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Prince - Musicology - Sony Music In the 1980’s, if it wasn't Madonna or Michael Jackson, then it was Prince all over the radio and MTV. He sold nearly 100 million records worldwide during that time, churning out hit after hit that we’ve grown to know and love – from 'When Doves Cry to Let’s Go Crazy' to 'Little Red Corvette' and even 1999. And it feels like he never went away.For his changing his name to that cryptic symbol and becoming ‘The Artist Formerly Known As’, his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, and even his recent performance with Beyonce at the 2004 Grammy’s (which provided the show's biggest buzz) has kept him forever swirling around in our minds.

Musicology is the name of his latest effort – and at first listen it sounds pretty good. The album’s first single is the title track itself, and it managed to get itself into the top ten on many radio play lists. The album itself debuted at number #3 on the US charts. Lean and minimal but with pronounced airtight grooves, the musician once again fuses the spiritual with the carnal, but has turned down the heat quite a bit since becoming a Jehovah's Witness. Social conscience is felt throughout the record - from tracks like 'Cinnamon Girl' speaks of innocent people who were discriminated against in the aftermath the World Trade Center attacks to his preachy 'Dear Mr. Man' that seems to quote straight from the good book. Still, the 12 tracks are easily the man's most consistent work in a decade or so as Prince eases himself comfortably into middle age and seems to be trying to get back into his element. Still the album clocks in less than 47 minutes, probably not enough time for you to get reacquainted with the man and his music. A relief or maybe a curse - there are no overt funky hip-hop experiments here, no guest artists, just a man with his guitar and keyboard trying to recapture his youth.

The verdict? There's nothing really to get excited about on Musicology - it's simply average Prince music. Of course it’s much better than the last couple of albums he released, but it lacks the innovation and funkiness of his earlier stuff like 'Dirty Mind', 'Purple Rain' and 'Sign 'O The Times' - you get the drift. If you’re one of those who like the hip-hop and R&B that’s out there today (read Beyonce and Outkast) – you’ll probably love this album. Long time fans that grew up with 'Purple Rain' and the like – this probably won’t do anything for you. You’re better off getting the decade old greatest hits double CD set.

Read our other reviews:

Keane - Hopes and Fears       Hanson - Underneath       Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand       Voyage 3- Various Artists      


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