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 😛
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]
(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.
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)
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)
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
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)
…: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 😛
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.