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Thread started 11/01/13 4:31am

MattyJam

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Reevaluating the Musicology album

I've never particularly been too keen on this era of Prince's career (same goes for 3121), but for some reason I put Musicology on my iPod and gave it a listen for the first time in about five years and it was actually a lot more enjoyable than I remembered.

I still think Life O The Party makes Jughead look like When Doves Cry and Call My Name is a very dull ballad with corny lyrics, but most of the rest of the album is actually pretty decent, particularly The Marrying Kind and A Million Days.

Nearly ten years on, how do you guys rate this album in 2013?

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Reply #1 posted 11/01/13 4:39am

JoeTyler

Life O' the Party is one of his WORST songs ever

and Reflection a rather weak ending (I always stop the album after Dear Mr.Man)

but other than that it was a true comeback and the tighest P album since TGE, Cinnamon Girl is one of his BEST SONGS EVER

the beginning of the Bronze Era, certainly not as good as the Golden Age, but without the horrible mistakes/sins of the Silver Age...

tinkerbell
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Reply #2 posted 11/01/13 4:46am

MattyJam

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JoeTyler said:

Life O' the Party is one of his WORST songs ever

and Reflection a rather weak ending (I always stop the album after Dear Mr.Man)

but other than that it was a true comeback and the tighest P album since TGE, Cinnamon Girl is one of his BEST SONGS EVER

the beginning of the Bronze Era, certainly not as good as the Golden Age, but without the horrible mistakes/sins of the Silver Age...

Presumably the silver age is the mid to late 90s??? Does the fact that you refer to it as silver and Musicology as the beginning of the bronze age mean that you rank his mid to late 90s work over his 00s output? After all, a silver medal is better than bronze...

[Edited 11/1/13 4:47am]

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Reply #3 posted 11/01/13 5:14am

lwr001

Million Days and If I was the Man in ur life are the shiit

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Reply #4 posted 11/01/13 5:24am

MIRvmn

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The only good song on this album is A million days and that song was recorded in 1995 according 2 princevault so it was a 9 year old track at the time. The rest of the songs are dull and boring.
[Edited 11/1/13 5:24am]
We are living in Orwell's 1984
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Reply #5 posted 11/01/13 5:38am

luv4u

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Fantastic album from beginning to end. thumbs up!

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Reply #6 posted 11/01/13 6:26am

bashraka

Great album to me. "Musicology" is Prince's best rhythm and blues album of his career, meaning that the full breadth of Black music (gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock) is represented in the CD and as an artist, no other artist has performed these idioms with as much passion and understanding of its attributes more than Prince. 1/3 of the album was performed by Prince's then backing band of (Rhonda, Renato, John, Maceo, Candy and Greg) and a special guest appearance of Sheila E. When I heard Sheila E was on the album, I thought she would have a singing part, but her on shaker for the song "Dear Mr. Man" was cool to.


After albums like "The Rainbow Children", "One Nite Alone", "N.E.W.S.", "Musicology" is a pop album with mature themes and a mature attitude. Contrast this album with "Rave" which was his previous major label album, he sounded like a dude who studied the artists on "TRL" and "106 And Park" and tried to narrow his appeal to the youth market. "Musicology" for a pop album has Prince's best songwriting at least since "The Gold Experience".

I never understood why "Life O' The Party" was derided as much as it is. Prince's quips about media and fan criticism were pretty witty ("He don't play the hits no more", "Thought he was gay", "I aint never had my nose done") and the groove is cool. Prince's vocal harmony in unison with the horns playing the same part is just like Prince. The back half of the album is perfectly sequenced.

"What Do U Want Me 2 Do"-good downtempo tune about resisting seduction from a young woman to a married man

"Marrying Kind"-great arrangement of Prince's power chords and NPG Hornz. Very EWF-like. I could imagine Maurice White singing this tune.

"If I Was The Man In Ur'e Life"-Prince playing bass with John and the horns. Again tight songwriting and killer jazz improv interlude with Prince, John and Renato

"Dear Mr. Man", good blues number with somber lyrics. Didn't like some lyrics but I could hear Prince's sincerity about the thing he described in the song. (Dear Mr. Man from Webster Hall is unbelievably soulful!)

"Reflection"-Is the best song on the album. I believe this song is 100% autobiographical and heartfelt. The melancholy music matches Prince's wistful lyrics. Its only fitting that Prince played the instruments on this tune: the song is highly personal and the lyrical idiosyncrasies are uniquely Prince. When I saw him perform the song on "Tavis Smiley Show" it was absolutely beautiful. The studio version isn't as good as the acoustic version but the message is just as evident.

All in all, a great effort from P. The hype surrunding his induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, performance with Beyonce at the Grammys, his appearances on the talk show circuit made 2004 a memorable year. "Musicology" for me, is a capsule that documents his early roots in funk and his growth as a songwriter and performer.

3121 #1 THIS YEAR
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Reply #7 posted 11/01/13 7:03am

PurpleJedi

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I played this CD the other day after years of ignoring it.

shrug

It's got ALOT of potential, but for me it misses the mark by t-h-i-s much.

"Life O' The Party" is a song that I WANT to like...but something about the jagged edges keeps it mediocre. If you compare it to "Housequake"...with comparable drumbeats...it still had a rhythm to it that makes you want to shake your @ss after all these years.

Same goes for "Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance" - I really, really want to like it, and I played it over & over...but in the end it doesn't "grab" me.

I agree that there are songs that shine on this album;

"A Million Ways"

"Dear Mr. Man"

"Marrying Kind"

"Cinnamon Girl" was good, but again, there's just this little bit of "off" that keeps me from truly LOVING the song.

shrug



...maybe if it were analog on vinyl...? : razz

By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of Purgatory!
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Reply #8 posted 11/01/13 7:39am

theblueangel

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JoeTyler said:

Life O' the Party is one of his WORST songs ever

and Reflection a rather weak ending (I always stop the album after Dear Mr.Man)

but other than that it was a true comeback and the tighest P album since TGE, Cinnamon Girl is one of his BEST SONGS EVER....

Again I'm amazed and tickled by how differently fans react to different songs!

When I first heard the album, I agreed with you about Life O' The Party...but then after hearing it several times live on the tour, I grew to really love it. True enough, it's not Housequake (what is?) but then again, it's no Box O' Chocolates (now THERE'S a stinker). I think Candy's singing is maybe a bit to shrill and high in the mix..almost makes my ears hurt. But otherwise it's a fun tune.

And Reflection: wow. Just wow. I can't get enough of this song, and it's one of the last time that I feel his lyrics were really relevant. I mean, I can just see him sitting on a stoop and playing his guitar every time I hear this. I agree with bashraka that the album track pales somewhat in comparison to the version he played with Wendy on the Tavis Smiley show...that, to me, is one of his most heartfelt performances of all time.

The one song on this disc that literally makes me want to vomit, and which I absolutely always skip, every time, is Cinnamon Girl. I find nothing redeeming about that track. The lyrics are trite, the melody sounds like a preschool sing-a-long...I dunno. Just does zero for me.

No confusion, no tears. No enemies, no fear. No sorrow, no pain. No ball, no chain.

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Reply #9 posted 11/01/13 8:02am

controversy99

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theblueangel said:



JoeTyler said:


Life O' the Party is one of his WORST songs ever


and Reflection a rather weak ending (I always stop the album after Dear Mr.Man)



but other than that it was a true comeback and the tighest P album since TGE, Cinnamon Girl is one of his BEST SONGS EVER....



Again I'm amazed and tickled by how differently fans react to different songs!

When I first heard the album, I agreed with you about Life O' The Party...but then after hearing it several times live on the tour, I grew to really love it. True enough, it's not Housequake (what is?) but then again, it's no Box O' Chocolates (now THERE'S a stinker). I think Candy's singing is maybe a bit to shrill and high in the mix..almost makes my ears hurt. But otherwise it's a fun tune.

And Reflection: wow. Just wow. I can't get enough of this song, and it's one of the last time that I feel his lyrics were really relevant. I mean, I can just see him sitting on a stoop and playing his guitar every time I hear this. I agree with bashraka that the album track pales somewhat in comparison to the version he played with Wendy on the Tavis Smiley show...that, to me, is one of his most heartfelt performances of all time.



The one song on this disc that literally makes me want to vomit, and which I absolutely always skip, every time, is Cinnamon Girl. I find nothing redeeming about that track. The lyrics are trite, the melody sounds like a preschool sing-a-long...I dunno. Just does zero for me.


Pretty much agree with you, theblueangel.

Life o the Party is actually pretty witty and fun. "He don't play the hits no more plus I thought he was gay" and "all the purple hippies bang your head on the one" are classic. Candy singing the hook messes it up a bit. She's a great saxophonist, but an average singer at best. The live versions were cool. It's not the greatest song in the world, but I definitely enjoy it.

Reflection is a great song with cool lyrics. I actually like both the Tavis Smiley and album versions about the same amount. Sitting on the stoop, playing guitar, watching the cars go by -- I love it, some great, down to earth imagery.

Cinnamon Girl is arguably the weakest track. The lyrics are fine by me, but the melody is just terrible and song sounds really, really thin.
[Edited 11/1/13 8:10am]
"Love & honesty, peace & harmony"
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Reply #10 posted 11/01/13 8:23am

tricky99

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I consider "Call my name" to be classic Prince. And love it as much as any ballad he is ever produced. There is absolutely nothing dull about it for me.

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Reply #11 posted 11/01/13 9:33am

djThunderfunk

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Marrying Kind came up on shuffle on my iPod yesterday. Still don't like it.

neutral

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Reply #12 posted 11/01/13 10:02am

djThunderfunk

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01 - Musicology - Classic. One of his better James Brown clones. Strong opening.

02 - Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance - Nice funky little jam, sounds like NPGMC stuff to my ears.

03 - A Million Days - Don't like it at all.

04 - Life 'O' The Party - Not very good, but NOT worst on the album. I like the rhythms & vocals.

05 - Call My Name - Not bad, but, been there, done that, so, not excited.

06 - Cinnamon Girl - Not feeling this one.

07 - What Do You Want Me To Do? - Not interesting.

08 - The Marrying Kind - Not feeling it.

09 - If Eye Was The Man In Ur Life - Okay, but not special.

10 - On The Couch - Nothing too original here either, but, digging this one. Better than #5.

11 - Dear Mr. Man - One of the best tracks on the album. Some clunky lyrics. Not classic but really good.

12 - Reflection - like the song more than the recording. I'd remove just about everything but the guitar & vocals. Weak closer.

.

Overall, horrid production. Too loud, sounds harsh, frequencies clipped & distorted. Too busy, many of the tracks have too much going on, much of it just doesn't work for me.

.

I like about 1/3 of the album, ho-hum about 1/3, dislike 1/3.

-

In my not-so-humble opinion, of course...

wink

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Reply #13 posted 11/01/13 10:12am

nayroo2002

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"Musicolgy" is one of the greatest, untouched singles from Prince.

I mean to say there was no reason for an extended or remixed version.

Non-hardcores loved it. A real shame there was no proper single.

(ok, an extended version would've been cool!)

"I,C,P.&C." is nothing for me. Cool gated guitars, but nasty vocal dilivery-

"A Million Days" sounds muddy and forced.

I know i'm probably one of the very few who don't like it.

(The classic Prince-scream at the end is great, though!)

"Life O' The Party" is actually a fun song. The live version with the James Brown back-track obviously couldn't be used on the album, but the programming on the studio version is a different direction. Maybe that's why it isn't so loved???

"Call My Name" came out at exactly the right time when people still thought he wasn't 'Prince'.

A great R'n'B song that unfortunately had no proper single release.

"Cinnamon Girl" strangely received a worldwide single. I think two versions!

The message was also right on time. I'll just say this>>>

I'm glad Prince decided against whammy bars as of late!

"The Marrying Kind / If I Was The Man In Ur Life" cannot be seperated!

(ala "In2 The Light / I Will")

Actually, the run of songs from "What Do U Want Me 2 Do?" to "On The Couch" should all be one track!!!! All perfectly sequenced with no flaws, as far as i have heard since almost a decade!

"Dear Mr. Man" is a slow groover with a semi-awareness. The album slows down...

"Reflection". Personal. Beautiful.

.

That's my two bloody cents!

.

Prost!

"Whatever skin Ur in
we all need 2 b friends"
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Reply #14 posted 11/01/13 10:30am

bashraka

nayroo2002 said:

"Musicolgy" is one of the greatest, untouched singles from Prince.

I mean to say there was no reason for an extended or remixed version.

Non-hardcores loved it. A real shame there was no proper single.

(ok, an extended version would've been cool!)

"I,C,P.&C." is nothing for me. Cool gated guitars, but nasty vocal dilivery-

"A Million Days" sounds muddy and forced.

I know i'm probably one of the very few who don't like it.

(The classic Prince-scream at the end is great, though!)

"Life O' The Party" is actually a fun song. The live version with the James Brown back-track obviously couldn't be used on the album, but the programming on the studio version is a different direction. Maybe that's why it isn't so loved???

"Call My Name" came out at exactly the right time when people still thought he wasn't 'Prince'.

A great R'n'B song that unfortunately had no proper single release.

"Cinnamon Girl" strangely received a worldwide single. I think two versions!

The message was also right on time. I'll just say this>>>

I'm glad Prince decided against whammy bars as of late!

"The Marrying Kind / If I Was The Man In Ur Life" cannot be seperated!

(ala "In2 The Light / I Will")

Actually, the run of songs from "What Do U Want Me 2 Do?" to "On The Couch" should all be one track!!!! All perfectly sequenced with no flaws, as far as i have heard since almost a decade!

"Dear Mr. Man" is a slow groover with a semi-awareness. The album slows down...

"Reflection". Personal. Beautiful.

.

That's my two bloody cents!

.

Prost!

"Musicolgy" is one of the greatest, untouched singles from Prince.

I mean to say there was no reason for an extended or remixed version.

Non-hardcores loved it. A real shame there was no proper single.

The version of "Musicology" that Prince and The NPG played during the Musicology album simulcast at Webster Hall is one of the funkiest songs he has played this century. That band was on fire that night.

3121 #1 THIS YEAR
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Reply #15 posted 11/01/13 10:47am

JoeTyler

MattyJam said:

JoeTyler said:

Life O' the Party is one of his WORST songs ever

and Reflection a rather weak ending (I always stop the album after Dear Mr.Man)

but other than that it was a true comeback and the tighest P album since TGE, Cinnamon Girl is one of his BEST SONGS EVER

the beginning of the Bronze Era, certainly not as good as the Golden Age, but without the horrible mistakes/sins of the Silver Age...

Presumably the silver age is the mid to late 90s??? Does the fact that you refer to it as silver and Musicology as the beginning of the bronze age mean that you rank his mid to late 90s work over his 00s output? After all, a silver medal is better than bronze...

[Edited 11/1/13 4:47am]

Silver Age: 1990-2003

and yeah, it produced some of the THE worst P music but also some of his BEST

tinkerbell
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Reply #16 posted 11/01/13 11:43am

LondonIrish197
0

I think that he went through a very patchy few years and all of a sudden out of nowhere I heard Musicology on the radio and wow. A real return to form for me, I rate this song very highly and love playing it. I was always going to buy the album on day one, as usual, but I didnt expect it to be this consistent.

Today I still play it a lot, start to finish and honestly love it all to varying degrees. No tracks are skipped when I put this on.

Difficult to pick a favourite but Musicology is up there and Reflection has always meant something to me.

I would rate this album at least 8 out 10.

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Reply #17 posted 11/01/13 2:34pm

thanks2joniand
u

bashraka said:

Great album to me. "Musicology" is Prince's best rhythm and blues album of his career, meaning that the full breadth of Black music (gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock) is represented in the CD and as an artist, no other artist has performed these idioms with as much passion and understanding of its attributes more than Prince. 1/3 of the album was performed by Prince's then backing band of (Rhonda, Renato, John, Maceo, Candy and Greg) and a special guest appearance of Sheila E. When I heard Sheila E was on the album, I thought she would have a singing part, but her on shaker for the song "Dear Mr. Man" was cool to.


After albums like "The Rainbow Children", "One Nite Alone", "N.E.W.S.", "Musicology" is a pop album with mature themes and a mature attitude. Contrast this album with "Rave" which was his previous major label album, he sounded like a dude who studied the artists on "TRL" and "106 And Park" and tried to narrow his appeal to the youth market. "Musicology" for a pop album has Prince's best songwriting at least since "The Gold Experience".

I never understood why "Life O' The Party" was derided as much as it is. Prince's quips about media and fan criticism were pretty witty ("He don't play the hits no more", "Thought he was gay", "I aint never had my nose done") and the groove is cool. Prince's vocal harmony in unison with the horns playing the same part is just like Prince. The back half of the album is perfectly sequenced.

"What Do U Want Me 2 Do"-good downtempo tune about resisting seduction from a young woman to a married man

"Marrying Kind"-great arrangement of Prince's power chords and NPG Hornz. Very EWF-like. I could imagine Maurice White singing this tune.

"If I Was The Man In Ur'e Life"-Prince playing bass with John and the horns. Again tight songwriting and killer jazz improv interlude with Prince, John and Renato

"Dear Mr. Man", good blues number with somber lyrics. Didn't like some lyrics but I could hear Prince's sincerity about the thing he described in the song. (Dear Mr. Man from Webster Hall is unbelievably soulful!)

"Reflection"-Is the best song on the album. I believe this song is 100% autobiographical and heartfelt. The melancholy music matches Prince's wistful lyrics. Its only fitting that Prince played the instruments on this tune: the song is highly personal and the lyrical idiosyncrasies are uniquely Prince. When I saw him perform the song on "Tavis Smiley Show" it was absolutely beautiful. The studio version isn't as good as the acoustic version but the message is just as evident.

All in all, a great effort from P. The hype surrunding his induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, performance with Beyonce at the Grammys, his appearances on the talk show circuit made 2004 a memorable year. "Musicology" for me, is a capsule that documents his early roots in funk and his growth as a songwriter and performer.

This "review" REALLY makes me want to love this album. I remember getting a free copy from the concert in Cleveland and listening to it on my way home after the show...I was SO disappointed by it. It grew on me a bit more but some parts of the album seem a bit forced or rushed.

Excellent insight of the album though. It makes me want to dig it out and listen!!!

[Edited 11/1/13 14:35pm]

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Reply #18 posted 11/01/13 3:12pm

thedance

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Great :

01 - Musicology

02 - Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance

03 - A Million Days

04 -

05 - Call My Name

06 -

07 - What Do You Want Me To Do?

I like these... cool

but.... I am not that happy with the rest of the songs.

Worst :

Cinnamon Girl & Life O' The Party... barf

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #19 posted 11/01/13 3:14pm

thedance

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^ Musicology is "ok".... half a decent album..

The 3121 album is even worse, imho... and Planet Earth... = yuck..!

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #20 posted 11/01/13 4:19pm

Tittypants

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luv4u said:

Fantastic album from beginning to end. thumbs up!

disbelief This is exactly why I can't take anything you say seriously. You like everything Prince has done. neutral

[Edited 11/1/13 16:44pm]

الحيوان النادلة ((((|̲̅̅●̲̅̅|̲̅̅=̲̅̅|̲̅̅●̲̅̅|)))) ...AND THAT'S THE WAY THE "TITTY" MILKS IT!
My Albums: https://zillzmp.bandcamp.com/music
My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/zillz82
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Reply #21 posted 11/01/13 4:36pm

1725topp

From the moment I heard "Musicology," I loved that single. The rest of the album is very good also. As such, I loved Musicology then, and still do.

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Reply #22 posted 11/01/13 5:37pm

Se7en

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That era was very enjoyable for me. I loved the album (especially after some very "lost" NPG and NPGMusic Club years"). Are there some subpar songs, sure. But overall it's a fun, concise album.

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Reply #23 posted 11/01/13 11:07pm

kewlschool

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Not a fan of Life O the party. But I like the rest.

99.9% of everything I say is strictly for my own entertainment
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Reply #24 posted 11/02/13 2:19am

JoeTyler

LondonIrish1970 said:

I think that he went through a very patchy few years and all of a sudden out of nowhere I heard Musicology on the radio and wow. A real return to form for me, I rate this song very highly and love playing it. I was always going to buy the album on day one, as usual, but I didnt expect it to be this consistent.

Today I still play it a lot, start to finish and honestly love it all to varying degrees. No tracks are skipped when I put this on.

Difficult to pick a favourite but Musicology is up there and Reflection has always meant something to me.

I would rate this album at least 8 out 10.

yeah, I can see that, overall, europeans/british people liked Musicology/3121/PE a lot more than the american fans...

tinkerbell
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Reply #25 posted 11/02/13 3:59am

TyphoonTip

Unlistenably loud.

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Reply #26 posted 11/02/13 4:10am

JoeTyler

TyphoonTip said:

Unlistenably loud.

hmmm. perhaps your remote control needs batteries?

tinkerbell
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Reply #27 posted 11/02/13 5:41am

Whitnail

avatar

From the perspective of his 90´s output Musicology is a strong album. Like one poster mentioned earlier, it was part of new age (bronze age) in P´s career. Musicology was the album that got me back into his music, after a term of absence resulting from the woeful output in the late 90´s ie RAVE. The unfortunate thing for me was I missed out on TRC album and tour because of that.

I know TRC gets hotly debated and divides opinion on here but for me it is one of his best works, alone from a musical point of view, I would rate TRC as one of his 3 strongest albums. I back up this claim with the sheer quality of the ONA tour. Apart from the regrets of not getting to see Lovesexy and SOTT in concert, missing out on the ONA tour is a huge regret of mine. Thankfully there is some great material capturing this tour out there. The other consolation I have is that it was hardly surprising to go awol after that dreadful RAVE 2000 DVD.

What happens in the 2010´s era remains to be seen...

If it were not for insanity, I would be sane.

"True to his status as the last enigma in music, Prince crashed into London this week in a ball of confusion" The Times 2014
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Reply #28 posted 11/02/13 5:57am

TyphoonTip

JoeTyler said:



TyphoonTip said:


Unlistenably loud.





hmmm. perhaps your remote control needs batteries?


My remote won't change the mastering.

Perhaps you need to broarden your definition of loud.
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Reply #29 posted 11/02/13 7:23am

djThunderfunk

avatar

JoeTyler said:

TyphoonTip said:

Unlistenably loud.

hmmm. perhaps your remote control needs batteries?

I think he's saying that the it's been mastered too loud and the frequencies have been compressed. As I was saying, the album sounds harsh, clipped & distorted.

confused

Nothing to do with playback volume...

EDIT: Sorry, Typhoon, I hadn't noticed you already said that.

wink

[Edited 11/2/13 7:25am]

[Edited 11/2/13 10:04am]

REEFER MADNESS!
Joe Biden still thinks marijuana is a gateway drug:
https://www.businessinsid...t-2019-11/
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