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Thread started 09/16/17 6:01am

gandorb

Prince's late career renaissance

I have been thinking about all of Prince's career a lot lately, probably spurred on by re-visiting so much of his music as well as finally exploring the world of Prince bootlegs since he died. A consistent perception of mine has been that he was in the midst of a renewed creative streak in the last few years of his life. While I liked some of his post Gold releases and concerts, not that much excited me like his old stuff until four recent developments that were reminiscent of the creativity of his 80s material:

1. The 3rd Eye concerts revealed an inspired Prince who wasn't just playing the hits and even when he did they were often refreshed by a new delivery. While the album itself was a mixed bag, I do think the concerts truly reflected that Prince was more excited about music than he had been in a while.

2. AOA - I know this album has been discussed a lot, but it gives me a sense of discovery of Prince the way his 80s classics used to do. He showed s new side to him on the album, which is amazing after so many albums. It illustrated to me that Prince's new maturity didn't mean that he had to be bland.

3. Piano and Mic concerts - I can't get enough of these. it is amazing what a diverse group of songs he played in the concerts, and how dramatically he would change the set-list for each concert. What other artist with so many hits could have played only one of their big hits in the first 21 songs as he did in the 2nd concert in Sydney, and still raise the roof with such avid fan support. Moreover, the hit song he did play was changed dramatically with LRC being mashed with Dirty Mind. He also played plenty of his 2000s releases across the various concerts with excellent results. Most of my copies of the P&M concerts are of relatively poor audio quality, yet I am just as in awe of them as I was of his best 80s releases.

4. To a lesser extent than the first three, I still think HnR2 deserves mention here. He reportedly was very active in the collaboration with others to create the amazing brass arrangements throughout the album. The arrangements alone turned to what might have been just a fair album to a very good one, IMO. He always produced great things when he truly collaborated with others (the Revolution for Parade, the Flesh Sessions), so it was a great sign that he was doing this again.

For me, It warms my heart that Prince's recent accomplishments counter the stereotype of some has-been musician who is just playing his old hits. It is amazing how different all four of the above-mentioned trends were from each other.It is also bittersweet as hell, as it suggests that there may have been a lot more things to come down the road from Prince if he still were alive. At least we can still enjoy his newest creations!

Curious to here about the viewpoints of others in relation to this topic.

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Reply #1 posted 09/16/17 6:26am

Fenwick

gandorb said:

I have been thinking about all of Prince's career a lot lately, probably spurred on by re-visiting so much of his music as well as finally exploring the world of Prince bootlegs since he died. A consistent perception of mine has been that he was in the midst of a renewed creative streak in the last few years of his life. While I liked some of his post Gold releases and concerts, not that much excited me like his old stuff until four recent developments that were reminiscent of the creativity of his 80s material:

1. The 3rd Eye concerts revealed an inspired Prince who wasn't just playing the hits and even when he did they were often refreshed by a new delivery. While the album itself was a mixed bag, I do think the concerts truly reflected that Prince was more excited about music than he had been in a while.

2. AOA - I know this album has been discussed a lot, but it gives me a sense of discovery of Prince the way his 80s classics used to do. He showed s new side to him on the album, which is amazing after so many albums. It illustrated to me that Prince's new maturity didn't mean that he had to be bland.

3. Piano and Mic concerts - I can't get enough of these. it is amazing what a diverse group of songs he played in the concerts, and how dramatically he would change the set-list for each concert. What other artist with so many hits could have played only one of their big hits in the first 21 songs as he did in the 2nd concert in Sydney, and still raise the roof with such avid fan support. Moreover, the hit song he did play was changed dramatically with LRC being mashed with Dirty Mind. He also played plenty of his 2000s releases across the various concerts with excellent results. Most of my copies of the P&M concerts are of relatively poor audio quality, yet I am just as in awe of them as I was of his best 80s releases.

4. To a lesser extent than the first three, I still think HnR2 deserves mention here. He reportedly was very active in the collaboration with others to create the amazing brass arrangements throughout the album. The arrangements alone turned to what might have been just a fair album to a very good one, IMO. He always produced great things when he truly collaborated with others (the Revolution for Parade, the Flesh Sessions), so it was a great sign that he was doing this again.

For me, It warms my heart that Prince's recent accomplishments counter the stereotype of some has-been musician who is just playing his old hits. It is amazing how different all four of the above-mentioned trends were from each other.It is also bittersweet as hell, as it suggests that there may have been a lot more things to come down the road from Prince if he still were alive. At least we can still enjoy his newest creations!

Curious to here about the viewpoints of others in relation to this topic.

Hey Gandorb.

I totally agree with you albeit it with one major caveat for me personally. I would switch the impact of AOA and HNR2. Obviously we all have our own tastes, and I believe I am in the minority, but to me, Hit n Run 2 was a massive, massive album. Half the tracks are absolutely epic to me. And only one, (Baltimore) just doesn't work at all.


Whereas AOA only has The Gold Standard as a personal gem. I just don't find the production of the album to be as warm. Songs like Breakdown could have been massive if it was just piano, bass and drums with those understated backgrond vox. But the damn laser gun effects turn it into a carnival.

Understanding this is just personal taste and just as many people feel the polar opposite. Nevertheless, to your overall point, the time period of 3121/Planet Earth/Lotus/Eixir/2010 and the Welcome to America concerts was very uninspired for sure. (Even though Lotus is a pretty solid album). It did give pause that he had really "lost it".


But with AOA, Plectrum, the Piano and Mic tours, (can I pretend Hit n Run 1 doesn't exist), and again, especially HnR2 it makes it all the more heartbreaking that he passed on. He still had so much more to say. Compounding it with the fact that he truly lived and breathed music.... So unspeakkably devastating.

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Reply #2 posted 09/16/17 7:07am

gandorb

Fenwick said:

gandorb said:

I have been thinking about all of Prince's career a lot lately, probably spurred on by re-visiting so much of his music as well as finally exploring the world of Prince bootlegs since he died. A consistent perception of mine has been that he was in the midst of a renewed creative streak in the last few years of his life. While I liked some of his post Gold releases and concerts, not that much excited me like his old stuff until four recent developments that were reminiscent of the creativity of his 80s material:

1. The 3rd Eye concerts revealed an inspired Prince who wasn't just playing the hits and even when he did they were often refreshed by a new delivery. While the album itself was a mixed bag, I do think the concerts truly reflected that Prince was more excited about music than he had been in a while.

2. AOA - I know this album has been discussed a lot, but it gives me a sense of discovery of Prince the way his 80s classics used to do. He showed s new side to him on the album, which is amazing after so many albums. It illustrated to me that Prince's new maturity didn't mean that he had to be bland.

3. Piano and Mic concerts - I can't get enough of these. it is amazing what a diverse group of songs he played in the concerts, and how dramatically he would change the set-list for each concert. What other artist with so many hits could have played only one of their big hits in the first 21 songs as he did in the 2nd concert in Sydney, and still raise the roof with such avid fan support. Moreover, the hit song he did play was changed dramatically with LRC being mashed with Dirty Mind. He also played plenty of his 2000s releases across the various concerts with excellent results. Most of my copies of the P&M concerts are of relatively poor audio quality, yet I am just as in awe of them as I was of his best 80s releases.

4. To a lesser extent than the first three, I still think HnR2 deserves mention here. He reportedly was very active in the collaboration with others to create the amazing brass arrangements throughout the album. The arrangements alone turned to what might have been just a fair album to a very good one, IMO. He always produced great things when he truly collaborated with others (the Revolution for Parade, the Flesh Sessions), so it was a great sign that he was doing this again.

For me, It warms my heart that Prince's recent accomplishments counter the stereotype of some has-been musician who is just playing his old hits. It is amazing how different all four of the above-mentioned trends were from each other.It is also bittersweet as hell, as it suggests that there may have been a lot more things to come down the road from Prince if he still were alive. At least we can still enjoy his newest creations!

Curious to here about the viewpoints of others in relation to this topic.

Hey Gandorb.

I totally agree with you albeit it with one major caveat for me personally. I would switch the impact of AOA and HNR2. Obviously we all have our own tastes, and I believe I am in the minority, but to me, Hit n Run 2 was a massive, massive album. Half the tracks are absolutely epic to me. And only one, (Baltimore) just doesn't work at all.


Whereas AOA only has The Gold Standard as a personal gem. I just don't find the production of the album to be as warm. Songs like Breakdown could have been massive if it was just piano, bass and drums with those understated backgrond vox. But the damn laser gun effects turn it into a carnival.

Understanding this is just personal taste and just as many people feel the polar opposite. Nevertheless, to your overall point, the time period of 3121/Planet Earth/Lotus/Eixir/2010 and the Welcome to America concerts was very uninspired for sure. (Even though Lotus is a pretty solid album). It did give pause that he had really "lost it".


But with AOA, Plectrum, the Piano and Mic tours, (can I pretend Hit n Run 1 doesn't exist), and again, especially HnR2 it makes it all the more heartbreaking that he passed on. He still had so much more to say. Compounding it with the fact that he truly lived and breathed music.... So unspeakkably devastating.

Hey Fenwick, I have no problem with a HnR2 lover. I also agree with your mid 2000s career point. I think in the context of all the other creative dvelopments of the recent period, I see HnR1 more of a failed (or at best partially successful) experiment. Yes, it was derivative but it is so incredibly different from all the other things mentioned that I think he was just expermenting with different styles. With all experiments there runs a risk of failure. On the other side, the successful experiments tend to be our favorite Prince albums! Mid 2000s seemed to be minimal experimentation but it did succeed in re-introducing him to the masses.

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