HitnRun: Phase One (2015)

1. Million $ Show 2. Shut This Down 3. Ain't About 2 Stop 4. Like a Mack 5. This Could Be Us 6. Fallinlove2nite 7. X's Face 8. Hardrocklover 9. Mr. Nelson 10.1000 X's and O's 11.June


On the opening song on this record, Prince samples himself at the beginning with the killer openings from 1999 and Let’s Go Crazy from the glory days of this performer oh so long ago. He then segues into the opening track Million $ Show which, sadly, sounds like an opener of a cheesy musical. It’s a sad reminder that this artist can probably never recapture his fabulous days of yore. Many critics and fans look at his latest material as sort of a “comeback”, but I really never could tell much of a difference between these records and those in which he was “struggling” when he was identifying himself as a symbol.

Like most of his latter-day records, there is material that is enjoyable on this record. There’s just not as much as one would hope. This record suffers from excess. There’s just too much stuff thrown in on the songs. The tracks don’t seem to be able to breathe. Prince has cluttered these songs with too much sampling, too many modulated voiceovers, and an overabundance of sound effects and elements that take away from the overall joy. Ironically you can plainly see this on the track This Could B Us. He just did this song on last year’s Art Official Age, so why is he redoing it already? Close listen to both songs reveal that the version here is awfully similar, yet is suffers in comparison to the original because of the above-mentioned elements.

It's not that these gimmicks guarantee failure. There are actually several tracks here that don’t suffer from this over indulgence. Songs like Shut This Down and FallinLove2Nite rank quite high amongst the best of his dance-infested numbers. X’s Face has the same elements of quirkiness as everything else here, but the song doesn’t suffer because…well….I guess because it’s a really good song.

Too much of everything else here sounds as though he had a lot of fun in the studio adding all of these bells and whistles, but the melodies simply aren’t as memorable. The record has a few strong moments, but too much of everything else falls among the wayside.

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