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Prince”s “Hit N Run: Phase One” Reviewed

Whatever happened to 3rdEyegirl? Was that only in 2014, a year before Prince’s 2015 penultimate album in his lifetime, #41 Hit N Miss Phase One, which would be followed by Phase Two three months later. Phase Two was the end back in December 2015, Prince would pass on five months later. So this is the beginning of the end and say what you will, despite the “Let’s Go Crazy” intro, it sure doesn’t feel like the end of the road. Hit N Run Phase One, a Josh Whedon (the 25 year old husband of 3rdEyedgirl’s drummer, also missing in action) co-production in  this odd somewhat experimental at least in how it taps into EDM album.

Unable to buy it when it was first made available for streaming on Tidal, I subsequently gave in and currently subscribe to Tidal and the first thing I did was get seriously used to the album, and it isn’t bad. The bangerz bang and while there isn’t enough of Prince as Russell Thompkins Jr., “June” seems to promise it, and the excellent 1992 vintage “1000 X’s & O’s” -those two end the album on a high note, but double back to the beginning and it is still pretty good. “Million $ Show” is a strong little sound fuck, “Shut It Down” uses hip hop values for a nothing track, and, to answer the music question raised earlier, here is 3rdEyegirl making a guest appearance on the wily rave up “Ain’t About To Stop” featuring Rita Ora.

It is the middle of the album where things misfire, they sound weird and experimental but not really very good, maybe it is the drums that are going wrong, the beats are pasteurized out of existence and the funk never settles in: “This Could Be Us” fails to sizzle or funk, the horns on ‘FALLINLOVE2NITE” are too tinny and manufactured to signify in any real sense. Everything surrounding the album isn’t up to its job, in trying to stay in step with the zeitgeist Prince makes a mistake: if he wanted to make an electronic dance album he could have easily called in just about anyone and everyone, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Weldon isn’t up to it.  It is a misstep that sunk the album when it was first released, though now we know the end was near it has within it a sentimentality, better mediocre Prince than no Prince at all,  any day.

Prince in his heyday had no fear of computers, technology, any of that stuff, and so he certainly was cool with electronica, but he wasn’t great at it and Weldon wasn’t the man to give him what he needed.

Grade: B

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