Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Unappreciated, but surprsingly not-rubbish contractual obligation, 9 July 2012
This review is from: The Vault...: Old Friends 4 Sale (Audio CD)
If you look beyond the obviously cheap, hurried, and generic cover - which looks like the kind of cheap bootleg poster you'd find outside gigs and in basement stores - "The Vault : Old Friends 4 Sale" is, on the basis of the music alone, a refreshing revisit to the kind of records Prince doesn't make anymore. Made out of offcuts and leftovers over his 1985-95 Warners years, assembled with minimal Prince involvement - if any - and reeking of contractual obligation to fulfill the outstanding Warners commitment, it sounds like an average Prince album lacking one killer hit though both "There Is Lonely" and "Extraordinary" are equal of much of his work. Certainly "Rest of My Life", and "It's All About That Walk" would not be out of place on "Symbol" or "Diamonds And Pearls". At a slight 39m 20s, it also suffers from containing an overlong, formless jam at the end of "She Spoke 2 Me" originally edited from the Girl 6 album. "5 Women" is fine, but, like much of this record an unexceptional Prince track. The title track "Old Friends 4 Sale" sounds like a classic, late 60's Bond soundtrack drenched in lonesome lust.

You could listen to this album, and feel that it was a lesser, official record in the Prince canon, for though Prince's involvement seems slight, there are signs of Prince reworking and remixing the original songs - much like 1990's "Graffitti Bridge" - including a consistent mastering and drum sound that masks the fact these songs were recorded between 1984 and 1995 with a multitude of performers. But there is little here that makes the listener want to come back and experience this again, nothing that grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck proclaiming genius, and nothing that is artistically valid about it's birth. Presumably Prince tossed this into Warners in the hope they would accept it as an album, found that they wouldn't, and then rushed 1996's "Chaos And Disorder" to fulfill his obligations. Shame. It's not a bad record, by any standard, certainly far better than the over-done "Rainbow Children", but not a stone dead Prince classic.
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Review Details

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4.1 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
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Reviewer

Mr. M. A. Reed
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Location: Argleton, GB

Top Reviewer Ranking: 955