Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999)


  
1. Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic 2. Undisputed 3. The Greatest Romance Ever Sold 4. Segue 5. Hot Wit U 6. Tangerine 7. So Far, So Pleased 8. The Sun, The Moon and Stars 9. Everyday is a Winding Road 10.Segue 11.Man O'War 12.Baby Knows 13.I Love U, But I Don't Trust U Anymore 14.Silly Game 15.Strange But True 16.Wherever U Go, Whatever U Do 17.1-800-Newfunk Ad 18.Prettyman

 

Perhaps, by 1999 (the year, not the album), I simply became tired of Prince. I think a lot of people were tired of him as well. To be fair, Prince himself might have been tired of himself. His new releases were not generating nearly the fanfare as they were 15 years ago. You could blame the changing times only so much. Truth is, this album just isn’t that great.

There are 15 songs on this record (not counting the two silent ‘segues’ nor the one commercial near the end), and about 3 or 4 of them are somewhat memorable. The self-titled lead off track is by far the best thing on here, rivaling his smash hit Kiss from oh-so-many years ago. As you listen to the album, you can’t help but feel underwhelmed. When there’s so much mediocrity on the record, what is somewhat strong tends to get buried at best, and forgotten at worst.

Critics and fans (myself included) tend to try to label the music on his records as a particular style. Some records are heavily dance oriented, others hard rock, some pop, etc. I would call this record ‘pop’ overall, but Prince has proved that he can do everything well. Therefore, one shouldn’t judge his albums by a particular genre.

The strongest part of this record seems to be back-loaded. I Love U, But I Don’t Trust U, Strange But True and Wherever U Go, Whatever U Do are all fairly enjoyable – each sounding a bit different in terms of style. None I would call classics, but it would have been nicer had these cuts been included on an album with an overall stronger selection of songs.

Word is, this record was actually a project that Prince began way back in the eighties and kept shelving the idea. Did this ‘project’ contain all of the same songs that were featured here? If so, it’s probably best that this album didn’t come out during his prime. It probably would have fared rather poorly in the midst of his decade of unprecedented brilliance. By this point, sadly, many simply didn’t care anymore.

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