Thursday, May 5, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: PRINCE - HITnRUN PHASE TWO
Lots of tears and memories in the wake of Prince's untimely death, of course. Folks talked about what Purple Rain meant to them and how great 1999 was. Here's a novel idea: Go out and buy this new album, it's brilliant! Serious. Better than Purple Rain, by a long shot.
This is no quick cash-in, the album was actually released digitally at Christmas, part of Prince's recent return to form, and a true purple patch of increased activity and excellence. This album saw him back with the band he dubbed the New Power Generation, a particularly funky bunch, with lots of backing vocals, horns and hooks galore. It's a continuation of the album he released last fall, but much, much better, as good as the 3rdeyegirl-backed album Plectrumelectrum of 2014.
Oh ya, you say? Ya, I say right back. Opening cut Baltimore, which first came out last year digitally, is a breezy slice of classic Prince pop in the mode of Raspberry Beret, expect there's a surprising lyrical edge, it being a protest song about the death of Freddie Gray in that city. Next up comes a pure piece of fun, Rockandroll Loveaffair, with one of those great Prince in-jokes, "She believed in fairy tales and Princes." It's your 1999 song. Another track that appeared digitally before, Screwdriver, finally makes an album, and it's another killer, based of course on the double-entendre, "Eye'm ur driver & u're my screw." Oh, Prince, you were always the best little devil.
And do it goes, there's not a weak track here, and lots of his best, most famous sounds, little horn blasts and synth bits you'll recognize from his '80's heyday. It's almost like he wanted to show that not only could he still do this stuff, but that he still loved to do it, when the time was right. I truly hope lots and lots of people pick this up in the grief period, and discover that he was making some of his very best music in the last four years.