Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Most Underrated Prince Songs and Albums

Anytime a musician passes away, their catalog gets some extra attention. The same is happening for Prince, who shockingly passed away at the age of 57. Typical hits like "1999" and "When Doves Cry" have surely gotten most of the attention, but he has so many fantastic albums and songs to choose from.


"The Cross" - Sign o' The Times, 1987. Sign o' The Times is one of Prince's most well known albums, though as a double album some songs can get less attention than others. "The Cross" stands out to me in showcasing his strong and sincere vocals. The progression of the instruments works well also, building up slowly from a quieter ballad into some heavy guitar and drums, with a sitar thrown into the mix.

"So Far, So Pleased" - Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, 1999. Gwen Stefani joins Prince on this track from his 1999 album, which of course was a big year for the man who made the hit song "1999" years earlier. The album itself is hit-or-miss, but definitely contains some gems, with this track being the best. Gwen & Prince go well together vocally, and it doesn't feel forced.

"Bambi" - Prince, 1979. The early Prince albums released during the days of disco give more of a dance feel to them. Yet on "Bambi," Prince also showed that he could play a heavier guitar sound as well as anyone else, kicking things off with a crunching guitar intro.

"Thunder" - Diamonds and Pearls, 1991. "Thunder" is simply an infectious song that brings together many of Prince's hallmarks into one song. Its R&B, Rock, Pop, Funk & Soul all rolled up into one, which Prince could always do so expertly. It kicks off the Diamonds and Pearls album with a bang,

"Cinnamon Girl" - Musicology, 2004. If "Cinnamon Girl" were released in as a single in the 80's or early 90's during the height of his popularity, it probably would have been a big hit. Yet in 2004 it flew under the radar in the US, though did gain traction on the UK chart. The chorus will quickly have you singing along, and Prince crafts quite the guitar solo.


Chaos & Disorder, 1996 - Prince released this as his final album with Warner Bros. to fulfill contracutal obligations after years of hoping to get out of his contract. Yet the album is powerful, not some throwaway that was half-assed. Prince released a kick ass, hard rock album without any filler on it. His guitar skills are on full display, letting it known he could play as hard as any Grunge or Alternative band popular at the time.  He didn't do any promotion for the album or release any US singles, he simply moved on to his next project, which is partly why it didn't gain much traction.

PlectrumElectrum, 2014 - Prince had put together an all-female band named 3rdEyeGirl who he played and toured with. One of the great things about Prince is how he was able to find other talented musicians and give them  a platform, not afraid to share the spotlight. They churned out this hard rocking album and the amount of fun they're having comes across on each track. Check out Prince with 3rdEyeGirl performing "She's Always in my Hair."

Around the World in a Day, 1985 - This album hit #1 and sold 2 million copies, as well as spawning two hit singles in "Raspberry Beret" and "Pop Life." Yet, it tended to be forgotten in the years since aside from the two singles which is why I consider it underrated. A lot of that has to do with it following the smash Purple Rain and with Sign o' The Times coming two years later. Its also not as radio friendly and one of his more experimental albums. That all makes for a rewarding experience though, instead of Prince just coasting on Purple Rain, he decided to challenge himself and listeners with a psychedelic soundscape.

The Gold Experience, 1995 - Prince's dispute with his record label was in full force at this point, which of course overshadows the release of The Gold Experience. The album is filled with fast rock, funk you can move to, and some of his best songs dealing with sex. The ballads here are also well done, never getting into an overly sappy territory. Its the type of album you can listen to straight through and wonder where the time went. Even the interludes are enjoyable.