For You (1978)


  
1. For You 2. In Love 3. Soft and Wet 4. Crazy You 5. Just as Long as We're Together 6. Baby 7. My Love is Forever 8. So Blue 9. I'm Yours

 

When one listens to Prince’s very first album, one should focus on what it is as opposed to what it is not. The album doesn’t compare with what the man would soon accomplish a few short years in the studio, so it’s easy to dismiss out of hand. However, it’s when you realize that this entire thing was written, produced, and had all instruments played by a 19 year old kid that makes you give this record the respect that it deserves. 19 years old. Wow.

Now, I don’t claim to know much about Prince’s earlier days, but he must have been quite the talent for a major record label to not only sign him to a record deal, but give him such autonomy in the record studio. He proves that he’s the right person for the job. I don’t know if anyone else in the business could have really succeeded making this thing any better. If they could, the record label probably realized that such an intrusion would stifle the kid’s talent, which could have seriously hindered his performance on future releases.

This is pretty much a straightforward R&B effort that emulates a lot of the style of the late 1970s. Highlights include the first “real” track In Love (that follows the acapella one-minute opening For You) and the following Soft and Wet. This song probably contains the most elements of what he would retain on future records in terms of style, even if it does suffer slightly from the disco-ish dated production. My favorite track is the very sweet, touching Baby that shows off Prince’s softer side along with his trademark falsetto croon. Lyrically it’s quite beautiful as well – about a couple of teenage kids that find that they’re about to accidently become parents.

He still has a bit of learning to do. The song Crazy You sounds a little schmaltzy with its lounge like atmosphere, and at barely two minutes in length, almost sounds more like an extended television commercial as opposed to a legitimate song. He then follows with an upbeat party-ish anthem Just As Long As We’re Together. This is a very strong piece as well, but this record sounds a tad too long at six and one-half minutes. The last two songs on the album are basically forgettable. He is showing off his rock and roll virtuoso on I’m Yours that does demonstrate what he’s capable of doing with an electric guitar, but it’s obvious he still has some work to do before he can make rock and roll sound as good as rhythm and blues.

I imagine that the record executives could sense that there would soon be a lot more magic coming from this young man. I don’t think anyone, however, could have anticipated just how true such a sentiment would be and that he would easily conquer the world of music within the next decade.

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