Ok, for starters, I’m beginning this post on a Tuesday, aka the second day I’m listening to this album. When I started doing this chronological Prince album thing, I was giving myself one day alone with the album before getting my thoughts down the second day.
I guess I needed a little more of a break to get my mind right.
When this album first came out… well, that’s kind of a long story because Lotusflow3r was the name of the 3-disc set Prince sold exclusively through Target (and made available as a digital download from the now defunct Lotusflow3r website)…
After Planet Earth (and not counting Indigo Nights- not really), it was the second official Prince release I experienced as a new fan. And I had such a fondness for Planet Earth that nearly anything was going to be disappointing after it. Not to say I was disappointed with the Lotusflow3r album (or the set), I just didn’t have that same special connection. I think the issue was that it was a little too far off the direction Planet Earth was in and I expected more of that.
Not that I’d been listening to Planet Earth or Indigo Nights a lot last week, but I had the two on my iPod up until Sunday night. Planet Earth, especially, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of. Now I’m in a good place to talk about this album.
Just a quick note on the Lotusflow3r website: I remember when it came out and how there was nothing here for a long time, but on headphones I could hear the opening bits of the first track “From the Lotus…” and it played on a loop (the first few seconds before Michael Bland’s drumming comes in). Then a clip of his “Crimson & Clover” video was there.
And then the site officially opened. All I remember of it personally was that there was nothing there but clips until the site opened, but you had to actually pay for a membership (appropriately: $77) to access anything of substance. This, of course, would include the tracks of the two Prince discs off the Lotusflow3r set.
I didn’t particularly want to pay the money to join the website. Not because I was being stingy with Prince, but because I was in college and my dad was paying off my credit card balance. There was no way I was going to put $77 on it and explain it to him. I spent $25 for a membership to Jesse McCartney’s fan club and he flipped out cuz I did without knowing what I was getting out of it. [I think I got a mouse pad and some other chintzy collectibles and I don’t know if I have any of it around anymore]. I don’t think I knew then that Prince can be skittish about websites and that there was tremendous potential that this site would close.
My fellow Purple Knight, however, did make the investment and he was kind enough to send me the tracks he was able to get. To my memory, I cannot remember if I knew then that the albums would be physically available at Target. Anyway, it’s thanks to him that I have “The Morning After,” which occupies the track spot of the digitally omitted “Crimson & Clover.”
Matt Thorne made a good point in his book about this site… Prince really had no respect for the fans who invested the $77 because, other than early ticket sales and “The Morning After,” they didn’t get access to anything exclusive. The album was eventually sold at Target, so people could purchase it for much cheaper.
Of course he didn’t care for “4ever” or “The Morning After.” But it kinda bugs me (yep, there’s ALWAYS something) how he inferred that every Prince album in the later part of his career had a quote “angry” song on it. I dunno… calling “$” an angry song just detracts from how awesome it is. And just inferring that makes it sound he just doesn’t respect Prince at all. Or he thinks there’s something wrong with him or he’s downplaying his genius by saying some songs were written through anger. It pisses me off in particular when they aren’t angry songs at all. (I previously flipped out on him because he called “Pop Life” an angry song).
Then there was a comment… pretty big one… about how this album seems to create a new universe and how people who create fictional worlds are “isolated individuals who can’t cope with reality.” The rest of the quote says that Prince’s fictional worlds weren’t isolated, but they were filled with his favorite musicians, followed by his fans.
I don’t know if I take an issue with that line because it sounds like another comment bashing Prince or the fact I’ve created fictional worlds. I write fiction (one day hope to be published) and yes, I sometimes linger there more than I do reality. And cuz of it, I do live an isolated life sometimes… does that have to mean there’s something wrong with me? I’m already insecure enough as it is.
Ok, moving on…
final comment about the website…
MC is still waiting for his T-shirt!
Speaking of the Peach & Black guys, I cannot wait to listen to this podcast again. I was one of the first ones I checked into last year. It’s been a little over a year, but it was pretty epic.
Particularly for the “Morning After” controversy, which was a pretty epic 3 vs. Captain situation. But it was almost like MC and Captain were getting into a fight about it and it lasted for at least 20 minutes. I mean, it’s all in good fun, but I was nearly bursting out laughing through all of it.
Heck, I listened to episode 2 of Captain’s podcast with Seth Everett and I nearly died laughing twice. Like I audibly laughed out loud for a second and covered my mouth waiting for the moment to pass. Sad thing is, this was 5 hours ago and I can’t remember what it was.
Oh yeah, it was something about Seth Everett saying how he was giving up Mountain Dew and the Peach & Black guys gave him a shout-out, saying to keep drinking it, not knowing he had given it up.
Even when the discussion isn’t about Prince, Captain can still make me laugh out loud with some random comment.
It’s also kinda funny hearing how we have some things in common, like TV shows we like. The exhilaration going on in my head is a little too much… it’s not Australia is another planet. It just blows my mind that we’ve seen some of the same things and both like them. Things like “Big Bang Theory” and “2 Broke Girls”… I started writing a farewell blog about “2 Broke Girls,” but I spent so much time on it bashing Sophie and how her character ruined the show for me… and then random comments like how I liked how they were so free about making feminine hygiene jokes. I’d never heard any other show go there, but Kat Dennings did and it was killer. Then the show started to go south a bit when Caroline started making similar comments. Max does them, they’re hilarious. Caroline does them and she comes off as snotty as her upbringing.
And I am WAY off course now.
I guess I should talk about the album…
It’s a weird sensation. With all of Prince’s albums through Planet Earth, I have a pretty good feel for them and where Prince was during that time period. Beginning with Lotusflow3r, I don’t know if it’s because I waiting for Planet Earth part 2 or the fact he retreated from the spotlight or I just haven’t listened to them a whole lot, I don’t really have a grasp on Prince and who he was. He became even more of a mystery to me.
Last year listening to Lotusflow3r, I think the podcast got me interested in picking it back up. But I can’t remember if I listened before or after the election. (I know I wrote a blog post about it, but I don’t feel like going back… plus, I haven’t re-read any posts I write so I can go into these tracks fresh as if I’d never heard them before)…
but I didn’t particularly enjoy it because Prince was too damn political. Even if it was just 2 songs, it was A LOT.
(It’s been a year, people. The world didn’t end. LET IT GO!)
Now, I think things are ok again. I mean, if things get politically heated again… there is a chance that the album won’t work for me like it has.
It’s kinda funny how Diffuser.fm decided to write about “Colonized Mind” a couple of days ago. It’s like they knew I’d be on this album now 😛
That’s the song I’m back to liking as I have in the past.
“Dreamer” on the other hand… uh… yeah… that one’s complicated.
But I’d like to go in order.
I’ll start off in saying I won’t be including tracks 1 and 12 in my scoring process. As far as I’m concerned, they’re intros and outros to the album. “…Back to the Lotus” however seems to have some lyrics on it, but Prince’s voice is so distorted that I can’t understand what he’s saying. And I’m dying to know. It kills me not to know what he’s going on about cuz it has to be important.
Also- with these two tracks, they do sound good with the NPG power trio back together, but because they are instrumental, I zone out and don’t remember all that much.
“77 Beverly Park” is no “Venus de Milo” or “Alexa de Paris,” but I’ll score it the best I can as an instrumental.
If I could describe Lotusflow3r overall, it sounds like an album full of Prince paying homage to the 70’s. Songs that recall James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, some more blatantly than others.
Also, it’s a rock album. Almost every song has a guitar solo on it.
I’m trying to think what the last album he had where he had so many… the first few albums, he only had one strong electric guitar soloing showcase. Purple Rain had 5 songs with at least one solo (let’s go crazy, briefly in The Beautiful Ones, Computer Blue, When Doves Cry and Purple Rain), The Gold Experience had 5 (Endorphinmachine, Shh, Dolphin, Eye Hate U, and Gold), Chaos & Disorder was dubbed a rock album by die-hard fans, but I cannot remember how many of the songs had solos (I’ve only heard it 5 times ever and that was months ago), The Rainbow Children had 4 that I can remember (title track, Digital Garden, The Sensual Everafter, and Last December), and Planet Earth had a bunch too.
With Lotusflow3r, if I’m taking it down to the 10 songs, Boom, Crimson & Clover, 4ever, Colonized Mind, Love like Jazz, Wall of Berlin, Dreamer… yeah, 7 out of 10 had a guitar solo in them.
That’s freaking mind-blowing! It’s like he really wanted to show off his guitar skills on this record. Even crazier… every guitar solo is different from each on the album AND from every solo he’s done previously on any other album.
How is that even possible for a single person to do?
Boom- musically, it sounds really good and how Prince’s vocal interwove with it sounds good too.
But the lyrics are just so far out there. I used to like this song, but listening to the lyrics a few years later, trying to figure out what’s going on… I have no idea and somehow that just ruins the song for me.
Crimson & Clover- yeah, ok, bash me if you want… I didn’t know this song was a cover. At least not at first. Then I found out and I just shrugged it off.
I have heard the original since then.. it’s so weird. Prince’s version is completely different. It’s more guitar heavy, obviously, but he added other lyrics. I’m listening to the original on the radio and asking “where the hell is that bridge”… I didn’t find out until much later that Prince also took lyrics from “Wild Thing”… yeah, that’s one of those old songs (like “Born to be Wild”- I always kinda mash those together in my head) I just don’t get the hype. I mean, the only thing I remember of those songs are the bloody chorus. The rest of the lyrics don’t even matter. Nobody seems to remember them. Anyway, the original of this song… it’s a little out there. Very high on whatever was going on in the 60’s and 70’s. Coincidentally or not, Prince’s video for this song (however little was on the Lotusflow3r site) looks like an acid trip.
Anyway, I really like this one and I still like it a lot. Prince really does make it his own. I mean, he does the first couple verses and choruses and solos the rest of it- like any other time he’s covered a song in concert (I only know this from when he did “The Best of You” at the SuperBowl and “Creep” at Coachella… I’m still annoyed with him about that. I’m not saying it’s my favorite song in the world, but it’s spine-tingling to hear. And by practically turning it into a soloing showcase, Prince removed EVERYTHING about the song I gravitated towards. It was dark and brooding and moody. His solo had none of that. It was just a guitar solo.
yeah, I said it about Prince- it was “just a guitar solo”… somehow, I think that’s worse than saying “it’s just a song,” which is what Captain says about some meh album tracks he doesn’t care for).
Anyway- he covered it and did it better than the original. And it’s the only Prince cover I can 100% back that claim up. (The other originals, I’ve never tracked down… and that’s kinda intentional).
So… I’ll briefly address “The Morning After”… before the podcast, I think I’d listened to it twice ever and I really like it. Hearing it a couple times since, I still like it a lot. It sounds kinda like Prince being playful, but it also might be about him pining for a lost love, not realizing until [insert title here] what he had.
Am I have to have “Crimson & Clover”? Absolutely. Would I swap the two songs? Probably not. But I do kinda miss not having it.
I wonder if MC would object to replacing “4ever” with “The Morning After”…
Ok, here’s the funny thing… another funny thing…
I’m two listens in and I’m really liking “4ever”… not that I’ve ever hated it, but I don’t think I liked it this much. But I think there’s a reason for it… it’s the only real love song Prince has on this whole album. (The Lotusflow3r disc, not the set).
Technically, it could possibly be his weakest love song ever. The lyrics, some are throwaway that an amateur songwriter could have penned them. But I like his vocal on it.
Also want to note that it’s one of the few songs on this album where Prince had no vocal manipulation and just plain sang the song. I just noticed that day.
Boom and Crimson & Clover sound like they’re underwater. Colonized Mind has a lot of reverb on the verses. Feel Good/Better/Wonderful is him doing a James Brown impression, kinda. $ is a Camille-type voice and Dreamer is barely sung at all. Love like Jazz and Wall of Berlin are the only other two where he sings in a normal voice throughout. (Although the latter, he kinda raps the verses).
Anyway, 4ever has a lot of cheesy lyrics that Prince could almost write, not in his sleep, but in a coma. They’re so basic and simple. But I like the picture he paints. It’s sweet and romantic. But of all his love songs, it would be bottom of the barrel technically. Nothing super special. (“The Morning After” has a little of that schmaltz going on too, so the two could be interchangeable).
Colonized Mind… it’s one of those tracks you kinda need to think about. And you can kinda take your own thing away from it. Although that might be slated as you going with Prince’s flow or pushing against it.
Sometimes I’m with it and other times I’m not. I’m feeling a little disillusioned in general lately and I’m going into everything else I can to stay out of the political landscape. It’s so damn negative, I don’t know how everyone can breathe this long spouting so much of that negativity.
The musical content is so good that it’s hard not to take notice. No surprise, it’s a Power Trio, one of several songs on this album- from a single jam session (along with the intro, outro, Wall of Berlin and Love like Jazz). That alone is crazy to me- plus that paragraph above about the guitar solos on this album.
Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful
…I don’t think I vocalized this, but in my head, I was VERY hard on this song for a while.
But it’s not its fault… the first couple times I heard it, it had a hard act to follow.
First time I heard it was on Jay Leno- the day after he KILLED IT with “Dreamer”… that performance was so freaking amazing, nothing could hope to surpass it.
Listening to it now… it’s a really nice change of pace. Very welcome. Especially with the world being so negative. To me, it’s the type of song that always makes me feel like I’m watching a live performance. Or at least listening to one. And because of that, the energy is really nice. Prince is kinda pushing back against the haters, but he’s doing it with good humor.
I love that final verse where he talks about throwing someone the ball and the ball hitting 3 bystanders after they touched it and they want to sue Prince, but they love him too much. The whole visual of the ball hitting people is hilarious in itself, but Prince also poked fun at people wanting to sue him. I mean, it was a time when he was suing his fans, so… yeah, it’s all good. I just say that part during the song with a big ol’ smile on my face. Every time 😛
Love like Jazz- I used to love this song because I thought it was very creative.
Now, I think the lyrics are cheesy and maybe a little too calculated. (I didn’t even realize until Matt Thorne mentioned it that this song also has a Garden of Eden reference… I think I’ll have to search “Eden” in all my blog posts to see how many Prince albums have a reference cuz it’s becoming a lot).
I really like the guitar in this and how everything sounds. But the lyrical content works sometimes and other times, it doesn’t quite. But it’s a good take on elevator music and… well, elevating it to the purple standard.
77 Beverly Park- I don’t know what it is, but whenever I hear it, I think of being in a fancy Italian restaurant with a basket full of garlic bread. (Well, the garlic bread thing is new- the Italian restaurant thing, that’s been a constant). It’s a nice listen. Maybe nothing super special or memorable and I don’t skip to listen to it, but in the context of the album, I like it.
Wall of Berlin- I don’t think I’d like this song nearly as much if I hadn’t heard 3121 first and thought that maybe this song could have been a leftover from that album. It’s kinda odd how the song uses the title in a couple of ways. First he says that this girl is “down like the Wall of Berlin”- which is saying how cool she is. (ok, FINE, it’s “she gets down”… but I like my version better) And then he says “knocking down the Wall of Berlin” as if it’s talking about… yeah… kinda suggestive.
The lyrics also get a little in the way with this one. He opens each verse with some long-winded sentence with one too many words that aren’t, let’s just say, I don’t speak them all that often. Certainly not in that order.
Universal paradoxical design
Galaxy of Monumental delight or parallel hologram copyright (say what??)
…also, I thought this lyric was “unexpected like a mother in a park”…but the lyric is “mugger”… I mean, that makes a bit more sense, but it’s an odd metaphor/reference to make.
But I like the vocal delivery and how he just didn’t care how he sounded 😛 not the most creative vocal, but he sounded like he was having fun with this one. (Some might say he was going through the motions… but I’m not some).
$- otherwise known as money… I picture him performing this at a speakeasy in the 20’s 😛 very cool and jazzy and it just sounds so good.
The one place where it kinda loses me is at the end… where he says (copying/pasting cuz I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about)
Pawns aside who’s the king the 2 and 4
Wit hot sauce from the bay 2 baltimore
Take ur woman 4 she hit the front door
And whoop ur whole crew cuz they fat and slow
…I don’t even know if these lyrics are right 😛 but the song just kinda falls flat and then later picks up when we bring the chorus back…
Dreamer… oh boy…
this song started as my favorite off the album and now… it’s not quite the same.
I first heard it during his Jay Leno performance- one of the best times I’d seen him (the only live performance I saw where he ever disappointed me… doing “The Word” at the ALMA awards…) and it was so good.
The song sounds nothing like it did live. I guess this is a case of “The Fury Effect”… I kinda went into it on 3121 where people were so enamored by Prince’s SNL performance of the song that when its home album came out, the studio version was disappointing.
First off- I don’t like the intro at all with that un-Prince-like guitar… based on what I’ve heard about this song, it’s probably a sample from Jimi Hendrix’s “Voo-Doo Child”… the song a lot of people said Prince ripped off.
That’s one of my biggest pet peeves with Prince music… when people say that Prince ripped off someone else’s song… chances are EXTREMELY good that I’ve never heard that song before and probably wouldn’t come across it myself, so I never would have made the connection. It’s something else if I spot the connection or rip-off myself… it’s another that people say Prince stole from someone else and therefore the song sucks because it’s not wholly original.
I don’t know who he had in his band on Jay Leno- the album track just credits him and the Dunhams on drums and bass. But this recorded version- it’s just Prince revving his guitar, there’s woodblock or cowbell and not much else. The music has no bottom end, as MC would say… it certainly doesn’t command the way it did live.
And, admittedly, after a while… the guitar gets old and I just tune out. It just runs too long and nothing happens when it becomes all instrumental.
Then the rest of it… I didn’t mind so much when he did live cuz I was hopped up on adrenaline that I really wasn’t hearing what he was saying. But looking into the lyrics… they’re a little heavy. Prince got WAY TOO into conspiracy theories. He talked about chemtrails on Tavis Smiley (a really great interview where Prince had his sense of humor on display, but also revealed a few things- like how he was born epileptic… still pisses me off that Matt Thorne thought he was lying to suit his own narrative… why would he be so serious in saying that on a live interview if it wasn’t true?) and how he found out that there were 8 presidents before George Washington and he wanted to smack somebody.
He doesn’t mind the fact that’s true so much as the lie. But yeah, a little too much into conspiracies during this period. It’s kinda timely getting to this album and how Prince got these ideas from political activist Dick Gregory and he passed away a few months ago. I wonder if he and Prince are up in heaven spouting more conspiracies…
I have no doubt Prince wouldn’t be dabbling in any of this and wrote a song about it if he didn’t become a Jehovah’s Witness, a religion that believes Jesus didn’t die on a cross, but was impaled. They’re the ONLY religion that believes this… that doesn’t sit well with me. Plus the fact Prince thought Scientology was a cult, but JW’s weren’t and they have a lot of similarities. Particularly in how they shun people who don’t believe in their religion… like Mayte.
Anyway… there are some good lyrics in this song, but there are a few “uh…” moments where I’m not quite signing up for it.
The only lyric I really like where he says how race still matters and “a race to what? And where are we going? We all in the same boat, but I’m the only one rowing”… that’s clever.
One thing that’s been bugging me that last couple days… the chorus…
it makes sense where he says “from now on, I’m staying awake, but you can call me a dreamer too”… that’s him saying that now that he’s aware of things, he’ll stay in tune with the truth around him, but he will also continue to dream of a day where we can all get along.
the other times he said “last I checked, you were sleeping, but you can call me a dreamer too”… oh ok, I get that… he’s just a different kind of dreamer.
“if it was just a dream, you can call me a dreamer too”… I guess that means that he was “asleep” and dreaming that things were a way they weren’t…
sometimes I hate it when Prince makes me think, particularly when it’s his own political belief system. Just way too out there for me. Just cuz I’m crazy enough to like Prince and a lot of his music, doesn’t mean I can sign up for everything he’s into.
Sadly, this song has become more about what I find wrong with it than what it’s good about it.
if I could find that Jay Leno performance again, that’d be the best.
so that thing that happens after the 3rd day of a Prince album happened… I got bored…
yeah, that’s insane to say 😛 but that has happened several times. Where I’d really be into an album the first couple times and then by the 3rd, I’m kinda ready to move on.
The crazy part is… the last three albums, Musicology, 3121 and Planet Earth- those guys lingered with me a lot longer than a single album has in several months. I didn’t want to delete the latter 2 off my iPod after I finished writing the album review.
Not sure what else I can add… I started the podcast, but unfortunately, the “Morning After” debate began at 21 minutes… I was hoping I’d be in my car. When I was just free to talk out loud and lose myself in laughter. But no, I had to just bite my tongue… ah! I really need to listen to that again, but when I’m by myself.
I still have a little less than 2 hours left.
But no joke, that debate lasted for 10 minutes at least… this was one of the first podcast episodes. It’s amazing that the podcast didn’t just end after that cuz it was getting so heated between MC and Captain. I mean, it was all in good fun, of course, but it did sound heated.
Also, it wasn’t a 3 vs. Captain. Toejam likes The Morning After too.
Hearing it again, yeah, I still like the song a lot. Captain’s main reason for like the song is that it has harpsichord “so it has to be good”. I hadn’t heard it in a while, but I remembered that he has a thing for harpsichord in Prince songs. Not as much as top fret, of course, but it’s a little detail he likes.
The one thing I want to note, though… it still weirds me out how much the guys like “Boom”… it sounds good, but it’s not a song I gravitate towards. There’s nothing about it that makes me want to pick up the album just to play it. I just don’t get it, honestly…
ok, it’s hilarious that that was my last comment 😛
…yeah, I actually was in the mood to listen to that song, so I did. Of course, I wound up listening to all the songs I’m hoping to score from this album in the process. But still… I just was in the mood to listen to Prince and between that and Crimson & Clover, I kinda felt like his presence was in the room. Heck, I could almost see him just playing the guitar and singing the latter of the two songs.
Yeah, it was a good listen.
I can’t believe there’s 50 minutes left in the podcast and they still have 3 tracks left to cover. They’re spending a lot of time on the summation of the album, I guess.
Yeah, I am still amazed that the podcast didn’t disband after this episode 😛 MC getting really bent out of shape about Captain’s opinions, not just on The Morning After, but If Eye was ur girlfriend came up as well. MC was reeling so much and was clearly emotional- it was nuts.
I mean, I picture the guy as a cool radio DJ type and he happens to be just hosting this thing or at least keeping it on track. So it’s weird hearing him bent out of shape.
Although throughout the series, he has had plenty of those moments as well as fangasms. All the guys have had fangasms and it’s always good.
I have a pretty good idea of where the songs are going to fall, but I can’t score anything until I finish the podcast.
I will be kinda disappointed if it scores higher than Planet Earth… even if the lyrics are slightly better on this release, but the personal connection isn’t there as much for me. And I kinda like that personal connection with Prince and his music. That’s what keeps me coming back sometimes.
so finished the podcast. I tweeted MC asking if he still hates The Morning After… I doubt I’ll get a response cuz he probably gets asked this all the time. And if he does, it’ll be after this is posted. I can almost guarantee that.
I wonder if the guys still stand by their scores cuz they were consensually 9.5… I know the album had just come out, but c’mon…
Just to put things into context… I didn’t even give Purple Rain 9.5 with my patent pending scoring system. I think Come got 9/10 and Purple Rain a bit higher. I think the only way I’ll ever give an album a 10 is if I gave all the tracks 10/10. Or I round up. But with these last few albums, I don’t see it happening. Art Official Age, I think, has the best chance to get a 9/10, but even then, the chances are slim.
And not to get too ahead of myself, I decided I wanted to do a podcast after all this is done. Where I kinda talk about this journey and, more importantly, discuss my favorite songs and albums.
Today, I had a light bulb moment.
I will go through my top 100 Prince songs… and my top 7 albums. Possibly I’ll do 107 songs if there are 7 more I can’t not talk about. But yeah, top 7 albums sounds good. Especially since I’ve had a hypothetical, never-written-down top 7 Prince albums where the placements changed constantly.
But back to this… maybe I’ll just watch a couple of Prince clips I’ve had saved up for this particular album.
A few Tavis Smiley interview clips and Crimson & Clover on Ellen… oh man, I remember seeing that performance when it first aired. Still as in love as I am now. I’m looking at Sheila E just killing it on the drums and cymbals back there and I just thought “how the hell does the band know what to do?” He drills them constantly, of course, but I just thought how they manage to stay on beat and on key all while he’s doing his own thing. I can’t even imagine that in my head.
I found that Dreamer performance!
oh my god… I’ve got no words… WOW!!!
As good as I remember it. I noticed he had the NPG Power Trio with him, which would explain everything. The Dunhams just didn’t do it justice on record. Not to mention the guitar… oh my god, that guitar! It was the blue fender Stratocaster he played “The Best of You” on in the SuperBowl, no wonder it sounded so good. And really no trace of that Jimi Hendrix guitar sound at all. After seeing this performance, getting the album and hearing that version- I was very disappointed with the quality of sound. I hate that wonky guitar riff. So much better on Leno. I also loved the camera angles cuz they had a lot of close-ups of his face- he looked so good, man.
Now, if I can recover and find Feel Good/Better/Wonderful to compare…
yeah, Dreamer is a HARD act to follow. This was more of a jam session than the actual song. I think he did two verses and choruses and it just became him playing the crowd and trying to get them involved. He played out the rest of the show after Jay Leno did the outro. He just looked like he was having the time of his life and that made it good.
But the song itself, it comes off to me better on record. I just picture my own thing and it’s him on stage just like this. Sometimes I like when he makes all kinds of weird accents with his voice, sometimes I don’t… I missed not having those accents and voice breaks in this performances 😛
Which just leaves the Tavis Smiley stuff… I love hearing Prince just talk… even if what he’s talking is kinda crazy sometimes. He might be right, he might be wrong… I totally forgot how I was going to end this sentence. I had a point. I guess the end really doesn’t matter to me- I just like listening to him no matter what he’s talking about. Sometimes I’m on board, sometimes I’m not :shrug:
the first video was about Dick Gregory and chemtrails… I think his thing was about Manganese factories being near the ghettos and maybe the fumes were what were making people crazy or why people think people from there are no good because the damn manganese.
but the second, man, Prince is full of good advice. People don’t give him enough credit sometimes, which is a shame cuz they miss out on these types of conversations.
He was talking about how he got teased as a kid and him coping with that was going into self and teaching himself music. Then people got wind of what he could do and were talking about what he could do. And he went on to say what having a support system can go for you, that it can be motivating. And how Andre Cymone’s brother, Eddie, was especially supportive, saying he was better than anyone on the radio. How he got turned down the first time he sought a record deal, but kept going. Although (he didn’t say this) it might have to do with him wanting to produce his work and only WB would let him produce his own songs.
Going into self is something I do a lot and I might have done more since getting to know Prince. But I never come out as confident as Prince. I think it took him quite a few years to master his confidence. In real life and on record. I didn’t hear the confidence in his voice until maybe the Controversy album- but maybe it’s cuz he did falsetto only on the first three albums. He didn’t get fully confident as a performer until Purple Rain, although I just have the movie and the video clip from the DVD of the concert performance to go by. By that point, he was almost 30. I’m 31 and I’m still not there. But maybe I’m just too concerned with what other people think.
I found the whole Tavis Smiley interview- it’s on pbs.com.
I was taken aback by one thing he said, but it was a sudden gasp when I realized what he said.
How he was in celebration mode where he was thankful to be alive and having the teachers he does. “thankful to be alive”… I stopped short on that when I realized what he said.
Almost 7 years after he said that… he wasn’t anymore.
All that aside, it’s nice hearing him being this cool with himself. And doing things whenever he felt like he wanted to, touring when he felt like. That would explain a lot. But hey, he earned that right. He’s done so much going up to being 50. And damn, he looked good.
And I’ll stop with that now 😛
Prince just blew my mind with something else he said- he was talking about things his father used to say to him and I had read some of this recently. He said he didn’t know what to make of what he said, so he created his own universe and how he sees the world and how it’s important to have certain people in that space.
Meanwhile, Lotusflow3r feels like a trip to another planet- to the planet Prince World is. What if the Lotusflow3r album IS this same universe he’s referring to? Where he’s carving out his own path and taking with him people who are on that same plain.
Colonized Mind and Dreamer are more things he picked up from becoming more aware of things and being among the Jehovah’s Witness folks. But Feel Good/Better/Wonderful is very much an example of this. $ is an example of this.
Damn… this guy is GOOD
now he’s talking about criticism and how people criticize his music based off his personality and he says he doesn’t lash out like people think he does. How he likes constructive criticism because maybe there’s something he missed and he can learn from that. And he says how journalists write for each other more than anyone in particular and that doesn’t help anybody.
I don’t criticize Prince all that much, not compared to most hardcore fans. I certainly don’t berate him because his later music wasn’t at the level of the 80’s stuff like they do. When I do criticize, it’s mostly because I don’t understand what he’s going for, I don’t like certain things he does in his music or vocally or lyrically. I don’t attack his character, though. The Rainbow Children might be the one exception to this. But c’mon, I spent most of that post being mad about how he let Mayte get away from him and didn’t appreciate what he had.
Colonized Mind, he was asked about, but I don’t know if he actually answered the question 😛 he wound up talking about how he tries to channel his anger into music and he said that he learned that from Larry Graham. Larry told him a story about the Family Stone opening for Jimi Hendrix and on the way to the gig, they got into a car accident and Larry and this guy Freddie in the band beat up the other guy. He was so clearly searching for a word to substitute for “kicking his ass” and instead said something about whopping his backside. And he asked who won at the gig- the Family Stone or Jimi Hendrix. Larry swears that Family Stone did.
Yeah, another long interview and Prince couldn’t help but bring him up. And he gave him and his family a shout-out. That hadn’t changed in 10 years.
More record industry talk- about how it’s an example of how you don’t want to do things. He talked about how he doesn’t care for a lot of male voices. (That’d explain why he has a lot of female back-up singers). And he likes to sing ballads in falsetto, his higher voice because it’s like a slow female voice.
It’s certainly an interesting way of looking at things and it explains a lot. And it’s not a complaint by any means. Anytime I hear a falsetto, I compare it to him. When someone on The Voice sings anything in falsetto, whether it’s a whole song or just a moment, I criticize because Prince is the gold standard on that. And on that show or American Idol for that matter, when someone brings up the falsetto for emphasis or to make more emotion come out… almost every time, I hate it because it sounds contrived for the sake of reality TV and having “a moment.” It’s all about these moments. And I don’t like that. I want the falsetto to sound good and I want it to be genuine. Whenever Prince does it, it’s always with good reason.
Bria Valente came up and the Sade comparison. Prince gave her advice, saying she has a great voice, but she needs to stand out and think about what you’re not hearing on the radio right now and that happened. He also said it’s a sleeper record and if you listen all the way through, she’s got you… I wonder if he emphasized that part because he’s on the last song.
But after hearing her album a couple more times… I think he might be right.
I think what you need to do is to just listen for the sake of listening. Have it in the background and don’t think so much about Prince being behind it. You can hear him in how the music is played. But it’s grown on me a lot.
I think I’ll go in more length another time. Maybe on my MPLSound post- after all, the Peach & Black guys mentioned it briefly on that podcast.
He also said he doesn’t know why the music isn’t on the radio, but he thinks there’s resistance cuz he’s not with a record company.
Yep, to this day, it annoys me that the only Prince songs on the radio are the old ones. And they actually have Bria Valente’s interview so I’ll check that out.
She was sweet and well spoken and this record sounded like something she really had input on and he was just helping her realize the vision. And she wanted to create something unique.
Both she and Prince commented about how creating something out of nothing is the best feeling. That’s what music is.
I saw this interview once and I really didn’t pay her much attention. Back in 2008-2009, I didn’t really care much for the protégé or side acts. What Time is It? was the first side project I got. From there, Wendy & Lisa came in and it’s grown since. Although mostly those two acts plus The Family plus Vanity & Apollonia 6.
Over time, though, when my fascination of Prince started to ebb a bit, my mind opened up so I could experience the rest. Although I’m still not wanting to listen to everyone or buy everyone’s album either.
Anyway :sigh: now I gotta do my final thoughts and score this thing.
As I said at the beginning, I won’t be doing anything with the first and last tracks cuz they’re intro and outro. I don’t really consider them songs. And they’ll undoubtedly get lost in the mix with all the songs Prince has to his name.
Which just leaves me with 10. The same number of songs as Planet Earth before it (in case you missed it, I did not and could not give Indigo Nights a score simply because it being a live after show performance complicates things too damn much).
while From the Lotus… creates an interesting first impression for this album as a whole and its identity, this being the first song… it’s not what I’d call a stand-out opening track. It’s pretty unconventional, but then again, Prince is an unconventional person sometimes. Has his own way of doing things. So as an opener, it may be called Boom. Maybe it’s cuz it followed an instrumental intro, but it always felt odd to me. Maybe cuz of its placement on the album. I kinda have to be in the mood for this one. Everything about it sounds good. Some lyrics are a little off the wall and strange and random. To me, the bridge sounds a little weird. “Everybody know what happens when you worship from afar”… that seems like an odd lyric just out of nowhere, like what does it have to do with anything? And there’s that lyric “celibate mushroom canopy”- it reminds me of a comment Prince made shortly after this album came out. Or someone on .org read someone Prince saying that he was practicing celibacy. Now, I kinda don’t want to read too much into that, but I also want some way to explain his lack of love songs and ballads for a couple years.
OMG, this is the longest paragraph ever and I don’t care for this song all that much.
Technical Merit- 4 (I’ll forgive the autotune cuz I never had an issue with his vocals in this song, but some odd lyrics and transitions that don’t quite make sense. Plus, it feels unfinished, like he could have done a little more with it than just turning the end into a long guitar solo, like every other song on this album)
Components Score- 3
Total Score- 7
…and I actually don’t skip any song on this album or really feel the need to. All of them have some merit to them.
CRIMSON & CLOVER
One of his best songs on this album and it’s a quasi-cover of two songs. But he really makes this his own and its brilliant. People on The Voice and American Idol (when it comes back in the spring, don’t think I’ll watch though cuz Katy Perry) need to take notes.
This song has a really cool panning effect with the guitar in the final minutes, definitely worth a listen on headphones. Yeah, this song is REALLY good.
Total score- 10
I can’t even break this down into elements… everything is good. It sounds amazing. The vocal is good, the guitar, c’mon, the guitar! And I always enjoy it when it comes on.
(Completely forgot to mention that his postmortem compilation set is called 4Ever, but this song is nowhere to be found… what the hell is up with that?)
This is just a sweet love song/ballad, whatever you wanna call it. Not his best by any stretch.
Technical Merit- 4 (lyrics and originality took a hit on this. There’s some simple stuff in here that a lot of those artists can do, but of course there are the Prince flourishes that can’t be reproduced by anyone but him)
Components Score- 4 (I more than kinda like it, but I don’t love it)
Total Score- 8
Sociopolitical commentary, maybe the best Prince has ever done it. The best since Sign o’ the Times certainly.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (some lyrics are hard to hear because of how much he altered his voice… I don’t like how it sounds much of the song)
Components Score- 4.5 (taking into account some times I don’t fully get invested in this song)
Total Score- 9
FEEL BETTER, FEEL GOOD, FEEL WONDERFUL
the more I listen, the more I love this song… it’s a lot of fun, it’s good for a smile and it comes with a few laughs. Prince’s sense of humor maybe at his finest within a song. This is the song that seems to most resemble the man who had that conversation with Tavis Smiley that I watched a couple hours ago. And he’s a cool guy.
Technical Merit- 5
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 9.5
LOVE LIKE JAZZ
Prince’s take on elevator music, but he eventually kicks it into high gear. I think the one issue I have is the title. He does not need to say it during the final instrumental coda of the song. By the time we get there, we know what he means. He doesn’t have to actually say the title (but with everyone else, I get annoyed when a song is called something and the title is never spoken in the song). In anyone else’s hands, this song would come off as contrived and cheesy. It toes the line of cheesiness and I change sides on that line all the time. I used to like it, but now compared to his vast body of work, it doesn’t quite stand out for me
Technical Merit- 4 (as elevator music, it isn’t entirely original sounding and a bit for lyrics cuz sometimes I buy them and others I don’t)
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5
77 BEVERLY PARK
Instrument tracks are hard to score, man…
Technical Merit- 4 (it’s a simple chord progression that almost anyone in music could do, nothing super original)
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5 (the only stand-out instrumental Prince tracks for me are from the 80’s… this is a nice listen, but not super memorable)
WALL OF BERLIN
I’m kinda amazed the Peach & Black guys liked this song so much. I thought that cuz it was poppy that maybe they wouldn’t take it seriously. The instrumentation sounds so good. I don’t know what it is, but one of the guitar solos reminds me of “Annie Christian”. I really like this one, but I think it’s because of the 3121 lyrics it might have gotten its namesake from.
Technical Merit- 4.5 (for some lyrics that don’t quite work0
Components Score- 4
Total Score- 8.5
Aside from how the song ends with some odd lyrics that are hard to understand (the Camille vocal, as good as it is, doesn’t help with that), it’s a great song. One of the best in this whole set.
Technical Merit- 4
Components Score- 4.5
Total Score- 8.5
“The Fury Effect” is in full effect on this one… it sounded way better live and the studio version is a disappointment.
And the guitar solo… I’ve heard better. Because the rhythm section doesn’t sound all that strong, there’s no oomph to back it up in order to keep me interested. Some good lyrics and others, I’m admittedly a little judgemental about. Sometimes I buy into them and sometime I don’t.
Technical Merit- 4 (I didn’t rip him on originality or lyrics, but the musical content could be better and the song could be a little shorter)
Components Score- 3.5
Total Score- 7.5
Dang, I was kinda harsh… technically, it’s one of his best efforts. But like I said, the emotional connection wasn’t all there.
…both marks are identical to Planet Earth… but just slightly, Lotusflow3r got a better score.
8.3/10 (Planet Earth, I had to round up to get 8.3)
Crimson & Clover is the best here and because he did so much original stuff with it, I’ll have to put it in the conversation for the top 100.
And Feel Better/Good/Wonderful, I’ll put that in too.
Up next, MPLSound.