Tag Archives: The Truth 1998

The Truth 1998

Part of the 4 CD Crystal Ball collection, The Truth was a “bonus” CD, which is in my opinion, the reason to buy the whole set. It’s like Prince “unplugged” in a way, stripped to the bone, and a nice reaction to the overproduced recordings of most of his 90’s output.

The problem with “The Truth” is the lyrical subject matter – although one of the most articulate and convincing lyrical outputs in a while, it’s also shows the state of mind the man was in.  “Don’t play me”, one of my favourites on the album, sounds like a grumpy old man because he doesn’t get played on radio anymore. Declaring that he likes to listen to his own music anyway, comparing other artists to lesser versions of himself. “Animal Kingdom”, sounds a bit like Oasis, and is a fairly weird song about justification for vegetarianism, and there are some nice cute songs, like “Circle of Amour”, almost innocent, childlike and pervy at the same time…   “Comeback” and “One of your tears” are brilliant songs, but I really like “Dionne” for it’s jazzy contemporary feel. “Other side of the pillow” is standard Prince ballad, and “Man in a Uniform” is a pretty funky acoustic song.

I think the simplicity and stripped down nature of this CD, has meant that it has aged well and still sounds pretty good. With basically no promotion or publicity and only available as part of the overall Crystal Ball set, this album seemingly loses it’s identity and has probably only been heard by purists..

A forgotten classic…

4 out of 5

  1. The Truth (3:35)
  2. Don’t Play Me (2:48)
  3. Circle Of Amour (4:44)
  4. 3rd (4:54)
  5. Dionne (3:14)
  6. Man In A Uniform (3:08) 1 
  7. Animal Kingdom (4:01) 1 
  8. The Other Side Of The Pillow (3:22)
  9. Fascination (4:55)
  10. One Of Your Tears (3:27)
  11. Comeback (2:00)
  12. Welcome 2 The Dawn (Acoustic Version) (3:18)

Crystal Ball 1998

1998’s Crystal Ball is a combination of bootleg, previously unreleased songs. Its also a lot of filler including some rehashed songs in a 3 CD set. There are some amazing moments on this album, but an overall feeling of disappointment and inconsistency as well. The songs clearly being over a long stretch of time and you can tell by the different styles.

The songs are of varying levels of quality as well, with some sounding like demos, some sounding very dated and others sounding like left overs. Wikipedia says most of the songs were recorded between 1983–96. Officially, this was also Prince’s way to avoid bootlegged material, similar to the Black Album, so that royalties/money was not lost on these sales. However, there were problems. Firstly a majority of the songs were 90’s recorded songs and very few from the 80’s golden period, and many of the songs were actually remixed for the album, so the original (mostly better versions) were still going to be bootlegged.

As a “peace” offering, Prince also released two extra albums – “Kamasutra” and “The Truth” (to be reviewed separately). The Truth being quite an interesting record, while Kamasutra was not so interesting. It was still incredible value and a lot (maybe too much?) material being released (5 albums worth) at one time.

There are some funk gems however. “Hide the Bone”, despite it’s poor recording quality, is a real pile driver funk record, and “Calhoun Square” is a nonchalant gem of a song, seemingly recorded live.  Similarly, “Interactive” and “Da Bang” are a lot of fun and possibly better than some of the songs from the 90’s in Diamonds and Pearls where they were originally intended.

However, Crystal Ball does contain a lot of filler, like the title track and Dream Factory. You can see why they were left out of their respective albums! There are some remakes or remixes of existing songs that don’t really work, “Tell Me How U Wanna B Done” is just no where as good as “The Continental” and “Good Love” is the same song as the soundtrack. “Love Sign” is OK, but very dated and just not that good. “P Control” is just horrible. The less said about “Ripopgodazippa” the better… Other songs like “Make your mother happy”, “Cloreen Baconskin” and “Poom Poom” are very irritating. The rest of the songs are (depending on your mood) nether here, nor there. Nothing songs.

The album ends, with what I think is the best song, “Goodbye”, which could have been on any of his albums and been a hit at any time. On my IPOD, the album has been compressed into about 10 songs, and this is what Crystal Ball is – a large set of low quality songs interspersed with the odd surprise. Like most Prince albums, post 90’s, it’s worth the purchase just to hear those rare good songs, as they are still very very good.

2 out of 5


Track listing

  • * – denotes song edited/revised for this compilation & can be found in original form on unofficial bootlegs.
  • ‡ – denotes remix of already released song.
  • † – Found in full form on Bright Lights, Big City soundtrack.
Disc One
  1. “Crystal Ball”* – 10:28 (recorded 1986)
  2. “Dream Factory”* – 3:07 (recorded 1985)
  3. “Acknowledge Me”* – 5:27 (recorded 1993)
  4. “Ripopgodazippa” – 4:39 (recorded 1993)
  5. “Love Sign” (Shock G’s Silky Remix)‡ – 3:53 (recorded 1994)
  6. “Hide the Bone” – 5:04 (recorded 1993)
  7. “2morrow” – 4:14 (recorded 1995)
  8. “So Dark”‡ – 5:14 (recorded 1994)
  9. “Movie Star”* – 4:26 (recorded 1986)
  10. “Tell Me How U Wanna B Done”‡ – 3:16 (recorded 1992)
Disc Two
  1. “Interactive” – 3:04 (recorded 1993)
  2. “Da Bang” – 3:20 (recorded 1995)
  3. Calhoun Square“* – 4:47 (recorded 1993)
  4. “What’s My Name” – 3:04 (recorded 1993)
  5. “Crucial”* – 5:06 (recorded 1986)
  6. “An Honest Man”* – 1:13 (recorded 1985)
  7. “Sexual Suicide”* – 3:40 (recorded 1985)
  8. “Cloreen Baconskin” – 15:37 (recorded 1983)
  9. “Good Love”† – 4:55 (recorded 1986)
  10. “Strays of the World” – 5:07 (recorded 1993)
Disc Three
  1. “Days of Wild” (Live)* – 9:20 (recorded 1995)
  2. “Last Heart”* – 3:01 (recorded 1986)
  3. “Poom Poom” – 4:32 (recorded 1996)
  4. “She Gave Her Angels” – 3:53 (recorded 1996)
  5. “18 & Over”* – 5:40 (recorded 1994)
  6. “The Ride” (Live)* – 5:14 (recorded 1995)
  7. “Get Loose”‡ – 3:31 (recorded 1994)
  8. “P Control”‡ – 6:00 (recorded 1995)
  9. “Make Your Mama Happy” – 4:01 (recorded 1986)
  10. “Goodbye” – 4:35 (recorded 1995)