By Shannon Nia Alomar
After four years and minimal time in the spotlight, legendary musician Prince has returned to the music scene with a double-whammy. Last Monday, on Sept. 29, Prince release not one, but two albums.
The first album is entitled “Art Official Age” and takes the listener to a place of funky sounds and some personal experiences from the usually private 56-year-old artist. From start-to-finish the tracks on this particular album take you to different places with soul, R&B and funk vibes, which is what fans expect from Prince.
The only complaint surrounding the album is many of the songs remind you of other artists who have attempted to acquire the same sound. Also, the traditional Prince aspect seems to get overshadowed at times by the usage of slicker instrumentals and slightly distracting sound effects on some of the tracks.
Overall, despite these few criticisms, Prince’s personality shines through 13 studio-recorded tracks, bringing excitement to those who have been awaiting his comeback.
“PlectrumElectrum” is the second album that was released, but instead of it being solely Prince, it is a conjunction with his all-female trip band 3rdEyeGirl. The band is made up of the drummer Hannah Ford Welton, guitarist Donna Grantis and bass player Ida Nielsen.
This particular album proved to return to the traditional recording experience by having the band record live while playing the music simultaneously, but through the admired style of production, the personality of the group does not make a substantial appearance. The tracks do accomplish the message that rock is not dead, but their portrayal of the beloved genre comes off too polished and lacking a taste of the graininess expected from a rock band.
Minneapolis Star Tribune pop reporter, in an article for CBS quoting Jon Bream, said that Prince held a listening party for his new music but was not physically present at the event in the summer.
“There were members of Prince’s band, a couple of road managers, a couple of people working, husbands of two of the women in 3rdEyeGirl and me… but no Prince… And so we got to listen to Prince’s album, but he was not in the room. I think it was just a case that he wanted to try out the album on me,” Bream said.
Bream went on to mention that it was later expressed that Prince probably was in other room observing how the attendees reacted to the songs naturally, without feeling the need to curb their emotions with him being in the same room.
Recently, Prince allowed all of his fans to attend his release party by live streaming it on Yahoo this past Tuesday. There were only three live performances, including one with rapper Kendrick Lamar, but unlike any other album release party, there was a rare tour of Paisley Park, Prince’s studio complex.
Regardless of personal opinion, one message can clearly be received from the artist recent actions: Prince does things his way and no one can stop him.