Diamonds and Pearls (1991)

1. Thunder 2. Daddy Pop 3. Diamonds and Pearls 4. Cream 5. Strollin' 6. Willing and Able 7. Gett Off 8. Walk Don't Walk 9. Jughead 10. Money Don't Matter 2 Night 11. Push 12. Insatiable 13. Live 4 Love


With Prince putting out oodles and oodles of music year after year, it took a little bit of time after listening to this release to realize that Prince had finally “grown up” so to speak. That’s not meant to be an insult nor a compliment, just an observation. The young, wild, funky sexy entertainer has now suddenly metamorphosed into a thirty-something, somewhat laidback, somewhat adult contemporary artist. Fortunately, most of what is here is just as entertaining as most everything else he’d released, it just sounds much more toned down. Maybe this was a sign of the times (pun not intended). After all, this was the glossy early 1990s.

That’s not to say that the music here is redundant nor one dimensional. He actually covers quite a bit of ground here. He just sounds, well, more mature or something. It has nothing to do with lyrical content, although that has been toned down in terms of shock-value, but the music just sounds as though he’s acknowledging that his audience is getting older (although not old), and most of the music here is much more mild.

Even on songs when he’s trying to party down and be funky, it comes across as sort of saccharine. Songs such as Jughead and Push are the most danceable infested things here, but they don’t come close to rivaling anything he did a decade ago. Perhaps that’s why the most popular songs here are definitely of the more toned down style. Songs such as Money Don’t Matter 2 Nite, Cream and the beautiful title cut are each recognized as standouts on this record, and not only could a kid play these songs in the same room as his parents, but his parents might actually enjoy them. Probably more than the kid would.

His new band “The New Power Generation” is featured in full force here, and the songs definitely sound busy and crowded. In fact, at times I was reminded of his last album Graffiti Bridge that actually featured many other artists along with Prince. That isn’t the case here, but the diversity of the album and busy arrangements almost makes one believe that this is record is somewhat of a duplicate of its predecessor. He pushes himself ever so slightly on gems such as Daddy Pop and pushes himself much further on the light jazz infested Strollin’, yet because of the man’s brilliance, such diversity is quite welcome.

Still, though, the album has an overall feel of being maybe 10 minutes or so too long, and as good as this record is, it’s quite obvious that the Prince of the early 1980s is probably now gone for good. It’s definitely a highly regarded thumbs up, but you can’t help but yearn for the days when he was a 20-year-old kid with an entire recording studio entirely to himself.

His bizarre antics would soon be a bit much as well, and this would be his last album before he “divorced” himself from the record industry and chose to only be recognized as a weird, unpronounceable symbol, or “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince”. Such distractions seem rather silly in hindsight, and probably did slightly more harm than help in terms of music quality.

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