CD Review of Prince's Latest '3121'

by gespro 1 Replies latest jw friends

  • gespro

    I've looked around to see if anyone else posted this yet [and if they have, I haven't been able to find it.]

    My wife found this...and we had a chuckle. It gets real good towards the end.

    Check it out:

    Prince, 3121
    Alexis Petridis
    Friday March 17, 2006
    The Guardian


    Three years ago, anyone betting on a Prince comeback would have been welcomed by the bookies with open arms. Said bookies would have hung out the streamers and booked a band, confident in the knowledge that payday had arrived. Prince had long since joined that select band of superstars who achieve an apparently inexorable decline without recourse to drink or drugs. His monumental hubris brought him low all on its own. You could see where the hubris came from - in an era so musically barren that anyone with the ability to sing and dance at the same time got labelled a polymath genius, he really was a polymath genius - but that didn't make it easier to swallow.

    In dispute with his record company, Prince spent the 1990s insultingly comparing himself to a slave, and churning out contractual-obligation albums with no thought for the poor saps who were supposed to buy them. By the millennium, he had successfully reduced his fanbase to a rump of enthusiasts so nutty they made their idol - a man who once toured the world with a $250,000 giant gold pretzel that supposedly represented a clitoris - seem a model of reason. The Rainbow Children (2001), a jazzy concept album about the Jehovah's Witnesses, made 109 on the Billboard chart, his worst showing for 23 years. It sounded and sold like Prince's Greatest Hits compared with its 2003 follow-up, NEWS, which contained four 14-minute-long instrumental jams and failed to chart at all.

    Theoretically, a career marked by inexplicable name changes, berserk public pronouncements and giant golden clitoris pretzels should prepare you for any eventuality, but what happened in the next year beggared belief. Prince became America's highest-grossing live performer, ending 2004 $56.5m richer. He achieved this turnaround by the simple expedient of playing his hits in concert and steering clear of jazz-influenced concept albums about the Jehovah's Witnesses and 14-minute instrumental jams.

    Like Morrissey's triumphant comeback, Prince's success had more to do with a sort of mass wish-fulfilment than the album, Musicology, on which it was based. Hearing his influence everywhere from OutKast to Alicia Keyes pricked people's memories. They wanted the genuine article to be great again, which meant turning a blind eye to Musicology's flaws - not least Dear Mr Man, which did its bit for the American democratic process by suggesting that blacks shouldn't bother to vote.

    With the public's nostalgia fix satiated, the trick now is to maintain their interest. Initially, 3121 appears more complex than its predecessor. The packaging and title track suggest a concept album about a sumptuous pleasure palace. Judging by the photographs in the CD booklet, the sumptuous pleasure palace has been decorated by an interior designer in the throes of a nervous breakdown, hence the placemats made of peacock feathers, the cushions embroidered with the word SATISFIED and, most troubling of all, the wildly impractical glassware: "Drink champagne," the title track urges, "from a glass with chocolate handles."

    Any concept, however, vanishes as quickly as said handles would in the dishwasher, to be replaced by something more prosaic. Prince may be many things, but an idiot isn't one of them - he knows his resurgence is founded on fond memories and seems happy to provide the occasional prompt. The title track reintroduces the electronically altered vocals first heard on Sign O' the Times' If I Was Your Girlfriend, while the lyrics echo those of 1999: "We gon' party like there ain't gonna be another one." The declamatory synthesized fanfares of Lolita and Fury are close relations of the declamatory synthesized fanfares of Let's Go Crazy and Little Red Corvette. Black Sweat's tough, atonal, lewd, Afro-centric funk - "You'll be screaming like a white lady," he leers at the song's conclusion - recalls The Black Album.

    But there's more to 3121 than the prickle of nostalgia: amid the title track's murky, unsettling groove and the grinding techno noise of Love, Prince sounds thrillingly alive, a veteran throwing down a cocky, confident challenge to any young pretenders. The polymath genius of legend seems to be reasserting himself in the album's casual stylistic shifts - from Lolita's pure pop to Te Amo Corazón's Latin smooch to Satisfied's southern soul.

    Then, just when you're wondering what could possibly go wrong, everything goes wrong. The genre-hopping collapses in a hail of dribbly mid-tempo R&B and central-casting James Brown pastiches, and the lyrics take a sudden detour to Kingdom Hall: there are intimations of imminent Armageddon, and the listener is advised to "safeguard against the forked tongue and the treachery of the wicked one". It's as if Prince has tricked you into opening your front door, then jammed it open with his foot and started trying to flog you the Watchtower. Before this unfortunate turn of events, 3121 does enough to remind you what a remarkable artist Prince was and can still be.

  • Mysterious

    It's as if Prince has tricked you into opening your front door, then jammed it open with his foot and started trying to flog you with the Watchtower line ever...ahh how do you get rid of the yellow. Ah crap sorry about this.

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