Music From Grafitti Bridge (Paisley Park/Warner Bros. 27493)
I think that Graffiti Bridge will end up being considered one of Prince's very best records. Unlike the more calculated "party" stylings of The Black Album, this album is more akin to 1999 in simply being a party itself. So many different moods, but never losing the groove.
The great thing about Prince is that he never half-asses anything. I mean, it's easy to knock a song like "Round And Round" out of the park, but Prince sounds just as committed to "Elephants & Flowers" ! It's like whatever he's doing at the moment, he is all about that. He sounds particularly inspired with this set of songs, or maybe it's the company: Mavis Staples, The Time, Tevin Campbell.
It's very likely that the guest stars obscure the fact that this is most definitely a Prince record. It's a frequently passed over title in the Artist's catalog, but I think it will endure long after, say, The Gold Experience has sunk to the bottom.
At nearly seventy minutes, maybe a few tracks could have been trimmed ("Tick, Tick, Bang," I'm talkin' to you), but there's no point in complaining. We love Prince precisely for his commitment to dumb crap as well as to the high and mighty.
Even when he rewrites his own songs, both songs usually end up working (take a listen to "Shake!" and think about "Cream." Both great songs, and they're the same!). This is a bargain bin classic that deserved better.
Review by Nelson Rogers