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Album Review

HitnRun Phase Two

January 14, 2016

Prince put out two back-to-basics LPs in 2014, but ultimately he was outdone by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," which rode his classic Minneapolis sound all the way to Number One. Late in 2015, he came back with another one-two punch –...

Album Review

Hit N Run: Phase One

September 18, 2015

Prince's new album opens with allusions to "1999" and "Let's Go Crazy." But it's less a re-creation of those Eighties classics than an attempt by the more restless-minded Prince of today to reimagine the funky precision and effortless mastery of his...

Live Review

Prince Gets 'Too Funky' at Hit and Run Tour Opener

March 16, 2015

The splits are gone and the high, spiky boots replaced with metallic wedges that flash red in the heels. And his lascivious moments are toned way down, limited to three derriere wiggles and, for a second, what looked to be a simulated wanking. But at...

Album Review

Plectrumelectrum

October 7, 2014

With these two albums, Prince returns to Warner Bros., the label where he made his Eighties classics, then rancorously left in 1996. Art Official Age is an attempt to get back to the violet-tinted pop mastery of the Purple Rain era. Plectrumelectrum...

Song Review

"Let's Go Crazy (Reloaded)"

April 15, 2013

OK, trashing someone else's vintage guitar on Fallon was dickish. $250 for a GA concert ticket raises eyebrows. You may question his new songs. But on this remake of his 1984 synth-rock signature, a promo for his new tour, Prince erases all doubts. Recast...

Song Review

"RNR Affair"

September 25, 2012

Rhythmically flimsy, despite guitar and synth tricks that flash back to "Raspberry Beret," this apparent one-off offers Eighties nostalgia to match the new mini-fro Prince is rocking. The song is a tale of a suburban girl colliding with a guy who believes...

Song Review

"Hot Summer"

June 29, 2010

A one-off jam Prince put out in celebration of his 52nd birthday, this vaguely beach-rock tune rides chirpy organ riffs and a bright melody that feels kind of kitschy. It would be great in an ad for a local water park, though.

Album Review

LOtUSFLOW3R

March 31, 2009

Leaving aside the Super Bowl halftime show and the assless pants, Prince is like Woody Allen: They're both reclusive, sex-obsessed geniuses who release new material relentlessly and without any regard to the law of diminishing returns. Prince's recording...

Album Review

Sign O' The Times

October 8, 2002

This review originally ran in Rolling Stone as part of a series that looked back at classic albums. It begins as a great book would, with the setting. "In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name." In 1987, when Prince's double-album...

Album Review

Purple Rain (Soundtrack)

April 13, 2000

The spirit of Jimi Hendrix must surely smile down on Prince Rogers Nelson. Like Hendrix, Prince seems to have tapped into some extraterrestrial musical dimension where black and white styles are merely different aspects of the same funky thing. Prince's...

Album Review

Crystal Ball

August 4, 1998

With this four-CD set, the transformation of Paisley Park into a fully dimensioned subculture seems complete. It's now a funky studio rat's glam answer to the Dead, a gungho audiophile republic of rockers and popsters and hip-hoppers who remain convinced...

Live Review

Prince Goes in at Baltimore Show: 'The System Is Broken'

May 11, 2015

Two weeks after protests in Baltimore brought national attention to the death of Freddie Gray while he was in police custody, Prince came to town for a "Rally 4 Peace" – a surprise concert that turned into an epic two-and-a-half-hour...

Album Review

Art Official Age

October 7, 2014

With these two albums, Prince returns to Warner Bros., the label where he made his Eighties classics, then rancorously left in 1996. Art Official Age is an attempt to get back to the violet-tinted pop mastery of the Purple Rain era. Plectrumelectrum...

Song Review

"The Breakdown"

May 2, 2014

Prince just signed a new deal with Warner Bros., the label on which he made his classic Eighties albums before acrimoniously leaving to release his music on his own. "The Breakdown," a glam-slam of a lush funk ballad, seems to inaugurate a new era by...

Song Review

"Screwdriver"

February 5, 2013

Posted on Prince's bare-bones website, this catchy nugget was leaked through the Twitter account @3rdEyeGirl. That may be the name of the Purp's new all-female backing band, and the song may signal a forthcoming album. Or not. If the dude's marketing...

Song Review

"Bonus Track #77"

July 19, 2010

Having declared the Internet "over," Prince is releasing his new disc by giving it away in copies of European newspapers and magazines, such as Rolling Stone's German edition and Belgium's enticingly named Het Nieuws­blad. Sadly, 20Ten is all blad...

Album Review

MPLSoUND

April 6, 2009

Leaving aside the Super Bowl halftime show and the assless pants, Prince is like Woody Allen: They're both reclusive, sex-obsessed geniuses who release new material relentlessly and without any regard to the law of diminishing returns. Prince's recording...

Album Review

Musicology

April 5, 2004

Starting somewhere in the early Nineties, he seemed to disappear into his own bizarre obsessions — the muddled jazz-fusion spirituality of The Rainbow Children (2001) and the instrumental meanderings of N.E.W.S. (2003) being only the most recent...

Album Review

The Rainbow Children

January 2, 2002

It isn't expedience, it isn't desperation, it isn't eccentricity of vision per se: Whatever compels Prince to continue expounding on his idea of a spirito-sexual musical revolution remains a mystery all these records away from his greatest, most populist...

Album Review

Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic

January 20, 2000

The hope for a heart-stopping new song from the former Prince dies hard. Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, the Artist's first major-label album in three years, suggests his crap detector is still at least partially on the fritz. The canned beats and stale sentiment...

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