Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
The first time I took a swing at a reimagined Prince discography was last year. I got Purple Rain right, but I really didn't know enough Prince to make any other well-informed decisions. I knew that I loved Diamonds & Pearls and Lovesymbol, so I combined them, and threw on some other later tracks that I enjoyed. It was fun to listen to, but not a great album, or a cohesive idea.
As much as I love them, and as much as they came out in rapid succession, Diamonds & Pearls and Lovesymbol are two vastly different albums. Forcing them together is unnecessary, as they both stand on their own. Sure, you can give them some additional support from the unreleased albums that bumper them, but even those are more for flair than anything. So I paired the original Lovesxy album with Undertaker, which has a couple of tracks that made me wish Prince released an entire blues album because these tracks will singe the hairs off of places you didn't want hair anyway.
This is the album I'm most upset that I shouldn't play at the store while working.
There is no reason in the world why this album should ever start with anything other than My Name Is Prince. We're back to a slow intro build that errupts into the introdution of the band, drums, erotic stacatto, drums, and some very 80s scratching. There are even samples from previous Prince songs! He did not come to funk around. Until he has your daughter, he won't leave this town. Your daughter? How old was he when this came out? 34? Let's hope the daddy he's talking to is at least 50. This is his greatest intro track for any album. It's a statement of thesis. It's an intro to him and his band, it's got some killer guitar screeching, and you kind of have to dance to it when you hear it.
The track one / track two punch of "My Name Is Prince" and Sexy M.F. needed to be upheld, too. It's probably the best sex funk song since James Brown took a hiatus from having any idea how to produce music so that he could host "Future Shock". I cheated a little bit in bridging the two songs with the minute plus long climax of the unreleased album Come but it absolutely belongs between these two wonderfully filthy songs. Rosie Gaines is superior to Meg Ryan's diner performance in When Harry Met Sally in every way. But once the actual track starts, it's all about Prince's best rap performance, the smooth title riff, and those horns. THOSE HORNS. Best since the JBs. Hands down.
We cool down again for just a moment before the synth beat of The Max crunches in. More great background performances by Rosie Gaines and Tony M. There are also some wonderful keyboard riffs repeated throughout the song. It's not a classic because the first two tracks from the album exist. But if they didn't, this could have been a standout song from the album.
The Undertaker, the eponymous track from the unreleased album is a masterclass in blues guitar. I don't understand why this track hasn't been used in so many westerns that it's become a cliche. It would be totally worth it. I imagine Mark Callaway fucks to this song at least twice a week. It should have at least been the theme song to his Wrestlemania Streak. This song is ten minutes of utter perfection.
The first song that feels like it would have been at home on Diamonds & Pearls is Eye Melt With U. I probably should have put it there. It's a little too dance track Prince for the funk on this album. It's got the right quantity of sex for either album.
Another track from Come, Solo starts acapella, throws in some harp strumming and weathery effects and ends up being just a hauting fucken masterpiece.
Then the drums of The Ride crash in, and we're back in blues rock. Clocking in at a minute longer than "The Undertaker", this could also fit in any well-produced, modern western. The guitar scorches through this song. It's up there with his performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
There's a soft segue into another dancey ballad, Love 2 The 9s, which seems to come from every era of Prince. This really could be from any album, and yet it doesn't feel as generic as some of his near future "that song could have been on any album" output. I think the drums are the star of this falsetto to baritone track. It ends with a snapping outro.
And God Created Woman brings the synths back to the forefront, as soft rock Prince croons and whisper talks his desires at you, yes you, baby. There is an interesting, if not perfect, gospel choral attempt about halfway through the song. Prince continues his evolution of being less creepy as if he never sees you again / it's alright. No more hanging out in the parking lot, waiting for you to leave work, or sitting on the trunk of the car until you leave your house.
"And God Created Woman" flows perfectly into another falsetto soft rock track, 3 Chains Of Gold. They were back to back on the original album for a reason. I love the Sgt. Peppersesque use of effects on this track. Poor Prince has no cream or dreams in this track. Luckily, he has kickass vocals (and he references The Undertaker track, which totally wasn't on the original album ... shhhh). The drums spiral us to the whooey-climax, and straight into the gong of
7. This song is super-Prince without sounding much like anything else he's done. It would have felt comfortable on Purple Rain, I think, even though the laughing effects are all Batman Soundtrack. Prince narrating the apocalypse caused by the seven deadly sins is my kind of popcorn flick. I really wish that had been the video instead of sort-of-blindfolded bondage-light Prince does some sci-fi effects while macking on hot women. We get it, Prince, you're short, and you fuck a lot, and you think you're magic. But, like, I want more.
Ok. I hadn't noticed, nor heard before that the videos from this album mostly revolved around his wife being an Egyptian Princess who Prince meets during "3 Chains Of Gold", and then sees her father assassinated by "7" assassins. It's an accident that I linked them together in this order. It must be at least subliminally genius Prince that the story ... concludes ? in The Morning Papers.
Blue Light is really as close to reggae as Prince gets. He really does always take a simple thing and push it way too far. But that's how he stayed so famous for so long, even though he's on the cusp of falling into his Undertaker / Dirty Work phase of his career. But let us go out on this perfectly affable track. It's not as perfect an ending as most of the other albums, but I think it's ok for this to land soft since it started so perectly h...you know.