Prince albums are like buses, you wait ages for the one you want and two arrive at the same time. Since “The Gold Experience” in 1995, I must admit I have struggled to maintain any real enthusiasm for his output. Without a doubt, there have been some killer tracks released during this period; however I found most of his albums unfocused ego ridden messes lacking any of the songs and diversity that made his earlier albums so outstanding
Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum may not achieve the breathtaking heights of “Sign O’ The Times” or “Purple Rain” but what is offered to the listener are a pair of albums playing to all his strengths of bloody good tunes and charismatic performances without the ego driven fillers that have plagued recent releases.
“Art Official Age” is the more futuristic of the two albums mining urban/house/funk and soul to dizzy heights. It’s a very satisfying listen from start to finish and has one of the most beautiful songs Prince has ever gifted the world in the shape of “Breakdown” which is simply breathtaking every single listen. Other outstanding moments on this album are the funky “The Gold Standard” and the blissful “Time” It may have taken him almost 20 years to recover his muse but these songs make it almost worth the wait.
“Plectrumelectrum” with 3Rdeyegirl showcases the more rock side of Prince’s musical DNA and it’s outstanding. However in the purple world, there is never going to a plain rock album and Prince continues to surprise, channelling Led Zeppelin on one track then rap and hip hop on the next. Again this album contains some outstanding moments including “WOW” and “Pretzelbodylogic” and makes a consistently good listen.
Both albums showcase the talents of one of the most interesting and unpredictable artists in popular music so now here’s to a tour.