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Questlove’s Album-By-Album Guide To Prince’s Warner Bros. Catalog

Questlove’s Album-By-Album Guide To Prince’s Warner Bros. Catalog

Questlove Shares Album-By-Album Reviews Of Prince's Catalogue [Exclusive]
Original illustration by Jaeil Cho for Okayplayer.

Read Questlove's Album-By-Album Review Of Prince's Catalogue

1999

Bold move on his part. releasing a double album and not yet a “worthy” multi platinum artist was a risk. but he had a vision and stuck to it: part one (5 songs) proved he could write catchy pop hits (first 4 were hits) side two was him at his most experimental. enter him mastering (like no other musician) the drum machine and wisely programing it in his guitar pedals. thus making synthetic music sound so damn human. the songwriting was at his most perfect and focused and creative. his musicianship and mixing were off the chain. you hear this now and it sounds normal, but i assure you. when they premiered the title cut on radio were heard NOTHING LIKE IT EVER. no claps were ever that LOUD. no drum and kick were ever that punchy and deep. not since “Superstition” has the idea of all keyboards as music been so amazing sounding. jaw was dropped on “Something In The Water” (can he do that?) all 9 mins of “Automatic” was (can he do that?!?!?!??!) “Lady Cab Driver”? forget it. when it came out @@@@ (critics—the ones he poked fun at on this very album—- were noticing progress, only RS knew this was about to be a fun ride and gave this album of the year nods. but it had to prove itself in order to now be seen as classic. how does it rank some 33 years later? @@@@@ (this is the standard for all Prince performances. and for the most part he delivered on the promise: he used instruments never heard before in a unique manner and suddenly became the leader and standard. kinda replacing the post disco boogie sound pioneered by Leroy Burgess, Leon Sylvers and Kashif. this will allow him to bring in the motherload.


Read Questlove's Album-By-Album Review Of Prince's Catalogue

Purple Rain

Prince’s management contract was about to be up and he said “get me a movie deal or you fired” MJ rode MTV to glory with the visual of Thriller’s videos. Prince was gonna use movies to have the same effect. you’ll notice a pattern for every other album: album “a”) experiment and push the envelope to no end album “b”) takes and trim the fat off “album a” and presents a more focused vision. prince took notes on the 1999 tour. and applied them. studied “ballad stadium rock” pop music and all stops in between. made a “clean” 9 song masterpiece. so massive is this album i always overlook it. like Thriller, PR is a way of life, not just a record. this changed our view on life. prince had exotic honeys? we wanted exotic honeys. prince dressed a certain way? we (for the most part in 84) followed suit (even the RUN DMC looking cats respected princes steeze. strange the author of “lets pretend we’re married” cleaned his act up but caught the ire of tipper gore (she gave album to her daughter for bday, heard “darling nikki” and had a fit) Prince’s least sexually offensive album winds up being the album that gave birth to the PMRC and stickering. when it came out:@@@@@ how does it hold up some 31 years later? @@@@@. no fat. all lean hits.


Read Questlove's Album-By-Album Review Of Prince's Catalogue

See Also

Around The World In A Day

Ok. i know reviews are subjective but i think I’m right when i say the only place to go after you sell 16 million units is…..”that a way”, prince’s muses’ wendy and lisa (see “computer blue” on PR) hipped him to the Beatles. and he presented a “see i can do that too” kinda head scratcher. as a die hard i was along for the ride but many got off of the trip with this album. when it came out: @@@1/2 (many head scratched, thought he was going hippie—hello De La) how does it hold up 30 years later? @@@@1/2 some say he turnt his back on the funk. i say he turned his front on his mind. a potpourri of sound and experiments. this caused concern but really? had he closed the album on anything BUT “Temptation” idda been with giving him a @@@@@. 82-87 was his most prolific in terms of songwriting and volume and Quality. over 300 songs made during this period. and 60 percent of em were life changing. “Condition Of The Heart” is as devastating now as it was 30 years ago. also worth fishing for are the B-sides from this era…some of my favorites “she’s always in my hair,” “hello” & his trippy “Girl”.


Read Questlove's Album-By-Album Review Of Prince's Catalogue

Parade

I assure you that had this NOT been lumped with a stinker of a movie THIS would be seen as his masterpiece to beat (for the record, i loved that stinker of a movie). but for a 3 month period, this album was the shiznit on its own terms. if last year’s #ATWIAD was a Beatles nod, then Parade is his “Sketches Of Spain” with funk as the outline. 1977’s “Ask Rufus” was Chaka Khan’s finest 37 mins on earth. and the star of it was Claire Fisher, a jazz orchestral conductor who literally upped Prince’s IQ musically by doing the same for this album. jazzy, dark and funky. when it came out: @@@@ how does it hold up some 29 years after its release? @@@@@ Simply a brilliant collection of great music. its my opinion Jam & Lewis’ revenge act “Control” (for P’s playful nemesis’ kid sis) held so much in yo face funk it literally rendered this lp as ordinary at the time of its release (backstory: prince fired Jam & Lewis from The Time for moonlighting and “giving the secrets away” —which was simply untrue cause SOS Band sounded nothing like The Time. said “we won’t hear from those guys again” lol…..that much needed comedy shoulda been in the movie.

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