Saturday, December 13, 2014

Album Review: Art Official Age by Prince

Because Prince became such a huge star it is easy to forget the he is at the heart of his work an experimentalist.  One reason why Purple Rain still works all these years later is that it was so cutting edge at it's time and was something that no one else could duplicate.

The problem is that Prince actually followed the arc of most artists. He has continued to make new music and never rested on what he had created, but the truth is he hit his peak around the same age as most artist. Most musicians make their top album at age 24.  Prince was 24 when he released 1999 and then 26 when he released Purple Rain.  So he was creating these albums, which represent the high point of his popularity and I think his art when he was right in the bullseye for peak work.

Many exceptional artists can come back later with another top tier album, and you would think of Prince being in that category, but Sign O' the Times was really the last very high level album he put out and he was still under 30.

Now he's 56 and this album feels very much like many of the albums he's put out over the past 27 years.  It has its moments that really work, and even his experimental stuff works to some degree, but there is just something off when you take the album as a whole.  Also there are simply moments that are cringe worthy.

Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 1 out of 5 stars for Just OK.  It is nice to get those few high moments, but the rest of the album pulls it down too much.

1 comment:

  1. I heard someone say somewhere recently that he feels Prince has always had a great sound but that he had a shortage of great songs at the beginning and end of his career. I would mostly agree with this. And (not but) I would add there were a LOT of great songs in the middle.