Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1985 album Around The World In A Day by Prince And The Revolution, but should this album have a one-way ticket to the bin? Read on…
This 9 track album opens with the weird high-pitched space pan-pipes of title track Around The World In A Day and is swiftly followed by a squeal from Prince. The bass drum is heavy and unforgiving, whilst that weird set of painful pan-pipes continues through the track. Thankfully, the backing vocals help to hold the track together, making the chorus section quite catchy. There’s many layers of instruments here, and Prince just about manages to sing over the top.
Paisley Park follows this, and there’s electric guitar that roars into this song, although it eventually stands down. Here, Prince’s vocals are far clearer and stronger, although his vocal and lyric style reminds me a bit of David Bowie narratives. This song is pretty catchy, and was released as the album’s second single, but only in the UK. It reached #16.
Up next is Condition Of The Heart which opens with rumbling drums, fast-paced light piano and another space-synth. This gentle introduction continues until about 1m 33s when it goes a bit nuts before breaking out again into a more structured song. Prince doesn’t arrive until 2m 39s, and he aims high for what is essentially a rousing piano ballad with the synths from 1985’s Doctor Who cliff hangers.
This is followed by lead single Raspberry Beret – one of the few Prince songs that I can remember, despite only being a moderate UK hit – reaching #25. The beat, the melody and lyrics are perfect. It’s catchy – especially the chorus.
A round of snare drum introduces Tamborine, and is rapidly followed by funky bass guitar and a range of squeaky backing vocals from Prince. There’s little else here in this track apart from Prince’s vocals aside from some minor percussion. I don’t even think there’s a tamborine here – it sounds like an egg shaker.
America opens with some sampled beats and guitar before seemingly throwing down a dance beat. Electric guitar roars over the top for a while before turning into something that sounds a bit disco-pop. Whilst it was the fourth and final single from the album, it did not chart in the UK.
Up next is Pop Life, the third single from the album. After a brief return of that space synth, we get what feels like a simple piano and guitar song. This song is very 1980s sounding – but so it should be. It’s also pretty catchy too, but it stalled in the UK at #60.
Sad strings open The Ladder, before switching to a very sluggish tempo and beat, which sees Prince talk over the top in some kind of sermon style until the chorus where he breaks into singing with his backing vocalists. The song feels a little too loose.
The album closes with Temptation and its roaring guitars set alongside some huge vocal roars from Prince himself. This is a full-on rock number, although at times it reminds me of the vocal style of 90’s band Space. Obligatory 80’s Saxophone has a key role here, and it sits perfectly alongside the chugging guitars and Prince’s fierce vocals. The song pretty much drops out at the 5min mark, allowing piano and long bass notes and surprise sax to take over, as Prince gets breathy about ‘sexual temptation‘ and ‘tasting the wetness‘. Prince seems to beg with some deep godly voice near the end who tells him to die – and Prince is instantly tortured by Obligatory 80’s Saxophone, shrieks and dies (i’m not making this up).
Where is Prince now?
Prince has continued to achieve intermittent chart success in the UK, having huge hits with Alphabet Street, Batdance (from the 1989 Batman movie), Gett Off, Sexy MF, and The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.
After a dispute with record label Warner Bros, in 1993 Prince changed his name to the unpronounceable ‘love symbol’ after frustrations that he felt his label had trademarked his name. He eventually left the label.
He returned to the name Prince in 2000.
Since then, he appears to have taken full artistic control of his name, music, videos and his approach landed him a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 for his ‘visionary’ use of the internet – being the first artist to release an album online in 1997.
In 2013, he began touring and promoting new material with new backing band 3rdEyeGirl. In 2014 he announced he had re-signed with Warner Bros, allowing his successful Purple Rain album to be re-released in time for its 30th anniversary, and him to take control of his master recordings.
Prince released his 38th studio album HITnRUN phase one in 2015.
He was sadly found dead in an elevator in April 2016, having died of an overdose. The circumstances of his death, and the heirs to his estate, has been an ongoing source of legal dispute.
Since his death, the grip on the audio and video recordings has loosened, allowing old and new fans to celebrate his work and discover or re-discover his music videos and purchase or stream his music digitally from mainstream services.
POP RESCUE RATING:
Over all, this album is a difficult listen. Yes, there’s some masterpieces here – Raspberry Beret being the pinnacle of that, and Pop Life almost cuts it too.
The rest feels self-indulgent, a little cluttered, and as if this is where b-sides go to die.
- POP RESCUE 2015 REVIEW RATING: 2 / 5
- 1985 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #5
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.25 from an eBay seller.