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Prince & The New Power Generation

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★★★★½
(51 Reviews)

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  • Who knows what signs Prince interpreted from the resurgence of his career with the success of Diamonds And Pearls. Songs like “Gett Off” and “Push” signalled a more hip-hop/new jack/house party, with rap incorporated by both he and Tony M. That sound went into overdrive with (Symbol). And despite the new music scene of grunge, Prince seemed to look forward in the same light as he did the 80’s, as judged by the futuristic buildings on the (Symbol) album, and the name of his band, the New Power Generation.”My Name Is Prince”–yes, at least until the Beautiful Experience and then the Gold Experience. After an airy synth beginning, it’s hip-hop/house overdrive, where Prince raps more than sings. Raps? His voice is more a loud and hoarse in the same way John Lennon sang “Twist and Shout” till his vocal chords were shredded. Part braggadocio, part affirmation that he’s one to be reckoned with, and part reflections on being a star: “big cars and women and fancy clothes/will save your face, but it won’t save your soul.” Other songs that incorporate that thumping hip-hop/dance is “The Max” and “The Flow,” which is another Prince/Tony B rap.With a title like rapping “S-xy MF” Prince was clearly not looking for radio play in this naughty song with strong guitar, horns, and organ support.The soulful ballad with jazz/rock stylings, “The Morning Papers” shows Prince in romantic poet mode: “if he poured his heart into a glass and offered it like wine.” My favourite song here, especially with the fiery guitar and horns. So is the leisure jazz number “Blue Light,” which features Eric Leeds on sax.A fuzzy bass synth sound permeates in the bouncy seductive first experience and beyond of “I Wanna Melt With U”, where Prince intones more than sings–that job’s for his backing vocalists.Everybody gets burned by love so hold back those tears. That’s the advice Prince gives to some sweet thing in “Sweet Baby,” which is another great keyboards and piano ballad done in Prince’s falsetto. Smoother and more polished than “Insatiable,” it’s more a song of comfort compared to hotter material like “Do Me Baby” or “Slow Love.” “D-mn U” is a lush slow-dancing strings/piano ballad, where his lyrical creativity is still alive, describing love as “having a hundred million little heart attacks.”"The Continental” is analogous to this album’s “U Gotta The Love,” with the grinding guitar and a heckuva party atmosphere. Carmen Electra has a soft-spoken guest rap in the latter part of the song.”7″ incorporates Biblical Revelation imagery with a futuristic vision of an enlightened and educated youth who will never grow old. A worthy enough choice for a single. Genesis is the reference for “And God Created Woman,” with references to taking a rib, temptation, and serpents as experienced in his life.The mini-opera “3 Chains Of Gold,” which put together are the nucleus of his soul, has differing tempos and rhythms, part early swinging Prince, part lush falsetto ballad, part airy guitar solo, and even a section reminding me of the “I’m such a poor boy with a poor family” part of “Bohemian Rhapsody” All that’s missing is a “mamma mia let me go.”"The Sacrifice of Victor” with backing by the Steeles, sums up Prince as a product of the civil rights era, with references to Dr. King’s death and the rioting and burning that followed, and the discipline and perseverance to make it where he was.As defining and groundbreaking as Sign O The Times, with as much material, (Symbol) can be considered the last masterpiece Prince put out. Prince then took the symbol as his new name, issuing five albums under it, as well as older unreleased material under Prince. That’s another chapter, which sadly isn’t as rich as the previous ones.

    Posted on December 15, 2009