These are album cuts as good as the singles. Amazing.
DO ME, BABY (Controversy, 1981)
As sexy as he wants to be, what a trip to get down to this
SOMETHING IN THE WATER
LADY CAB DRIVER
INTERNATIONAL LOVER (1999, 1982)
The beginning of the arc. Hyper-creativity in bloom. “Lady
Cab Driver” features rapping before Run/DMC and The Beasties took it platinum.
TAKE ME WITH U
THE BEAUTIFUL ONES (Purple Rain, 1984)
The assuming of the mantle. There was no one to touch him
here. Music is about feeling young and alive. Look no further than this.
CONDITION OF THE HEART
TAMBOURINE (Around The World In A Day, 1985)
Taking on The Beatles, the world at his feet, capable of
anything, the critics called this Sgt. Pepper Mach 2 when it was released, although it’s really more like HOUSES OF
THE HOLY or MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. “Condition Of The Heart” is one of the most beautifully unique songs ever. He
was unstoppable here.
LIFE CAN BE SO NICE
DO U LIE? (Parade, 1986)
Two of my faves from the French love letter of ’86.
Being sixteen and having this come out at Easter was pretty cool. He had (and has) a gift of making it seem like anything
is possible musically.
THE BALLAD OF DOROTHY PARKER
FOREVER IN MY LIFE
ADORE (Sign O’ The Times, 1987)
The end of the arc and the pot O’ gold we find there
is “Adore,” possibly the greatest R&B love ballad in history.
ANNA STESIA (Lovesexy, 1988)
He’s naked on the cover, and there are no ID’s
on the CD, so listening can get annoying if you don’t want to sit through the whole thing, but LOVESEXY is a fine, funky
record, and the last time he was truly PURPLE.
VICKI WAITING (Batman, 1989)
This little gem is from the ridiculous Batman project that
fell in his lap because both Tim Burton and Jack Nicholson were huge fans. Like most of his secondary work, it hasn’t
aged well, but still holds its pop charm for anyone interested.
CAN’T STOP THIS FEELING I GOT
JOY IN REPETITION
TICK, TICK, BANG! (Graffiti Bridge, 1990)
Soundtrack to the worst movie he ever made, and quite possible
the worst movie ever. Some good stuff on it however, as seen by these three fresh early ‘90’s tunes. No one has
spent as much time on record trying to capture and convey the sound and feeling of an orgasm.
MONEY DON’T MATTER 2NIGHT (Diamonds and Pearls, 1991)
This is a strong album, maybe the last one. Aside from the
obvious hits of “Cream” and the title track, there is much to recommend it, most notably these two additions to
the catalog. It's amazing he could continue to come up with such varied musical content this far into the career. McCartney
and Elvis Costello are the only other guys who come to mind in this way.
THE MORNING PAPERS (Androgyny, 1992)
The name of this record was the symbol that became his name
a year or so later. It was the first thing he ever did for controversy / publicity that backfired. He lost any audience outside
the totally faithful for the name change. I thought it was stupid, but it did allow him out of the Warner Brothers deal, which
is what he wanted after all. This follow-up to DIAMONDS AND PEARLS is nearly as good, and features not only the sensational
“7,” but the ridiculous “My Name Is Prince” and “Sexy MF” and this sublime pop number
which showed yet again he can basically do it ALL at will whenever he wants. It’s maddening he chooses to do it so rarely,
given it has always been his strongest suit.
And there you have it. Two installments full. I could easily
fill a third. His ‘90’s work and beyond is sketchy, perplexing and sometimes fantastic, when he’s so moved
to be so. This is the stuff he’ll be remembered for, if he’s remembered at all. I certainly will.
For You B+
Dirty Mind A-
Purple Rain A+
Around The World In A Day A
Sign O’ The Times A+
Graffiti Bridge B+
Diamonds And Pearls A-
Love Symbol B+
The Gold Experience B+
Chaos And Disorder B
The Truth A-
Crystal Ball B
Newpower Soul C
The Vault-Old Friends For Sale B-
Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic C
The Rainbow Children C+