Top positive review
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So glam, it's absurd
on 21 July 2001
If Sign 'o' the Times was Prince singing about things we all understand and can empathise with-- being in love, being horny and worrying that the world might not last long enough to enjoy it-- then Lovesexy is Prince begging us for 45 minutes of our time, as he now has something extraordinary to tell us, and we certainly haven't heard anything like it before.
It begins with the sound of fire and ends with water. We are welcomed to the New Power Generation (back then, a concept rather than a backing group). We are exhorted to say 'YES!', jerk our bodies 'like a horny pony would', to clap our hands, stomp our feet and chant that 'God is love, love is God'. To dance on, dance on, dance on... It all crystallises on the title track, when what has gone before begins to make some kind of sense: love God, love life, love sex, but know this-- they're all the same thing. 'I wish U love, I wish U heaven' he says, in one of pop's simplest, yet most profound statements of love for another person. Then it ends as bafflingly as it began, with a warning not to 'kiss the beast' and sounding for all the world like a black mass.
Still listening? Probably not. Because this isn't what people want from their pop music, is it? It all sounds like too much hard work? Far from it-- Lovesexy is an album of nine songs that have enough killer tunes for a record more than twice its length. Whether or not you buy into Prince's concept of the spiritual lay, hearing him try to convince you is enormous fun.
The band is the best he ever had, his production was never more sure-footed and as an artist, he was never more creative. Like all the best albums, Lovesexy is filled with wonderful, singable melodies and songs that exhibit a broad emotional range, from the highs of 'Eye No' to the lows of 'Anna Stesia' and beyond. It's a breathtaking trip, spirited and uplifting, performed with such exuberance that it makes even its out-there concept become utterly convincing.
Yes, it's arcane, messy and borderline pretentious. Yes, it has a few X-rated moments and a noticeable lack of the conventional pop song Prince reliably included amongst even his most difficult work. It's far from perfect, and loses some of its thrust towards the end. But this is pop music for grown-ups, that delivers new pleasures as the years go by. And that's very rare.