Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Prince: "Lotusflow3er"

Been in something of a Prince mood lately, since his new album "20ten" hit newsstands.   Ordered the "Lotusflow3r" 2-LP set on vinyl from  It arrived yesterday, and getting a chance to listen to it now.

Sounds remarkably rich and full.   In my view, "Lotusflow3r" has been criminally underrated, and it may be Prince's best album of the last decade.   It has a very warm, vibey sound to it that gives it more depth than some of his other work, which can sometimes sound overly clean and sterile to me.   The songwriting on this record also seems to be at a higher level than other recent albums.   This album lends itself to the advantages of vinyl, for sure.  Another interesting thing about listening to the vinyl version is envisioning the album in "sides".    Growing up listening to vinyl (and even cassettes), there was always a distinct impression about a particular side of an album.  That has been lost with the ascension of first CDs, and then the digital mp3 takeover.   But to me its part of the whole process of absorbing an album.

I do prefer "The Morning After" in place of "Crimson & Clover", though.  It sounds evident to me that "Crimson & Clover" was a late addition to the record.  It sounds a bit out of place and less natural than "The Morning After", and mars the record a little in my opinion.    Maybe at the last minute Prince decided he needed something with more commercial spark, but at this stage in his career he should just focus on putting out the best records possible.   His days of having multiple Top 40 hits from each album are sadly over.

Not that there aren't some strongly commercial tunes on this record.  "Dance 4 Me", "Dreamer", "Feel Good, Feel Better Feel Wonderful", "$" and others - - all would have been potential major singles if Prince still had the commercial appeal as in the 80s.   "Dance 4 Me" in particular has the sound of a classic Prince hit - - very funky, groovin' tune.  Nowadays the only Prince songs radio stations play are his classics, and it's mostly the die-hard fans (of which there are still plenty) paying much attention to his more recent work.

I also think one of the reasons why this album doesn't get more acclaim is lingering fan resentment over the website fiasco that accompanied this album's release.  $77.00 for a years membership that basically got you the album (which could be purchased at Target for $12.00), the ability to navigate a few videos, and pictures.  That's about it.   Huge scam, and a miracle Prince didn't get hit with a suit of some sort. 

Anyway, it's a true shame this album is so neglected.  "Lotusflow3r" (with "MPLSound" comprising the 2nd disc), is a terrific Prince record, and I'm definitely enjoying it tonight.

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