s idea of The Future sung by Prince.
It’s an interesting concept, but maybe not the strongest song he’d written.
It’s good as an opening track because it gives you a taste of what’s to come. But it’s not as memorable or pop-driven as his previous album openers.

…it’s a bit ironic, but I enjoy the “Joker” tracks a lot more than the Batman/Bruce Wayne tracks. Apparently being bad feels really good.

It’s becoming clearer to me that Prince really wasn’t all that great with lyrics in this period. There’s the usual flashes of brilliance, but they’re hidden more among the cheese. It’s clear he was having a lot of fun during this period. He wouldn’t have gone through the trouble to do all these songs for the movie if he wasn’t super inspired.
Probably the best example… Scandalous has brilliant lyrics.
Vicki Waiting- I love that first verse and then whatever greatness it has kinda disintegrates. And comes back a bit in the “talk of children still frightens me” verse.

But songs like Electric Chair and Partyman where that’s part of the character, I can forgive that.

Electric Chair
…to me, this sounds like Prince with reckless abandon, with complete free reign, and having the time of his life. In that respect, it reminds me a bit of Bambi.
The electric guitar, without question, one of his sickest instances of this instrument on a track in his career.
I listen to this song and I just want to embody the whole vibe of it. It’s contagious.

Arms of Orion
yeah, a cheesy ballad… but I kinda like it. It’s about two star-crossed lovers that could be held together by Orion no matter how far apart they are.
Can’t deny that the musical part is really good. The drums bring the right amount of weight. I find it very whimsical, but it’s also not memorable when you take into account all of Prince’s great ballads.
If it’s remembered, it’s often for the wrong reasons.

Partyman
this is practically The Joker’s theme song cuz it was used to that effect in the movie during the museum scene. It’s just a fun listen.
The only negative is that it’s too damn short. It’s just over 3 minutes long.
The party barely has time to get off the ground.

Vicki Waiting
There are shades of brilliance in this song overall. But it doesn’t fully come together for me. It’s hard to say why that is. I’ve made complaints about certain lyrics and how they felt thrown in just to connect it with the movie. [I was thinking about the album being completely separate from the movie and certain elements worked better in my head as a result].
Again, the music is great. I love the use of the guitar in this where it’s not a guitar-heavy track, but it lights it up in the final moments of the song.

Trust
The lyrics and vocal delivery in this song make it catchy. Prince has such a great energy that he can sell me on almost anything. Some of the lyrics, I’ve committed to memory and sing along to. And I enjoy his performance of it.
I think the music is a little too hectic where there’s nowhere I can get a foothold and fully connect.
Two days in a row, I have this song on in my car and I start into it strong and then I just lose interest. I can’t explain why.

Lemon Crush
the percussion is a standout because Prince hadn’t done anything quite like it before. I don’t even know how he accomplished.
this is another of those songs with cheesy and also weak lyrics. I know he’s trying to embody the character of Vicki Vale, but even she didn’t talk the way he does trying to be her. The two concepts just don’t connect for me.
The vocals always irked me a bit. Other than not understanding what the hell he was talking about (now I kinda do), that was the one thing about the song I really hated for the longest time. I still kinda do.

Scandalous
this song was credited to Prince and his father. I think I might have an idea of which part his father influenced or contributed to. The first array of notes that the synths play and they play that line and similar ones throughout. The arrangement is a little more complex than Prince’s style.
I looked at the timing and at 1:27, where he says “I just can’t, I just can’t”… that’s the start of the issues I have with his vocal. The graveliness of it just grates on my nerves and takes away from the overall beauty of the track. Also the chorus where he says “anything you’ve ever dreamed of, I’m willing to be”… his voice goes so high on the “I’m”… I don’t know, it bugs me.
I want so badly to like this song because there’s so much good stuff here. Not just the music, but the lyrics paint a beautiful picture. And the vocals take me out of it. Or at least keep me from fully engaging.

Batdance
Prince was probably the first person to do anything like this song, where he sampled all these movie quotes in perfect rhythm with the music. Of course, it’s very chaotic and nuts. It’s a great homage to the movie and the characers.
The best part of it for me is the guitar solo halfway through. Also like hearing bits from other songs from the album featured.
But beyond that… I just don’t like it that much. Even without that “7 inch” lyric and that odd situation that happened when I misheard it… even if it wasn’t in there, I don’t think my feelings would be any different.

I guess what the overall picture is– there are highlights in the album but most of them are early on. In that regard, it’s kinda like how I used to see Dirty Mind and Controversy- both starting strong, but finishing not as well.

going into the Peach & Black podcast…

honestly, it got off to a slow start for me. I’m not excited about The Future, MC wasn’t excited about The Future… so it didn’t really pick up for me until “Electric Chair.”
So good…
Toejam was the first to bring up the “trippy picture shoo” lyric… maybe not the best lyric, this album isn’t full of good lyrics or gems of lyrics. But I’m willing to forgive that with this song, which is all kinds of nuts.

Arms of Orion came up. MC trashed the hell out of it. Then Captain said he doesn’t mind it and kinda likes it.
The room went quiet and MC got all confused.
It wasn’t the level of insanity as it was during the “Morning After” moment on the Lotusflow3r review. But it’s like nobody stops the podcast in its tracks the way Captain does when he says he likes a song that’s almost universally hated.

In this case, though, he defends himself saying that he knows it’s not a good song.
So I guess it’s something of a guilty pleasure.
I’m definitely with him on this (something that rarely happens- the songs I’m really passionate about are ones he’s not… the only other time we really agreed on something was how much he liked Temptation and of course the love for “When You were Mine”… geesh, the fact I remembered that his birthday was June 27th from listening to the Purple Rain podcast-I remember way too much about him. But from this podcast, I found out that Toejam and MC are around the same age cuz they were between 5-7 when the Batman soundtrack came out. and it sounds like Player might be older than them cuz he and Captain both said they weren’t in that age range when that album came out… either way, all these guys are older than me, but only by 4-7 years).

I think Sheena Easton only recently came out in saying that she wrote the lyrics for the song, sent them to Prince and he set them to music. The guys were asking why the heck Prince would agree to do this song for the movie- a song deemed lame by so many die-hard fans.

Anyway- I know the song isn’t the best, but so far, I’m kinda liking it.

I think I got through all the other extra tracks I put on my iPod- aside from the Scandalous Sex Suite.

Pink Cashmere- I remembered the chorus, but not much else. But as the song goes on during the last couple minutes, I was starting to drift away on Cloud 9. It was a really nice feeling.
The remix of Partyman- it runs for 6 minutes or so. This is the version with the bass line in that video. Maybe it’s because I’m hearing the album on my car stereo, but the bass line really isn’t audible in the album version. It is killer! (I keep saying that, but I don’t care. It’s the truth). This is how the song should be- it’s just too damn short on the album.

The other two remixes of Batdance were different- from the album version and each other.
Remix 2 used the music from the Vicki Vale section and continued to the end with that same music. A little different.
Remix 3 was completely different. I think it had the techno thing that set the basis for the Future remix (somewhat of an improvement, but not by much). And he kept saying “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic”… probably from the original version of the song… the vocal was so much cleaner than what the hell happened on the 1999 release.

Electric Chair, for me, is all about that guitar.
But this other version focused a lot on the bass line. It reminded me of the bass line from Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” so it all worked in a cool different way.

There was also two songs Prince worked on with Madonna for her “Like a Prayer” album.
One was “love song” which is a duet where they’re telling each other that they don’t want this to be a love song- like there’s love lost between them.

Then there was “act of contrition”- which was a very short track about 2 minutes. It’s all about the choral voices in the background and she’s randomly talking through it. I have a vague recollection of it and it wasn’t a pleasant one.
I was listening to this in the middle of the night- I might have had it on my iPod and I was in bed. I’m nodding off around this point. Then all of a sudden, she yells something out of nowhere and completely freaked me out. I thought I’d imagined it, so I listened again the next day. Nope- didn’t imagine it. I’m kinda surprised with myself that I never deleted it- the way I had a handful of other tracks I got from people that I didn’t care about. Heck, the original “Feel U Up” from 1982- I was so offended by the lyrics that I never gave it another chance.

So this song’s monologue was about her going to a fancy restaurant and getting a table. She’s talking to the hostess, mentioning this. Then she screams at the end “what do you mean my name isn’t in the computer?!”
It might be complete coincidence, but two moments from two songs that freaked me out had to do with computers. So weird…

…a couple days later…

I’m ready to finally go through these songs, score them and all that analysis crap πŸ˜›

So I finished the podcast and it was a good one, once it finally got going.
MC joked with Captain, saying how notorious he’s going to be because he likes “Trust,” “Arms of Orion” and “The Morning After”… he’s never letting that one go πŸ˜› and I’m also never forgetting how the podcast came to a standstill for what feels like 20 minutes.

Captain called “Trust” his favorite song on the album and he’d love to hear it brought back live.
I agree that’d be an interesting take on the song.

“Lemon Crush” got trashed, but Captain said he didn’t mind it. It’s growing on me, I’ll admit, but it’s never going to make my top, not even my top 200 Prince songs, I don’t think.
“Scandalous”- nothing but love. MC had also not heard the Sex Suite. I just listened to it last night… and kinda nodded off halfway through. I don’t know how Kim Basinger couldn’t have been turned on by all that pillow talk. I was feeling it for sure. What I didn’t like so much was the song being looped in and out around it. Like the vocal part, it felt like it didn’t work with the music and the dialogue. Not for me anyway because it feels like an intrusion- it wasn’t recorded fresh for this, it was recorded separately and it’s inserted here.
Or that part was ripped from this and put on the album. I don’t know. I’m sure it’d be amazing live. Heck, if Prince sang it to me in person, I’d be like “I’m Yours” and there’d be no going back.

Of course, before Peanut (the Jeff Dunham puppet) was saying “once you go purple, you never go back”… Prince made that a thing without having to bloody say it. [I’m not British or Australian, but it was worth that expletive.

Toejam liked the album and was very nostalgic for it so he gave it 8. Player and Captain were in the same ballpark. Then MC dropped the bomb using his iTunes system where he rated the songs out of 5 stars and averaged and all that and got 4.666

So my overall feel for it… I listened to some songs separately today and really enjoyed them. But I also did listen to some ones I really like.
However, I’m starting to get tired of Partyman, so that’s a sign I should be moving on sooner rather than later. [The other day, I listened to “Feel U Up” and was actually over it after the first 3 minutes. “Scarlet Pussy” I still like a fair bit, but it’s just a matter of time].

My thoughts as of this point– it starts better than it ends. Time to get my chart in order [where I’d been doing the calculations for all my rankings. That way, I’ll have an easy go-to later when I compile my list of favorites]

THE FUTURE
As an introduction to the movie, it isn’t bad. It gives you a taste of Gotham City, the crime and questionable characters that plague the streets. As a song and album opener, it’s thematically on point, cold and robotic with some Clare Fischer strings [taken from Crystal Ball, according to Peach & Black].
But as a Prince song…
Technical Merit- 3 [I’ll be honest- the only thing I gave a solid score was vocals because while they’re kinda meh at points, there are moments I gravitate to. Everything has redeemable qualities to them, but I’m not 100% on board. The music- honestly the best part is the string sample and some of the organ work. The lyrics- lots of great lyrics that paint a great picture, but I can’t get over the chorus “don’t go out like a jerk”… that’s just lazy songwriting to me, which I really can’t say about any Prince song, but I’m sorry- it’s lame and not much of a hook. Also, it gets repetitive and runs a little too long.]
Components score- 2.5 [among songs I feel this score about, it probably ranks a little higher. But there are more moments in this song where I’m disengaged than engaged with it].
Total score- 5.5

Don’t worry, it gets better…

ELECTRIC CHAIR
This is Prince uninhibited, wild and rebellious. He rocks out on electric guitar, killer vocals and is just having the time of his life. Being bad feels REALLY good.
Technical Merit- 5 [I could fault it for the lyrics being a little hard to hear- I had to look them up for the 2nd verse, but for me, it never took away from the song as a whole. I could not know what the lyrics are or what they mean and still get everything out of it that Prince intended]
Components score- 4.5 [I feel good about this score. I need to have this cranked up on my stereo. I need to be alone so I can totally let go and rock out to it with headbanging and funk face and everything that comes with it. There are times I don’t entirely feel it, but when the conditions are right, look out]
Total score- 9.5

THE ARMS OF ORION
If you take this song without trying to make it about Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale, it works a little bit better. It’s about a long-distance relationship, but with some really cheesy lyrics Sheena Easton wrote and Prince set music to.
Technical Merit- 2.5 [I was really mean with this one… I thought about giving a little more for lyrics, but I just couldn’t. Everything but the music, I gave half a point because there are redeemable moments in those elements, but they’re not strong enough to warrant full points… I don’t think I’d ever given a song such a low score on this half of the points… not since the 70’s albums]
Components score- 3.5 [there are moments I kinda like and I don’t rush for the skip button either. It’s not great, but I don’t mind it that much… come to think of it, I don’t think I skip any songs on these first several Prince albums. That doesn’t happen until the 90’s- and they are legit songs, not the segues]
Total score- 6

PARTYMAN
here’s another fun one… I swear, the Joker is so much more fun to hang with than Bruce Wayne or Batman. There’s something wrong with that picture :p
Anyway- it’s a fun funky jam. Prince puts on a great character as Gemini with semi-Camille type vocals. Catchy lyrics. The only negative is that it’s not long enough… and maybe I could complain personally that the bass isn’t as forward as it is in the remixes.
Technical merit- 4.5 [also- only Prince could pull off a song like this, which earns it a pretty high score. 3 minutes and change just isn’t long enough]
Components score- 4
Total score- 8.5

VICKI WAITING
should be an interesting one… this song has grown on me a bit over the last week. If I don’t think of it as a song for this movie and more like it’s original intent- Anna Waiting- then it’s great. That second verse has some lyrics that takes me out of it.
Technical score- 3.5 [Music’s good. It has a little bit of that Prince x-factor, but it’s not as if he’s the only person who could put together a song like this. And maybe runs a little long towards the end]
Components score- 3.5 [I like it just enough, but I’m not super in love with it. Starts off really well and the first and third verse have some interesting moments and topics of discussion, but I’m not entirely satisfied with it]
Total score- 7

TRUST
Sorry, Captain, but I’m just not on board with this.
This song is an odd one for me. I’m engaged early on, but after a while, it gets repetitive and loses its way and by the time it comes back together, I’m ready to move on. I’ll maintain what I said earlier- they should have used 200 balloons for that scene in the movie. And this song wouldn’t even make it as a B-side.
Technical merit- 3 [I gave full points to lyrics and vocals because I don’t mind them or are otherwise solid. The music, I downgraded because it’s nothing special to me. The structure is downgraded because it starts strong, but kinda falls apart for me- a little like the album. And for the Prince-factor… if I gave him 0 for this before, it’s been a long time. And if this song was in anyone else’s hands, I don’t know if it would have success or not]
Components score- 2.5
Total score- 5.5 [I put this on par with The Future for a reason- I’m not 100% on board with either of them although there are some moments I like. Just not enough of them]

LEMON CRUSH
This one has grown on me, but I still am not going to call it a masterpiece.
The music is kinda unique and different. The drum pattern was memorable enough to me when I was getting back to this album for the first time in a while. The vocals… there’s just too many of them sometimes and they grate. The lyrics… forget the lyrics. Repetitive and gets old after a while. This isn’t going to be pretty…
Technical Merit- 2 [I don’t think I’ve given Prince 0’s on two marks before… the lyrics and vocals. The music is the only good quality that’s solid. Everything else… not great]
Components score- 2 [I was torn between this and 2.5. But it’s pretty damn near skippable for me]
Total score- 4

SCANDALOUS
If my score for “Adore” doesn’t get my membership for the purple community revoked, this will… I feel bad about this, but I’m not just 100% on board with it like everyone else. Something is just missing for me…
Technical Merit- 4.5 [the vocals are the only thing that kills this song for me. some moments just kill whatever that thing is for me that suckers me into these Prince ballads. The music and lyrics are incredibly beautiful. This would work better as an instrumental for me or heck, if Prince did it as a monologue in his speaking voice πŸ˜› what a song that’d be, but it isn’t]
Components score- 3.5
Total score- 8 [any Prince fan with any sanity would give this a 10… The technical merit is off the charts in most of the areas, but that one thing just ruins it for me. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is]

BATDANCE
…omg, I’m so sick of this song and all its remixes…
Production-wise, it’s something very unique that hasn’t been done before. But a song… or even a jam… it’s just not.
Technical merit- 3.5 [it’s put together pretty well, but other than the music, which isn’t exactly ground-breaking but otherwise solid… I couldn’t really give this song much of anything. Side-note: I don’t think I’d ever given a Prince album so many 0.5 points on all these areas. It’s hard to deny his prowess as songwriter, but I don’t want to give him full credit when the song suffers for it]
Components score- 1.5
Total score- 5 [I looked at the songs on this album I gave 5.5… I just can’t give this the same score. Just doesn’t work. I’ll give it for Prince being ambitious and tying the album together with samples from the movie and all the songs… it just doesn’t appeal to me the same way… Lemon Crush still scored lower despite that- LOL]

Yeah… this album went downhill pretty fast and it’s a shame.

So, time for the math. And it’s a crazy range- from 9.5 all the way down to a 4. On the same album…

Electric Chair- 9.5
Partyman- 8.5
Scandalous- 8
Vicki Waiting- 7
The Arms of Orion- 6
The Future- 5.5
Trust- 5.5
Batdance- 5
Lemon Crush- 4

Total score- 59- divided by 90 (points possible)- 6.6 out of 10

So there you have it…
It’s the 2nd lowest of the Prince albums I have so far.
Wild guess what the first one was…

Anyways… I guess I can’t say I’m surprise to see that. And it’s sad- giving a Prince album such a low score, but I can’t make up how I feel about it.
Some parts are good, but the bad parts are just too many.

Best songs to take forward:
Electric Chair
Partyman
Scandalous (despite how I feel about it- it’s a musical/lyrical master]

As for my plans going forward… I’ll figure them when I reach that point.
For now, I’ll turn my attention to some other things.
Including possibly starting Mayte’s book. I just bought it the other day.

If I’m not back next week with anything Graffiti Bridge, the week after for sure.

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