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Thread started 03/05/16 12:48am

ThePanther

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'Graffiti Bridge' (the album) is rather good

I'm not sure how Graffiti Bridge (1990) is generally viewed on this forum, but my feeling is that it's one of the least appreciate Prince LPs of his "commercial" period of 1979 through 1996.

.

The album isn't without its problems -- to be clear, this is no masterpiece -- but the Prince tracks are mostly great. Before I get into that, however, I think there are two clear reasons why this album gets a bit ignored or a bit dissed, unfairly I think:

1) It's the soundtrack to one of the worst cinematic films of all time (which gives it the whiff of a failed Purple Rain follow-up).

2) It's somewhat lost in the post-Lovesexy / pre-1990s' Prince period. It's a not a particularly distinguished mini-period (1989-1990), remembered more for the live shows than the two studio (soundtrack-ish) albums released.

.

In addition, for Prince aficionados (like us), we also have the burden of knowing, as Matt Thorne puts it, that "Prince used the record as a clearing house for a lot of old material". Some of the songs originally date from 1981 or 1982.

.

Still, I think the Prince-performed tracks on here are good. The tracklisting I've got on my PC is as follows:

.

1. Can't Stop This Feeling I Got

2. New Power Generation [the first one]

3. The Question of You

4. Elephants & Flowers

5. We Can Funk

.

6. Joy in Repetition

7. Tick, Tick, Bang

8. Thieves in the Temple

9. Still Would Stand All Time

10. Graffiti Bridge

.

I think I've deleted 7 songs there, so I've severely shortened the album. But this is how I've listened to it for years. (I did listen to the whole album on cassette when it came out -- my older sister had it.) As this is very much a "song" album (conceptually, it doesn't add up to much), I'll do a quick song analysis:

.

"Can't Stop This Feeling" is great. Yeah, it's kind of insubstantial and doesn't hold a candle to the truly great album-openers, but it's catchy, nicely performed, and very 'bright' and optimistic. (This is one of the really old songs.)

.

"New Power Generation" is significant for using the title-phrase for the first time, but besides that it's a pretty good track. It almost like a more tasteful preview of "My Name is Prince" (minus the awful rap... though one comes up in the second version of this track, which I've long since deleted). Some of the lyrics are trite and cliche, but overall I find this a worthy, easy-to-listen-to song. This was a major failed single.

.

"The Question of U" is great. Finally, a track with some lyrical/emotional depth, and Prince really excels at this kind of slow-funk with guitar, creepy, intense song.

.

"Elephants & Flowers" is a pretty good song with a slightly overcooked, slightly annoying arrangement. I think there needs to be more vocals and better/bigger drums. It's a pretty cool song, but it ends up sounding too generic to be a great Prince song (in which, it kind of foreshadows the 90s in general....).

.

"We Can Funk" is famously an older song, revisited over the years and finally dusted off and re-done for this album. It's a really good song. (I have to embarrassedly admit that I still haven't heard the 'original' of this song from the early 80s... but I probably will listen to it later this weekend. I presume the original is better, but, hey, I keep an open mind...!) Weaker version it might be, but this is still a good track.

.

"Joy in Repetition" deserves its acclaim as one of the best songs of this era. (For me, this one, 'Thieves in the Temple', and 'Alphabet Street' are the 3 best tracks of the 1988-1990 period.) This one just gets it right in every way -- even the production is bang-on. What a cool song... it's like an even better 'Ballad of Dorothy Parker'.

.

"Tick, Tick, Bang" is good. Maybe it would have sounded better issued on Controversy in 1981, but it's still a very solid track in 1990.

.

"Thieves in the Temple" is the obvious hit single from the album, and a very deserved one. A brilliant song.

.

"Still Would Stand All Time" is a good slow burner. Matt Thorne writes that it "sounded great live but is forgettable on vinyl". I do kind of agree -- especially after listening to the well-known live jam on the 'Small Club' 1988 aftershow -- but, as with some other tracks on this record, I still think it's such a good song that it deserves some praise. If it's not a double, it's certainly a solid base-hit.

.

"Graffiti Bridge" gets maligned as a poor man's 'Purple Rain', but I just don't hear it. I think this is a quite good song, with a catchy chorus and riff, and an unusual time-signature. Like the first two tracks, it's a very 'up' and positive song. Mavis Staples helps a lot here. Maybe it doesn't really go anywhere after its first couple of minutes, and ends rather abruptly, but I still like it. (This one dates back to 1987, and was one of the first tracks ever recorded at Paisley Park.)

.

.

So, what do y'all think? Is my 10-track tracklisting a superior version of this (long) album? (Did I cut anything essential?) Agree with my song analyses? I think the 10 track album I listen to is very good, if somewhat too generic-sounding to be a truly great Prince album. If we ignore the fact that this album has something like a 3-year and very messy gestation period, and that a bunch of the songs are re-vamps of old tracks, and if we just listen to it for what it is, I think it's quite good.

[Edited 3/5/16 0:49am]

[Edited 3/5/16 0:51am]

[Edited 3/5/16 0:52am]

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Reply #1 posted 03/05/16 1:39am

skipthecharade
s

Personally I would skip NPG and Graffiti Bridge and add Loveleft, Loveright and Release It by The Time.

But I agree, the album is much better that it's rated.

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Reply #2 posted 03/05/16 2:41am

thedance

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ThePanther said:

I'm not sure how Graffiti Bridge (1990) is generally viewed on this forum, but my feeling is that it's one of the least appreciate Prince LPs of his "commercial" period of 1979 through 1996.

.

.

1. Can't Stop This Feeling I Got

2. New Power Generation [the first one]

3. The Question of You

4. Elephants & Flowers

5. We Can Funk

.

6. Joy in Repetition

7. Tick, Tick, Bang

8. Thieves in the Temple

9. Still Would Stand All Time

.

"Can't Stop This Feeling" is great. yes!

.

"New Power Generation". Love this song. Great single choice, I am not one of the "NPG-haters" here.. I love it, I remember recording the video on VHS tape back then.. music

.

"The Question of U" is great. A Prince-classic, although the keybord on this sound dated today, the guitar is fantastic.

.

"Elephants & Flowers". Love everything about this song. Yes!

.

"We Can Funk". Ok, like you I prefer the funk-original!

.

"Joy in Repetition". Brilliant, top, masterpiece of a song.. heart

.

"Tick, Tick, Bang". Ok, not my fave song, but still good..

.

"Thieves in the Temple" is the obvious hit single from the album, and a very deserved one. A brilliant song. I agree! Imo this lead single is also the best song on the album, the extended version is a masterpiece no less. heart

.

"Still Would Stand All Time". The version live on Small Club is brilliant, this sounds stiff, I am not a fan of the "dong" keyboard sound in the intro and otherwise, it's an ok track, live its a killer song..

.

I like Graffiti Bridge a lot, but.... too bad the related artists songs are there, I agree with you those are bad and the GB album is better without.

Graffiti Bridge is a 8/10 maybe even 8.5/10 album.

[Edited 3/5/16 2:43am]

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #3 posted 03/05/16 2:46am

thedance

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^ as you can see I took off the title song, yuck yuck yuck.... what was that, cheesy..... awful, funny how Prince can release songs so weak... eek lol

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #4 posted 03/05/16 3:52am

TheDigitalGard
ener

I think it's a horrible album. The earlier versions sounded much better than the released bloater, and I absolutely loathe The Time, Mavis and all the other mince added to it.

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Reply #5 posted 03/05/16 5:19am

ThePanther

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TheDigitalGardener said:

I think it's a horrible album.... I absolutely loathe The Time, Mavis and all the other mince...

Okay, but don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel...!

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Reply #6 posted 03/05/16 5:20am

Pentacle


My favorite Prince album, so I obviously have to disagree with most of your points....

Stop the Prince Apologists ™
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Reply #7 posted 03/05/16 6:10am

warning2all

I didn't start to become more critical of Prince's output until "Diamonds and Pearls" in 1991- I really enjoyed "Graffiti Bridge" on the whole at the time - along with "Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1" by George Michael. "Graffiti Bridge" still ranks high.

George Clinton, Mavis Staples and The Time- those are major artists- and makes the album simgularly unique in the discography.


But any album that contains "The Question of U", "Joy In Repetition", "New Power Generation", "We Can Funk", "Can't Stop This Feeling We Got" is A-OK in my book. This album is a good experience and entertaining.

I enjoyed the "New Power Generation" video, the "Theives in the Temple Extended Version (should have made the album) and The Time's "Pandemonium" album,- so 1990 was a pretty good year coming from Paisley Park. The movie is unwatchable- so I don't ever think about it.
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Reply #8 posted 03/05/16 6:14am

iZsaZsa

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I like it a lot. And Tick, Tick, Bang that was supposed to be a loser song in the movie is cool. lol
What?
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Reply #9 posted 03/05/16 6:41am

MIRvmn

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I really enjoy GB, it's a good album smile
We are living in Orwell's 1984
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Reply #10 posted 03/05/16 7:15am

SPYZFAN1

Bought it the day it came out (like I did with all of P's releases)..Haven't listened to it in a while but I think it's a great record. A nice mix of pop, funk and mellow...I know I'm going get flamed for saying this but the soundtrack is better than the movie.. wink ..."I Rock, Therefore I Am" (Chaos And Disorder) would have fit very well on this record.

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Reply #11 posted 03/05/16 7:20am

PurpleColossus

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I think it's a really great album, always been one of my favorites. Although, it would have been a much better album if it only had Prince's versions of all the songs instead of featuring a bunch of guest singers...

-

Oh I know it's meant to be the soundtrack for the GB movie but I get Prince albums for Prince, not a bunch of other singers lol

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Reply #12 posted 03/05/16 10:04am

luvsexy4all

..and u JUST realized this???

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Reply #13 posted 03/05/16 10:11am

bigd74

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yeah take off GB and it's a good album, would be even better without George on We Can Funk.

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 #14 posted 03/05/16 10:21am

Milty2

I actually belive it is a great Prince album but if it only had the Prince tracks and maybe the George Clinton duet, I think it would have been a GREAT Prince album.

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Reply #15 posted 03/05/16 3:06pm

SoulAlive

I think it's a mixed bag.There are truly great songs on the album ("Thieves In The Temple","Can't Stop This Feeling I Got","Shake",etc) and there are some less-than-great songs ("The Latest Fashion","New Power Generation",etc).....I would say that this isn't one of Prince's most consistent albums.

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Reply #16 posted 03/05/16 3:21pm

feeluupp

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Great songs that ended up not being a GREAT album... But really had the potential. Amazing songs on this record despite the "best" tracks being recorded in the 80's...

I always thought if it was just a pure PRINCE album this would've been his best album of the 90's minus all the fillers and other associated artists...

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Reply #17 posted 03/05/16 8:21pm

EddieC

PurpleColossus said:

Oh I know it's meant to be the soundtrack for the GB movie but I get Prince albums for Prince, not a bunch of other singers lol

While I pretty much agree with you (I like related artists, but enjoy full albums from them), I can see that it makes sense to try to beat people to the punch. Instead of spreading the movie's tracks around several albums like Purple Rain, they kept them together. Good choice? Seems like most folks don't think so. But I like having the Time tracks on there, and even Round and Round. Mavis feels out of place, I'll admit.

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Reply #18 posted 03/06/16 12:46am

Bohemian67

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I used to listen to this a lot on my walkman when it came out, 26 years ago, unbelievable. eek 3 songs on my IPOD now, Thieves, Q of U and Still would stand but I only listen to Thieves now and then... Just can't listen to all old music it would mean sacrificing his new stuff. But for Throwback 'Thunday' and this thread on another listen...

-

Can't stop - Super intro and energetic song nice, beat for that time. Lyrics 'Pardon me for living but this is my world too... only we can change the world' favourite lyrics here. Musically, like the interludes more, overall for now a 7.5

-

NPG - also great lyrics 'lights r on but no one's really there' and 'lay down your funky weapon'. Yes! For the time spot on track. Nice Wdcry sample and chorus, average beat .... still great track. Lyrics 8.9 music 6.5

-

Release it - Hhmmmm Nice beat at first but fades. But no thought provoking lyrics so bores me. 4

-

Q of U - Hypnotic intro and beat. Claps cool and vocals superb but not enough. Guitar makes me wanna skip. lol now but Lyrics 9.5 Overall song 9 and 10 if I could skip the guitar.

-

Elephants and flowers - Love the guitar riff in this one! Get down, 'strip down I think I'm gonna'... always like this one. Title is also too funky biggrin Lyrics not really that good but 'there will be peace on earth' yes please and overall song vibe 9.

-Round and round - great vocals but beat is not varied enough. 6

-We can funk- barely know this so I must have just skipped repetitively. Intial vocals I don't like but Prince's vocals and lyrics actually really nice. But it's the monotonous beat and predictability in it that doesn't encourage the patience to listen further. Pity. Uhm.. Lyrics and vocals 8, music 5.5

-

Joy in repetition- never listened to this or liked it then or now. The vocal and music is bland. 4 But with just Prince on the piano and the current tour it's a brand new track that scores A+.

-

Love machine - could be funky if you're in the mood. It's that predictable beat and voice that makes me skip. Lyrics very average. 4

-

Tick tick bang - really don't know this and don't want to. Uhmmm maybe 2 is too low but if it doesn't merit listening in my book then I turn the page.

-

Shake - same thing really, too predictable

-

Thieves in the Temple - Music 8.5, would be 9.5 if the chorus was better. Vocals 8.5, lyrics 10. Great video. I always heard in the lyrics 'voice from the sky.....' Butterflies and something lol

-

- The latest fashion - hhmmm not really

-

Melody Cool - Funky track back then. Takes a bit long to begin. Nice vocals and beat but song should have been shorter. 7

-

Still would stand all time - Alternative music from Prince is always a dream. 'Somewhere between being awake and REM.' Very slow but I could actually go to sleep with this on headphones, like Revelation and SHOE and there is no other music that allows me to do this, but does keep my mind too active waking me too early. Music 10, lyrics 10, song total vibe and consistency 9 coz sometimes the screaming doesn't fit for me but it fits the lyrics so I shouldn't complain. However...

-

Graffiti Bridge - Not really. Too predictable. Never saw the movie but the music just doesn't grab me. Lyrics nice though, didn't realise they were so immaterial. Prince sends out many similar messages scattered throughout his discography from then up to today. I like how he explores this theme alongside sexuality and blends them so perfectly in all his music.

-

NPG - Ow! hammer

"Free URself, B the best that U can B, 3rd Apartment from the Sun, nothing left to fear" Prince Rogers Nelson - Forever in my Life -
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Reply #19 posted 03/06/16 12:49am

Bohemian67

avatar

ThePanther said:

So, what do y'all think? Is my 10-track tracklisting a superior version of this (long) album? (Did I cut anything essential?) Agree with my song analyses? I think the 10 track album I listen to is very good, if somewhat too generic-sounding to be a truly great Prince album. If we ignore the fact that this album has something like a 3-year and very messy gestation period, and that a bunch of the songs are re-vamps of old tracks, and if we just listen to it for what it is, I think it's quite good.

Tracklisting is an improvement, don't agree with all song analyses (see post) but it is a forgotten album and there is always something on each of them which we tend to ignore or forget. Ta for the thread! I'm wondering where the Artifical Age one is.

"Free URself, B the best that U can B, 3rd Apartment from the Sun, nothing left to fear" Prince Rogers Nelson - Forever in my Life -
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Reply #20 posted 03/06/16 6:47am

Se7en

avatar

I also made a Prince-only version of this back in the day, and still love it.

To me, this was the last "Classic Prince" album, even though it doesn't really fall into the Masterpiece 1980-1988 phase.


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Reply #21 posted 03/06/16 6:49am

midnightmover

Would've made a great single album. The big mistake was including tracks by all these different artists. It gave the album a messy, cluttered feel.


Even a good song like "Shake" would've been better used on The Time's album where good songs were in short supply.

Still, there is some truly great stuff on there that went under the radar of casual fans.

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”
- Thomas Jefferson
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Reply #22 posted 03/06/16 6:55am

midnightmover

ThePanther said:

I'm not sure how Graffiti Bridge (1990) is generally viewed on this forum, but my feeling is that it's one of the least appreciate Prince LPs of his "commercial" period of 1979 through 1996.

.

The album isn't without its problems -- to be clear, this is no masterpiece -- but the Prince tracks are mostly great. Before I get into that, however, I think there are two clear reasons why this album gets a bit ignored or a bit dissed, unfairly I think:

1) It's the soundtrack to one of the worst cinematic films of all time (which gives it the whiff of a failed Purple Rain follow-up).

2) It's somewhat lost in the post-Lovesexy / pre-1990s' Prince period. It's a not a particularly distinguished mini-period (1989-1990), remembered more for the live shows than the two studio (soundtrack-ish) albums released.

.

In addition, for Prince aficionados (like us), we also have the burden of knowing, as Matt Thorne puts it, that "Prince used the record as a clearing house for a lot of old material". Some of the songs originally date from 1981 or 1982.

.

Still, I think the Prince-performed tracks on here are good. The tracklisting I've got on my PC is as follows:

.

1. Can't Stop This Feeling I Got

2. New Power Generation [the first one]

3. The Question of You

4. Elephants & Flowers

5. We Can Funk

.

6. Joy in Repetition

7. Tick, Tick, Bang

8. Thieves in the Temple

9. Still Would Stand All Time

10. Graffiti Bridge

.

I think I've deleted 7 songs there, so I've severely shortened the album. But this is how I've listened to it for years. (I did listen to the whole album on cassette when it came out -- my older sister had it.) As this is very much a "song" album (conceptually, it doesn't add up to much), I'll do a quick song analysis:

.

"Can't Stop This Feeling" is great. Yeah, it's kind of insubstantial and doesn't hold a candle to the truly great album-openers, but it's catchy, nicely performed, and very 'bright' and optimistic. (This is one of the really old songs.)

.

"New Power Generation" is significant for using the title-phrase for the first time, but besides that it's a pretty good track. It almost like a more tasteful preview of "My Name is Prince" (minus the awful rap... though one comes up in the second version of this track, which I've long since deleted). Some of the lyrics are trite and cliche, but overall I find this a worthy, easy-to-listen-to song. This was a major failed single.

.

"The Question of U" is great. Finally, a track with some lyrical/emotional depth, and Prince really excels at this kind of slow-funk with guitar, creepy, intense song.

.

"Elephants & Flowers" is a pretty good song with a slightly overcooked, slightly annoying arrangement. I think there needs to be more vocals and better/bigger drums. It's a pretty cool song, but it ends up sounding too generic to be a great Prince song (in which, it kind of foreshadows the 90s in general....).

.

"We Can Funk" is famously an older song, revisited over the years and finally dusted off and re-done for this album. It's a really good song. (I have to embarrassedly admit that I still haven't heard the 'original' of this song from the early 80s... but I probably will listen to it later this weekend. I presume the original is better, but, hey, I keep an open mind...!) Weaker version it might be, but this is still a good track.

.

"Joy in Repetition" deserves its acclaim as one of the best songs of this era. (For me, this one, 'Thieves in the Temple', and 'Alphabet Street' are the 3 best tracks of the 1988-1990 period.) This one just gets it right in every way -- even the production is bang-on. What a cool song... it's like an even better 'Ballad of Dorothy Parker'.

.

"Tick, Tick, Bang" is good. Maybe it would have sounded better issued on Controversy in 1981, but it's still a very solid track in 1990.

.

"Thieves in the Temple" is the obvious hit single from the album, and a very deserved one. A brilliant song.

.

"Still Would Stand All Time" is a good slow burner. Matt Thorne writes that it "sounded great live but is forgettable on vinyl". I do kind of agree -- especially after listening to the well-known live jam on the 'Small Club' 1988 aftershow -- but, as with some other tracks on this record, I still think it's such a good song that it deserves some praise. If it's not a double, it's certainly a solid base-hit.

.

"Graffiti Bridge" gets maligned as a poor man's 'Purple Rain', but I just don't hear it. I think this is a quite good song, with a catchy chorus and riff, and an unusual time-signature. Like the first two tracks, it's a very 'up' and positive song. Mavis Staples helps a lot here. Maybe it doesn't really go anywhere after its first couple of minutes, and ends rather abruptly, but I still like it. (This one dates back to 1987, and was one of the first tracks ever recorded at Paisley Park.)

.

.

So, what do y'all think? Is my 10-track tracklisting a superior version of this (long) album? (Did I cut anything essential?) Agree with my song analyses? I think the 10 track album I listen to is very good, if somewhat too generic-sounding to be a truly great Prince album. If we ignore the fact that this album has something like a 3-year and very messy gestation period, and that a bunch of the songs are re-vamps of old tracks, and if we just listen to it for what it is, I think it's quite good.

[Edited 3/5/16 0:49am]

[Edited 3/5/16 0:51am]

[Edited 3/5/16 0:52am]

Your tracklisting is really good, but I'd probably leave out Tick Tick Bang. Maybe you could replace it with an edited version of The Latest Fashion (with the rap removed, lol).

btw, NPG is not his first use of that phrase. The first mention of it was in 1988 on the intro to Eye No. "Welcome to the new power generation".

[Edited 3/6/16 7:29am]

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”
- Thomas Jefferson
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Reply #23 posted 03/06/16 8:50am

TheBoneRanger

Now that's a monster Prince album right there for sure! The only other track I would add is "Release It." And as a bonus I would also tag on "Loveleft, Loveright" and "Get Off" from the New Power Generation maxi single.

-

But I gotta admit that I do enjoy "Love Machine," "Latest Fashion,' and "Melody Cool" as songs in and of themselves. But the assosiated artist songs kind of feel like interlopers on a "main canon" Prince album.

Hi-yo Silver, it's The Bone Ranger!
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Reply #24 posted 03/06/16 11:12am

mrlegrind

Never liked this album probably due to other artists tracks. I need to create my own Prince only version and give it a go. I might leave We Can Funk on tough biggrin
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Reply #25 posted 03/06/16 11:29am

SoulAlive

Why does everyone dislike the songs by other artists? confuse I think "Shake" is a great song,and so is "Round and Round" and "Love Machine".The collaboration with George Clinton,"We Can Funk",is the funkiest jam on the album.It's clear that Prince wanted to make a real soundtrack album this time and that's why the songs by other artists are included.

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Reply #26 posted 03/06/16 11:29am

millwall

One of my fav's a hidden gem. Would've wished the other artists weren't on it tho
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Reply #27 posted 03/06/16 11:34am

SoulAlive

midnightmover said:

The big mistake was including tracks by all these different artists. It gave the album a messy, cluttered feel.

This album is a movie soundtrack.So naturally,it has to include all the songs that are in the movie smile Yes,in 1984,Prince released an album that contains only the songs that he performed in Purple Rain,while the other artists in the movie (The Time and Apollonia 6) had their own albums featuring their songs.But this time around,I think Prince (and/or Warners) simply wanted one complete soundtrack album with all the songs in the film.

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Reply #28 posted 03/06/16 2:23pm

214

Joy In Repetition, Still Would Stand All Time, Graffiti Bridge and Thieves In The Temple.

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Reply #29 posted 03/06/16 5:56pm

thisisreece

'Joy in Repetition' is one of Prince's greatest achievements. Truely remarkable song. It's the fucking bizness.

Though it may be neutered in comparison to the outtake, 'We Can Funk' is great (for different reasons to the original). One of his best pure funk songs. 'Question of U' and 'Still Would Stand All Time' are also good (though the latter isn't even a shadow of the live versions a la Hamburg aftershow and Small Club -a studio version like those would probably rank amongst the best songs he's ever done).

The rest of the album is shite. The good tracks are wasted on it and deserving of another project - though I really like the title 'Graffiti Bridge', I guess that's also deserving of another project. Imagine if 'Joy in Repetition' was on SOTT!

Hundalasiliah!
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