Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
3CD set - the 4 stars are for the first CD ONLY!!
on 29 December 2011
3CD set - Lotusflow3r / MPLSound / Elixir.
Let's get the bad out of the way first so we can concentrate on the good:
MPLSound - Flacid collection of tepid synth-funk and saccharin ballads. This CD follows the path of Emancipation, Rave, Musicology and 3121 - if you like Prince pushing the auto-pilot button and farting out a dozen tracks he's done a million times before, this is for you, enjoy.
Elixir - Prince written and produced album by then protege Bria Valente, yet another Vanity look-a-like. This laid back collection of Sade-inspired soul is rarely pleasing, often forgettable, but not too much of either to get too excited about either in your hate or love for it. It is what it is, Prince has a new squeeze, his thing is he's going to "make them a star", then the next year they're banished from the royal court to be deposed by that year's muse - at the time of writing that is Andy Allo, successor to Bria, who herself was successor to Tamar - who's slightly superior unreleased album was the source for one of the tracks on Elixir.
Right, that's that... now the good news:
Lotusflow3r - Simply the most cohesive, complete and engaging Prince album since 2001's The Rainbow Children.
The set shows Prince's usual flare for eclecticism, with wacky twists and turns in amongst the usual display of rock, funk and balladry. Prince really pulls it all together here though.
Boom is a pleasing dreamy guitar-led pop piece that never outstays it's welcome as it leads straight into the cover of Crimson and Clover, a Purple Rain-esque take on a classic song that Prince really makes his own, a great version. Other highlights are the conspiracy theory-laden Colonized Mind and Dreamer, a laidback swelling rocker and straight up Jimi Hendrix tribute respectively. Lyrically and musically they both bring to mind The Rainbow Children, especially Colonized Mind which is much like The War or Hallucination Rain from the NPG's 1995 Exodus album. Love Like Jazz is a breezy, enjoyable palette cleanser that is needed in amongst the heavier rock tracks, and is the closest thing you're going to get to a love serenade on the album, other than the actual instrumental serade 77 Beverley Park that sees Prince hit new ground for him as he strays bizarrely into Demis Roussos territory! Think of a more upbeat version of 'Under The Cherry Moon' and you'd be on the right track.
The albums biggest standout for me is '$' - A track that sounds like it could've easily come from 1986 and would've slotted in seamlessly on that year's unreleased Dream Factory album or even Sign O' The Times itself. It brings back something that doesn't rear it's head too often these days, Prince's unique and brittle, biting sense of humour - $ is from the same well of inspiration as 'Movie Star', 'Housequake', 'Mutiny' and 'Shockadelica'. The horns sound like classic Parade-era Prince, it's just a joy to hear this type of song from Prince again.
Overall, you will want to buy this set for the title disc alone. The other two are what they are, we've heard it all before, and since - it's what makes being a long-time Prince fan such a trip, you get the rough with the smooth and just have to accept that for every great album, Prince is going to make 5 superfluous ones. Lotusflow3r is that one great album Prince released between 2002-2011.