Category: Prince

Prince – Parade

ARTIST: Prince         220px-ParadeLP

TITLE: Parade

YEAR RELEASED: 1986

CHART ACTION: #3 US, #2 R&B, #4 UK

SINGLES: Kiss (#1 US, #1 R&B, #1 Dance, #6 UK), Mountains (#23 US, #15 R&B, #11 Dance, #45 UK), Anotherloverholenyohead (#63 US, #18 R&B, #21 Dance, #36), Girls & Boys (#21 Dance, #11 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Under the Cherry Moon

LINEUP: Prince, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin and some help from others in the Revolution (Brown Mark, Bobby Z, Dr. Fink), Sheila E and others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pop-funk and pop-dance record combines elements from his last few albums with success.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first thing I wondered about this album is the sequencing. Putting two of the strongest songs in the middle of side two, and making the entire first side deep cuts for the most part seems idiosyncratic, but that’s Prince for you.

There’s definite elements left over from Around the World in a Day, with its psychedelic leanings. He combines those with some of the spare funk he trotted out in the early 80’s and came up with another new Prince sound.

Of course, “Kiss” takes over the album, and overwhelms the other songs, though “Anotherloverholenyourhead” is almost its equal with a strong hook and a sense of fun. It’s a strong album in the string of strong records Prince put out in the 80’s.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Oh, it’s also the soundtrack to his turkey of a film Under the Cherry Moon. You probably didn’t see it. And double oh, Prince uses the band Mazarati (led by Brown Mark, his bassist) as his backing musicians on “Kiss”. Didn’t help their career.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: People really forget about this album, for no reason.

Prince – Around the World in a Day

ARTIST: Prince                        Prince_Around

TITLE: Around the World in a Day

YEAR RELEASED: 1985

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #4 R&B, #5 UK

SINGLES: Raspberry Beret (#2 US, #4 R&B, #25 UK), Paisley Park (#18 UK), Pop Life (#7 US, #8 R&B, #60 UK), America (#46 US, #35 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Condition of the Heart

LINEUP: Prince with some help from the Revolution, David Coleman, Jonathan Melvoin, Susannah Melvoin and others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Prince releases a ‘disappointing album’, which was perfectly fine, just not a masterpiece like his previous two.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Except for “Raspberry Beret” and “Pop Life”, Prince’s psychedelic excursion isn’t memorable to casual fans. And yes, there are a couple of cuts that aren’t up to his usual high quality, and drag the album down a bit.

Yet, Prince showed that he definitely has a psychedelic and mystical side with an album that updates the psychedelic soul of the late 60’s into the mid 80’s. He uses more collaborators than usual (the siblings of Wendy and Lisa are prominent), and strings and instruments like the oud and darbuka come into play.

It’s not so much as a stylistic detour, as an enhancement. Prince is adding sounds and textures to his repertoire, and at times that supersedes the actual songs.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Prince didn’t want much publicity, and “Raspberry Beret” wasn’t officially released as a single for three weeks after the album release..

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B+: Some great songs, some great stylistic textures, just a couple of duds.

Prince – Purple Rain

ARTIST: Prince                             Princepurplerain

TITLE: Purple Rain

YEAR RELEASED: 1984

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #4 UK

SINGLES: When Doves Cry (#1 US, #1 R&B, #1 Dance, #4 UK), Let’s Go Crazy (#1 US, #1 R&B, #1 Dance, #7 UK), Purple Rain (#2 US, #3 R&B, #6 UK), I Would Die 4 U (#8 US, #11 R&B, #50 Dance, #58 UK), Take Me with U (#25 US, #40 R&B, #7 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Darling Nikki, Baby I’m a Star

LINEUP: Prince, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Matt Fink, Brown Mark, Bobby Z, Novi Novog, Dave Coleman, Suzie Katayama. Apollonia and Jill Jones sing on “Take Me with U”

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A brilliant soundtrack to Prince’s star turn on film.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Even if it wasn’t a movie soundtrack, this would be an almost perfect album. Yet because it’s a soundtrack only enhances just how good this is. A regular soundtrack albums tends to have a flaw or two, with a song being wedged in due to the plot or licensing. Not here.

This is also the first true collaboration with the Revolution on most of the tracks. Just three of the nine tracks are Prince solo joints, with “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Purple Rain” being collaborations (and the Revoution gets songwriting credit as well).

The songs also link together, not just thematically, but on the album. It’s pretty near a seamless record, with no flaws. The album spawned a lot of cover versions for almost every song.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Prince had a couple of early versions, with longer versions of “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Computer Blue”, with two other songs in place of “When Doves Cry” and “Take Me with U”.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: YES! Brand new with newly released tracks.

GRADE: A+:  A fantastic album, and most incredibly, a soundtrack album that’s flawless.

Prince – 1999

ARTIST: Prince                        1999_cover

TITLE:  1999

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #7 US, #28 UK

SINGLES: 1999 (#12 US, #4 R&B, #1 Dance, #4 UK), Little Red Corvette (#6 US, #11 R&B, #61 Dance, #12 UK), Delirious (#8 US, #18 R&B, #33 UK), Let’s Pretend We’re Married (#52 US, #55 R&B, #52 Dance)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Automatic, Free

LINEUP: Prince, Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman, Jill Jones, Vanity, Wendy Melovin – but Prince did almost ALL of the instruments except the guitar solos on Little Red Corvette.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early 90’s R&B diva’s hits collection has some nice confections, but ultimately dissolves into the air with no substance.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Well, it’s not the ultimately perfect record – I think the sequencing could have been better – it’s as close as you can get.

His last three records had been steps in this direction, but nothing on those albums prepared you for this. From the bombast of “1999”, to the soul of “Little Red Corvette”, to the hook-laden “Delirious” (and that’s just Side 1) and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, to the funk of “DMSR” . “Lady Cab Driver”, and “Automatic”, the ballads and experimentation that end the album, it’s just, well, a revolution.

This not only set the scene for the 80’s, but all R&B based music afterwards.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The B-side to “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” was “Irresistible Bitch”, my favorite Prince B-side, probably left off the album because of its sonic similarity to “Lady Cab Driver”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A+:  I may have wanted to move a ballad to the first half of the album, but that’s just me. If you don’t have this record, grab it, and start by listening to the lesser known cuts.

Prince – Controversy

ARTIST: Prince                                                  prince_controversy

TITLE:  Controversy

YEAR RELEASED: 1981

CHART ACTION: #21

SINGLES: Controversy (#70, #3 R&B, #1 Dance), Let’s Work (#104, #9 R&B), Sexuality, Do Me, Baby

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Jack U Off

LINEUP: Prince, Lisa Coleman, Dr. Fink, Bobby Z. Prince did almost everything though.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After the advances of his last two records, Prince seems to stall in place with an album filled mostly about sex, again, with a couple of weird things to keep you off guard.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Prince mined the same territory as his Dirty Mind album for a lot of his record (all of side one, plus  a couple on side two). Sonically, it’s almost the same as well, with some hot funk, one of his best slow-jam sex ballads (“Do Me. Baby”).

There’s nothing wrong at all with songs like “Controversy” or the brilliant “Let’s Work”, it seems that Prince was content at this time to keep things about the same. Well, except for a couple of tracks.

The one problematic one for me is “Annie Christian”, which seems just odd, and lyrically is kind of disturbing and oblique. It may have some deeper meaning (no doubt it does), but for me it just stops the album cold and the last track can’t get the mojo back.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The last track, “Jack U Off”, is a mini-revolution recording with Dr. Fink, Lisa Coleman, and Bobby Z. along with Prince.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: A track can ruin a record, or at least make it less essential.

Prince – Dirty Mind

ARTIST: Prince                     princdirtymind-jpeg

TITLE:  Dirty Mind

YEAR RELEASED: 1980

CHART ACTION: #45 US, #7 R&B, #61 UK

SINGLES: Uptown (#101, #5 R&B), Dirty Mind (#65, #5 Dance), Do It All Night

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Partyup, Head, When You Were Mind

LINEUP: Prince with a bit of help from Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Still scandalous, still wonderful. Prince becomes M-Fn PRINCE with this tribute to sex and freedom, and freedom to have sex.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The opening cut and album title says it all. This is an album about Prince and his lascivious side. As many know, this is a song that has odes to oral sex, incest, threesomes, and more. Yet, the subject matter is secondary to the music Prince put together this time.

They hooks and funk through the entire record is fantastic. The touches Prince uses, such as the subtle backing vocals in the brilliant “When You Were Mine”, the keyboard hooks in “Dirty Mind” and “Head” (courtesy of Doctor Fink, I believe), and the all out funk of “Uptown” and “Partyup” makes this a treat for all music lovers, even the prurient.

There’s a bit of a stumble on the ballad, so this isn’t perfect. But it’s as close as Prince had come thus far, and really set the table for his mid-80’s work.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Lisa Coleman’s first appearance on a Prince record is the voice of the woman in “Head”. And yes, “Uptown” is about the famed district in Minneapolis.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A: While I wouldn’t play this at a junior high dance, I would recommend this for anyone wanting a perfect example of how to blend hooks and the funk.

 

Prince – Prince

ARTIST: Prince      220px-prince_selftitled

TITLE:  Prince

YEAR RELEASED: 1979

CHART ACTION: #22

SINGLES: I Wanna Be Your Lover (#11 US, #1 R&B, #2 Dance, #41 UK), Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad (#13 R&B), Still Waiting (#65 R&B), Sexy Dancer (#2 Dance)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I Feel for You

LINEUP: Prince, with a little bitty bit of help from Andre Cymone

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  This, this is more like it from Prince. A rapid maturation towards the Prince sound and style leads to a fine second effort for the most part.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The opening two cuts, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad” are Prince. It couldn’t be anyone else.

The up-tempo, dance cuts for the most part is where Prince shined here. His guitar work and sense of the funk was outstanding. What he didn’t have quite down yet were the ballads – they were still a bit over-wrought and cloying.

Still, for the most part this a great album and showed most of Prince’s gifts.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Andre Cymone sang a little backup, but otherwise this is all Prince.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: Ballads knock it down (he’d get better at them), but the fast grooves are great.

 

Prince – For You

ARTIST: Prince                         220px-prince_foryou

TITLE:  For You

YEAR RELEASED: 1978

CHART ACTION: #163 US, #156 UK

SINGLES: Soft and Wet (#92, #12 R&B), Just as Long as We’re Together (#91 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No. This is obscure Prince.

LINEUP: Prince

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Teenage wonder writes, plays, and sings an entire album. While not earth shaking, the feat is notable in itself.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The opening vocal montage of Prince’s debut album shows the meticulous craftsmanship that Prince would put toward most all of his work in his career. Even in his early years, Prince was comfortable in his artistry, and able to conceive and play all of the parts on his records.

Yet what he needed the most seasoning in was songwriting. “Soft and Wet” definitely is Prince as we knew him, but the rest of the album is just OK. He had a long time to get better though.

Nothing else really sticks besides the single, but it’s interesting to hear where Prince started to his peak and beyond. It wasn’t that long until he really became Prince.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The final recording tripled the budget allotted. Also, this is only streaming on Tidal. If $10 a month is worth it for Prince, then by all means.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C+: It amazing that he played all 27 instruments and did all of the intricate vocal work, but the songs aren’t there yet.