The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale (1999)

1. The Rest of My Life 2. It's About That Walk 3. She Spoke 2 Me 4. 5 Women 5. When the Lights Go Down 6. My Little Pill 7. There is Lonely 8. Old Friends 4 Sale 9. Sarah 10.Extraordinary


Another contractual obligation album that he owed to his former record company – hence his name on the cover as opposed to the unpronounceable symbol. It became simply too much for the average fan’s brain to assimilate at this point. He was putting out so much music, most couldn’t tell the difference between what he “wanted” to release versus what he “had to” release. What made it more confusing is that sometimes the music that he “had to” release was actually better quality. This one is a prime example.

Had more care went into this thing, it could have easily been another one of his classic records – regardless of whether or not many would buy it. As pristine as this album is, though, it’s apparent that his heart really isn’t into it, and he’s just trying to check off a box. The continuity just seems off. In fact, 3 of the songs here take up more than half of the total length of about 40 minutes. That means that many of the other racks are only one or two minutes total.

The arrangements on most of these songs, are quite meticulous and appealing. This album sounds like “grown up” Prince. The music here is a far cry from when he dazzled the world as a 20-year old wonder kid with electric, funkified records that he wrote and recorded all by himself. Instead, these songs tend to have a more precise, jazz-like quality to them that are mostly light handed and easy going. Because of the wacky song lengths, you could also argue that there’s little here that can classify as “hit single” material. Most of the tracks, as nice as they sound, seem to lack the appropriate hooks that are necessary for such infection to set in.

The best song on here is undoubtedly She Spoke 2 Me which was actually featured on the Girl 6 soundtrack a few years ago. He’s added a very impressive jazz jam section to the latter half of this version. It’s a snippet of what the user will hear running through many of these tracks.

Overall, the record lacks consistency, but multiple listens will reveal its charms. If anyone is interested, it should also be pointed out that the bulk of this recording was done several years before the album was released. Nothing really surprising there.

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