AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN
review no 181, by Imogen G
I’ve been feeling for a while that it is more or less impossible to pick a “best” US musician, as (along with the UK) the USA has dominated popular music basically for ever, or certainly throughout my lifetime.
Then I started listening to Welcome 2 America, the “new” album by the late, great sexpot performer Prince, another of 2016’s sacrificial lambs. Combined with Brexit and Trump, and with the losses of Bowie and George Michael book-ending the year, no wonder “fuck you 2016!” has become the exclamation of choice in our family, no matter the year. I feel lucky to have seen Prince perform live here in London, though it was a few years after his 80s heyday (2007 to be precise).
Welcome 2 America is made up of material that was recorded in 2010, but which Prince did not deem worthy of release – rather than having been salvaged from old filing cabinets and down the back of the sofa as I had expected. It’s actually really good, much better than anything he put out for release in the last 15 or 20 years of his life, and there are a couple of stand-outs on there, plus some unexpected and not unwelcome politicising on the eponymous track and others, including 1000 Light Years from Here. My husband noted that the track Stand Up and B Strong is distinctly cheesy, with the feel of a rousing finale from a stage musical, or perhaps a Year 6 leaver’s concert, while another track seems to channel ’80s Lionel Ritchie. Nevertheless, although Welcome 2 America lacks the raw sexual energy of Prince’s earlier (and best) work, it’s well worth a listen.
To round off, I thought I’d compile a little list of my top 7 Prince songs:
- Purple Rain: I didn’t love this when it came out, and the film was frankly confusing – unsurprisingly, given it came out in 1984, when I was 10. But it’s grown on me over the past four decades!
- When Doves Cry: this is my preferred track from the Purple Rain album, a beautiful classic.
- Nothing Compares 2 U: Gorgeous track. He’s got the moves, too.
- Raspberry Beret: Worth inclusion for the vid alone.
- Gett Off: “let me show you that I’m a talented boy”, pure filth, with an excellent high-energy dance routine.
- Cream: with a 6 minute video, almost 2 minutes of which are taken up with shots of erm yeah Prince licking cream off the fingers of sexy ladies.
- The Beautiful Ones – another Purple Rain classic.