Review Summary: Apparently looking to emulate the success of his female products of the Revolution era, Prince offers his name to yet another protege who just isn't worth it.
It all started with, and should have mercifully ended with, Vanity 6. Vanity 6 was a Prince-sponsored novelty group in the 1980’s that somehow produced a high charting song with “Nasty Girl.” Apparently Prince was emboldened by the success and, when Vanity departed the group to become a born-again Christian, he sought another female frontwoman to be his next protégé. Out of what can only be quantified as sheer desperation, Apollonia Kotero filled Vanity’s shoes, and a legacy position was born. For nearly 30 years, Prince has been trying and failing to use his success as a launching pad for struggling, young women who he deems funky enough to be his next young star. By 2009, with his best years obviously behind him, Prince was still trying to use himself as a launching pad for- apparently- anyone that knocked on his door.
Enter Bria Valente, a saucily named Minnesotan with absolutely no talent. She also happened to be Prince’s girlfriend at the time production started on Prince’s double album “LotusFlower/MpLSound.” Through a thought process by Prince that can be best described as “because I said so, duh” a third album featuring Valente on vocals was added to the already packed bill. Regardless of the lack of foresight, you can’t really blame Prince. Kotero enjoyed a rather decent career after appearing in Purple Rain, and Vanity obviously had a huge hit, so it would appear to not be a poor decision…
Except it was. Elixir makes it abundantly clear that the success of Prince’s old charges was the backing music. The musical arrangement of Elixir amounts to Prince blandly strumming power chords and a no-name producer throwing down the blandest club-inspired beats ever to come out of NPG Studios. None of this benefits Valente, who frankly needs all the help she can get. She’s far from naturally talented, and the layers upon layers of auto-tune to mask her tone deafness just muddle the already needlessly churned mixture. Her lyrics are droll and obviously written with the intent of appealing to the same women that still worship Prince and presumably read romance novels- all of her songs are dripping with seductive rolls of the tongue and sexy double entendres that would make a 6th grader groan. It all amounts to little more than a cash-grab that Prince probably made as a favor to his girlfriend; and serves as proof that love does in fact conquer all, even integrity.