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Prince's Two Albums for Warner Bros. Released in Same Week

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 10:36 AM

Prince released two albums of new music this week, reconnecting him with the label he often fought bitterly with in Warner Bros., going solo on one disc while performing with his female-trio 3rdEyeGirl on the other.

The eccentric Prince ruled the charts in 1980s, helped by his soundtrack "Purple Rain," and the 1990s. Critics say "PlectrumElectrum," with 3rdEyeGirl, is closer to those roots with Prince manning the guitar while the artist tends to experiment more with the second album "Art Official Age."

"Hardcore Prince guitar-freaks – those who yearn for an entire album of six-string slash-and-burn in the mold of Jimi Hendrix, Ernie Isley, Eddie Hazel and Prince himself on 'Purple Rain' and 'I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man' – will find much to love on 'PlectrumElectrum,'" wrote Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune.

"Prince is an appreciator as much as an innovator, and he compresses about 50 years of guitar history into 12 tracks: the screaming punctuations on the feedback-saturated 'Ain't Turnin' Round' and 'AnotherLove,' the Curtis Mayfield-style lyricism of 'Whitecaps,' the punky urgency of 'Marz,'" Kot wrote.

The New York Times' Jon Pareles wrote that Prince seems to play music historian and "futuristic studio whiz" with the two albums. Pareles said the musician does not strike all the right notes on his tracks.

"'Art Official Age' playfully acknowledges the gleaming artificiality of current studio sounds, while 'PlectrumElectrum' flaunts the real-time muscle of vintage power-trio rock," Pareles wrote for the Times. "And like Prince's overwhelming output since he started his own NPG label in the mid-1990s and began releasing music whenever he wanted – including triple and quadruple albums – both albums are hit and miss, the work of a great musician whose songwriting doesn't always live up to his skills."

Brian Mansfield of USA Today wrote that what Prince needed the most with the two album was self-editing, or at least a producer who would have pulled out the greatest in the work.

"Of the two albums, 'PlectrumElectrum' has high points that are arguably better, at least for Prince's guitar fans, but it starts falling apart about halfway through," Mansfield wrote for USA Today. "'Art Official Age' has an element of train wreck wackiness that at least keeps it interesting. … Both … are exciting at times, baffling at others, and it's hard to believe either couldn't have been better."

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Prince released two albums of new music this week, reconnecting him with the label he often fought bitterly with in Warner Bros., going solo on one disc while performing with his female-trio 3rdEyeGirl on the other.
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2014-36-01
Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 10:36 AM
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