Thursday, June 28, 2007

Prince Comes Back to Planet Earth


I've been a Prince devotee for so long it's hard to talk rationally about his work anymore.

And to be honest, it's hard to say what you could possibly expect from a genius that is almost 50 and has given you so much.

Unfortunately, I'm not anticipating that his new album Planet Earth will be any better than Musicology or 3121, which made for great tours...when he played the hits and great lost nuggets from his golden era...

It's not that I don't like songs like "Musicology." "3121." Or "Guitar."

I do. They're perfectly fine. They're just not teachin me anything new.

I just expect alien funk sh*t from Prince and lately he's been sounding rather human.

And a little too much like his heroes.

I love Larry Graham and Cynthia and Jerry just like everybody else. But the minute the Family Stone hit Prince's band all his funk songs began to sound less like "Tamborine" and "Houseqake" and more like retreads of "Life," "Fun" and other Sly classics.

And it's been this way since, perhaps Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic, Rainbow Children and One Night Alone Tour, which all had some beautiful moments in them, but not very much in the way, shape and form of new inspiration information. (Actually, I loved the reckless abandon of Rainbow Children, although the redemptive gospel-funk concept wore a little thin.)

It just seems he's gotten rather comfortable coasting on his legacy, taking old ideas and rereleasing them under new titles.

(Check how Guitar's strut seems cribbed wholecloth from Cream. The only thang that Guitar adds is the U2 like- shimmer of guitar on the hook.)

The things I love about Prince today include:

1. He's the greatest performer in the world right now. Period. See the 2007 Super Bowl for clarity on this.

2. He's still a rebel who changes the game: Musicology was brilliant in every aspect. CDs with every concert ticket. Hilarious and innovative.

3. He's the only black guy and the only pop god standing with a guitar. 'Nuff said. (And Lenny plays rhythm, not lead.)

The last great album Prince made was the Gold Album. But who's complaining?

He's still here, still releasing an album every year, and doing amazing shows.

P.S. And why's Prince f*cking with Verizon? I'm waiting for a Purple iPod called The Vault with all of the remastered Prince albums and 300 unrealeased songs from Paisley Park! Oh well....

5 comments:

Dot Techno Mania said...

Oh....You've got some really sharp points...I guess he's just not in his 20s anymore..When you're like 50 your evolution may not slow down it's just doing something different...most people at 50 are dealing with 7th or 8th chakrah issues, (rebirth and shit) and you're not in your firey 20s in your 3rd chakrah exploring your personal power.

I'm actually quite ready for the new generation of shockers (Janelle, Cotton, Kids Inasense) to do thier thing. It's always fun to watch a legend but...being the legend is much funner anyways.

And you're silly Chuck cause lord knows those who teach you musically dwell not in the flesh...

teamrentertainment said...

This is sooo funny that you wrote this because me and a couple friends were talking about this the other night. Hands down He's the greatest performer ever, but recently his work has let me down on innovation... so my question chuck, if you had the chance would you rather work with young Prince or Older Prince.... and of course you would perform with him either way, but do you think the new prince would be able to develope your talent the way the old prince did for artist like Sheila E for example...

Rodrigo said...

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Chuck Lightning said...

To Teamrententertainment:

New Prince or old Prince?

Well, as a songwriter/producer, I would have to say neither.

Because I think Prince (as a producer) uses other artists as a conduit for his own vision, rather than helping them to develop their own unique voice...

(see Alan Leed's many conversations about why Prince couldn't work with Miles Davis)

As an emerging artist in need of a superpower hit, I would definitely reach out to the old Prince.

He gave away some incredible songs in the '80's...

I'll probably blog about this another day.

I can talk about Prince all day!

teamrentertainment said...

Yeah, I read Lead's work, and intentionally asked you if Prince could help in your development....(loaded question) I wanted to see if you would stand behind your own talent...besides you don't need any development you strive for innovation, I've been paying attention to the whole wonderland movement music & blogs etc... So with that said u guys have my attention.

Oh and I think that Prince and Miles Davis album probably would have still been vedi, vedi goood