I must say when Emancipation came out in 1996. I just couldn’t wait. It was the next chapter in Prince’s career, free from all the shackles of record companies and marketing companies and no longer a Slave. And only released 4 months after Chaos and Disorder, which I loved.
What I was expecting was unbounded creativity and freedom of expression. What we got was plastic pop, commercial MOR, and disappointingly very poor single releases, and poor promotion. A triple CD made it expensive and it didn’t chart well. A very nice, but weak first single, not even written by Prince “Betcha by golly wow”, was underwhelming. You would have expected a belter (like Gett Off) as a first single or a funk classic like Alphabet St. But the poor single release ensured lack of interest, limited radio airplay and the passing into history what is a largely forgettable work, with some nice moments. The afterthought that was Chaos and Disorder was a much better album. Compressed into a single CD, this could have been a belter of a record. Lack of quality control from WB? Letting Prince do what he wants? Well it didn’t work.
However, lets dsicuss the songs.
Lots of good stuff on the album actually. The duet with Kate Bush, “My Computer” is a really good pop song, however Kate is almost inaudible in it. “Soul Sanctuary” is a beautiful uplifting song – although there are doubts as to whether Prince wrote it… And “Face Down” is pretty funky. “Somebody’s Somebody” and “White Mansion” are not bad pop songs.
There a lot of remakes on this album, a departure for Prince who previously insisted on writing all or most of his material. “La La La” is a nice cover, but “What if God was one of us” is just horrible. “I cant make you love me” was only slightly worse than George Michaels version.
Mr. Happy, Courtin Time, “Joint 2 Joint”. The Love we make, The title track.
All of this could have been avoided by compressing the above into a 10 song super album, with different songs being released as singles.
Overall, Emancipation is a bloated plastic piece of 90’s mess.
1 out of 5
The compact disc version is the original issue.
- Disc 1:
- Jam Of The Year (6:09)
- Right Back Here In My Arms (4:42)
- Somebody’s Somebody (4:43) 1
- Get Yo Groove On (6:31)
- Courtin’ Time (2:46)
- Betcha By Golly Wow! (3:30) 2
- We Gets Up (4:17)
- White Mansion (4:47)
- Damned If Do (5:20)
- Can’t Make U Love Me (6:37) 3
- Mr. Happy (4:46) 4
- In This Bed Scream (5:40)
- Disc 2:
- Sex In The Summer (5:56)
- One Kiss At A Time (4:40)
- Soul Sanctuary (4:41) 5
- Emale (3:37)
- Curious Child (2:57)
- Dreamin’ About U (3:52)
- Joint 2 Joint (7:51)
- The Holy River (6:55)
- Let’s Have A Baby (4:07)
- Saviour (5:48)
- The Plan (1:46)
- Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother/Wife (7:37)
- Disc 3: