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Thread started 11/22/16 11:48am

MendesCity

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Re-evaluating Art Official Age

I liked this album when it came out, but it definitely didn't feel top tier. But having just listened to Peach & Black podcast (which...why I have been sleeping on? It's awesome) talk about it, I gave it another listen and it's definitely speaking to me in a new way.

Maybe it's his death, maybe it's the fucked-up horrible world right now, but the album's general thoughtfulness, compassion and optimism are really hitting me hard.

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Reply #1 posted 11/22/16 11:54am

kepurplehunter

IM SPEECHLESS ON THIS THREAD BUT I LOVE SO PRETTY YOU N ME ... biggrin
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Reply #2 posted 11/22/16 12:03pm

TheDigitalGard
ener

Listened to it twice upon it's release and polluted my ears with it again recently. Can't say I'll ever listen to it again.

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Reply #3 posted 11/22/16 12:11pm

Se7en

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No need to re-evaluate for me. I've loved it since I first heard it.

It was/is PlectrumElectrum that's at the bottom of the pile for me. Just a few redeeming tracks on that one.

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Reply #4 posted 11/22/16 12:16pm

NorthC

To me, it's the opposite... I liked it when it came out, but giving it another listen lately... It's just another average Prince album with a few great moments (Breakdown, Way Back Home) on it... The main problem is that there are just too many slow songs on it. Only Art Official Cage, The Gold Standard and FunknRoll can be considered "funky"... And none of them stand up to, say, Housequake or Days of Wild... I love This Could Be Us, but when it fades, we get another slow jam... And... an other... We get some fonk with FunkNRoll, but then comes yet another slow jam... Pfff... I suppose if you like this side of his music, you'll like this album, but maybe he made a mistake in releasing PlectrumElectrum and ArtOfficialAge seperately while he could have made one kickass funk/rock/soul album...
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Reply #5 posted 11/22/16 12:43pm

paisleypark4

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NorthC said:

To me, it's the opposite... I liked it when it came out, but giving it another listen lately... It's just another average Prince album with a few great moments (Breakdown, Way Back Home) on it... The main problem is that there are just too many slow songs on it. Only Art Official Cage, The Gold Standard and FunknRoll can be considered "funky"... And none of them stand up to, say, Housequake or Days of Wild... I love This Could Be Us, but when it fades, we get another slow jam... And... an other... We get some fonk with FunkNRoll, but then comes yet another slow jam... Pfff... I suppose if you like this side of his music, you'll like this album, but maybe he made a mistake in releasing PlectrumElectrum and ArtOfficialAge seperately while he could have made one kickass funk/rock/soul album...

Its no classic but it is a good album actually.i agree that mid section it gets drowned out with slow tunes. "Way Back Home" is fine but I skip This Could Be Us ...its a little syrupy. I think it was smart of hiom to release seperate albums as Another Love, Mars or even Plectrum Electrum would NOT have fit on AOA at all.

Download all the shit hop that you can for your kids, neices, nephews, and their friends also. That will prevent them from going out and buying it and will prevent some shit hop sales. Every little bit helps - Andy
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus
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Reply #6 posted 11/22/16 12:55pm

NorthC

Yeah, you're right, it wouldn't have worked as one album. I was just thinking, if P just focused his attention on one album as opposed to two or three at a time, he could have made fantastic albums... But that just wasn't the kind of guy he was...
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Reply #7 posted 11/22/16 2:37pm

airth

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TheDigitalGardener said:

Listened to it twice upon it's release and polluted my ears with it again recently. Can't say I'll ever listen to it again.


Isn't it great how music can produce such strong reactions? I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum to you; for me, AOA has already achieved classic status. I'll be listening to it again and again.

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Reply #8 posted 11/22/16 2:47pm

radicalrojo

Breakdown, Breakfast Can Wait, FunkNRoll, and This Could Be Us are all excellent. AOA was my first foray into the non-classic era of Prince ('80-88 imo). It was definitely surprising going from Sign O' the Times and Lovesexy to this but ultimately fun. It's a great album that isn't plagued by its concept like so many latter Prince albums.

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Reply #9 posted 11/22/16 3:08pm

FlyOnTheWall

I absolutely LOVE Art Official Age. It is arguably Prince's last masterpiece. It is heavy on ballads because, I think, he was in love. And, speaking of ballads, they are some of his best in a very long time.

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Reply #10 posted 11/22/16 3:20pm

Purplekiwi

AOA is a seriously under rated album in my opinion. It's creative, has some great lyrics and the only song I don't particularly like is This Could Be Us.
Definitely one of my favourite post 80's albums.
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Reply #11 posted 11/22/16 3:54pm

MendesCity

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Purplekiwi said:

AOA is a seriously under rated album in my opinion. It's creative, has some great lyrics and the only song I don't particularly like is This Could Be Us.
Definitely one of my favourite post 80's albums.


It's funny - I liked this could be us a lot when it came out. But now it definitely stands out as one of the weaker ones. If you resequenced the album and reworked art official cage to not be so spazzy, I think it would hAve been an easy A-
[Edited 11/23/16 13:31pm]
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Reply #12 posted 11/22/16 8:49pm

sonshine

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I liked it when it came out, I love it now. Every listen gets better imo. I also like PE quite a lot. I agree that AOA is under-rated. It's a bit slow and ballad-y but then PE provided a good balance. To each his own of course but for me AOA is far superior to The Chocolate Invasion or The Rainbow Children for instance. Before AOA it had been awhile since I really dug a Prince album.
It's a hurtful place, the world, in and of itself. We don't need to add to it. We all need one another. ~ PRN
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Reply #13 posted 11/22/16 9:34pm

gandorb

Easily his best since the 1980s!

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Reply #14 posted 11/23/16 3:29am

warning2all

Having given it a recent spin-- I think it's a pretty Weak Album.

His diminished songwriting abilities & diminished ability to sequence songs are on display. Bad artwork too. I think he was starting to become a "joke"- you know when cool artists get old and their judgement is off. Their young selves probably would scoff at what they became. The 'fro; the cheesy light-up shoes; Putting out "This is What It Feels Like".

Songs that sounded good at the time of release, like "Clouds", sound a little amateur now.


Listen to the "Diamonds and Pearls" album back to back with "AOA" like I did. You really hear diminished quality. It's like listening to "The Payback" then "Universal James" by James Brown- where someone who was once so masterful has become weak.

On the Plus side-I appreciate the message of the album. I'm glad he finished strong with "Hitnrun Phase 2" (bad title) because he was on a downward slide with "20Ten" "AOA", "PlEl" & "Phase 1".

You could never count out Prince because he always bounced back. So who knows what the future held.

The silver lining is, The Vault holds treasures much better than "Art Official Age", or "Phase 1".
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Reply #15 posted 11/23/16 3:39am

TheEnglishGent

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I love it except for Breakfast Can Wait. Replaced that with the single version of Fallinlove2nite and I've listened to that album a lot. It needs that extra up temp track for me.

RIP sad
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Reply #16 posted 11/23/16 4:07am

anangellooksdo
wn

This album is superb in every way.
It's like any other Prince album of latter days: one has to go into it with a very open mind, not expecting anything based on past music - and with absolutely NO expectations of what I think I might hear.

I have to keep my ears - and my mind - WIDE open.

It's also like his other later music in the sense that it takes more than a few listens to appreciate the full gravity of it.

Only THEN will I start hearing.

And oh, what there is to hear.

Once I have broken through my own closed mind by doing the above, I benefit. With each new listen over many many months it grows on me. I hear new things almost each time I listen. There is so much going on here musically, almost like an Italian restaurant that's been so decorated by its owner that not an inch has been left bare (except for where it should be).

There are places on this album that his vocals are so incredible (IF you're listening for that and can appreciate it) that after listening to it for 6 months, just yesterday I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at his singing in a few different places, hitting rewind to catch that effortless switch of octaves within the same note or other stunning feats.

It's so crisp.

It's the music within the music that gets me, not necessarily what I hear at the outset, although I love that too.

There are few Prince songs I can start without finishing, and this album is DEFINTELY no exception.

Even Breakfast Can Wait has grown on me to be a favorite. And I couldn't see that happening at first. Oh, how I wish there had been more videos for these songs!
[Edited 11/23/16 4:09am]
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Reply #17 posted 11/23/16 6:19am

brassneck

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I strongly disagree that the songwriting is weak. "U Know," "The Gold Standard," "Way Back Home," and "Breakdown" are excellent songs. "Breakfast Can Wait," too. I like the pacing, the production and the sequencing. I'm not one who balks at slow jams either. That's Prince's forte. What kind of Prince fan doesn't like his slow jams? His vocals are incredible on this record. There's an emotional depth that permeates the entire album and makes it sound important. Essential latter-day Prince.

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Reply #18 posted 11/23/16 6:22am

gandorb

brassneck said:

I strongly disagree that the songwriting is weak. "U Know," "The Gold Standard," "Way Back Home," and "Breakdown" are excellent songs. "Breakfast Can Wait," too. I like the pacing, the production and the sequencing. I'm not one who balks at slow jams either. That's Prince's forte. What kind of Prince fan doesn't like his slow jams? His vocals are incredible on this record. There's an emotional depth that permeates the entire album and makes it sound important. Essential latter-day Prince.



I totally agree with you. Of all the negative comments made of this album, the songwriting one seems the most incomprehensible.
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Reply #19 posted 11/23/16 6:38am

FlyOnTheWall

anangellooksdown said:

This album is superb in every way. It's like any other Prince album of latter days: one has to go into it with a very open mind, not expecting anything based on past music - and with absolutely NO expectations of what I think I might hear. I have to keep my ears - and my mind - WIDE open. It's also like his other later music in the sense that it takes more than a few listens to appreciate the full gravity of it. Only THEN will I start hearing. And oh, what there is to hear. Once I have broken through my own closed mind by doing the above, I benefit. With each new listen over many many months it grows on me. I hear new things almost each time I listen. There is so much going on here musically, almost like an Italian restaurant that's been so decorated by its owner that not an inch has been left bare (except for where it should be). There are places on this album that his vocals are so incredible (IF you're listening for that and can appreciate it) that after listening to it for 6 months, just yesterday I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at his singing in a few different places, hitting rewind to catch that effortless switch of octaves within the same note or other stunning feats. It's so crisp. It's the music within the music that gets me, not necessarily what I hear at the outset, although I love that too. There are few Prince songs I can start without finishing, and this album is DEFINTELY no exception. Even Breakfast Can Wait has grown on me to be a favorite. And I couldn't see that happening at first. Oh, how I wish there had been more videos for these songs! [Edited 11/23/16 4:09am]

yes

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Reply #20 posted 11/23/16 6:41am

FlyOnTheWall

brassneck said:

I strongly disagree that the songwriting is weak. "U Know," "The Gold Standard," "Way Back Home," and "Breakdown" are excellent songs. "Breakfast Can Wait," too. I like the pacing, the production and the sequencing. I'm not one who balks at slow jams either. That's Prince's forte. What kind of Prince fan doesn't like his slow jams? His vocals are incredible on this record. There's an emotional depth that permeates the entire album and makes it sound important. Essential latter-day Prince.

That's it, in a nutshell: Art Official Age is essential latter-day Prince!!!

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Reply #21 posted 11/23/16 6:49am

thisisreece

There's something in all that mess, but as is, AOA is pretty weak. Time is incredible though.

Hundalasiliah!
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Reply #22 posted 11/23/16 7:35am

Noodled24

warning2all said:

Having given it a recent spin-- I think it's a pretty Weak Album. His diminished songwriting abilities & diminished ability to sequence songs are on display. Bad artwork too. I think he was starting to become a "joke"- you know when cool artists get old and their judgement is off. Their young selves probably would scoff at what they became. The 'fro; the cheesy light-up shoes; Putting out "This is What It Feels Like". Songs that sounded good at the time of release, like "Clouds", sound a little amateur now. Listen to the "Diamonds and Pearls" album back to back with "AOA" like I did. You really hear diminished quality. It's like listening to "The Payback" then "Universal James" by James Brown- where someone who was once so masterful has become weak. On the Plus side-I appreciate the message of the album. I'm glad he finished strong with "Hitnrun Phase 2" (bad title) because he was on a downward slide with "20Ten" "AOA", "PlEl" & "Phase 1". You could never count out Prince because he always bounced back. So who knows what the future held. The silver lining is, The Vault holds treasures much better than "Art Official Age", or "Phase 1".


"This it what it feels like" along with "Time" are two of my favorite songs on the album. Which is odd because the slow jams really started to bug me. But I think PlectrumElectrum suffers more since they billed it as a hard rock album even though it's actually an RnB album.

For me the weakest part of the album is the first 4 songs. Still to this day I don't understand what Prince thought was so great about "The Gold Standard".

Overall I think it's a pretty stong album. I certainly don't think you could single the album out as a clear example of his songwriting slipping... not least because Prince has always been a bit like that. He put out a song called "cyerbersingle" about 5 years after the planets population agreed not to just bolt the word "cyber" onto tech related products.






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Reply #23 posted 11/23/16 7:58am

Iamtheorg

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It seemed like a finale

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Reply #24 posted 11/23/16 8:07am

Noodled24

^ Why?

"Way back home" - This is PURE speculation on my part, but IIRC there was once talk of Prince working with Rhianna. It was unclear what they were doing, but there was a rumour Prince had written a song for her. Nothing ever seemed to come from it...

Fast Forward about a year. Rhianna is the voice of the lead character in a flim called "Home"... about a little purple alien... trying to find his way... back home.

Fast Forward further, Prince releases AOA "Way Back Home" is on there and people think he's forseen his own death.

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Reply #25 posted 11/23/16 8:38am

Lianachan

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Didn't like it when it first came out, and like all Prince albums I didn't like at the time of release I've listened to it again a couple of times in the last few months. Still don't like it.

"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge"" ~ Isaac Asimov
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Reply #26 posted 11/23/16 8:50am

Iamtheorg

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Noodled24 said:

^ Why?

"Way back home" - This is PURE speculation on my part, but IIRC there was once talk of Prince working with Rhianna. It was unclear what they were doing, but there was a rumour Prince had written a song for her. Nothing ever seemed to come from it...

Fast Forward about a year. Rhianna is the voice of the lead character in a flim called "Home"... about a little purple alien... trying to find his way... back home.

Fast Forward further, Prince releases AOA "Way Back Home" is on there and people think he's forseen his own death.

It just seems like a bookend in its feel and overall theme to me. Though many songs were released on their own before the whole set, it all seemed to flow together as some final statement. It had it all:ballads, some rock, some party as is his style but it seemed he put his heart into it more than usual for some reason.

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Reply #27 posted 11/23/16 9:40am

kewlschool

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Far better than 2010. 20ten bores me to death.

99.9% of everything I say is strictly for my own entertainment
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Reply #28 posted 11/23/16 10:05am

laurarichardso
n

Noodled24 said:

^ Why?

"Way back home" - This is PURE speculation on my part, but IIRC there was once talk of Prince working with Rhianna. It was unclear what they were doing, but there was a rumour Prince had written a song for her. Nothing ever seemed to come from it...

Fast Forward about a year. Rhianna is the voice of the lead character in a flim called "Home"... about a little purple alien... trying to find his way... back home.

Fast Forward further, Prince releases AOA "Way Back Home" is on there and people think he's forseen his own death.

He wrote songs for Rihanna and they were not used on her album. Rihanna even tweeted about it.

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Reply #29 posted 11/23/16 10:23am

Noodled24

^ Yeah I remember the tweets.

Like I said, all speculation on my part. But the movie called "home" about a little purple alien... Then a song by Prince called "way back home". Granted the lyrics wouldn't fit a childrens movie, and I doubt the little Purple alien was going to sing the line about never wanting a trophy wife... but you never know with Prince.

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