«The only one I could have played with my whole life was Miles Davis. He taught me that music was a solitary journey into an unexplored wilderness. Sometimes, he said, we come across people with whom we share a part of the path, and then we set off alone again on the dunes. »*
Hello, young Padawan
When it comes to our music section, and even though we have covered some great classics, I usually try to approach things from an angle other than expected. Already, it’s funnier, but also and above all because many only know this or that artist through this or that single, or their this or that album, and that’s a shame.
Today, let’s take a look at one of my all-time favorite artists through one of his latest albums, far from being the best-known.
This guy was a legend, one of the greatest guitarists of all time, with a legendary voice with one of the richest tones, a multi-instrumentalist, and a stage beast who worked solo but also with numerous groups and musicians you do not see. However, I left you a clue during my last article: Graffiti Bridge. Still not?
Yes, of course, Mister “Purple Rain,” the “Kid” from Minneapolis, or more simply by his real name: Prince.
PlectrumElectrum, by Prince and 3rdeyegirl.
3rdeyegirl is the name of the band of musicians who participated in developing this album. Formed by Prince, 3rdeyegirl is an American funk rock band from Minneapolis, composed of Hannah Ford on drums and vocals, Donna Grantis on guitar and vocals, and Ida Nielsen on bass.
This opus was released in 2014, simultaneously with his great solo album “Art Official Age,” marking his return to the major Warner eighteen years after his departure. We were two years before his death, and he still managed to release two other albums in the meantime, which I also recommend to you. These are “HITnRUN” vol. 1 and 2, but let’s return to PlectrumElectrum, which means “pick,” for those not in the guitar deal.
The collaboration project was announced a year before the release of this album. Prince released a few tracks here and there on his different platforms as the recordings progressed. A return to Warner also means a return to a more commercial dimension. Although super cool, several songs were not selected, like Boyfriend or Screwdriver. If my memory serves me correctly (of course it does, ed), the second was retained on Hitnrun Vol. 2, and she’s awesome.
Finally, a quick aside for any trolls who might venture to tell me that Prince is not one of the greatest guitarists of all time. First, let me listen to what you do best, and let’s have a laugh. Let’s click, for example, on this link and listen together so I can see the tears running down your cheeks, of emotion, and so much beauty. Beauty is universal regarding a talent as undeniable as Prince’s, period.
PlectrumElectrum, the album.
Now, let’s move on to the songs on the album. Prince always made his albums the old-fashioned way, and coming from me, this is not a criticism but a sign of excellence. So, what does an “old-fashioned” album mean? Well, it’s simple: it’s an album that is to be listened to from the first to the last song, in order, like the time when we had vinyl or cassettes (and that time is coming back, for me great happiness, ed).
The album thus becomes a work in its own right, which tells a story, immerses us in the artist’s universe, and not a vulgar succession of soulless ready-to-buzz singles. Yes, this is a judgment.
When we listen to a Prince album, even more so from his post-Warner period, we press “play” and let ourselves be guided by the artist’s chakras. I would even dare to say that we allow ourselves to be penetrated by the universe of Prince, but I know that many of you will see very different degrees of reading there, a bunch of little rascals, so let’s stick to the third eye since it’s is in the theme.
As for all artists who take the trouble to create a real work composed of several titles, I am providing you with the link to the entire album here so that you too can experience this moment, and let’s go a little below in the detail of one or two sounds that touched me the most (still no pun intended) here and there (there either!).
Are we talking about the superb vibrations that reign over « Pretzel body logic », « Fix u’re life up » or « Funk n roll », about the great solo on « Ain’t it turnin’around » « Another love » and « Plectrumelectrum » (and many others!), about the fluidity of « White caps », about the charm and emotion brought to « Another love? » No need, we listen and let ourselves be carried away by the genius of Prince added to the undeniable talent of the girls, quite simply.
Just a word about Another Love, though: the guy doesn’t like people to cover his songs because he prefers people to create their own music, and in principle, he’s right. Especially since I’ve never listened to a Prince cover that was better than the original, but that’s just my humble opinion. This is also partly why we are pissed off musically today, for that, and reasons of harmonic simplifications, but that is not the subject (if this perspective interests you, I invite you to discover this great YouTube channel here, but it’s in French).
But when he and his band cover a title like « Another love » by Alice Smith, it objectively tears the house apart. Even your mother will move in her kitchen to the rhythm of this sublime cover because I remind you that she experienced the Purple Rain years, so she has it in her blood much more than you, dear Padawan.
I was asked recently, at the end of the evening, you know, those metaphysical questions that you discuss with friends when the wine is almost gone, and so the question was, “If I had to choose only one artist to listen to until I die, who would I choose? “—just one and not two. Well, afterward, I prefer these kinds of questions to the “Do you prefer?” Game. You know, like, “Would you instead drink vomit all day or have foam legs? “.
First, I thought about my favorite metal artists, and it was impossible to decide between them. Especially since, for a lifetime, you shouldn’t choose an artist who has only released two albums. Otherwise, you’ll be pissed off. And there, I started to think outside my rock-metal circle; I thought of Jazz, I then thought of Motown, then of Funk, and there appeared to be an artist who dabbled in funk, indeed, but also pop, touched on jazz and had a lot of fun with rock. From sad to funny, provocative, or poetic, it seemed obvious to me. Yes, if I had to choose just one artist to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be Prince. And you?
That’s it for today; I hope to have given you a good musical time, perhaps even make you discover or rediscover this album outside the ranks, indeed, but all the same part of the work of this major artist whom we miss so much. Luckily, he left us a good thirty albums to listen to, and even more, since the guy was so inspired that his legendary vault at Paisley Park would contain enough recordings for us to listen to a new song every every day for two or three years. Amazing!
I wish you an excellent New Year’s Eve, may it be musical and joyful. Let’s connect our souls like a jack in a guitar, in order to gain strength in this collective momentum to face the coming year, but, for now, we’ll see you next Thursday.
The author of this quote is obviously Prince, but I didn’t wanted to spoil the plot for you…