Fan commentary from Prince’s NPG Music Club era
Rumours abound that Prince is looking into actually re-sign with at major record label possibly, Warner Brothers. Prince’s relationship with Warners’ was soured in 1993 over the publishing rights to his music, the dispute ran until his split from the label in 2000. Prince also felt that they tried to contain his creatively, he even called himself their “slave” – a $100m slave at that. So why would he sign with his nemesis again? Warners’ are up for sale and are its prospective new owners are looking to grab key stars. So signing back with WB would certainly give Prince much needed leverage to regain ownership of his pre Warners’ split material, including the highly lucrative Purple Rain. Who knows for sure but surely after several years in independent label abyss a company second only to Sony would promote the hell out of the most overlooked talent in the modern musical stage, re-signing sounds not so much a ludicrous possibility after all. Other labels are BMG (distributors of Newpower Soul) and J Records (who have the likes of Rod Stewart and Alicia Keys on their books) are known to be interested. If this is Warners and co or Prince’s intention, then look out for plenty more to come.
Rewind the clock back to October 2001, that was the month The Rainbow Children was released (well, as a download) – musically a fantastic album and lyrically challenging – lyrically being the operative word. We may have had One Nite Alone… the musical “demo” though since then there has been no new album with his trademark lyrics. More to the point lyric less. Xpectation and N.E.W.S. contain no newly written lyrics whatsoever. Prince seems more destined to appear in the Instrumental section of award ceremonies from now. There is even talk of an acoustic only tour, which I sincerely hope does not come to fruition.
So where have all the lyrics gone? It’s not that his voice is going, recent shows in Asia, Australia and Hawaii prove that’s not the case. So is it his inspiration? Prince is at his musical peak but he is also at a lyrical all time low. He seems to focus producing half a song, let me qualify that: Xpectation, just sounds essentially like an incomplete collection of songs. Music is only half a song. This is not the Prince we all grew up with or became fans for, or what got our parents, or Mrs Gore, upset. His music may be as edgy as ever, even more so, but Prince is about lyrics too. Prince without lyrics is like a day without sunshine. so come on Prince stop selling us half a product. Leave your hits at Warner Bros and give the fans something new to actually sing along too.
NPGMC closes up in style
After the confused start with the 15MB player you needed then didn’t, you would have had to have got your hands on a fair bit of technology and cash if you wanted to get all the NPG Music Club into your stereo; CD burner, MP3 player, MP3 to WAV converter, fast internet connection and a lot of patience. The video files were nice but admit it, you will only watch them once. It was the audio files which were the real reason we paid $100 last February. There has only been a couple of “old” tracks but these were mainly as recordings from concerts. The club concentrated on recordings of recent years and it has produced tracks which shows Prince is clearly at the top of his game. MP3 quality recordings of Vavoom, High, Daisy Chain, Madrid 2 Chicago and Underneath The Cream to name but a few, have made the club something to look forward too every mid-month. So was it worth it? Lets add up the disks: enough tracks for 2 studio albums, 1 live CD, 1 video, the preview of the entire The Rainbow Children album, the Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic CD, exclusive access to merchandise, competitions, PC wallpaper, and 11 hours of radio shows. Then, my only gripe, preferred seating and advanced booking for concerts – this hinted a world tour – as it turned out this was totally useless if you live outside the US, which, lets be honest, a fair amount of fans do. Looking back over the past 12 editions to give it a mark out of 10, I will go for a 9 because the studio tracks released are never off my stereo. Roll on 2002.
Gold at the end of the Rainbow
Prince’s new album, The Rainbow Children, will take you 6 times to download than the actual time it will take to listen to. Thankfully, if your modem is not up to it, you can pick it up from stores on 20 November. So if you are up to the download is it worth it? Well in short, oh yes. Musically it is unbelievable, if you like anything from raw jazz to pure funk – this one is for you. The album’s 14 songs are so good not one song could have been left out; the outstanding songs being Digital Garden, 1+1+1 Is 3, She Loves Me 4 Me, Family Name, The Everlasting Now and the final track on the album which deserves special mention Last December. Between tracks a slowed down voice (which actually works very well) will tell you a story and links into the next song, and it is because of this the album cannot be broken up into singles, as it is generally speaking, one flowing song which complements the others. This album is old-style Prince, but in the same breath it is all so new (you will know what I’m talking about when you listen to it). That first listen is all so important and when your excitement and expectations about it are exceeded, which I will confess did not think they would be, it makes for a remarkable experience. If you loved Lovesexy (and who didn’t) then you will love this one. I can’t stop playing it over and over. And over…
Why you should buy the Very Best Of album too
Yours truly has defied Prince by proudly buying a copy of Warner’s Very Best Of Prince. Why? To get Prince back into the right end of the charts where he belongs. When was the last time he appeared on mainstream radio? There are kids out there now who do not even know who he is. That if Britney covered Purple Rain, they would think she even wrote it! Prince is a rare legend who is still in the land of the living so lets see him back in the mainstream again. Where will Prince be today if it was not for these songs? So don’t try to pretend they did not exist. I would rather Prince be remembered for the songs on this album that what appeared on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic. Warner pumped a lot of money into him to establish his name in the scene, so without them Prince would not have half the fan base he has now and would certainly not be able to sell his music across the internet without any promotion. Lets face it we all came to like him for playing his “better known” hits when we first listened to him. So what if Warner own the masters they just negotiated better than he did. In short, as a fan, you would do a disservice to him in the long run if you did not buy this. This CD is a wonderful way to get more people into his music, and that could only but help the next tour/album/deal.
Second Coming? NPG Music Club relaunched
It saddens me to see in internet chatrooms how people keep moaning about the NPG Music Club. Prince has provided a service before any other artist to share his music directly to the fan. What is on offer is music and video’s previously unreleased providing a wonderful opportunity to hear music we may never have heard without the appalling clarity which bootlegs offer. Listeners now do not even need space consuming software to listen to the files. Give NPG a chance to really get this thing going, remember none of that has been done before, just be thankful it is Prince which has done it first.
23 subscriptions in a 1-nite stand
Never before have I been so keen to spend $100, despite teething troubles with getting the player to load (if you are seeing just a black screen when you load the player, just change your colour settings on your PC from 16-bit) and having to wait for PayPal confirmation. But that was just a test for loyalty and boy is it the best thing ever. Just go Premium and be done with it. The NPG Player is state of the art. Just a word of advice, however; 1) buy a large hard disk, 2) a CD burner, and the two will 3), lead you in audio heaven.
New label seeking aspiring artists – apply within
According to some websites Prince is not going to sign with Clive Davis’ new label J. Records. Davis who “left” the helm of Arista earlier this year has set up a new label, whether Prince has agreed to sign for the label or not has not been confirmed, however using Arista’s “promotion” of Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic as a guide this move seems highly unlikely. Well done Prince for taking a stand, Radical Man.
All the critics love him in New York
Prince, Jamie Starr, Alexander Nevermind, John Lewis, Camille, Victor, Tora Tora, The Artist Formally Known As Prince a.k.a the Prince love symbol hieroglyph. You name it, he has called himself it. We all hoped that he would one day become royalty again. Finally the day has come. He announced to critical applause at a Manhattan press conference that he would become Prince once again. Thank god for that. At least the fans can now look someone in the eye and say “I am a Prince fan” without pausing for the stupid jokes. There is a God.
One Song/One Page
It was officially confirmed on New Funk site that there are no plans to maintain love4oneanother.com, which, since New Year’s Day has shown only the One Song video, a message containing the ethos behind the L4OA charity. Prince’s new site NPGonlineLTD.com seems to contain information which fans are actually interested in, music not politics. Could it be that the ‘Collective’ has finally disbanded, if so I propose a new song, One Word: democracy.
The greatest music ever that’s ever been sold?
As the hangover lifts from the party in your head your first listen to Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic is complete. Was the wait worth it? The answer … oh yes. The artwork has hit written all over it so lets get to the tracks. Recorded between Paisley Park, New York and London, the ones which stood out on the first listen is; the Kiss sounding title track; the thumping Undisputed; Hot With U; Man O’ War; Baby Knows; the fuller album version of The Greatest Romance Ever Sold, but for me the cover Every Day Is A Winding Road is the gem track on the album. Finally after a long pause the “hidden” James Brown tribute track, Prettyman, closes the album with an explosion of the rawest of funk. Its enhanced portion consists of a menu screen for the album and internet sites (my site being overlooked). The album re-lighting the former Prince is definitely a rave that is truly fan-ta-s-tic contains his overdue return ticket to the mainstream and what’s better the critics love it. This disk will no doubt be living in my stereo for some time. I cant wait to be hearing all this live. How good it is to be a Prince fan. The new millennium is looking very purple for us all – as well as his accountant.
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