Prince

3121
Universal

To those in dreamland I say: face it, the Purple history's great but it ain't gonna happen again. Ever. The man who made Purple Rain (or even 1991's Diamonds and Pearls) is gone, dead, never to return. In his place is this good boy Jehovah's Witness who has with 3121 made his best record in many years. Too bad it's come out just as Warner Bros. have released the two disc best-of, Ultimate Prince.

No, nothing here reaches a boil like "Baby, Do Me" but "Black Sweat" may make your nooks and crannies, ah, grow a tad moist. "Fury" is almost a worthy successor to "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man." Old school in both its soul (the ballad "Satisfied") and funk variations (the jam "Love"), the albums over all vibe will connect with longtime fans. And probably with the younger set who've always wondered what all the fuss was about.

Sonically, it's all a little squeaky and clean, kinda like his 80's records, but then depending on your opinion, that's part of the charm. In "The Word," he loses serious points for using the word "saved" and getting' all tingly in bed because of a higher power (eewwww!), but at least he's not a Scientologist and the music here is not the stoopid mess his last several records have been. And c'mon, a little toned down, over pious Prince is better than none at all.

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