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Thread started 05/24/21 12:02am

Phase3

How couldve the Love Symbol album been more successful?

Diamonds and pearls was such a great seller for prince that it helped him get a upgrade in his contract with Warner's.
The Love Symbol album is a great album and I believe it is much stronger than diamonds and pearls but ultimately it failed in comparison and really ingnited the fire in Prince Vs Warner Brothers feud
So let's see in what ways could have Prince made the Love Symbol album better? And to sell like the previous album did?
What would you have done if you were in charge of the track listing?
I think the problem with love Symbol is that it is kinda too long and the segues shouldn't have been included.
Were the wrong singles chosen?
Would you have taken off some songs?
Maybe the war could've been avoided if better decisions were made?
Hard me to say but I really believe the Love Symbol album is a
MASTERPIECE
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Reply #1 posted 05/24/21 12:45am

ian

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I like it too and bought it the day it came out, but I'd argue that it is a weaker album than D&P, and a much weirder and harder-to-sell proposition compared to D&P overall.

The fact that it doesn't even have a proper name so you can't easily ask for it in the store, the whole rock opera thing, the segues. It all felt like such hubris, a bit of a bloated vanity project themed around Prince's romance with someone who was just a biiiit too young. It was also massively out of sync with some of the hottest new music of the day.

D&P had three very strong singles plus a bunch of decent album tracks. prince singles just didn't land anywhere near as well, and most of the album tracks are awful. Sexy MF was popular and the censored edits were on the radio a lot, because it was pushed out early and Prince was still hot at that point and touring D&P around Europe etc. 7 did well too even though it was... odd, and My Name Is Prince got plenty of video play but probably still underperformed against label expectations (which was fair IMHO, that's a truily horrible song). Damn U is classic Prince ballad material but if Insatiable or Scandalous didn't do big numbers, Damn U wouldn't either. The Morning Papers was a great little song if you don't examine the lyrics too closely (rock star justifying romance with a school-age girl, eww) but didn't get much of a push, it just appeared on the shelf one day without much fanfare, I'd assumed WB were scaling back promotion at that stage.

The thing to remember is that 1992 was such an amazing time for music, there were lots of great albums released around that time, this album doesn't really compare well IMHO.

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Reply #2 posted 05/24/21 1:10am

SoulAlive

“The Morning Papers” wasn’t a good single choice.They should have chosen the superior “And God Created Woman”.
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Reply #3 posted 05/24/21 1:12am

SantanaMaitrey
a

He did everything he could: he made videos, appeared on tv, went on tour... The D&P tour was used to promote both D&P and the upcoming album. Sexy MF was released during the tour and it became a big hit, but when the tour was over, so was the hype and the excitement. This was the time when the public started to lose interest. It happens. He had been on top for ten years, sooner or later he had to go down. It happened to Bob Dylan, James Brown and the Rolling Stones in the 80s, it happened to Prince and Michael Jackson in the 90s.
[Edited 5/24/21 1:22am]
O tempora! O mores!
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Reply #4 posted 05/24/21 1:15am

SantanaMaitrey
a

And as for the length of the album, at this time artists were discovering that CDs can hold 70 minutes of music, so everybody started making long albums.
O tempora! O mores!
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Reply #5 posted 05/24/21 1:29am

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

the stupid storyline should have been nixed.

it didnt work, and wasnt that interesting.

sexy mf was also not a good single for the US.

my name is prince was also fun but more of a b side.

both those songs were b side material really, pushed as big singles when they werent worthy of that. Both quite gimmicky

it also tried to cover TOO much.

no one needs eye wanna melt with u. again, another b side song.

the flow is also quite bad.

it also needs to end with 3 chains, a big blowout ending, not sacrifice.

if you edited it down to 45 mins, its much better:

side 1
The Max
Love 2 The 9's
The Morning Papers
Sweet Baby
Blue Light

The Sacrifice Of Victor

side 2
The Continental
Damn U
Arrogance
7 (acoustic version)

And God Created Woman
3 Chains O' Gold

i find 7 very leaden to be honest, but im keeping it in just for the hell of it.


[Edited 5/24/21 2:27am]

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Reply #6 posted 05/24/21 2:25am

SquirrelMeat76

Love 2 The 9's was one of his best songs for years, even though Tony M tried to ruin it with a crappy rap in the middle.

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Reply #7 posted 05/24/21 4:06am

Rimshottbob

I was 13/14 when this album came out, and hungry for musical adventure...

And I absolutely loved prince.

It blew my mind and made me into a Prince fan... I was just like 'what is this?!'

The changes of styles, the tight and incredible musicianship, the weird interludes, the unpronounceable title... the sheer CONFIDENCE with which it was all performed and delivered... this album, this music did everything that most 'pop' music of the time didn't, it carried me away into a whole new space and place, sparked my imagination, got me dancing.... it was exciting, unexpected.

I loved it then and I love it now.

All this reductive 'oh, it's too bloated, it needs trimming' attitude is nonsense, to me. This album works BECAUSE of its excesses, its detours, its sense of adventure.

It may not have been as big a hit as Diamonds And Pearls, but it's far stronger to me. Diamonds And Pearls was just a warm-up compared to this.

I was right in the demographic for this when it came out, and I ate it up. But I guess I and those that loved it were looking for something in the pop world that was a little more adventurous, maybe?

Not saying I was ahead of the game or anything like that, but probably the things I loved about it are the same things that stopped it completely crossing over into being a massive hit.

I remember at the time my older sister's boyfriend asking me when I was listening to Sexy MF, 'do you think he's doing this seriously? Or is he just taking the piss?'

I think that's the reaction a loooooot of people had to Prince at this time. He was confusing. At 14, I was very confused about the world and all the pain I was experiencing with my sister's death and my parents' divorce, so maybe that sense of confusion spoke to me...

Great album.

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Reply #8 posted 05/24/21 4:33am

LoveGalore

It's a great album but it misses the cultural mark. The raps were corny and didn't suit him, despite there being a campy appeal to seeing him do Sexy MF dressed up like a lemon tart. In some ways, the symbol album is a culmination of all the things that made 90s style excess obnoxious.
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Reply #9 posted 05/24/21 5:16am

Poplife88

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My Name is Prince killed that album right from the start. Terrible song and never should've been a single.

The album is WAY too long.

The segues and subject matter were stupid and kinda creepy.

We're gonna need a bigger boat
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Reply #10 posted 05/24/21 5:33am

thebiscuit

Great album. Just sounds a bit derivative in my opinion. My first impression of MNIP when I listened to the album back in ‘92 was that it sounded like a remix.
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Reply #11 posted 05/24/21 5:42am

Dandroppedadim
e

The question is: Does an artist makes an album of interesting/challenging music or a collection of 'hit' singles?

I think D&P was definitely the latter of those - with Symbol I think he tried to take the D&P formula but push it into a musical journey/story. No, it didn't really work, but who wants to keep making single collections - In many ways it was his ultimate concept album (or should of been). But it just didn't capture the publics imagination (although I think it sold 3 million which is not to be sniffed at!)

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Reply #12 posted 05/24/21 5:56am

runningbear

it couldn't, it was destined not to live up to sales expectations. Not a failure, but almost an inevitable downward trend

Too much, too fast. Glad Prince stopped trying to hit sales targets, and did what he liked, not trying to follow rap trends as much to appeal

[Edited 5/24/21 5:58am]

merf
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Reply #13 posted 05/24/21 6:30am

GiggityGoo

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Poplife88 said:

My Name is Prince killed that album right from the start. Terrible song and never should've been a single.

The album is WAY too long.

The segues and subject matter were stupid and kinda creepy.

.

I was going to write this long rambling analysis of prince, but this pretty much sums it up.

.

prince is an album I haven't listened to as a complete musical collection in ages. To me, it's sloppy and way too long.

.

But that doesn't mean it's a complete loss. I absolutely love "7". (So does my wife. It's one of the few songs she ever asks to play a second time.) And over the years I've come to appreciate "The Morning Papers"... that ending, when the sax kicks in, is one of Prince's best codas. The riff and groove of "The Continental" is pretty fun.

.

My favorite thing about the album, though, is that it's the first time Prince used the "prince" symbol. As a graphic design, it's elegant, mysterious, and powerful. I frigging love the prince symbol. If I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be a toss-up between Captain America's shield, or prince.

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Reply #14 posted 05/24/21 7:47am

SantanaMaitrey
a

This thread makes me think of something: if this album had been a huge hit, would he still have gone to war with WB? Probably not, why bite the hand that feeds you? The fact that the album wasn't a big hit made him realize that he wasn't going to get his $ 100 million, but that he had to keep making albums and he didn't want that. And then we got the name change and all of that.
O tempora! O mores!
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Reply #15 posted 05/24/21 8:41am

christobole

Even though the 1992 album is not radically different to D&P, the choice of singles point to an attempt of breaking free of certain commercial expectations (not for the first time, one might add). Of course, he could never really stop chasing after a mostly unsophisticated, superficial record-buying public - and when the public did eventually stop paying attention (instead of being bewildered or amused), Prince cried out loud, like the spoiled brat he really always was. Instead of the mysterious, suave self-image, that Prince wanted to relay to the public, it made him look like a real jack-ass at times (Slave on his face, interview and demonstration of Greatest Romance's hit-potential etc.) This is why the pop artists that experience outrageous success, usually are so screwed in one way or another - unless of course, they reach an early understanding about the fleeting, intangible and irrational nature of massive success.

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Reply #16 posted 05/24/21 9:07am

Empress

I love the entire album! It's certainly not a masterpiece, but it's loads of fun and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
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Reply #17 posted 05/24/21 9:49am

ufoclub

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People that hate "My Name is Prince", well there are people that love it... like me. And I remember listening to the radio and hearing a girl call in and request it back then.

"The Morning Papers" was an awful choice for a single. It's just not a very commercially catchy or interestingly arranged.

"7" was the big winner and it did well. But I wish it had a better music video.

I worked at a TV station back then and ran the last section of "The Flow" (when it's just become an instrumental) during football playback clips on the news... and it went over really well.

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Reply #18 posted 05/24/21 10:19am

RufusRawfield

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...the rap parts sucked, the creepy lyrics about having a crush one an underage schoolgirl were creepy, the opera idea sucked, the Kirstie Alley segues sucked big time, the whole three chains of gold Egyptian princess part sucked, and the choice of singles was a bit odd....he should´ve released the stronger songs such as God Created Woman...the flannel shirt hommage to Grunge sucked, too because he was nowhere near like grunge neither musically nor in the looks department so it kinda came of silly....there are some great songs on this album tho...

I've dated outside of my race and I discovered that Good Pussy is Good Pussy and Good Booty is Good Booty regardless of ethnicity...I don't have a Fetish for only Big White Tits, Big White Butts or Phat White Pussy.(chancellor) smile wise man !
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Reply #19 posted 05/24/21 11:49am

EnDoRpHn

ufoclub said:

"The Morning Papers" was an awful choice for a single. It's just not a very commercially catchy or interestingly arranged.


I could have lived without that even being on the album.

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Reply #20 posted 05/24/21 12:06pm

lurker316

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I agree with much of the criticism above (poor choice of singles, cheesy segues, etc.). I'd also say that D&P was simply more "radio friendly" and accessable to the masses. It was lighter and more inviting. Love Symbol was darker and harder.



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Reply #21 posted 05/24/21 12:16pm

BartVanHemelen

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SantanaMaitreya said:

He did everything he could: he made videos, appeared on tv, went on tour...

.

A month long US tour and a month-and-a-half long European tour are the bare minimum. And the Act II tour barely featured music from the album and was basically a hits tour (chosen by fans).

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #22 posted 05/24/21 12:19pm

BartVanHemelen

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SantanaMaitreya said:

This thread makes me think of something: if this album had been a huge hit, would he still have gone to war with WB? Probably not, why bite the hand that feeds you? The fact that the album wasn't a big hit made him realize that he wasn't going to get his $ 100 million, but that he had to keep making albums and he didn't want that. And then we got the name change and all of that.

.

The $100 million was a number Prince made up (to boast of having the biggest record contract) which he never was going to get. https://musicfans.stackex...m/a/89/129

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #23 posted 05/24/21 12:29pm

BartVanHemelen

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lurker316 said:


I agree with much of the criticism above (poor choice of singles, cheesy segues, etc.). I'd also say that D&P was simply more "radio friendly" and accessable to the masses. It was lighter and more inviting.

.

D&P was manufactured to be a hit album, so Prince could negociate a bigger contract. Hence him going out of his was to promote it via a world tour which started off in Japan and then went to Australia. A large European tour was planned, and then they started removing all dates that didn't sell out in a single day.

.

Once that was done, the new contract was negociated (and signed in August 1992), and then prince dropped in October 1992 and Prince didn't tour that album until March 1993.

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #24 posted 05/24/21 1:39pm

SoulAlive

I think this is an excellent album.Most of the tracks are top-notch.I do,however,think that the "rock soap opera" storyline is kinda silly and distracting at times.

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Reply #25 posted 05/24/21 1:40pm

RODSERLING

How can you seriously believe Lovesymbol was a flop because of its lenght and its segues? First, the segues are not even listed on the tracklist, you habe to buy the album to know there was.
And the lenght of the album, everybody knew at the time already to skip a song. Jesus.

1) As I already explained, what mostly killed the album was obviously the delay of 4 months between the release of the first single, Sexy MF, and the release of the actual album.
When Sexy MF was at its peak (#4 in Europe, and in the top 10 for 4 weeks), it could have sold a million album worldwide until the second single.
Sexy MF was promoted for nothing, and most people even believed it was on D&P.
If Sexy MF was released just 3 weeks before the album, it would have sold at least 4 millions worldwide, and not "just" 3.

2) Lovesymbol was released too soon after D&P. There was like 10 singles promoted in a year, so it suffered from overexposition and singles, music video fatigue.

3) Mayte was overexposed as Prince girlfriend, and I m sure it lost many women fans. It s like if Madonna recorded and toured with his boyfriend, it would have lost many masculine fans.

4) Too eclectic. People like to buy a rock album like Nevermind's Nirvana, a rap album, a pop/rock album, etc. Not album with so many musical genres.
In the US, the first two hip/hop oriented singles flopped.
Then 7 a more pop oriented song was a hit.

In Europe it was the contrary. The first two hip hop singles were successful, but then 7 killed the album sales.

D&P also suffered from this, despite 4 huge worldwide hits, it sold "only" 7 millions worldwide. Everybody at the time with 3 huge hits sold 10/12 millions

5) Then of course, Prince invented the buzz before it was hype : the no-name thing, appears masked on the MNIP video and on tv performance, the title of its lead single is censored in the US... What would have been good publicity today was bad publicity at the time.

6) The Morning Papers wasn't maybe the best single to release. And God created womem may have more impact, or Continental. Love 2 the 9 was too complex to be a hit, even in its edited version.
[Edited 5/24/21 13:45pm]
[Edited 5/24/21 13:51pm]
[Edited 5/24/21 13:52pm]
[Edited 5/24/21 13:53pm]
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Reply #26 posted 05/24/21 1:46pm

SoulAlive

ufoclub said:

People that hate "My Name is Prince", well there are people that love it... like me. And I remember listening to the radio and hearing a girl call in and request it back then.


I have always had mixed feelings about this song smile I like the attitude of it...the urgency,the beat.It's a powerful opener.

but it's a very derivative track.Prince's vocal reminds me of LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out".The first verse is great,but some of the other lyrics aren't very good.

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Reply #27 posted 05/24/21 2:06pm

emesem

A rap-less version of Love 2 the 9s.

Delete The Flow, Arrogance, Damn U and Three Chains of Gold.

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Reply #28 posted 05/24/21 2:34pm

ufoclub

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SoulAlive said:

ufoclub said:

People that hate "My Name is Prince", well there are people that love it... like me. And I remember listening to the radio and hearing a girl call in and request it back then.


I have always had mixed feelings about this song smile I like the attitude of it...the urgency,the beat.It's a powerful opener.

but it's a very derivative track.Prince's vocal reminds me of LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out".The first verse is great,but some of the other lyrics aren't very good.

I do agree he was reacting to "Mamma Said Knock You Out".

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Reply #29 posted 05/24/21 3:35pm

kingricefan

I think that Damn U should have been promoted as a single. It's one of his more beautiful love songs. It's a different sound for Prince (like you're listening to a lounge act) and it would have drew in some more 'radio friendly' listeners. I used to do Damn U at karaoke and I had people come up to me after I sang it asking who the real singer was. I'd tell them Prince. They'd get an amazed look on their face and ask 'Really?'. They just didn't want to believe that Prince could do such a beautiful love song. I'd have to show them my CD to prove it. Releasing Damn U as a single would have received more attention to the album. It could have saved the lost fans who were disgusted with Sexy MF. That song turned off alot of fans.

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