What does it sound like?:
The Prince Estate in their wisdom have decided this 1991 effort, the follow up to the patchy Graffiti Bridge and the first album recorded with The New Power Generation, is next in line for the box set treatment, this one weighing in at a hefty 7cds plus a bluray. Personally it’s not one of my go to Prince albums – I’d far rather have had Parade or Around The World in a Day – take out the title track, Cream, Gett Off and Money Don’t Matter 2nite and there’s not a lot left other than some fairly generic pop funk stuff that Prince could write in his sleep – not terrible by any means, just not that great, the sound of an artist following current trends rather than setting them, and imitating rather than innovating. The first cd is of course a remaster of the original set, while the second concentrates on 12-inch mixes and the like, which really don’t float my boat. The real gold is to be found on the next three cds, which contain 33 previously unheard tracks from the vault. Many of these are a vast improvement on the songs that made the final album, and although once again some are a bit Prince by numbers you can easily put together three or four alternate versions of the record that by far outclass the original. Perhaps when an artist is in such a prolific period with so much material to choose from it’s hard to tell the wood from the trees, and could it be that more recent recordings held sway over older songs he’d maybe lost interest in. The final two cds are live recordings from an early 1992 show at his Glam Slam club and to be fair the material played from the album does have more spark in this setting than it does in its studio incarnation, and of course he sweetens the deal with some tried and trusted crowd pleasers. If you’re a fan of this era of Prince’s work, and the album is still somewhat surprisingly his biggest UK seller, then this set is well worth investigating, but more for the unreleased material than for the album itself.
What does it all *mean*?
There’s been quite a gap between this set and the previous one – hopefully they can up the pace to produce annual releases covering the great albums, such as the ones mentioned above, that haven’t yet been fully explored – who knows what gems still lurk in his cavernous vaults!
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Prince in all his various styles and guises.