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Thread started 06/10/16 10:00am

soladeo1

Emancipation: It's Core Problem...

I think we all agree that Emancipation, instead of a sprawling 3 CD set, would have made a real excellent 2 CD set...and one FANTASTIC 1 desk set...

But even that would not be enough to make Emancipation a True Classic Prince album no matter how good some of the songs are given a glarring weakness of the album...

It's flaccid Overall Production and Mix Design.

It's hard to put a finger on the problem but that's the root of it, isn't it?

Many of us have said things to the effect of, "I really like some of Emancipation but for some reason I never listen to it..." or "...it just doesn't sound good, for some reason..."

I think the root of the issue is that Emancipation sounds too "clean". There is no grit or passion in the record (albeit there are some very fine vocal performances). If you compare Emancipation to albums like Dirty Mind or Purple Rain it sounds so clinical and precise and "fussy".

Where are the RIPPING and SLASHING rhythm guitar chords? The hint of aural danger and menace of stuff like Computer Blue and All The Critics?

Nothing sounds organic and spontaneous, right?

It's soudns like a Prince Algorythm Made the Record...or an Prince A.I...

* Moderators Note

People have the right to discuss albums/album configurations. The OP was not nasty nor did they create a flame/bait thread. No reason to display disgust if you don't like the topic. There are many others to click on.
If we start shutting down people desire to critically discuss the music, in a year or two the Org won't have many discussion.

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Reply #1 posted 06/10/16 10:16am

mtlfan

The reason I don't listen to Emancipation as much IS because of the sheer volume of material. People talk about the Internet ruining the album format because it makes individual song purchases easier, but if you ask me, CDs had a detrimental impact - albums became bloated to give consumers "bang for your buck," whereas on vinyl, a single disc was limited to about 44 minutes. That's a nice length. One of my favourite albums is T.Rex, "Electric Warrior." I bought it and played it three times in a row, because it's 11 short songs packed into a little over 30 minutes - it moves really well. That's about half the length of one disc of Emancipation. Can't tell you how many times I've played it since. I like to listen to albums whole, and it's not often I want to hear three straight hours of Emancipation.

I don't think the passion behind this album is in question - it's very passionate, just not, "I'm in a constant sexual frenzy passionate" (see the thread on Extraloveable). Sometimes, mature, subdued music is harder to achieve. People knock the "plastic production," but to people outside Prince world, 1999 sounds like plastic 80s music (I think they're fools who can't appreciate nuance). I agree the drum beats aren't exactly up to Irresistable Bitch standards, and switching to synth bass was consistent with 90s pop rather than the old electric slap method, and really, I start to miss Fink's synths in the 90s and beyond. Prince seemed focused more on songwriting and vocals. But no edge? "Joint 2 Joint" has a fucking tapdancing break. There's edge to be found in the sampling, or building a track around guitar distortion, and yes, if he pared this down, production sound or not it would make one of the most consistent albums in his catalog.

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Reply #2 posted 06/10/16 10:17am

thedance

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Really? No to a 1-cd... because:



noone here can/ will agree on which songs should be on a 1 cd version and which should be deleted, which should be taken out from the tracklist..

therefor it's impossible... smile

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #3 posted 06/10/16 10:17am

leecaldon

Emancipation - the album that made me (along with other friends) a true fan.

Different strokes for different folks.

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Reply #4 posted 06/10/16 10:23am

PurpleDiamonds
1

I Love Emancipation!
Plus this was Princes release done how he wanted it. (After the WB issue)
For that I would not want to see it messed with.
When asked to make a list of top 13 songs it was hard to leave some out...
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Reply #5 posted 06/10/16 10:28am

RodeoSchro

It's art. Prince followed his muse and created it. His muse at that time was more pop and lush. Although, I rate the guitar solo on "The Holy River" as my favorite guitar solo of all time, and it's plenty ripping and slashing.

If you want to make it a 2-CD set, that's what iTunes is for. But Emancipation is Emancipation.

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Reply #6 posted 06/10/16 10:36am

mtlfan

Agreed. Has to be judged on its own terms. But those terms, while ambitious and suited to the whole idea of his "emancipation" from WB, put it outside my top 5 Prince releases.

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Reply #7 posted 06/10/16 10:50am

SoEas42

I like Emancipation although I agree that it could be cut down to 2 CDs. Some of my favorites:

Saviour
Let's Have a Baby
I Can't Make You Love Me
Friend Lover Sister Mother Wife
Betcha by Golly Wow
La la Means I Love You
Right Back Here in My Arms
Jam of the Year
Soul Sanctuary
Sex in the Summer
One Kiss at a Time
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Reply #8 posted 06/10/16 11:20am

BombFunk

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2 CD ... possibly, cut down to 1 CD ... lol that's BS, besides Prince wanted to release it as a triple and I respect that.

By the way OP, I think you mean to say: its core problem, NOT it's ...


dove Forever changed dove wilted

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Reply #9 posted 06/10/16 11:22am

injuredpinky

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For me, it's true glaring problem is it's a very narrow record, production wise. If you listen to 'Jam of the Year' and 'Right Back Here in My Arms', then you've experienced 85% of the album. A couple songs take risks, but even those feel calculated.

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Reply #10 posted 06/10/16 11:31am

xRachx

I love emancipation. And I love its length. Yes I'll be honest that I don't listen to it in its entirety all the time but when I do I love it. In fact I was on a train to Leeds today from London and played it from start to end and realised how much I love the album. Emancipation record and era are such a definitive point in Princes career I don't think I'd want it shortened. Even the songs I don't care for I still love the fact that I have them.
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Reply #11 posted 06/10/16 11:34am

NorthC

Oh God, when will people finally stop shitting on this album. It's getting boring! If you don't like it, don't listen to it. It really is that simple. I don't like Rainbow Children, but do you see me creating thread after thread about it?! stfu
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Reply #12 posted 06/10/16 11:35am

novabrkr

I think it's mostly the drums. Change them to something closer to what they sounded like on TGE and C&D and far fewer people would complain. I've sometimes toyed with the idea of doing minor tweaks like just adding a harder, reverberated snare hit to some songs, upload the stuff to Youtube and see what people's comments would be like.

Interesting point about the rhythm guitar. It might have been interesting to hear TGE / C&D -sounding version of "Damned If I Do", for example.

One of the reasons I dig Prince's production style is that every instrument is usually easily audible and he doesn't rely on a "wall of sound" type of approach. Oh, God, I'm so bored of modern day producers adding all kinds of shit to the choruses to make them sound bigger. Especially when there's not much of a melody present and we're just expected to think everything sounds "epic".

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Reply #13 posted 06/10/16 11:41am

SoulAlive

soladeo1 said:

I think the root of the issue is that Emancipation sounds too "clean". There is no grit or passion in the record (albeit there are some very fine vocal performances). If you compare Emancipation to albums like Dirty Mind or Purple Rain it sounds so clinical and precise and "fussy".

Where are the RIPPING and SLASHING rhythm guitar chords? The hint of aural danger and menace of stuff like Computer Blue and All The Critics?

Nothing sounds organic and spontaneous, right?

It's soudns like a Prince Algorythm Made the Record...or an Prince A.I...

I do agree that the production on many songs is "too safe".From a production standpoint,I find the songs on TGE to be much more vibrant and inspired.

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Reply #14 posted 06/10/16 11:53am

injuredpinky

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NorthC said:

Oh God, when will people finally stop shitting on this album. It's getting boring! If you don't like it, don't listen to it. It really is that simple. I don't like Rainbow Children, but do you see me creating thread after thread about it?! stfu

Lol, no but you seem to like to create posts that bitch about threads that bitch about things.

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Reply #15 posted 06/10/16 11:57am

TheDigitalGard
ener

BombFunk said:



By the way OP, I think you mean to say: its core problem, NOT it's ...

Seriously?

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Reply #16 posted 06/10/16 12:25pm

luvsexy4all

another ..not THIS thread AGAAAIN.... why cant u be happy that he gave us albums + outtakes in one package.....the "sound" is an issue....its different ...deal with it

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Reply #17 posted 06/10/16 12:30pm

BlackandRising

I never understood this argument against a 3 cd set. When I listened to it for the first time, all I could think was that, "damn 3 cd's worth of music in one release". There are songs I like more than others on the set, but at the end of the day I'm damn glad it's three cd's instead of one or two.

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Reply #18 posted 06/10/16 12:50pm

rob1965

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I don't think it's fair to compare Emancipation with an album like Purple Rain. Okay, Emancipation isn't his best work but it isn't bad. At all actually.
Purple Rain is from a totally different era and a different Prince. Both albums have their highlights. Okay, Purple Rain is one huge highlight but what would have happened is PR would have been a triple album set?
'Liberate My Mind'
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Reply #19 posted 06/10/16 12:55pm

Galaxian

SoEas42 said:

I like Emancipation although I agree that it could be cut down to 2 CDs. Some of my favorites:

Saviour
Let's Have a Baby
I Can't Make You Love Me
Friend Lover Sister Mother Wife
Betcha by Golly Wow
La la Means I Love You
Right Back Here in My Arms
Jam of the Year
Soul Sanctuary
Sex in the Summer
One Kiss at a Time


Wow, can't believe 'The Love We Make' did not make your list.

I think it's a great album.
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Reply #20 posted 06/10/16 12:59pm

djThunderfunk

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thedance said:

Really? No to a 1-cd... because:



noone here can/ will agree on which songs should be on a 1 cd version and which should be deleted, which should be taken out from the tracklist..

therefor it's impossible... smile


yeahthat I'd rather have all 3 discs and choose for myself what the best ones are than have 1 disc that has somebody elses choices and omits mine. With Prince, more is better. Just sayin'... wink

COEXIST
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Reply #21 posted 06/10/16 1:02pm

joelmarable

Like he said he unloaded on this,great cd with something for everyone.everyone on here digs something on emancipation he knew we would so let it rip.great cd.all his cd's have acertain flavor different from others,this is just another flavor lick and like or dont
stickman
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Reply #22 posted 06/10/16 1:07pm

MattyJam

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I love a lot of Emancipation and rate songs like Face Down, The Love We Make, Joint 2 Joint, The Holy River and In This Bed Eye Scream as some of his best material. My only complaint with the album is centred around some of the first disc, particularly songs like Right Back Here In My Arms (that Bobby Brown NJS style was sounding passe by 1992 and hasn't aged well at all). The glossy, soul-less production which sucks the life out of Somebody's Somebody is all the more evident when you hear the live studio mix with a real band. I didn't appreciate what a great song that was until I heard that version, because the album version certainly does it no favours.
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Reply #23 posted 06/10/16 1:09pm

djThunderfunk

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Galaxian said:

SoEas42 said:
I like Emancipation although I agree that it could be cut down to 2 CDs. Some of my favorites: Saviour Let's Have a Baby I Can't Make You Love Me Friend Lover Sister Mother Wife Betcha by Golly Wow La la Means I Love You Right Back Here in My Arms Jam of the Year Soul Sanctuary Sex in the Summer One Kiss at a Time
Wow, can't believe 'The Love We Make' did not make your list. I think it's a great album.


And that's my point. I can't believe Betcha By Golly or La la Means I Love U would be on anybody's list or that Joint 2 Joint & Face Down could be left off. With the 3CD set we all get to hear our favorites and have the option of skipping the ones we don't like.

When the album came out I was talking to another Prince fan that couldn't get into it because it was so dense. I suggested she approach it as 3 separate albums. Start with disc 1 and spend some time with it, however long it take to absorb a new Prince album, then move on to the next. The next time we talked she had taken my advice and had a much better appreciation of the album as a whole. I'd recommend this approach for anyone having trouble absorbing it.

COEXIST
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Reply #24 posted 06/10/16 1:12pm

Brendan

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RodeoSchro said:

It's art. Prince followed his muse and created it. His muse at that time was more pop and lush. Although, I rate the guitar solo on "The Holy River" as my favorite guitar solo of all time, and it's plenty ripping and slashing.

If you want to make it a 2-CD set, that's what iTunes is for. But Emancipation is Emancipation.



^

Precisely, RodeoSchro.

If such a long album could be considered a microcosm (humor), this is it — the problem that is created when you release one of the greatest recordings ever (Sign o' the Times, the perfect summation of everything you are about) and have the unmitigated gall to keep shining and honing as a performer like no other.

Expectations get raised beyond all human capacity. One would have to die and reincarnate to keep dividing itself so uniquely, so awesomely, so historically.

Humans don't churn out masterwork after masterwork, seemingly unable to do wrong, even if they tried, for the whole of their lives. Stanley Kubrick came the closest I've yet seen, but he was only able to wrangle 3 films out of his final quarter century.

And the better you are, the more difficult it becomes to keep bettering, keep wholly reinventing our universe. Humans aren't built that way. We break, especially with someone so uniquely spontaneous as Prince.

I could take what I believe to be the cream of the crop 18 tracks or so from "Emancipation" and it to me would make for an essential collection of songs written by Prince in the mid 90s. But I'm not so sure it would make for a better album.

What it would perhaps prove is his astonishing abilities as a songwriter, as someone who is continuing to share his gifts in abundance rather than becoming paralyzed under the enormous reflection cast by his own self doubt.
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Reply #25 posted 06/10/16 1:41pm

PeteSilas

i liked it as much or more than any of his albums.

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Reply #26 posted 06/10/16 2:32pm

BanishedBrian

I agree with the critique of the production and too "clean" comment. For example, it took prince about 5 minutes after this album came out to find a simple way to make Face Down sound like a completely revitalized song... why couldn't this have been done from the start? Even T was able to improve upon the production with minimal effort.

If he'd kept the NPG in place through the full recording of the album, I think the project would have elevated to another level, but with only Kirky J as the soundingboard (who, with all due respect to him, has never been someone to produce fresh/raw sounding material in the studio), it comes off very plastic and non-organic sounding.

Despite its flaws, I still appreciate that it was released as a 3 CD set, as everything on there is worth hearing. It's just a missed opportunity IMO, as some of these songs could have been elevated to classic levels if Prince had been more challenged by himself or others during the recording sessions.

No Candy 4 Me
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Reply #27 posted 06/10/16 2:41pm

joelmarable

BanishedBrian said:

I agree with the critique of the production and too "clean" comment. For example, it took prince about 5 minutes after this album came out to find a simple way to make Face Down sound like a completely revitalized song... why couldn't this have been done from the start? Even T was able to improve upon the production with minimal effort.

If he'd kept the NPG in place through the full recording of the album, I think the project would have elevated to another level, but with only Kirky J as the soundingboard (who, with all due respect to him, has never been someone to produce fresh/raw sounding material in the studio), it comes off very plastic and non-organic sounding.

Despite its flaws, I still appreciate that it was released as a 3 CD set, as everything on there is worth hearing. It's just a missed opportunity IMO, as some of these songs could have been elevated to classic levels if Prince had been more challenged by himself or others during the recording sessions.

maybe he wasnt reaching for classic levels.the songs may have just felt good.fpllowing his heart.u make classoc by writing what u feel not aiming for it
stickman
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Reply #28 posted 06/10/16 2:42pm

funkaholic1972

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I agree with the OP that the production is a huge problem on this album. It sounds lifeless, dull and plastic-y. Unlistenable for me and I am a huge Prince fan.

Besides the production issues I also think there are way too many ballads on Emancipation. Also perhaps a 3 disc/180 minutes set is a bit much to take in as a listener (unless it was really good maybe, but I don't think Emancipation was very good at all). And the artwork of the album was atrocious, so tacky, I hated it.

This combination of issues makes Emancipation a really difficult album for me. I hated it when it came out and thought Prince's 'freedom' was a huge disappointment. After my faith had slowly started waning from Lovesexy on, this was the moment where I lost faith in him completely. The run of uneven albums before Emancipation was worrying, but Emancipation made me stop following Prince closely.

I also hated his clothes/hair at the time, Prince and his new music didn't fit in with the zeitgeist at all IMO. At that time I was deep into electronic music like triphop, breakbeat and drum&bass and music in these genres sounded much more innovative and exciting to me than these sirupy Emancipation ballads.

Around the time Rave was released I discovered (the still black and purple) Prince.org and that got me back into Prince slowly. The Rainbow Children surprised me and was an exciting album to me, altough slightly flawed by the deep voice and all the religious mumbo jumbo. An interesting record though musically and great production, unlike Emancipation.

RIP Prince: thank U 4 a funky Time!
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Reply #29 posted 06/10/16 2:48pm

GirlBrother

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The songs are great, but it's all so synthetic sounding.

I mean, it works on some songs, like My Computer. Most of the songs would have benefited from a more organic production though.

Sleep Around should have been a single too. So catchy and retro-disco with a Kid Creole vibe.

The choices for singles were terrible!!!
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