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PlectrumElectrum

PlectrumElectrum Review by Prince and Third Eye Girl (2014)

PlectrumElectrum

So what’s your body logic??

Plectrumelectrum is…

Prince

and

ThirdEyeGirl

making an album together – how nice

After just listening to and reviewing Art Official Age, my second purchase today is PlectrumElectrum.

As a fan of LotusFlower (first disc), I love new Prince rock. So really looking forward to this..

 

Well.. I’ts good and it’s not so good – but hey it’s another Prince album and Im excited!

WOW

The first song is a song I’ve heard before, don’t know where but it’s OK, I love the simplicity of the verses. Hello, how are you. He says and I get into this. The rawness of thirdeyegirl is refreshing, I feel like I’m listening to a live high school girl rock band and this feels like it was recorded live in my bedroom or somewhere (I know the chance of Third Eye Girls coming into my bedroom are remote) too. But yeah, Wow is a good start to the album. Lets move along..

 

Pretzelbodylogic

Sounds like a 70’s rock record, like Suzi Quattro or of that ilk. With a bit of Prince funk thrown in. I think with a few listens I could get into this, but I think my initial impressions are a bit meh..

Prince’s vocals sound pretty amazing on this, compared to some of the insipid vocals I heard on Art Official Age. The problem with this song is the basic, and silly chorus. It doesn’t really sound very original and it lacks the freshness of Wow. It also lacks some of the cutting edge from Purple Rain (or even more amazing Chaos and Disorder), yes I’m making comparisons again but it’s hard not to against those great “rock” albums of the past. But this is no “Dreamer” and ultimately I am not having as much fun as Prince here, so I have to move onto the next song.

 

Aintturninaround

Continuing with the one word song title theme, or onewordsongtitlethemebodylogic, This song is sung by one of the 3rd eye girl (girls), sorry I don’t know their names. The first impressions is that this could have been on “Dirty Mind”, but excluded because maybe it’s not dirty enough. But, it does have a bit of LotusFlower about it, and is maybe an offcut of that – an excellent guitar solo at the end is way too short, just getting into that. The Rainbow Children “guy” appears on the end of the song to say a few incomprehensible words, leading onto ..

 

Plectrumelectrum

The title track sounds like a bit like Prince with his band in a rehearsal session, very rough. With that unmistakeable Jimmy Hendrix vibe. So where’s the vocal? There is none, and frankly it goes no where after the interesting start. It feels more like a showcase for the band’s live performances, (none of which I have seen), but I’m sure are pretty decent. Basically forgettable, so skipping right along..

 

Whitecaps

Sung by another of the third eye “girls”, but with a nice vocal sounds to it, actually it’s a nice song and reminds me vocally of Karen Carpenter (not as good) wouldn’t feel out of place on a Wendy and Lisa album (Maybe Third Eye Girl are Wendy and Lisa with mannequins pretending to sing something), some of the band do look like plastic – really!. The chorus is nice when Prince joins in, and I think it’s a pleasant and non-threatening little album track ditty. Um I don’t know if I will ever listen to it again though. Who remembers the third album on the LotusFlower/MPLS triple CD? exactly. Nothing special I’m afraid.

 

Fixurlifeup

In the tradition of Pretzelbodylogic, we have a song with a long name and a deep heavy guitar riff, but does nothing for me at all. Kind of reminds me of Endorphin Machine, but worse and is very preachy. You need to fix your life up – no thanks Prince.

 

Boytrouble

This song is more curious, a girly tune with a touch of Vanity 6 here, with a funk guitar and a heavier sound, a bit of “Milkshake” happening here – AKA not very original or fresh. The girl “rap” doesn’t help things, and I don’t know what to make of this. I think as a piece of pop bubble-gum it’s OK, the girls sound pretty raw in this, and there is a lot of attitude (AKA Janet Jackson) to boot, but it doesn’t do much for me – the best part is the funky guitar solo @ 2 minutes.

PS – I really wish this group were as dirty as Vanity 6. But they are not. One of the girls has shaven the side of her head, cool.

 

Stopthistrain

Soundslikeasongdesignedtobeahitbodylogic, yeah not bad. Hard to tell if this is a “Prince” song or a “Girl” song, but it’s OK. Just very poppy, and poppy doesn’t work well for Prince. Hurting my ears now I will move onto the next song. Filler.

 

Anotherlove

Please just call it “Another Love” rather than Anotherlove. Although Anotherloverholeinyourhead wasn’t a bad little song. On a serious note, Anotherlove is the best song I have heard on the album so far. Firstly it’s an actual song, not a parody of a song. Although it’s really a Prince by numbers tune, at least it’s enjoyable to listen to and has a good groove to it. An excellent, catchy chorus, and worth a few more listens. Sounds like the type of song that would make it up the charts (if someone still played Prince). The ending is blistering rock and roll, and has that Prince energy to it that the girls (alone) sadly lack. Prince back to proper song-writing here.. Would be awesome to hear this live.

 

Tictactoe

An ambient acoustic slow ballad, Prince with falsetto and a nice melody (similar to one of my recent favourites Walk in the sand – yes I’ve mentioned that song again). Very nice, almost too nice. Probably could grow on me, silly lyrics. A Bunch of blind people playing tic tac toe, who knows where the zeros and the X’s go. Sugary. Stupid? Body Logic.

 

Marz

I lost my job at Miccidiees, giving away too much food for free, but I couldn’t watch another black child going to school with nothing to eat. The image of Prince working at MacDonalds is now forever etched into my mind as I keep listening to these ridiculous lyrics. Marz is a poor poor song, a basic rock and roller, with (I will say it again) atrocious lyrics. Lucky it’s short and we move onto ..

 

Funknroll

Wait a minute? Haven’t I just heard this already? Yep it’s also on Art Official Age, but this is the “rock” version of this very weak song. Actually the rock version is a bit better, actually a lot better and much more funky. And that’s the end of Plectrum? Yes it is.

 

So.. my verdict is that Art Official Age is a much better album than PlectrumElectrum. But I wonder whether Prince could have had one really good album here, rather than two very strange and average albums.  I mean he’s had like 4 years to think about this – but then again, quality control has never been his thing and he releases enough good songs to keep us lifelong fans interested for another album (please not another 4 year wait!!).

 

 

 

 

 

prince parade 1985

Prince Parade 1986 Soundtrack to Under the Cherry Moon

Prince Parade Album Review from 1986

Prince’s Parade from the mid 80’s (1986 to be precise) is just one of Prince’s best albums.

The man, the album, the year – Prince Parade 1986. Although initially receive well by the critics, and it is the soundtrack for a rather weird, some say rubbish (I say interesting) movie. The music is what makes Parade just irresistible. What makes for a good album? Well, in my opinion, its like high quality wine which ages and improves over time. Parade has no “time”, it doesn’t sound like an 80’s album in most cases, and it has a psychedelic, almost surreal quality reminiscent of Sergeant Peppers and his earlier Around the world in a day, except Prince’s work is more funky, funny and French?? Imagine yourself in the French Riviera, on hallucinogens? prince parade 1986 .

The album starts with the psychedelic trip “Christopher Tracey’s Parade” which is the Prince entrée to the treats to come from this 1986 classic. Its a short little pop tune with lush orchestrations, multiple voices with the distinctive Wendy/Lisa voices, and the feeling of a hectic trip to the merry-go-round. The song segues into the Caribbean retro funk of New Position, which is almost a throwaway, yet it is so head nodding and funky that you never get sick of hearing it, a piece of fun and joy. The Caribbean drum (bells??) are the highlight for me evoking a beach and palm trees, but strangely the song fits into this psychoscopic landscape quite well. New Position slows down and becomes “I Wonder U”, which is basically a Wendy and Lisa song, Prince’s voice is barely audible. I Wonder U is a slow hypnotic dreamscape that is way too short, and is a complete pleasure to listen to. The introduction of funky rhythm guitar in the mid song and the lush orchestrations of Clare Fischer are just astounding. The 4th song, “Under the cherry moon” seems to be the first “full” song on offer, and is Prince crooning at his best, the orchestrations are simple and the song is fairly simple, but the French (European) feel continues.

prince parade album sleeve 1986 wendy
prince parade 1986 wendy

The other striking feature of Parade, is Princes use of contracts, and dynamics to almost bring out the “colour” in his music. Its strange that the movie is black and white, but really the colour and vividness is in the music – I think Prince realised that when deciding to make the movie black and white. The banging drums to “Girls and Boys” are in striking contrast to what comes before is, “Under the cherry moon”, is a slow croon, and Girls and Boys is a loud party (in France?). Really Girls and Boys is one of Princes catchiest and most original tunes. The horns section contrasts to the funky bass and guitars, the “Camille” voice is prominent, as is the feeling you are listening to something immoral and wrong, and the French woman moaning throughout is Prince’s sex on a record perfected.prince parade 1986

The tempo builds up on “Life can be so nice” which has to be one of Prince’s most complex arrangements to date. It is an absolute joyful song and one that always evokes happiness and (I call is hysteria) at the same time. The pounding drums get ever so faster throughout the album until you are literally in a frenzy by the end (when the song suddenly stops). Not for the faint hearted.prince parade 1986 

Prince Parade 1986 O yeah!

 

prince parade 1986
prince parade 1986 album sleeve

 

The contrast continues on “Venus de Milo”, a Wendy and Lisa instrumental. Nice for dinner parties, but for me not a song I listen to a lot. However, the album seems to need Venus as part of the adventure. For me, Alexa de Paris (the B Side of Mountains) would have been a better choice, but perhaps side one was running out of space, so Prince added this filler in instead.prince parade 1986

Side 2 starts with Mountains. This was the second single off the album after KISS and to me is a superior song, it wasn’t a smash hit, but the song is so full of energy and happiness, and continues the European, lush orchestration and arrangements from the rest of the album, yet in it’s own way having some simple things, like the drums, the singing, and the horns, but the orchestrations take this song to another level – check out the 12inch version, which I believe is even better than the single and its a pity couldn’t be included on Parade (its just too long). During this period, Prince’s B-Sides and 12 inch extended versions were as good as any of his Album or single material and better than everything most other people were producing. This was the time where Prince was truly carving out his legend as a brilliant song writer and producer/arranger.prince parade 1986

After Mountains, the contrast continues with “Do you lie”, a quick, funny, jazzy, yet intriguing little song, sung without the cares of the world, in a truly relaxing and smooth as you like way. Do you lie brings together beautiful arrangements, marvellous vocal work and accordions :). Did I mention it’s “Frenchness”??

princeparademovie
prince parade 1986 movie black and white

Do you lie is so soft, so gentle, like a breeze. So to hear the ultra modern dance classic of KISS, Prince’s huge 1986 hit, is something of a shock (a good one). Kiss is in such contrast to every other element of this album, it’s arrangement sparse, no orchestration and no “Lush” feeling. Definitely not sounding French and is just a throwback to 70’s funk, like Sly and the Family Stone, and George Clinton. Its so different, that it actually fits into the album and provides that extra bit of balance. We have more Sly funk coming later (Anotherloverholeinyourhead), but Kiss is just a real piece of genius in that it takes a classic funk sound, strips it down, removes the bass line (ala When Does Cry) and is like no thing heard on the music charts to date. The key, however to KISS’s success is simply that it’s a good basic tune. Surrounded in techno funk. prince parade 1986

The last two songs, are for me the weak points of the album. Not saying their not good, but not as strong as what came before. Anotherloverholeinyourhead, despite it’s very long title without spaces, is a standard piece of funk music with a catchy chorus, almost designed to be a hit single (which it wasn’t). Once again, the 12 inch version of this song is far superior to the album version, as is the live versions. So there is really a good song in there, but I believe (could have done better) with the arrangement and sounds. Prince Parade 1986.

Lastly, Sometimes it snows in April, is a touching, poignant song. Many of my friends loved this song, but I was never into it that much. For me the album ends at KISS. prince parade 1986

STARS 5 out of 5 prince parade 1986     

 

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