Category Archives: The Nineties (90’s)

By the early 90’s Prince had come to dominate world music and was a respected and much admired artist with more fans than most. But in the mid 90’s contractual disputes with WB and the introduction and experimentation of the Internet saw Prince taking many directions and recording a huge amount of music.

Diamonds and Pearls 1991

Diamonds and Pearls, in 1991 is the successful follow up to Graffiti Bridge.

It has some incredible songs, including Gett Off, Thunder and Insatiable. The Middle of the road feel of the album makes it radio friendly, and songs such as the title track and Cream went on to become major hits. Money Don’t matter tonight being a smaller hit with a social message, getting a lot of airplay from radio stations at the time.

Like most of Prince’s records this one seems to almost be a reaction of the poorly received Graffiti Bridge the year before, and a much more polished effort. The new band, called the New Power Revolution had the tightest musical feel to a Prince group ever, and it showed in the wonderful live performances from the time.

Like Graffiti Bridge, the maxi singles for Gett Off and Cream really proved memorable events and in some ways overshadowing the Diamonds and Pearls album. Violet the Organ grinder is the one such example of an extremely good Prince song missing out on Album status and just appearing on the Gett Off Maxi single.

Here’s the track listing from Wikipedia.

No. Title Length
1. Thunder 5:45
2. “Daddy Pop” 5:17
3. Diamonds and Pearls 4:45
4. Cream 4:13
5. “Strollin'” 3:47
6. “Willing and Able” (Prince, Levi Seacer, Jr., Tony Mosley) 5:00
7. Gett Off 4:31
8. “Walk Don’t Walk” 3:07
9. “Jughead” (Prince, Tony Mosley, Kirk Johnson) 4:57
10. Money Don’t Matter 2 Night 4:46
11. “Push” (Prince, Rosie Gaines) 5:53
12. Insatiable 6:39
13. “Live 4 Love” (Prince, Tony Mosley) 6:59

Graffiti Bridge 1990

Graffiti Bridge was Prince’s first album of the 1990’s and its quite an event! Its actually a very 90’s sounding album and a big move away from the minimal funk sounds and rock and roll of the 80’s that was so successful for him.

Graffiti Bridge was not only an album, but it was considered Purple Rain part 2, and there was a lot of hype about it at the time. Unfortunately the film was a major disappointment, and generally considered one of the worst movies ever made, definitely Prince’s worst. It also saw the end of Prince’s movie making career, which included two successful movies, Purple Rain/Sign O the times and a flop – Under the cherry moon, although none of those movies were as bad as Graffiti Bridge. The music on the other hand was pretty good. In parts.

It’s the first major release with non-Prince lead vocals, and it’s these non-Prince songs that reduce the quality of the record, but there are patches of genius. From the feisty tick, tick band and the earthy elephants & flowers to the classic thieves in the temple. The best songs are the LUSHIOUS “We Can Funk”, and the dreamlike “Joy in repetition”, staple live funk songs for years and really the best pieces from Graffiti Bridge. There are songs from Tevin Campbell, Mavis Staples and the Time, but all are average songs at best. There are some grandious tunes, from the epiponomous “New Power Generation”, the title track and Still will stand all time – all pretty interesting songs, that could have been done better if he had spent more time on them, but it was an era where Prince was churning out records and releasing a lot of music.

Graffiti Bridge to me will always be remembered for when Prince really started to change. An album with mixed types of songs, designed to want to please everyone, and really in the end didn’t really achieve that aim. It is a big complex work, but also in parts sounding like a hotch potch of unrelated songs. But to be fair, it is still a fairly entertaining record.

As a PS – the most interesting thing about the Graffiti Bridge work, is the single “New Power Generation” maxi single, the songs that emanated from it, Get Off , Loveleft Loveright and Lubricated Lady – still stand the test of time as some of Prince’s greatest work. Special mention to Loveleft Loveright which has to be one of Prince’s tightest and funkiest tunes ever made. If you have a little money and have to decide between Graffiti Bridge and the New Power Generation Maxi Single, go with NPG all day long! Lay down your funky weapon. Get Off!