Or how about some previously unreleased portraits of The Artist as a young man that his former label have cobbled together to cash in on a dwindling hardcore rump of completist fans? Recorded between 1985-’94 this motley collection beggars a very uncomfortable question: “Grandpa, did you really think this bloke was a genius?”
You’d be hard-pressed to name any great [a]Prince[/a] songs of the 1990s; hell, you’d actually be hard-pressed to remember the tune five minutes after you’d heard it. After fighting his psychological war against the mighty corporate pig giant, The Artist seems content to churn out some of the most perplexingly awful sub-Parliament rubber-thumb-bass funk that is unworthy of the godlike genius who thrilled the baggy pants off a generation with the epic genre-bending of ‘1999’, ‘Dirty Mind’, ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘Kiss’.
There are flashes of that brilliance here. ‘She Spoke 2 Me’ (which actually cropped up on the soundtrack for Spike Lee‘s [I]Girl 6[/I]) is one of those lubricated jazzy soul ballads that slinks in and out of Combustible Edison loungecore territory while ‘5 Women’ is a torch song that reeks of unhealthy obsession and painful sex.
There are a couple of standard [a]Prince[/a] fillers, like the taut sub-Sly & The Family Stone stomper ‘Sarah’ and the agreeable though unmemorable ‘It’s About That Walk’, complete with horrible ’80s brass sound that is already picking up some kitsch appeal.
But apart from that, the cupboard is bare. [a]Prince[/a] material that is mediocre: the perfect revenge of the Warner Brothers‘ plantation owners on their erstwhile slave.