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PRINCE - Art Official Age LP


PRINCE - Art Official Age LP

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A Prince album is never less than fascinating, even the lesser ones. At his best, he's a pop-funk God but even at his worst, he's an incredibly interesting individual making exactly the music he wants to make. With Art Official Cage we are viewing something truly amazing - Prince reconnecting with the world. It was heralded by him joining Twitter and getting out there as a social media presence, which was closely followed by the cover art reveal for Art Official Age's first single, "Breakfast Can Wait" featuring an image from the at this point legendary Chappelle's Show sketch about him. This was a declaration that he was paying attention and he was in on the joke and he was not so far removed in the off-world colonies as we may previously have imagined. He even references his notorious contractual squabbles with Warner Brothers in one song.

The plot of the album (and it is very unabashedly a concept album with a plot) follows from this, with Prince being unfrozen from some form of cryogenic slumber in the future and re-learning how to integrate with a synthetic modern society that has lost touch with its own earthy sexuality and connects largely through computers and machines, a society which you can quite imagine needs Prince more than ever. The songs that hew close to this plot talk a lot about reality television and the way the lines of fame have blurred and how we (in the broad sense of the modern world) have become caught up in artifice and disassociated from our rawer emotions. These are, quite pointedly, interspersed with traditional, old school Prince sex jams. He also recognizes that he himself has kind of let fame take him over and create a gulf between himself and his audience, and that he is now making an effort to reconnect with where people are and where modern thought is, but with the caveat that the modern world has itself strayed from its own earthiness and should really consider meeting him halfway.

So that's what the album's about, but what's the album like? In a word, it's weird. Sure, Prince albums are almost always weird to some extent, but this one is particularly odd, even experimental in comparison with the simultaneously released Plectrumelectrum with his new band, 3rd Eye Girl.

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