Chaos and Disorder(1996)

1. Chaos and Disorder 2. I Like it There 3. Dinner With Delores 4. The Same December 5. Right the Wrong 6. Zannalee 7. I Rock, Therefore I Am 8. Into the Light 9. I Will 10.Dig U Better Dead 11.Had U


One of the many forgotten, or unknown, gems in the Prince catalog. This album had the unfortunate distinction of being a) a contractual obligation record – and- b) one of 3 releases by Prince during the year 1996. One of those releases, Emancipation was a triple cd that was heavily promoted. This collection, however, wasn’t promoted at all. Prince had to deliver a package to Warner Brothers, so he essentially checked this one quickly off the box and moved on with his career. So it really wasn’t supposed to be any good, yet it actually is incredible. It’s fun, it’s loud, it’s messy, it’s…….well…’s very chaotic and very disorderly, yet manages to somehow be brilliant.

The opening guitar riff on the first song is very heavy, and sounds almost identical to something Jimi Hendrix would do a la “Electric Ladyland”. In fact, this might just be the “best” guitar album of Prince’s career. He definitely favors rock ‘n’ roll on this record. Fans of the R/B/Funk/Soul Prince may be just a tad disappointed with this record. But only a tad. See, he does everything so well on this album that it’s very easy for anyone to fall in love with this record. So although it’s not as funky as much of his work, the songs are all so well done, that you’re simply led to enjoy the record without worrying about what style of music he’s tackling.

And this record has so many elements thrown in – tons of instruments, background singers, rap artists, and sound effects galore, yet the whole thing works quite well. This is one of those records that, if any other artist could have accomplished a feat such as this, it probably would have taken them six months to get a record sounding as good as this. Yet, with Prince, you can’t help wondering if he wrote and recorded the whole thing over a weekend. To be fair, as excellent as this record is, sometimes it does sound a bit rushed, and one wonders that if he had spent a bit more time on it, it just might have been elevated to the “classic” status. Again, though, the guy just had too much music, and he was really just wanting to get this thing out of his way.

There are no bad cut on this record. A few of songs sound a bit more radio friendly than others - Zannalee, Dinner with Delores, and Dig U Better Dead all sound as though they could have been potential singles (maybe they were. I don’t know. I wasn’t listening to the radio back in 1996), but the whole album is just a wonderful confection of great music. Of course, there are few bad words scattered about that seem unnecessary. This probably hurt the album more than it helped it.

After spending time enjoying this record, one almost wishes that Prince did not have such a huge collection of great music. There was simply just too much A+ material that never got the attention it deserved. This one is a prime example. Sadly, I think this one is another of his releases that is now out of print. A big shame.

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