Friday, November 11, 2022

Prince 20: Chaos And Disorder

Before we begin: By this point in history people found it easier to refer to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince with the acronym TAFKAP, and we’re going to adopt that here for the time being. It’s easier to pronounce than “o|+>” anyway.
Chaos And Disorder was presented as the “last original material” he owned Warner Bros., and given how they promoted it, they seemed to be fine with that. We were also supposed to believe he knocked it off quickly, but it was actually more crafted than that, as the evidence shows.
The first thing you notice is the electric guitar, and boy, is there a lot of it on this album, and more than had been heard on a TAFKAP album in years. The title track is a solid groove with support from the New Power Generation, and “I Like It There” is even more dominated by the guitar, and fit right in with grunge at the time. “Dinner With Delores” is almost soft-rock, with a gentle strum out of the Revolution’s mid-period; he also performed the song on two major talk shows within the same week. “The Same December” is also radio-friendly pop, though the song turns to harder rock before the first chorus, and becomes a slow swagger midway. “Right The Wrong” is horn-heavy social commentary about injustice that’s more interesting musically than lyrically, whereas “Zannalee” whose title seems to have been inspired by a certain hideous movie starring Judge Reinhold and Nicolas Cage; the song itself is an average blues notable for his uncanny impersonation of a heavily accented Minnesota cop.
“I Rock, Therefore I Am” would be a strong statement if the song did; instead it’s a showcase for vocalist Rosie Gaines and not one but two rappers. The piano balladry of “Into The Light” is a nice change of pace, though it soon turns into a pushy Christian anthem. There’s a direct segue into “I Will”, which is basically the second part of the song, making a nice suite, complete with a cocktail jazz piano solo and more guitar. “Dig U Better Dead” is a promising title with a techno groove and a mixed message, and the nasty “Had U” is an idea that fades before it really goes anywhere, except for a blunt kissoff.
While TAFKAP may not have considered Chaos And Disorder to be anything major, it’s still a solid, accessible album that works simply because it’s not labored. A few missteps aside, it deserves reevaluation by anyone who wrote it off.

o|+> Chaos And Disorder (1996)—3

No comments:

Post a Comment