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This review is from: Graffiti Bridge: Original Soundtrack (Audio CD)
Before taking the plunge, be aware that this is not a "proper" Prince album, in that of the 16 tracks only 9 or so feature lead vocals by the man himself, yet all of the tracks were written (or co-written) and produced by him.
The "other" tracks first...
"Round and Round" is sung by the squeaky-voiced (well, he was young) Tevin Campbell, and is a pleasant enough bit of throwaway pop fluff. "Melody Cool" is a good soul / R&B track by the vocal powerhouse that is Mavis Staples, and isn't bad at all. "Graffiti Bridge" is the much-derided ensemble piece which plays over the end credits of the (frankly dire) film, and whereas most Prince fans hated this track I've always quite liked it! Sure, it sounds like something from a sickly-sweet musical, but it is well done and - like me - if it comes on in the car you'll probably find yourself singing along despite yourself. "Release It", "Shake!", "Love Machine" and "The Latest Fashion" are all performed by The Time, one of Prince's funkier associated acts, and of these "Love Machine" and "The Latest Fashion" are probably the best (interestingly, "The Latest Fashion" reappeared on The Time's "Pandemonium" album but with a different lyric, and was retitled "My Summertime Thang".) So far, the album is a very mixed affair.
So what of the Prince tracks?
"Can't Stop This Feeling I Got" is a pop / rock song which gallops along and is enjoyable enough, if a little throwaway. "New Power Generation" is a chuggy, bass and synth-driven track which appears in two versions, the second of which is just a coda to the album and offers nothing new. "The Question Of U" is one of his better ballads, an interesting percussion loop and distorted keyboards giving the track a slightly unnerving edge. "Tick Tick Bang" is an atonal burst of noise, similar to "Tambourine" from "Around The World In A Day" and isn't particularly great. "Thieves In The Temple" is great, doffing its cap to "When Doves Cry" but isn't in the same league as that classic. "Elephants and Flowers" is an uptempo track with a nonsense lyric but sounds curiously optimistic. Finally, "Still Would Stand All Time" is initially a dirge but after a piano interlude strings join the mix, a choir step into the light, and the song rises to the heavens.
The two remaining tracks are simply brilliant. "We Can Funk" is absolutely outstanding, a dark, funky duet with the legendary George Clinton, Prince and George growling at one another as the track rumbles on, until the song breaks down and Prince changes register. At this point the backing also changes, the tune lifts, and a choir join in. It took me a while to "get" this track but when it clicks it works so well and is easily my second favourite track on the album, and one of my favourite Prince tracks of all time.
Best of all is "Joy In Repetition". A spoken interlude over a sparse bass opens the track before Prince's moaned vocal begins. The hypnotic arrangement is just superb, and when Prince picks up his guitar and launches into one of his greatest ever solos it takes your breath away.
So yes, "Graffiti Bridge" is a real mixed bag of an album, but it doesn't deserve the hatred it has received over the years. At least two of the tracks are amongst the best stuff Prince has ever released, and as a whole the collection works fairly well. Well worth a listen.