Prince followed up “Purple Rain” with the less heralded “Around the World in a Day”. Some albums under-deliver, and some albums over-deliver, and I would definitely consider this to be an “over-deliver”. By this point, Prince was developing some odd approaches to his product and identity, and asked the record company to release the record with minimal fanfare. I only remember it is the album that had “Raspberry Beret” on it and not much else, but this listen revealed much more.
After singing the praises of “Purple Rain” as his best album ever, I was surprised how comparable this album was in quality, even if it didn’t receive the same hype. After opening with the title track, I absolutely loved “Paisley Park”, which besides being a funkalicious track, is also the name of his home and studio in suburban Minneapolis. “Condition of the Heart” opens with this long, cosmic instrumental info that makes me feel like I am back at the Galleria Mall in Orlando, staring at the massive monitors and their evolving imagery. Side one concludes with “Raspberry Beret”, which is a perfect pop classic by Prince that I love, and the edgier “Tamborine”.
Side two has three songs that I really loved as well. “Pop Life” has a great groove, and is a good carryover of the dance fun that Prince has given us for several albums, with a slower, driving beat. “The Ladder” is a slower beat, with a great hook, along with several signature Prince vocal riffs. The album ends with Prince crushing it on guitar with the eight-minute track “Temptation”, and I do think there is eight minutes of rocking to be had here.
This album is my son’s favorite Prince record, and it is very high on my list as well. It just reinforces one more time, how remarkably talented he was, even as he began to withdraw from the industry machine.