The Rainbow Children (2001)

1. Rainbow Children 2. Muse 2 the Pharaoh 3. Digital Garden 4. The Work, Pt.1 5. Everywhere 6. The Sensual Hereafter 7. Mellow 8. 1+1+1 is 3 9. Deconstruction 10.Wedding Feast 11.She Loves Me 4 Me 12.Family Name 13.The Everlasting Now 14.Last December


By the time the new millennium had arrived, Prince had already conquered the world. Like so many artists that one day make it to the top, Prince probably realized that there was more to life than being the most successful human being on the planet in your particular craft. So he was now experimenting with his music in multiple ways. It was very common for Prince to release ‘bonus’ CDs, ‘Internet Only’ CDs’, demo CDs under pseudonyms that were only available via bootleg, and on and on and on.

So it’s hard to be completely objective when one of these experimental CDs is released. How does one review it? I confess that I never took the time, energy, nor dedication of focus that some diehards claim is necessary to truly enjoy this one. I simply never had the patience. Yes, the release is different, but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole album seems to have decent potential, but the particular style that he seems to be following doesn’t mesh well with his peculiar antics.

I’m guessing that this is a concept, or ‘story’ album. What the concept or story is, I’m not sure I could tell you. Prince insists on ‘narrating’ the story during the songs in a very deep, computer modularized voice. It simply kills the atmosphere. It feels as though he may be going for a ‘musical’. Still, one wishes he would let the music speak for itself, without narration. Part of the reason that this is so offensive is that his music style here definitely isn’t par for the course. He’s going for a much lighter, jazz like feel. I’m not a huge fan of Jazz. I like it, but I’m just not a fan. If I listen to the top ten jazz artists of all time, I probably can’t tell the difference between the different players. So when he performs good jazz music, yet insists on his computerized story-telling, it just seems to be a very bad combination.

Many tracks seem fragmented. Songs seem to function only as transition pieces from one track to the next. Sometimes Prince is singing, sometimes there are other artists. Sometimes he’s using bizarre computer-like effects. It’s all quite muddled. There’s one very good song here, 1+1+1=3. Not surprisingly, this is the most ‘Prince-like’ thing here. He’s showing his dancing funky side on this track. It’s highly out of place, but quite welcome at the same time.

The closing track Last December is also quite good. Sadly, this eight minute cut is at the very end of a long, drawn-out album, so my guess is that most fans are too exhausted by this point to truly enjoy the song. The fact that it’s over eight minutes probably didn’t help either.

It didn’t sell particularly well. How could it?

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