Review Summary: Although not quite the masterpiece of 'Purple Rain' or 'Dirty Mind', 'Prince' provides a perfectly reachable stepping stone for the universal critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success he desired, deserved and later achieved.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
After the release of his debut album 'For You', Prince was barely clambering his way into the universal critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success he would later receive. And whilst, his self-titled second studio album 'Prince' displays evident artistic growth, achievement and a higher level of mainstream success, it still falls somewhat short. None-the-less, it provides a reachable stepping stone to the recognition he indefinitely desired to reach and deserved.
Adopting a more mainstream sound of pop and funk, fused with elements of disco, 'Prince' begins with 'I Wanna Be Your Lover'. It proves to be almost irresistible, with a catchy, danceable hook and simple, easy to sing along lyrics. It is without doubt one of the highlights of the album. Receiving radio airplay, charting for two weeks atop the R&B singles chart and reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, it is arguably worthy of more success. Containing some explicit sexual lyrics, we could expect no less from Prince.
'Prince' continues with the new wave/dance infused 'Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?' and the disco/funk merged 'Sexy Dancer', both of which in no way dampen the upbeat beginning. Likewise, they are of skilled arrangement, containing simple lyrics and a catchy beat. But provide little evidence of brilliance that one might hope for.
The album reaches it's flattest point with slow, mild ballads 'When We're Dancing Close and Slow' & 'With You' (particularly the latter) which are ever reminiscent of his lacklustre debut. But to no dismay, for 'Prince' recoups with 'Bambi'. Kicking in with a striking beat, thrilling guitar work, and a minuscule yet powerful grunt, we reach another highlight. Contrary to the rock vibe, the lyrics are somewhat gentle, as Prince convincingly expresses his love for a woman, and attempts to entice her with his apathy and guilt. Prince's light, high-pitched voice adds consistency to the track, bringing the various aspects together, for an exceptional piece of work.
Following this heavily based rock track, 'Prince' returns to it's preceding sounds, as we are subjected to two more love-songs. Majority of which consist, once again, of Prince's vulnerability, naivety, and his search of love. It's interesting to see Prince's attitudes to women, other than as simply objects to satisfy his desire for sex, which he expresses particularly in the succeeding 'Dirty Mind'.
'Prince' climax arrives with 'It's Gonna Be Lonely'. The track is sublime, beautifully arranged, intricately composed, convincing and emotional lyrically. It really is a treat to be devoured.