Tag Archives: Prince

Five Song Guide to Weird Prince Music

Five Song Guide to Weird Prince Music

by Dan-O

Everybody loves Prince. I am not gonna waste full sentences telling you what makes 1999 or Purple Rain great. That is on you to figure out. One of the great things about Prince is how much crazy stuff he has out there and how darn good it is. All of the songs below are from albums far outside his “best album” discussion. All of these songs (in my eyes) are as good as any of his best work. He was an artist with a lot of dimension and I hope if you hear any of these for the first time it helps you get closer to how much of a unicorn this dude was.

Cherry, Cherry from Exodus

Exodus from 1995 is a big sloppy funk album by the New Power Generation that is not for everyone. It is definitely for me.   Exodus is messier than other Prince albums, it is thick with horns and bass in the way peak Parliament is. Prince knew how to make his work digestible; to teach a funkless white audience how the genre worked. By doing that he spent a lot of time grooving at 70% of his powers. Exodus gives him the chance to concoct overpowering funk. Get Wild is loud and very Digital Underground. Cherry, Cherry is the masterpiece for me. It feels like it could have been on Purple Rain as a bonus cut but it’s him years later. This song is timeless in how it takes that glimmering preciousness adds finger snaps, basketball, and maintains the real feeling of starry eyed romantic connection.

Don’t Play Me from The Truth

You’ve heard the stories about how much of a talent Prince was with the playing of multiple instruments. He was such a good composer it’s hard to isolate his talent on any given instrument. Prince was too much of a mastermind to flex outside the needs of the song. Best place to really get in touch with the ability he had on lead is an acoustic guitar album called The Truth. It is one of my favorite Prince albums PERIOD. The warmth and precision of his guitar work is miraculous but just as fly and once a generation is the swagger he has along with that ability. He brags about being over 30 speaking proper English and not smoking weed. This song is about being grown and past foolish things. That moment when he says “Don’t play me I already do that in my car,” is the illest brag a pop star ever made. Most people do acoustic albums to spill their feelings. Prince is Prince no matter what the form. His formula is too perfect to change.

Black Sweat from 3121

Its criminal how the listening audience turned away from Prince in the mid to late 90’s and on. 3121 is an album from 2006 and It is one of his best. Black Sweat in particular is one of the top five nastiest funk songs he ever constructed. My face screws up every time it starts. The hook is incredible, the drums are next level. You should listen to this song but you should make sure you have nice headphones. If you don’t then take it to the car; trust me.

A Case Of U from One Nite Alone…

I might sound whiny about the left behind music hanging around one of music’s most important careers but I am not mad at anyone. Prince was so productive he buried treasure all over the map. I love Joni Mitchell A LOT. I don’t love her like Prince did. He pulls A Case Of U from Joni’s most pulverizing and vulnerable album Blue from 1971.  Prince lets his voice tip toe through the emotional vulnerability and stand to declare strength the way she always did. He gets the mixture. Throughout One Night Alone… his piano work is staggering. His sense of time is exact on a mechanized level. You can listen to him play piano and guitar (on The Truth) so well you’d think he was an artificial intelligence robot sent from the future to teach us music. Add to that how intuitive his song selection musical vision and vocal tone  is and it is an eye opening listen.

Paisley Park from Around The World In A Day

Prince loved Stevie Wonder but he loved Joni Mitchell just as much. He was very influenced by the psychedelic music of the 1960’s. Around The World In A Day is an exploration of the spirit brought on music by The Beatles and others. The reason it doesn’t get much love outside of Raspberry Beret is its placement as follow up album to Purple Rain. No one expected an exploration of psychedelia following a world dominating classic. Wouldn’t you just do that again?! You would. Prince wouldn’t. Outside of all that contextual jibber jabber Paisley Park is a hypnotic song. His vocals float above the hammering drum machine and the characters he etches go through sadness, forgiveness, and growth. He cares about everyone he mentions and paints them like Renoir watching dancing couples. All the colors are bright and lustrous.

Most of these songs and albums mentioned are on your basic streaming services but Exodus could be tough.  Here is a youtube link for the album in case.

 

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Song of The Year- Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd

Song of The Year- Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd

by Dan-O

I am very excited to sit back and watch all the critics who buried The Weeknd two years ago do a pirouette into Abel Tesfaye appreciation. Compare him to Michael Jackson or Prince if you want. You should never have given up on him so easily. We all rocked House of Balloons in 2011. It was a mixtape moon landing that changed the game…where did you think that genius went?

Anyway, the task that Beauty Behind The Madness tackles is going pop respectfully. Translating the deep hurt and jarring imagery into something that can play on everyone’s radio. Instead of rap features we get Lana Del Ray and Ed Sheeran (the only guests). I don’t think Can’t Feel My Face is my favorite song on the album but it’s a smash. I think Shameless is a more beautiful and intelligently written song but Can’t Feel My Face achieves a forward momentum that we didn’t know was in Abel’s arsenal. The reason people jumped off the bandwagon originally was that listening to The Weeknd felt like something you only did at your lowest point on a rainy day, otherwise you get lost in depression town with a long work day ahead. Can’t Feel My Face is the best example of polishing scary content until it’s too fun to worry about. Even more than Future’s DS2 and that’s saying something.

It’s exciting that he’s taken back this maudlin drugged up party kid character and updated him…because this is his character. I always felt weird hearing other people borrow from the persona while we acted like that’s ok. Now that he’s back dropping gems again, it’s like he says on Tell Your Friends (my favorite song) “Last year I did all the politicking, this year I’mma focus on the vision.” When The Weeknd is all vision the outcome is always something to behold.

EP Review-Royalty The Prequel by The Dream

EP Review-Royalty The Prequel by The Dream

by Dan-O

Amidst all the great little R&B mixtapes that have dropped into the universe this year you won’t hear a lot about Royalty. Not for lack of interesting music, by the way, more for the emotional neediness. This is a project so very off-putting that the hits Dream can just churn out in minutes and march into the world like the grand marshall of a parade are soaked in remorse. A song like Duet which should hum with sexual energy and bravado instead feels like its mojo’s been stolen and now it just exists naked and pawing.

I’m not sure how people “like” their Dream cause I’ve always found him off-putting. The persona he created for his music was ½ R. Kelly ½ Prince and that tastes like Hummus flavored ice cream to me. Royalty clears all that crap off the table: the sunglasses inside the building, the leather jackets that look like Members Only jackets. This collection is what’s left of an insanely talented writer/performer who has suffered immense and humiliating heartbreak now he’s not letting you leave until he explains it to you.

A song like Culture could have taken the shape of simple lifestyle brag but by the end he’s begging the woman in his life to experience so much more of the worlds wonders with him. None of these songs feel like they rolled off him into a snug radio friendly hook and planned music video. Outkast is not just a bizarre but fitting homage to the group but a really well crafted overly sincere rambling pick up line. Wedding Bells sounds festive but is loaded down with baggage “My sister like hell nah she ain’t right. She ain’t your type. We ain’t right for each other…F_ It! It’s nothing. If I was perfect I’m sure it’d still be something.”

The centerpiece of Royalty is the agonizing heartbreak of Cold. The Dream takes Mobb Deep Shook Ones beat and lets his relationship tribulations all hang out. We go from the wedding we all know wont work out to its ugly conclusion(over the course of the tape) and regardless of how jarring the expedition is it’s a complete passage. By the end of Cold you won’t have any questions as to how he got where he is. Dream has so much oozing talent that as purposely grating as the subject matter can be the songs still flutter and bounce at just the right times. This weird little free EP might be my favorite piece of music he’s ever put out. It has moments that feel like the tragic middle chunk of a one man show. You stare at the narrators face as tragedy sets in and watch as that person bites down and starts to recover.

Stream or download Royalty The Prequel below: