Music » CD Reviews

Prince

Musicology (Columbia)

by

comment
74202.0.jpeg
Following Prince's show-stealing performance at the Grammys, some who remembered his fabled past wondered whether he could heal the fractured music scene with another shower of Purple Rain. Despite the hopeful signs -- from his return to a major label to the dial-flipping montage of old singles that closes the title track -- this is not that album. It is, however, the next best thing: a rethink of Prince's late '80s, early '90s period, when he'd traded pop flash for organic funk, but hadn't yet lost the plot to symbolism and allegations of slavery.

Prince remains unwilling to offer an obvious hit; the closest thing here is the soulful power-pop of "Cinnamon Girl," which alters the DNA of smashes like "When You Were Mine" with jagged guitar lines and inscrutable anti-war sentiments. But Musicology is Prince's most coherent and enjoyable set in at least a decade and a half, a single disc of effortlessly entwined rock and classic soul that replaces willful weirdness and excess with the reflections of an older, wiser artist who can finally acknowledge past glories, yet isn't ready to clone them. If it doesn't quite match his masterpieces, the sound of Prince's exile ending is still undeniably sweet.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.