“Prince is from a different era. Well a few actually. He’s been at his craft long enough to lean towards disco in his first release, and still wield falsetto in an age of autotuned altos. Whereas as the 80s found a young Prince pioneering punk-funk, his latter years have been more or less a public call for “a return to form”.
One half of his latest release, Art Official Age, is riddled with stylistic flourishes that would sit perfectly within any decade or genre of your choice. “Clouds” has an airy bounce reminiscent of Earth, Wind & Fire, yet on the same LP you find “Affirmation/Way Back Home” (a recurring motif) which could serve as a closer to work by artist Fiest. He dips into philly soul with “This Could be Us” (a sly take on the viral meme), and one has the sneaking suspicion we’re all being trolled. On “U know” he samples Mila J’s “Blinded” only to later reveal both she and sister Jheni Aeiko appeared in 1992’s diamonds and pearls video. Lest we forget..there is only one “Daddy Pop”.
On Plectrum Electrum (the rock portion of his two course..course..) Prince summons memories of Zepplin and Heart before turning about face, mirroring everyone from the Police to Pearl Jam. Yet still, its all undeniably Prince. Santana-esq solos soar through 12 distortion drenched offerings as he informs us time and time again: the worst crime you could commit is sleeping on Prince. For years, Prince has teased that the only thing he would change about his bands is that they should’ve all been ALL women. With his current trio of Donna, Ida, and Hannah (bka 3rdeyegirl), Prince conjures enough white girl rock to satiate revolution era purists (now nearly 30 years behind), while skillfully riding the line between looking ahead, and staring back. Standout tracks include: “Aintturninaround”, “Whitcaps”, “Stopthistrain”, “Anotherlove”, and “Marz”.
As a die-hard, which means everything and nothing, I prefer Plectrum Electrum of the two. Both, however, stand as a testament to what Prince can do, has done, and more than likely will do. My only wish is that I could experience these albums as a brand new inductee.. and If I were you, I’d find out what the fuss is about.”
(Sah is a performance artist, director, producer, instrumentalist and MC out of Newark, New Jersey. He recently released a short film that was the winner of the SHADOW AND ACT Digital Filmmaker Showcase, view it here. To find more of his work visit his website Sahril.com. Also follow him on twitter @the1Sahu)