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Thread started 04/21/13 5:55am

MattyJam

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Lets discuss the Symbol album. Thoughts/opinions?

I've always had a fascination with this record - Prince at his most pompous and egocentric. I feel out of his early 90s albums, it has probably aged the best (although there is some dated material on there, namely The Max, My Name Is Prince, The Flow).

But I just think the NPG sound really tight on this record. Sweet Baby, And God Created Women and Damn U are three of his prettiest ballads and still sound great today. 7 is a great pop song. The Morning Papers has a timeless quality to it with it's hammond organ and sax/guitar solos. And I love how ambitious 3 Chain O Gold is. Granted, at times the song borders on being terrible (especially Mayte's cringeful spoken word plea at the end), but it's a fascinating listen nonetheless and at least he's being adventurous. Regardless of your thoughts on the track, you gotta give the man kudos for giving it a shot. Finally, I know this isn't a popular opinion, but I also kinda dig Arrogance - it has a really raw and frenzied energy to it that really appeals to me.

[Edited 4/21/13 6:17am]

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Reply #1 posted 04/21/13 7:03am

101

I consider it a great album. It has the mundane and magical in one album. I love especially the magical side of this album, ''seven'', ''god created woman'', ''3 chains of gold''. On the more mundane songs..i love ''love 2 the 9s''.

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Reply #2 posted 04/21/13 7:16am

ottoegil

I love this album to death!

I was about 14 when it was released, and it was the first Prince album I bought.
It is so perfectly over-the-top, and it's still one of my absolute favourite albums.

Favourite tracks: 3 chains o' gold, Sexy MF

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Reply #3 posted 04/21/13 7:40am

SuperSoulFight
er

You're right about one thing and wrong about another. It IS P at his most pompous and egocentric and it has aged TERRIBLY. Most of it is totally unlistenable. The good songs are the ones where he's doing what he's good at. Fonk'n. Sexy MF, Continental, Sacrifice. Damn U & God Created Woman are nice ballads. Arrogance is a funny crazy mess. Ufortunately, that's only half of the album. Morning Papers could have been a nice pop song if he had come up with a better chorus than lalala. 7 is not bad, but overworked. The rest? barf
[Edited 4/21/13 7:41am]
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Reply #4 posted 04/21/13 8:20am

hhhhdmt

Best song on the record: 7 or And God Created Woman

i particularly like the following songs:

And God Created Woman- A beautiful mystical song that only Prince can pull off. As far as i am concerned, its probably in my top 20 Prince songs

7- Again a gem of a track, very catchy and beautifully written

Love 2 the 9's- great vocals, very catchy, hate the rap bit though, i wish it wasn't there

Blue Light- a fun regaee type of song. It may not be a "great" regaee track but a nice attempt anyway

3 chains o gold: not among my personal favourites but a fascinating listen nonetheless

There are some other fine tracks on there and some very mediocre ones. Ultimately though, he was putting too many songs on his records throughout the decade.

Still i like it for having two outstanding songs on it (7 and "And God created woman") which would be highlights even on any of his 80's work. Plus it has some pretty good tracks.

Overall i'd give it either 7.5 or 8 out of 10. I'd lean more towards 8 because the best songs are relaly that good. Still some proper quality control would have helped.

[Edited 4/21/13 8:21am]

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Reply #5 posted 04/21/13 8:42am

Shockedelicus

I've played prince for some people and they always ended up laughing at it.

I enjoy it, but it's still terrible. It's got some good basslines, easy to groove to, but the songs don't hold together too well. The segues don't help its case, either.

It's an album that is, by all means, for fans only! It's just too corny for a wider audience. Some of P's worst lyrics ever throughout the entire album. It sounded like a five foot, millionaire, lace-wearing pop star was trying to be tough and streetwise [Spoilers: He's not.]

And has anyone else noticed that The Max sounds just like Gett Off?

[Edited 4/21/13 9:06am]

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Reply #6 posted 04/21/13 8:43am

bigd74

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I love this album, for me the only real weakness on it is Tony M, he's ok on Sexy MF, but rest he's horrible. The Tony M less version is far superior.the endings of Love 2 The 9s and The Continental have been removed and is so much better. smile
She Believed in Fairytales and Princes, He Believed the voices coming from his stereo

If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me?
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Reply #7 posted 04/21/13 9:03am

errant

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It's about 25 minutes or 5 songs too long.

Which is the case with most albums from the early '90s, when the CD was all the rage and they were trying to justify overcharging for them by filling up every available minute of the format to keep people from noticing.

"does my cock look fat in these jeans?"
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Reply #8 posted 04/21/13 9:05am

errant

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My Name Is Prince

Sexy MF

Love 2 The 9's

The Morning Papers

Sweet Baby

Damn U

The Continental

7

And God Created Woman

The Sacrifice Of Victor.

"does my cock look fat in these jeans?"
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Reply #9 posted 04/21/13 12:55pm

riocoolnes

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phennomenal record. Definitely the best of the 90s and most underated. Should be considered classic.

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Reply #10 posted 04/21/13 6:31pm

EMPEROR101

Hmmmm....?

This is Hard because i personally don't like much 90s Prince music.

That being said:

I did see the tour several times for the album and i LOVED the way he performed "The Max" Live..

I adore James Brown so, Obviously I loved Sexy MF ...

I'm sure that "The Morning Papers" probably could have been a classic

if another artist had recorded it 1st.. Maybe Elton John?

7 is cool, Love 2 the 9's is cool.. "I wannabe Luuv-ed Shuu gah..." biggrin

For some reason I hated My name is Prince,

I think it was the Overused Funky Drummer James Brown Loop in it

+ the scratching and rapping.. Not my kinda thing.

Everything else...

Meh... confused

(IMO) Overall compared to what he's been doing since the mid 90s..

Its an exceptional Work of Art!

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Reply #11 posted 04/21/13 6:37pm

thedance

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I heart the prince album, 9/10 from me.

.

the only weak song -annoying as hell- is the reggae light song: "Blue Light".

.

the rest is fantastic,

.

And yeah the best songs are the singles:

.

Sexy MF

My Name Is Prince

7

The Morning Papers

.

^ the videos to those are great as well.

.

heart

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #12 posted 04/21/13 7:06pm

naffi

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Love the prince album, favourite song is The Continental, first song that really jumped out at me when I first listened to the album, probably not the best one on there but I love listening to it!! Also love Sexy MF, without the expletive, I think it is a really good song lyric-wise, and Damn U is just utterly divine, the video is so simple but breathtaking!!!
My name is Prince always seemed a weird, especially once he changed his name to the unpronounceable symbol. I liked the Kirstie Alley segues, always wondered if there was meant to be more to them.
Love to the 9's, Morning Papers, Blue Light, And God Created Women and The Max, all quite likeable.
3 chains of gold and the sacrifice of Victor took a while to get too like, just so heavy, guess they fit with the movie, but on the album just seem to drag it down.
7 just seemed to be everywhere and am quite over it now.
Must say that the video for I wanna melt with U, was quite shocking to see for the first time...
You know you are in love, when you cannot fall asleep because your reality is finally better than your dreams - Dr Seuss
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Reply #13 posted 04/21/13 9:28pm

jackmitz

SuperSoulFighter said:

You're right about one thing and wrong about another. It IS P at his most pompous and egocentric and it has aged TERRIBLY. Most of it is totally unlistenable. The good songs are the ones where he's doing what he's good at. Fonk'n. Sexy MF, Continental, Sacrifice. Damn U & God Created Woman are nice ballads. Arrogance is a funny crazy mess. Ufortunately, that's only half of the album. Morning Papers could have been a nice pop song if he had come up with a better chorus than lalala. 7 is not bad, but overworked. The rest? barf [Edited 4/21/13 7:41am]

7 is overworked? Please explain. I think the dense production fits the mood, and lyrics of the song perfectly.

Occupy Alphabet Street!




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Reply #14 posted 04/21/13 11:10pm

Soulstar77A

naffi said:

Must say that the video for I wanna melt with U, was quite shocking to see for the first time...

I think it might have been somehow inspired by Brian De Palmas movie "Phantom of the Paradise" hmmm

"ohYeeeeeah" said: I'm a massive Bowie fan. Even on Scary Monsters, I always skip Fame ...
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Reply #15 posted 04/21/13 11:33pm

jtfolden

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riocoolnes said:

phennomenal record. Definitely the best of the 90s and most underated. Should be considered classic.

Completely agree. I think this album could have been HUGE if some thought had been put into the single releases... so many radio ready tracks here.

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Reply #16 posted 04/21/13 11:46pm

riocoolnes

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thedance said:

I heart the prince album, 9/10 from me.

.

the only weak song -annoying as hell- is the reggae light song: "Blue Light".

.

the rest is fantastic,

.

And yeah the best songs are the singles:

.

Sexy MF

My Name Is Prince

7

The Morning Papers

.

^ the videos to those are great as well.

.

heart

BLUE LIGHT IS FANABULOUS !!!!!!!!!

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Reply #17 posted 04/22/13 12:17am

novabrkr

Shockedelicus said:

And has anyone else noticed that The Max sounds just like Gett Off?

Can't say I have. Probably because it doesn't.

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Reply #18 posted 04/22/13 12:41am

novabrkr

The record relies on its indulgence and mishmash of styles. Wouldn't edit too much out of it. It sort of needs tracks like "Arrogance" on it just to balance out some of the other stuff. Prince's "point" about the mid-section of the record was to go from one extreme to another. That is also reflected in the "seduction" attempt of the female reporter (by that point Prince's idea of picking up chicks seemed to equal mindfucking with them).

Some of the tracks seem to be "annoying" on intention. Then he goes back to being the "innovative musical genius" again with the rest of the tracks of the record (regardless of how successful that attempt was from a "non-fan's" perspective). Isn't that something he already did with Purple Rain? He wanted to challenge his audience with some tracks in order to see if they could "get it" and lure them into his own world in that manner? "Arrogance" is just "Darling Nikki" of the early-90s.


I got really into this album when I was younger and it stayed "fresh" to my ears for years. Towards the end of the decade that perception started changing. The production choices and the synth / drum sounds used are an improvement over D&P. I don't think it has dated as much (probably because the beats are harder and the mixes clearer in overall despite being cluttered with so many sounds at times).

Can't say I'd play either album that much anymore. Maybe 1-2 times a year.

[Edited 4/22/13 0:42am]

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Reply #19 posted 04/22/13 4:31am

naffi

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Soulstar77A said:



naffi said:


Must say that the video for I wanna melt with U, was quite shocking to see for the first time...


I think it might have been somehow inspired by Brian De Palmas movie "Phantom of the Paradise" hmmm


Hmm will have to check to see if I can find this now, still remember watching the video, thinking, was that what I thought it was.
You know you are in love, when you cannot fall asleep because your reality is finally better than your dreams - Dr Seuss
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Reply #20 posted 04/22/13 4:34am

naffi

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Oops dp
[Edited 4/22/13 4:36am]
You know you are in love, when you cannot fall asleep because your reality is finally better than your dreams - Dr Seuss
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Reply #21 posted 04/22/13 4:54am

batman89

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One of the albums where the released singles were actually the right choices. So many albums feature brilliant and potentially classic status tracks that never see the light of day beyond fans, but the Symbl album capatalised on good commercial choices for promoional singles and backed those choices up with solid, creative and professional videos. Whether Prince likes making videos or not...he would have to concede that marketing has always and always will contribute to the success of released material, and this album was marketed well. Perhaps too well? While it will always remain an album full of fond memories for me looking back on it, it also represented the start of excesses that ultimately lead to Prince's commerical downfall. Perhaps revelling a little too much in the whole gangster glam world he created around this period, Prince finally lost touch with how to best share his immense talent and music with the world as he once used to...on mass scale with a major promotoer that allowed him to express his eccentricities through the artform while maintaining the boundaries of having the right people handle the right aspects of his career. As wonderful as Prince remains to this day...he can't be the one-man-band in every facet of his world that he wants to be. Not without compromise. Did we see the shelves flooded with releases as he said he would once severed from WB? No. With that in mind, I look upon the Symbol album with mixed opinion today. Much like Prince himself...it's strengths are wonderful but the misguided over indulgence lingers a little too long in places.

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Reply #22 posted 04/22/13 5:58am

Empress

I love this cd. When it first came out, it blew my head off. I thought it was the coolest cd ever!!! I still love it and listen to it regularly.

My Name is Prince............................who could do a song like this and Sexy MF? Nobody, but Prince!!lol

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Reply #23 posted 04/22/13 6:49am

skywalker

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batman89 said:

Prince finally lost touch with how to best share his immense talent and music with the world as he once used to...on mass scale with a major promotoer that allowed him to express his eccentricities through the artform while maintaining the boundaries of having the right people handle the right aspects of his career.

Disagree. Around The World in a Day, Lovesexy, Parade, and Graffiti Bridge were all examples of Prince misfiring on the general public due to his eccentric tendencies. While not the ENORMOUS hit that Diamonds and Pearls was, prince was still Prince doing very well commerically.

Example: A song as complex/deep as "7" is almost never going to be massive radio/chart hit. However, Prince pulled it off. No one but him could have a song about the book of revelation be the right song at the right time that landed with the masses.

Unlike previous "spiritual" message songs/albums like "Glam Slam" the prince album and "7" actually hit it's target and connected with pop audiences who were used to eating a steady diet of MC Hammer, New Kids on the Block, and C+C Music Factory.

"New Power slide...."
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Reply #24 posted 04/22/13 6:56am

SchlomoThaHomo

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This record is a strange one. I agree that it's super pompous and even overwrought, given the segues, the storyline, and even some of the song structures. But that's what makes it oddly impressive, even if isn't very listenable. I definitely played the shit out of it when it came out because I was young and thirsty, but I only go back a few tracks from it these days.

.

  1. My Name Is Prince - Maybe one of the biggest WTF moments of all time. If it were released as a novelty record on the B-side of a single or something, that would be one thing. At least the diehards would know it's tongue-in-cheek. But to have this be the big radio lead-in to the album was perplexing and kind of embarrassing. I remember a lot of my friends giving me shit about this song when it came out.
  2. Sexy MF - Still a jam and a total classic.
  3. Love 2 The 9's - I still come back to this one regularly. Love the airy and bright feel of it, which are also the qualities I like about In A Large Room With No Light. I think they would work well together. Tony hampers it unfortunately.
  4. The Morning Papers - I agree that it could've used a stronger refrain, but I still like it. I think it could've been a classic with a better chorus.
  5. The Max - This one I could never really appreciate. Tony's yammering and the general feel were off-putting to me. I loved the '88 version tho. smile
  6. Blue Light - Even as a young teen I knew these lyrics were corny as hell, but I couldn't help but be charmed by it. I think Prince's vocals and the catchy melody help to save it. I remember hearing a bootleg back then of an aftershow and everyone in the audience appeared to know the song, which I found odd since it was new and just an album track. I also remember hearing this once on a MPLS radio station around the time Prince changed his name to a symbol. The DJ introduced it as the new single from Victor and the New Power Generation. lol
  7. I Wanna Melt With U - This one hasn't aged well at all, and I don't think I've listened to it in full since it was new. It kinds sounds out of place on the record to me. The lyrics about popping Mayte's 16 year old cherry were/are pretty revolting as well.
  8. Sweet Baby - I really love this one. So pretty and moody and sad and uplifting. The background vocals are so perfectly understated yet oddly complex. Just perfect.
  9. The Continental - This one sounds like a forced mess to me. The first part just never clicked for me, even though the second part was appealing. I still can't really get into it.
  10. Damn U - I think this one is pretty enough but also kind of boring. I like his vocal a lot but it kind of doesn't go anywhere and is too repetitive.
  11. Arrogance - I appreciate it but find it utterly unappealing and unlistenable.
  12. The Flow - Worst track on the album and one of the worst of his career. Just awful.
  13. 7 - I don't think I've ever loved and overplayed another Prince song the way I have with 7. Such great vocal layering, intriguing melody and lyrics, and possibly the best (or at least most catchy) chorus of his career. This might be the Prince G.O.A.T. for me.
  14. And God Created Woman - I still like this one. As with Damn U, it sounds like grown-folk music. Sophisticated and classy, but this one is more interesting to me musically.
  15. 3 Chains O' Gold - You have to at least respect Prince's crack at Bohemian Rhapsody. I always really liked it and still do because it's really a jaw-dropping piece of work. I certainly understand why people don't like the bombast of it, though. But really, who the hell else (besides Queen) could pull something like this off?
  16. The Sacrifice Of Victor - I loved this one a lot at the time, mainly because it was one of the few really funky moments on the record. I love that early 90s funk sound he had going with this one, MPLS, and Ryde Divine. I wish there was a whole album of it. Too bad about Tony, though.

.

As a side note, I find it interesting that this is one of 2 times I can remember Prince criticizing his own work in retrospect. Once was after Parade, talking about how he regretted releasing it without having enough strong Kiss-caliber material on it. And with this one, I remember reading an open letter on his website post-Rainbow Children saying something to the effect of, "If you want to hear what freedom sounds like, play the Symbol Album back to back with TRC," making the implication that the chains of the record industry were influencing his sound at the time.

[Edited 4/22/13 6:58am]

"That's when stars collide. When there's space for what u want, and ur heart is open wide."
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Reply #25 posted 04/22/13 7:44am

skywalker

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SchlomoThaHomo said:

This record is a strange one. I agree that it's super pompous and even overwrought, given the segues, the storyline, and even some of the song structures. But that's what makes it oddly impressive, even if isn't very listenable. I definitely played the shit out of it when it came out because I was young and thirsty, but I only go back a few tracks from it these days.

.

  1. My Name Is Prince - Maybe one of the biggest WTF moments of all time. If it were released as a novelty record on the B-side of a single or something, that would be one thing. At least the diehards would know it's tongue-in-cheek. But to have this be the big radio lead-in to the album was perplexing and kind of embarrassing. I remember a lot of my friends giving me shit about this song when it came out.
  2. Sexy MF - Still a jam and a total classic.
  3. Love 2 The 9's - I still come back to this one regularly. Love the airy and bright feel of it, which are also the qualities I like about In A Large Room With No Light. I think they would work well together. Tony hampers it unfortunately.
  4. The Morning Papers - I agree that it could've used a stronger refrain, but I still like it. I think it could've been a classic with a better chorus.
  5. The Max - This one I could never really appreciate. Tony's yammering and the general feel were off-putting to me. I loved the '88 version tho. smile
  6. Blue Light - Even as a young teen I knew these lyrics were corny as hell, but I couldn't help but be charmed by it. I think Prince's vocals and the catchy melody help to save it. I remember hearing a bootleg back then of an aftershow and everyone in the audience appeared to know the song, which I found odd since it was new and just an album track. I also remember hearing this once on a MPLS radio station around the time Prince changed his name to a symbol. The DJ introduced it as the new single from Victor and the New Power Generation. lol
  7. I Wanna Melt With U - This one hasn't aged well at all, and I don't think I've listened to it in full since it was new. It kinds sounds out of place on the record to me. The lyrics about popping Mayte's 16 year old cherry were/are pretty revolting as well.
  8. Sweet Baby - I really love this one. So pretty and moody and sad and uplifting. The background vocals are so perfectly understated yet oddly complex. Just perfect.
  9. The Continental - This one sounds like a forced mess to me. The first part just never clicked for me, even though the second part was appealing. I still can't really get into it.
  10. Damn U - I think this one is pretty enough but also kind of boring. I like his vocal a lot but it kind of doesn't go anywhere and is too repetitive.
  11. Arrogance - I appreciate it but find it utterly unappealing and unlistenable.
  12. The Flow - Worst track on the album and one of the worst of his career. Just awful.
  13. 7 - I don't think I've ever loved and overplayed another Prince song the way I have with 7. Such great vocal layering, intriguing melody and lyrics, and possibly the best (or at least most catchy) chorus of his career. This might be the Prince G.O.A.T. for me.
  14. And God Created Woman - I still like this one. As with Damn U, it sounds like grown-folk music. Sophisticated and classy, but this one is more interesting to me musically.
  15. 3 Chains O' Gold - You have to at least respect Prince's crack at Bohemian Rhapsody. I always really liked it and still do because it's really a jaw-dropping piece of work. I certainly understand why people don't like the bombast of it, though. But really, who the hell else (besides Queen) could pull something like this off?
  16. The Sacrifice Of Victor - I loved this one a lot at the time, mainly because it was one of the few really funky moments on the record. I love that early 90s funk sound he had going with this one, MPLS, and Ryde Divine. I wish there was a whole album of it. Too bad about Tony, though.

.

As a side note, I find it interesting that this is one of 2 times I can remember Prince criticizing his own work in retrospect. Once was after Parade, talking about how he regretted releasing it without having enough strong Kiss-caliber material on it. And with this one, I remember reading an open letter on his website post-Rainbow Children saying something to the effect of, "If you want to hear what freedom sounds like, play the Symbol Album back to back with TRC," making the implication that the chains of the record industry were influencing his sound at the time.

[Edited 4/22/13 6:58am]

Nice analysis....even though I disagree on some points. Also, in 1992 Mayte was 19...which maybe makes Prince's lusting after her no less creepy, but certainly more legal.

"New Power slide...."
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Reply #26 posted 04/22/13 8:56am

SchlomoThaHomo

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Skywalker said:
Nice analysis....even though I disagree on some points. Also, in 1992 Mayte was 19...which maybe makes Prince's lusting after her no less creepy, but certainly more legal.



Thanks. Yea she was legal but isn't it odd that Prince made the decision to imply that she wasn't on the record? You have to wonder what's going through his head sometimes.
"That's when stars collide. When there's space for what u want, and ur heart is open wide."
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Reply #27 posted 04/22/13 9:32am

Frederick96

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My Name is Prince is my fave...just because it was Prince being Prince. When I first heard I thought..hmmm someone is getting tired of hearing MJ lawded as the King of POP. smile

Damn u is a gem. He knows how to put out a killer love song. That's got me thinking now which Prince albums I think are flawless and no skipping tracks needed. Hmmmmmm

Love God and I shall 4ever Love u
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Reply #28 posted 04/22/13 10:53am

Poplife88

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Outside of and God Created Woman and 7 the album sucks. An overblown mess of a record. I didn't like it when it came out and it has NOT aged well at all. 3 Chains o Gold is cringeworthy. A low point in his career imo.

We're gonna need a bigger boat
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Reply #29 posted 04/22/13 11:01am

SuperSoulFight
er

Empress said:

I love this cd. When it first came out, it blew my head off. I thought it was the coolest cd ever!!! I still love it and listen to it regularly.



My Name is Prince.....who could do a song like this and Sexy MF? Nobody, but Prince!!lol


Ahhh... The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!
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Forums > Prince: Music and More > Lets discuss the Symbol album. Thoughts/opinions?