red lights


New reign for Prince?


Prince - Musicology
(NPG Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: June 5, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

"Nobody gets a second chance," sings Prince on his latest album Musicology, but as this album proves, once in a great while there are some, in fact, lucky enough to get that second chance. The question that stands, however, is this diminutive pop star able to capitalize on it once it lands in his lap again?
The answer is yes and no. When the album shines, such as the hot-buttered James Brown-styled funk of the opening title track and "Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance," as well as the delicious jump-starting beat that crashes "Life 'O' The Party," Prince finally - after wallowing for way too many years in self-indulgent mush - seems to be back on track.
Always a purveyor of good old-fashioned pop, Prince also delivers the straightforward radio-ready song "Cinnamon Girl," which also, unfortunately, comes off as formulaic as it does catchy.
What keeps Musicology from being a true return to form, however, are the slow jams that Prince has been relying on more and more throughout recent years. Despite his soulful vocals, the sappy arrangements ultimately underscore his good intentions on "Call My Name," "What Do U Want Me 2 Do?" and "Reflection."
The exception on these slower tempo numbers, however, is the sexy R&B gem "On The Couch," where the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince's voice taunts, teases and coos under a satiny smooth arrangement that hearkens back to the glory years of Motown.
While Musicology may not be the big comeback that many are hailing it as, it's at least a step in the right direction for an artist that many (including myself) had just about thrown the towel in for.

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