I love the sound of this album, although as the follow-up to Purple Rain
it's freakier and less consistent, but the whole thing is so damn pretty I can't stop listening to it. Sometimes I even forget that most of the songs are underdeveloped and totally iffy as compositions.
There are about a million different ideas stuffed into this album, and plenty of them are good - the guitar licks on "America"; the snappy percussion on the one-man-band showcase "Tamborine"; the lush arrangement of the other one-man-band showcase "Condition of the Heart", which is touching despite never fully coaslescing as a song.
The title track is a groovy rave-up; "Paisley Park" is an irresistible rocker with great backing vocals from Wendy and Lisa; and "Raspberry Beret" is pop perfection, Prince style.
The sound throughout is lusher than I would ever have expected from the purple guy - Novi Novog's violin is prominently featured, and gives the whole thing an enjoyable orchestrated feel. Sound aside, it becomes clear that stuff like "America", "Tamborine", and the catchy "Pop Life" aren't great songs, but they're nevertheless entertaining.
The only unlistenable track is the absurd, self-indulgent "Temptation", which changes from an unimpressive funk workout to a listless spoken-word conversation between God and Prince (!) ... yech. I guess after a few months at No.1, nobody at his record company was willing to tell the man to rein himself in a bit. Still, that's preceded by a ballad called "The Ladder", with a lovely Gospel-ish chorus.
For some reason, I'm entertained whenever I put this album on - that's a rarity, and as Prince covers so much stylistic ground here, I'd recommend Around the World in a Day
to anyone curious about his reputation.Rated:
by Reviewer: Cosmic Ben
(blogging at Cosmic Ben [Defunct]