At some point in the late ’90s, I stopped anticipating new Prince releases. I never really warmed up to NPG and their tendency to rap, but worse, Prince’s music became less interesting to me. Each release after Chrystal Ball became less an event and more a chore to listen to.
It got progressively worse until today I no longer cared (almost). I would have never figured I’d get to this point. On a few occasions there were singles that reminded me that he is still a gifted diva, but for the most part 1995’s The Gold Experience was the last Prince album I rather enjoyed completely.
While NPG was still his backing band, the rapping was kept to a minimum.on Gold. The album may have been the last time that the pop charts really cared what Prince was doing, as the single “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” may have been his last big hit peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B charts.
The album had its moments of experimentation mostly with rap as Prince himself would sing in a rap style on songs like “Now”. There was even the throwback sound of The Time on “Billy Jack Bitch”, but overall the album had a drama and presence about it as if it were a soundtrack for some unreleased film.
Although not hits per se, “Pussy Control” and “Endorphinmachine” were welcome returns to the funk Prince was known to make on Sign O’ The Times (especially on the B sides). That era seemed like a distant memory as a series of hastily released material to satisfy his Warner Bro. contract clouded an otherwise pristine collection of releases.
As a record buying fan, I felt really let down, no more like embarrassed by Come from 1994. That year I already had the Black Album which was released that same year in a bout of Prince overkill, the very thing Warner Bros. feared. Even that album in its official form was not as interesting as the song selections on the many bootlegs floating around. Mine had one of my favorite ’90s Prince songs ever on it called “All My Dreams” (art deco meets paisley funk).
The Gold Experience was varied enough to make me forget his mishaps before and after, but even then I was longing for the Prince of Lovesexy and or even Diamonds and Pearls. Now word of a new album from Prince brings a level of excitement I have not associated with the artist for years. Here’s to hoping.
p.s. Prince forced video outlets like YouTube to remove all of his videos. He is one of the few (if not only) major artist who has demanded this action.