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Thread started 07/19/05 7:58pm

Moonbeam

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Moonbeam's Prince Reviews

I've been writing album reviews for awhile now for my own fun. I thought I'd share some. Feel free to write/share your own!

Here's my review for Purple Rain:

Purple Rain
5 stars

Having asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with throughout 1982 and 1983 with 1999 and its subsequent tour, Prince was poised to assume, well, pop royalty. Never short on ambition, Prince planned to unleash his talent through a multimedia blitzkrieg. Not only was a major motion picture in the works, but Prince was busy composing the soundtrack as well as entire albums for featured proteges The Time and Apollonia 6 (not to mention Sheila E.). Busy guy.

The film would go on to astronomical success, buoyed principally by the music itself. As a soundtrack, Purple Rain envelops the themes of the movie nicely and roughly follows the chronology of the plot. However, the album itself greatly transcends mere serviceable soundtrack status. Each of the nine songs contained within would become unmitigated anthems, the shadow of which Prince could never quite escape.

"Let's Go Crazy" opens the set. Beginning with a drawn out pseudo-sermon backed by an organ, Prince then launches into a crunching rocker that reigns as his most energetic song ever. A motivational call to arms, the lyrics actually portend the end times and urge the listener to seek spiritual treasures. The energy builds until it bleeds into an absolutely blistering guitar solo to end all guitar solos.

After such a high, Prince wisely tones it down to preserve its impact. Next is the simply sweet "Take Me with U" which features Apollonia, Prince's love interest in the movie. A straightforward love song, it nonetheless showcases the psychedelic influences of the Revolution and offers a glimpse into where their music would lead.

Inevitably, Prince's paranoia gets the best of him. Prince unveils his doubts about his lover's commitment in "The Beautiful Ones". The song opens as a plaintive piano-driven ballad while Prince coos his concern as he vies for her attention with another suitor. As his desperation grows, Prince's pleas become more and more animated. The tension mounts with angry guitars dueling with increasingly dramatic vocal shrieks, commanding your attention as well as that of anyone in the vicinity!

Prince's quest for mainstream conquest entailed "whitening" his music to a degree, but the funk creeps through on the next track, "Computer Blue". Served up cold in the studio, the song sees Prince at the peak of his powers. Nearly atonal guitar chirps and flange usher the listener into Prince's paranoia. After some minimal lyrics comes an angry guitar solo. The song then stops and fades into a deep instrumental funk. Eventually, the guitar leads the audience back to a shrill scream that segues into the next track, "Darling Nikki". Infamous for its masturbation references, "Darling Nikki" is little more than a sarcastic teenage diatribe as Prince vents his frustration. In its own perverse way, the song is kind of sweet, revealing Prince's vulnerability. The song would go on to enrage Tipper Gore and friends, the end result of which was a silly legal war waged on music that resulted in parental advisories.

As great as the first side is, nothing could prepare the listener for the melee to follow. A feisty guitar solo brings us back to the minimal synth-funk epic "When Doves Cry," the likes of which have never been seen before or since. Eliminating the bass altogether, the melody is so memorable that the song still sounds lush with the mere accompaniment of a synthesizer and a drum machine. Prince regains his maturity lyrically, coming to the realization that his struggles and anger are a result of his upbringing. This epiphany results in a series of mournful cries as a guitar solo lets off some steam. The song would set the world ablaze commercially while also completely shattering convention- quite the feat.

The last three songs serve as an uplifting turn of events. "I Would Die 4 U" sees Prince draw the analogy that the depth of his love parallels the love that Jesus has for humanity. Sacrilegious? Perhaps. Presumptuous? Definitely. Does he live up to it? Certainly. Next up is "Baby I'm a Star", a simple display of showmanship. With his confidence brimming, Prince shows off his craft with great energy and conviction.

The album closes with an anthem to end all anthems, "Purple Rain". Elegiac in its beauty, the song stretches its mournfulness into an epic 8 minutes plus as Prince both assumes responsibility for his misdoings and offers guidance to bask in the gifts of God. Monstrous in its grasp, the title track closes an album of stunning highs.

Although not as unified as previous albums such as Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999, Purple Rain benefits from its diversity. Moreover, the decision to exclude tracks by his proteges was a wise one that would have greatly benefited the cluttered Graffiti Bridge. With Purple Rain, Prince garnered his legendary status through both his music and the film itself- an unprecedented feat.
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Reply #1 posted 07/19/05 8:02pm

Moonbeam

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Here's my review for Around the World in a Day:

Around the World in a Day
4.5 stars

Following the mind-boggling success of Purple Rain, there really was no way Prince could win in 1985. How could anyone expect to follow such success? Contemporary superstars Michael Jackson and Madonna took their time following up their blockbuster 80s releases, but that's what differentiates Prince from his contemporaries. While Purple Rain was still looming large, Prince was already penning songs for its follow-up, the often misconstrued Around the World in a Day.

While still commercially palatable, Around the World in a Day is nonetheless a radical departure from Purple Rain. You won't find any anthemic rockers on here, but rather colorfully psychedelic jams. Allegories extend themselves to fables. Love takes a back seat to darker themes. In fact, this album more resembles Controversy in its circumstances than either of the albums surrounding it.

Indeed, Prince frequently revisits social and political commentary for the first time since Controversy. The spooky yet fun "Paisley Park" depicts itself as a location within the hearts of everyone- a place of refuge for all of the troubled souls depicted. He also takes a political jibe at Republicans: "Whoever said that elephants were stronger than mules?" A more straightforward approach is employed on the singles "America" and "Pop Life". The former casts a rather negative light on the state of the country with references to poverty, communism and nuclear proliferation. Set to a minor key funk grind gloriously extended on the 12", the song is quite effective. "Pop Life" is a dreamy stab at the boredom and complacent dissatisfaction of the time. A slow funk churner washed in thick psychedelia, the music belies the lyrics.

Of all of his albums, Around the World in a Day may present Prince at his storytelling finest and most imaginative. Vivid imagery and characters drape the songs like ribbons. "Raspberry Beret" stands as memorable not only for its deliriously happy psychedelia, but its glorious depiction of the female character as simple and downtrodden, yet colorful and worthwhile all the same. The colorful yet cloudy "Condition of the Heart" is an unbelievable understated piano ballad of loneliness, describing the fruitless efforts of a rather spontaneous musician to find love. Throughout the song, Prince recounts the misfortune the main character as he hurt by three women of different location and social status. The mythical "The Ladder" is set in the land of Sinaplenty (only Prince, right?) as a troubled king refuses the advances of the lovely Electra (Carmen?) in pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. Another knockout ballad, Prince warns that the path is difficult, yet "the reward is great for those who want to go". Wendy and Lisa angelically repeat the sing-along chorus as the song progresses.

The album isn't without its flaws, however. The title track ranks as one of Prince's least interesting, although it does open the sonic palate. The closing track "Temptation" takes storytelling ridiculous levels as Prince is condemned by God for his inability to reign in that pesky lust. As he is struck down, Prince wails in comedic fashion. Nevertheless, the low points are at least funny, as is the much more successful "Tamborine", a funky ode to masturbation with hysterically preening vocals that need to be heard to be believed.

Much like Controversy, Around the World in a Day finds Prince with the lofty task of following a legendary album. The way I see it, he was basically presented with two options. He could (1) follow the same formula for success as Purple Rain, or (2) go off on a completely different tangent. Thankfully, Prince chose the latter, although his commercial appeal suffered as a result. Above all else, Prince is an artist and Around the World in a Day proves that he is not afraid to make sacrifices for his art. As such, it stands as one of his most important albums.
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #2 posted 07/19/05 8:05pm

thekidsgirl

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Moonbeam said:

Moreover, the decision to exclude tracks by his proteges was a wise one that would have greatly benefited the cluttered Graffiti Bridge.


SO True! the GB soundtrack should have been a dual disc in my opinion
with Prince on one and the associates on the other.

nice review, by the way though it reads like most others cool
(not an insult!)
If you will, so will I
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Reply #3 posted 07/19/05 8:06pm

Moonbeam

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thekidsgirl said:

Moonbeam said:

Moreover, the decision to exclude tracks by his proteges was a wise one that would have greatly benefited the cluttered Graffiti Bridge.


SO True! the GB soundtrack should have been a dual disc in my opinion
with Prince on one and the associates on the other.

nice review, by the way though it reads like most others cool
(not an insult!)


Thanks. biggrin
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Reply #4 posted 07/19/05 8:08pm

Moonbeam

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Here's my review for For You:

For You
3 stars

This debut offers little insight into the genius that would become Prince, although flashes of brilliance do come through on funky tracks like the irresistible "Just As Long As We're Together," the gleeful "In Love" and the libidinous "Soft and Wet." Elsewhere, it is evident that Prince has not developed his ballad wizardry at this point. "Baby," "So Blue," and "Crazy You" are all fairly weak, acoustic offerings, although they are not totally without charm. "My Love Is Forever" is a rather derivative disco offering while "I'm Yours" offers insight into the direction Prince was heading with the follow-up, Prince. This is a decent album, but it certainly does not compare to what was to come.
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Reply #5 posted 07/19/05 8:09pm

Moonbeam

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Prince:
3.5 stars

Prince goes disco-metal on his second album, a great step up from For You. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" was a huge smash, and "I Feel for You" later became a hit for Chaka Khan, but it is the raucous "Bambi" and "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" that stand out the most. Prince delves into truly controversial subject matter with "Bambi," in which he attempts to convince a lesbian that what she needs is to experience what a man has to offer. "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" is the first of Prince's many forays into the "you done me wrong" territory of music and is also among his most successful. The screeching guitars are earnest in their pleas and end on a great climax. Elsewhere, the self-explanatory "Sexy Dancer" is a straightforward funk number that serves as a prelude to the great funk of Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999.

Although these are all high points, Prince still hasn't fully mastered the art of the ballad on Prince. "Still Waiting" and "With You" are fairly juvenile and rather boring in their delivery. Nevertheless, Prince does deliver his first ballad winners. "When We're Dancing Close and Slow" is perhaps Prince at his most vulnerable. The delicate guitar and piano is complimented by Prince's almost painfully tender voice. "It's Gonna Be Lonely" starts off rather quietly, but gradually builds to an emotional, inspired outburst.

Prince again fails to be a consistently great album, but it is a grand leap forward. Prince would continue this progress with his follow-up, Dirty Mind, where he truly starts to forge his identity.
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Reply #6 posted 07/19/05 8:12pm

Moonbeam

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Dirty Mind
5 stars

While For You sounds immature and Prince offers a tease of things to come, Prince did not release a truly representative album until 1980's Dirty Mind.

At the age of 22, Prince boldly went where no musician had gone before (or consequently has gone since). An unabashed tale of exhaustive raunch, Dirty Mind is the album where Prince became a freak. From the thumping bass line of the title track, Prince seduces the listener into the bonanza that follows. "If you got the time," Prince offers, "I'll give you some money to buy a dirty mind" in his signature falsetto.

What follows is the rock classic "When You Were Mine," whose status as a gem is ascertained by its inclusion on The Hits/B-Sides despite not being a single. The bizarre love triangle of the song is only a prelude to what is to follow.

"Do It All Night" is a straight-forward come-on, while "Gotta Broken Heart Again" offers the album's only hint of vulnerability.

The second side opens with Prince's first true masterpiece, "Uptown." While a geographic reference, "Uptown" transcends to become an abstract utopia of sexual and racial harmony- "black, white, puerto rican, everybody's just a-freakin'" he proclaims.

The next two songs form the core of the controversy that surrounded the album. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown are tame imitators of the vulgar display of sexual prowess detailed in "Head," in which Prince coaxes a virgin on her wedding day to give him oral sex, and "Sister," in which Prince details the fictitious libidinous accounts with his much older sister.

The album closes with a preview of what was to come. "Partyup" offers social commentary which became more prevalent on Controversy. It closes with a rhyme not dissimilar to the "People call me rude..." chant on "Controversy," which offers a clue as to why the two albums are so often linked.

Dirty Mind is an uninhibited landmark of music that encapsulates the emergence of a superstar who would provide classic material for decades to come.
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Reply #7 posted 07/19/05 8:14pm

Moonbeam

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Controversy
5 stars

Although it often escapes into obscurity sandwiched between the legendary Dirty Mind and 1999, Controversy is an astounding album in its own right. Here, Prince extends his forays into the political realm notable in "Partyup" (from Dirty Mind). He has so much to say, and you'd better believe he's going to say it all in the short 37 minutes that form the duration of the album. While at times this causes the music to sound a little forced and rushed (on the astounding "Sexuality" and the roaring "Ronnie Talk to Russia"), when Prince takes a little more time to extend the groove and elaborate, it works marvelously. The title track remains one of Prince's most timeless, effortless anthems and truly epitomizes what he represents. "Annie Christian" is a haunting, distorted song that paved the way for future stunners like "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)."

Despite the overtly political messages, present on the songs mentioned above and the album sleeve, Prince delves into the world of sex quite successfully. "Do Me, Baby," the only track on which Prince takes his time, is a bedroom burner unrivaled in his extensive catalog. The empassioned vocal delivery and slightly comical climax make it a classic. "Let's Work" features Prince ABUSING his bass guitar with licks so tight that George Clinton would cringe in envy. "Private Joy" bounces off the record with youthful exuberance and energy and "Jack U Off" offers a tongue-in-cheek rockabilly ditty that is sure to delight (if not embarrass).

Prince may not have reached his peak at this point, but on Controversy, Prince displays not only unlimited potential, but some undeniable classics. It is an oddball among Prince releases, but one that ages well and features some of his most telling material. It is also severely underrated, as it one-ups its cousin, the classic Dirty Mind. I would rank it among the top 10 Prince albums.
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Reply #8 posted 07/19/05 8:18pm

Moonbeam

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1999
5 stars

1999 is my choice for the greatest album of all time. Here is why:

1999 was incredibly relevant at the time and its messages loom large today as well. In 1982, the world was in a mess. AIDS was festering in Africa. The Soviet Union and the USA were entrenched in the frigid Cold War. The tension in the Middle East was augmented. The world's economy experienced an enormous crash, rendering several countries in South America and Africa paupers in the world market (many of which have not recovered). Who wasn't worried about the troubled times? 1999 tunes in perfectly to those fears. The title track is a viciously funky premonition of not only the current state of affairs, but things to come. Prince really tapped into his view of the future with this album. The foreboding messages of the title track are echoed in future classics like "Let's Go Crazy" and "Crystal Ball," but none are as timely nor as timeless as "1999," which is funny as "1999" is tied to a specific date.

1999 also reigns supreme due to its paradoxes. Whether it be Prince clamoring, "I'm in love with God, he's the only way" in juxtaposition with "I sincerely want to fuck the taste out of your mouth" in "Let's Pretend We're Married," the dedication of a sexual thrust to "love without sex" in the midst of the passion of "Lady Cab Driver" or the sonic paradox of "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)," a song literally being torn apart by the opposing forces of order in the form of the computerized synth and turbulence in the passion of Prince's guttural screams and the beat which is systematically chaotic, Prince was clearly functioning on a new level with this album, not just personally, but in music as a whole. Nothing previous to this had been as irreverent as "Let's Pretend We're Married," only to turn a complete 180 and declare love of God. Nothing prior to this had seen a song effortlessly blend the primitive outburst of screaming and the forward-looking sound of "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)." What was this guy thinking?

1999 also earns the award because it breaks so many formats. The smash singles are all placed at the beginning of the album, after which it meanders into much darker, experimental territory. The outburst of raging, swaggering funk in "Let's Pretend We're Married," "DMSR," "Automatic," "Lady Cab Driver" and "All the Critics Love U in New York" are stunning not because they are so drawn out (all but "All the Critics" are over 7 minutes in length), but because they still seem concise. Not a beat was misused, not a measure was misplaced. Speaking of "All the Critics Love U in New York," this song stands out not only as the most experimental song in Prince's career, but among the most experimental music of the modern era. Supremely funky, Prince turns a swipe at critics and hippies alike into a nasty, frenetic, rhythmic explosion over seemingly disinterested, lazy half-rapping.

1999 has a distinct sound. The entire album is tied together by a common sound, with instantly recognizable beats, synths and attitude. Despite this bond, the songs are easily distinguishable from each other. Regardless, no song on 1999 can be mistaken for being on any other album. I believe that albums work best that stretch the palate of one sound as far as it can go. 1999 is arguably Prince's most minimalist work, employing few instruments in the mix, yet it propagates a dense fog of funk that sounds both sparse and forebodingly full. Prince pushed himself to his creative limit with this album and the outtakes most associated with it. Prince incorporates inexplicable gurgling sounds, elephant noises, soldier footsteps and city noises into the mix and they perfectly fit the scheme of the music, sounding as if they were recorded for the sole purpose of inclusion on this album. Other albums also are deeply rooted with a single sound, but none, with perhaps the exception of David Bowie's Low, Prince's Lovesexy and Bjork's Vespertine, involve as much creativity. 1999 is a black beacon of foreboding funk.

1999 also rules the rest because it was recorded by an incredibly gifted artist on the brink of superstardom. This was the LAST music Prince recorded before becoming a bona fide mega-star. It exhibits all of the hunger, drive and determination of the first four releases, but it adds a confident swagger and a new maturity as well. This was Prince's rite of passage into manhood. Prince KNEW this music was legendary and stood out on its own. It didn't need any gimmicks- it didn't need Prince to grace the cover in some provocative pose. The music spoke for itself. Anything recorded after 1999 was created by someone who was already a household name. 1999 came from a relative unknown, making it all the more surprising.

Lastly, 1999 is so stunning because it is entirely the work of one man. Certainly, studio engineers were involved in the mix. Prince even includes "the Revolution" for the first time on this album. However, Dez Dickerson's influence is nowhere on this record. It's not Matt Fink's vision. This album is 100% Prince himself. Not only does Prince unveil all of his cards in this release, he turns them over in your face, making them impossible to ignore. This album is the culmination of his genius, the pinnacle of an artist whose talent is unrivaled by anyone of the modern era.

I rest my case.
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Reply #9 posted 07/19/05 8:21pm

Moonbeam

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Crystal Ball
5 stars

Issued in 1998 in stores after a controversial online attempt at distribution, Crystal Ball was well worth the wait. This three disc opus owes its title and origins to the shelved 3-disc Crystal Ball project of early 1987. Most of those tracks ended up forming the bulk of Prince's landmark Sign o' the Times album, leaving many gems unreleased and under the radar for many years. This set contains 30 tracks that were previously unreleased spanning the years 1983-1997.

11 years later, the tracks that date from the original project unsurprisingly unveil Prince's genius. Considered Prince's masterpiece by many, the title track is a 10 minute epic with multiple parts, beautifully arranged and performed with the help of Claire Fisher. Leading off the first disc, "Crystal Ball" leads into "Dream Factory," the title track of another shelved album from the same time period. Another stunner, Prince opens this 30-track set with 2 of his most classic, sought after outtakes. The remainder of the first, strongest disc features such highlights as the hysterical "Movie Star," the sultry and enticing "Ripopgodazippa" from the Come sessions, and "Love Sign" which features Nona Gaye.

The second disc really does show that Prince is the "jack of all trades," as he sings in "Crucial." Included is the Gold Experience outtake "Interactive" with its commercially palatable guitar gloss, the energetic and quirky "Sexual Suicide" and the anthemic, guitar-driven "Strays of the World." "Cloreen Bacon Skin" is a rough demo dating to 1983 which offers a glimpse into the genius at work. Composed simply of Morris Day on the drums (who Prince toyingly calls "Alfred") and Prince on the bass guitar, "Cloreen Bacon Skin" offers a rare glimpse into Prince's bass chops. Irresistibly funky and funny, Prince improvised the lyrics on the spot. The strength of the disc, however, lies in the triumvirate of "Da Bang," "Calhoun Square" and "What's My Name," all of which date from around 1994.

The last disc continues the excellence with the heavily sought after "Days of Wild," featured in its spectacular live version here. Prince the badass is on full display in this song which is nothing short of a classic. Another live offering, "The Ride," is a bluesy come on ("You've got the time baby, I've got the ride") which seduces with increasingly arousing guitar solos and audience accolades. Ever the humorist, Prince also includes the throw-away "PoomPoom" which is sure to give you at least a giggle, as will the forthright "18 and Over." When he stops to be sincere, Prince delivers with the gorgeous "She Gave Her Angels" and the closer "Goodbye."

Crystal Ball offers a hodgepodge snapshot into Prince's legendary and unlimited vault of unreleased material. Although it has no cohesive order, Crystal Ball stands as one of Prince's greatest releases, satiating diehard fans but perhaps scaring those unfamiliar with a lot of his work with its lofty price and lack of a visible tracklist. Trust me, Crystal Ball is worth every penny you have to pay for it.

The store version also includes the acoustic guitar driven album The Truth from 1997. The version available through Prince himself featured a 5th disc, the instrumental Kamasutra.
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Reply #10 posted 07/19/05 8:21pm

Handclapsfinga
snapz

i can't find the friggin dm review i typed up earlier this year! fit
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Reply #11 posted 07/19/05 8:24pm

Moonbeam

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Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic
5 stars

Hindsight too often plays a role in an album’s reception. Throughout the 90s, Prince (or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince), battled to stay relevant to a music market increasingly intent on packaging and re-packaging trends at the expense of musicianship and artistry. Prolific as ever, Prince pumped out album upon album of overlooked gems and missed opportunities. For some reason, quantity was now a barometer for quality and unmet commercial expectations precluded critical acclaim. The album that represents this the most is 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.

Issued with the support of a major label and Clive Davis, who masterminded Santana’s reemergence in 1999, Rave came with a lot of expectation. Rumors of collaborations with several major artists were confirmed with appearances by Eve, Chuck D., Gwen Stefani, Sheryl Crow, Ani DiFranco and Maceo Parker. Weekly spur-of-the-moment performances at Paisley Park created a buzz around Prince again. Interviews and spotlights in magazines and TV shows rare for an artist of Prince’s mystique were commonplace. A live broadcast of a concert entitled “Rave Un2 the Year 2000,” where Prince was to perform his anthem “1999” for the last time was planned and executed. Could this be the album to resurrect a commercially gasping career?

No. Missteps in promotion that plagued earlier albums of the decade likewise plagued Rave. A lush, extravagant video for the lead-off single, “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” was shelved until months after the single release. Rumors of a second single never came to fruition. A market filled to the brim with adolescent juggernauts of style over substance apparently had no room left for an artist in his 40s. Initially positive reviews of the album (often called his best in many years) turned sour as Rave was dubbed a flop.

All of these failed expectations distract from the fact that this is a fun, quirky and diverse album. The first song, “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic” is a leftover from 1988 and was planned as the title track of an album to follow Lovesexy. A synthetic funk workout, complete with mechanical beats, a hypnotic Eastern-tinged guitar riff and some screeching, passionate vocals set the stage. Other robotic offerings such as the irresistibly weird “Strange But True,” the playfully lustful “Hot Wit U” and the creeping, ominous “Undisputed” conjure the glory days of Minneapolis funk. “Prettyman” sees Prince lay down the brass funk in self-mock mode (quite unusual for him) in the vein of “Movie Star.” Most playful of all, however, is the searing rock of “So Far, So Pleased.” Prince and Gwen Stefani share flirtation and innuendo over a punchy backdrop. This is what pop-rock should be. Soaring melodies drift above some THICK guitars. Had this been released as a single, the fortunes of this album would have likely been much different. Other pop gems include the stealthily seductive “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” and the shimmering “The Sun, the Moon and Stars.”

Rave isn’t all fun and games. Much of the record offers answers to his bitter divorce with Mayte. The over-produced “Man o’ War” is classic Prince “You done me wrong” balladry, but it can’t touch the similarly themed “I Love U, But I Don’t Trust U Anymore.” A stark, haunting piece featuring piano and Ani DiFranco’s acoustic guitar, the song slowly builds with increasingly vulnerable vocals that depict the despondent tale of unrequited love and false accusations. Elsewhere, the painfully short “Tangerine” is a colorful, melancholy highlight, the likes of which had not been seen since “Starfish and Coffee.” Later, the anthemic “Wherever U Go, Whatever U Do” offers reassurance and an effortless melody ripped off and watered down for Lenny Kravitz’s megahit “Again.”

Free from the harsh lens of a society with its ridiculous demands and expectations, 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic offers something that Prince had kept hidden for a long, long time- an album that is at times fun, confessional, funky and relaxed. It succeeds in being quirky but accessible, sprawling but not over-reaching. There is no grand message here, nor is there interminable excess- Prince plays all of his cards on one disc here. And above all, the album is undeniably Prince. Had this album been released in 2004 like the similar but lesser Musicology, it would have benefited from a much more favorable musical climate.
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Reply #12 posted 07/19/05 8:25pm

Moonbeam

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Handclapsfingasnapz said:

i can't find the friggin dm review i typed up earlier this year! fit


Rereading some of these old ones (like the first 4), I'm thinking I may need to rewrite them and elaborate more! They deserve more attention.
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Reply #13 posted 07/19/05 8:27pm

Moonbeam

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One Nite Alone
4.5 stars

A wonderful, understated piano gem that didn't see release in stores. By its release in 2002, Prince had become accustomed to releasing most of his music through his NPG Music Club. One Nite Alone was the crown jewel of the NPGMC's releases. The 10 tracks included foster a melancholy, subdued mood through their 34 minutes. One Nite Alone is the piano companion to 1997's largely acoustic The Truth.

The title track offers the most of the bunch, with its beautiful piano runs and haunting melody. "U're Gonna C Me," "Here on Earth," and a remake of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of U" follow with similar success. "Have a Heart" and "Objects in the Mirror" are the twins that follow, the former featuring an enchanting musical structure that is reprised in the latter. "Avalanche" follows with its bitter summary of the plight of African Americans at the hands of such revered figures as Abraham Lincoln. Next is "Pearls B4 the Swine," a breezy highlight that is a welcome dose of bliss after the somber and sobering "Avalanche." "Young and Beautiful" is an upbeat ode to a young virgin who Prince praises for her charms and virtue. The album closes with the instrumental "Arboretum," which, although beautiful, sounds like a bunch of arpeggios thrown together in a piano lesson.

This understated, often forgotten album is a beautiful addition to Prince's highly varied catalog. It is nice to have a Prince album suitable for cold, rainy days, devoid of the commercial aspirations or ego of most of the other releases.
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #14 posted 07/19/05 8:30pm

Handclapsfinga
snapz

Moonbeam said:

Handclapsfingasnapz said:

i can't find the friggin dm review i typed up earlier this year! fit


Rereading some of these old ones (like the first 4), I'm thinking I may need to rewrite them and elaborate more! They deserve more attention.

i'm planning on redoing mine sometime soon, at least before october 8th comes. andit'sgonnabeheresoonerthanyouthink!nod
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Reply #15 posted 07/19/05 8:32pm

Moonbeam

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Musicology
4 stars

Time has been unkind to Prince. Years of hard work and amazing albums in the 80s garnered him a legacy the likes of which are rarely seen anymore. When the advent of grunge roared its head, Prince and his oddities became obsolete. Despite being as prolific as ever, Prince became rather reclusive, only popping his head out once every five albums or so in an attempt to seduce the mainstream. Musicology is Prince's 3rd such attempt and in the 80s-nostalgia zeitgeist of the early 00s, it proved to be his most successful.

The premise of the album is that through the span of nearly three decades in the business, Prince is now a legend with wisdom of music itself and the industry that he can impart. Musicology sees Prince as professor, offering lessons on "real music" to a younger generation whose only context of him is in the name-dropping of current stars such as Alicia Keys and OutKast. In other words, Prince is resting on his laurels here having accepted his place in music history. The focus here is on song craftsmanship, and Prince delivers well.

Many have cited the external influences present on the album, be it James Brown on the title track or Sly and the Family Stone. However, most of the songs can be traced to the Purple One himself. The aforementioned title track offers a relentless groove and a tip of the hat to those who came before him. Its success is so astonishing that it even managed to create a buzz around the album's release. Elsewhere, "A Million Days" has all the makings of a classic Prince rock ballad. A passionate vocal performance seals the deal. The midtempo electro-groove of "What Do U Want Me 2 Do" conjures the more adventurous songs of Sign o' the Times nicely, while the hit "Call My Name" is standard Prince soul balladry in the vein of "Adore" and "Scandalous". "Cinnamon Girl" recalls a bit of the psychedelic glory of the mid-80s with timely observations of xenophobia and the perception of terrorism. Even more political, the deep funk groove of "Dear Mr. Man" provides a perfect backdrop to an acerbic assault on the government, proving a more palatable and successful attempt at social commentary present in songs like "Family Name" and "Avalanche" of recent albums.

The album is not entirely successful. "Life o' the Party" would not sound out of place on the second half Newpower Soul, which even most ardent fans are keen to forget. "Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance" reminds us that Prince was once an electro-funk badass. Although fun, its slang seems forced and its appeal wears thin after the first few minutes.

The album closes fittingly with the acoustic groove of "Reflection", complete with some poignant nostalgia of his own. At twelve songs and under 50 minutes, Musicology is a concise, varied album that brings back memories of his wildly storied career. Perhaps more importantly, Prince seems content with himself and his place in history for the first time ever. Musicology re-established Prince as a force to be reckoned with in the industry and it appears that he is up to the challenge.
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #16 posted 07/19/05 8:32pm

Moonbeam

avatar

Handclapsfingasnapz said:

Moonbeam said:



Rereading some of these old ones (like the first 4), I'm thinking I may need to rewrite them and elaborate more! They deserve more attention.

i'm planning on redoing mine sometime soon, at least before october 8th comes. andit'sgonnabeheresoonerthanyouthink!nod


Amentothatsista! headbang
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #17 posted 07/19/05 8:47pm

INSATIABLE

avatar

Moonbeam said:

Controversy
5 stars

Although it often escapes into obscurity sandwiched between the legendary Dirty Mind and 1999, Controversy is an astounding album in its own right.

Prince may not have reached his peak at this point, but on Controversy, Prince displays not only unlimited potential, but some undeniable classics. It is an oddball among Prince releases, but one that ages well and features some of his most telling material. It is also severely underrated, as it one-ups its cousin, the classic Dirty Mind. I would rank it among the top 10 Prince albums.

worship

Fucking YES!! biggrin
Oh shit, my hat done fell off
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Reply #18 posted 07/19/05 8:48pm

INSATIABLE

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redface
Oh shit, my hat done fell off
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Reply #19 posted 07/19/05 10:22pm

Love2tha9s

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Very interesting reviews to read. I'd love to read somemore if you have them.
"Why'd I waste my kisses on you baby?" R.I.P. Prince You've finally found your way back home. Well Done.
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Reply #20 posted 07/19/05 10:22pm

Moonbeam

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Love2tha9s said:

Very interesting reviews to read. I'd love to read somemore if you have them.


I'll have to write them first. lol
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #21 posted 07/19/05 10:30pm

Love2tha9s

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of course cool wink
"Why'd I waste my kisses on you baby?" R.I.P. Prince You've finally found your way back home. Well Done.
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Reply #22 posted 07/19/05 11:40pm

doctamario

avatar

Handclapsfingasnapz said:

i can't find the friggin dm review i typed up earlier this year! fit


I've got it if you want it
Don't hurt me, I'm a newb. I'm supposed to be stupid.
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Reply #23 posted 07/20/05 8:55am

FunkMistress

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Moonbeam said:

Handclapsfingasnapz said:

i can't find the friggin dm review i typed up earlier this year! fit


Rereading some of these old ones (like the first 4), I'm thinking I may need to rewrite them and elaborate more! They deserve more attention.


nod

Do it!

thumbs up!
CHICKENS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO COCAINE, SILKY HEN.
The Normal Whores Club
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Reply #24 posted 07/20/05 8:56am

FunkMistress

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Moonbeam said:

Musicology review was here


Excellent. touched
CHICKENS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO COCAINE, SILKY HEN.
The Normal Whores Club
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Reply #25 posted 07/20/05 11:16am

GoldenGlove

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Awesome! cool
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Reply #26 posted 07/20/05 11:57am

TheBigBang

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You gave Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic a 5-Star review. Pssssh! See, to me, five stars means perfection without a single flaw. The fact that you gave no commentary on the three weakest tracks on the album, the cover "Every Day Is A Winding Road," "Baby Knows," and "Silly Game," tells me that you didn't figure they were worth mentioning. You mentioned all of the others, including the hidden track.

I know it's your opinion, but I respectfully disagree with your review. Same with your review of Crystal Ball.
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Reply #27 posted 07/20/05 4:30pm

Moonbeam

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TheBigBang said:

You gave Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic a 5-Star review. Pssssh! See, to me, five stars means perfection without a single flaw. The fact that you gave no commentary on the three weakest tracks on the album, the cover "Every Day Is A Winding Road," "Baby Knows," and "Silly Game," tells me that you didn't figure they were worth mentioning. You mentioned all of the others, including the hidden track.

I know it's your opinion, but I respectfully disagree with your review. Same with your review of Crystal Ball.


Feel free to write your own.
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #28 posted 07/31/05 10:54pm

Moonbeam

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Parade
5 stars

Having succeeded in planting a giant question mark in the minds of the public and fan alike with Around the World in a Day, Prince once again dipped his feet into soundtracks with the follow-up, Parade. As usual, Prince was busy with his myriad side projects, but managed to deliver an album for the ages with his soundtrack to the less successful movie Under the Cherry Moon.

While Around the World in a Day came as a shock to listeners at the time with its whimsical psychedelia, Parade actually ups the ante and delivers Prince's most colorful album to date. By this point, the Revolution had become a well-oiled machine firing on all cylinders, incorporating a wide assortment of influences and styles to put forth this stunning document of their prowess. Parade is also the album that sees the band distribute the roles most, as Wendy and Lisa are heard singing throughout, even carrying the vocal lead on "I Wonder U". Sadly, it would prove to be the last album released before the ugly breakup of the band.

The album greatly succeeds as a soundtrack for the film. With a seemingly limitless palate, the album boasts gleeful woodwinds (see the dreamy fog of "I Wonder U"), xylophones ("Christopher Tracy's Parade") and lush strings and horns that burst with the color absent from the movie itself. Set in the summer of the French Riviera, piano ballads such as "Under the Cherry Moon" and the gorgeous "Venus de Milo" effectively communicate the extravagance of the white aristocracy portrayed. "Do U Lie", a dainty little ditty, sounds as removed from modern rock and roll as anything in Prince's entire career, strolling on virtually bereft of percussion and guitar to set a tone of 20s glamor.

But just in case you forgot who was in command, Prince lays down some serious funk on this album. "New Position" reminds us that he's still as nasty as ever in spite of the slick guise, while "Girls and Boys" stands out as the most polished funk jam of his career with its sassy finger cymbals and greasy horns. Who knew synth strings could be so funky? The album's blockbuster single, "Kiss" bursts forth with its minimal guitar crunch and some of his very best vocals to date. Another single, "Anotherloverholenyohead" sees the bass guitar slapped to submission as Prince unveils his now trademark paranoia with a sing-along chorus practically unmatched in his repertoire.

The most noteworthy tracks, though, are those where Prince and company turn spiritual. "Mountains" sees the band at its most heavenly, its rapturous joy exuded with messages of encouragement in the wake of turbulence. "Love will conquer if you just believe", Prince affirms as Wendy and Lisa chime in for the angelic chorus. A glorious success, "Mountains" captures the ecstasy of Lovesexy in an economic 4 minutes. On the other side of the coin, the closing ballad "Sometimes It Snows in April" resonates with pain and loss as Prince's tale of the lead character's life and death isn't so specific as to diminish its effect. Anyone who has ever experienced loss should relate to this song and lines like "Love isn't love until it's past," which just aren't written anymore.

Parade suffers from little more than preceding the monumental opus Sign o' the Times, and as a result benefits from its lack of overexposure. Prince would never create an album that is more colorful (although Lovesexy makes a strong case), nor would he ever release such a great album without any grandstanding. But brilliance has its price. The Revolution yielded four astonishing albums from 1982-1986 and Parade acts as a perfect benchmark of their reign, brimming over with ideas. But alas, all good things they say never last.
Feel free to join in the Prince Song Poll 2016! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince songs, as decided by you!
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Reply #29 posted 08/01/05 2:10am

Natsume

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oh ian, I love your positive outlook on so much of Prince's work. it makes me fall in love all over again! I so need to go back and have some more listens. you've upped my appreciation once more. thumbs up!
I mean, like, where is the sun?
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