The Friday Five: April 2, 2010

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

This week, I’m letting the music do the talking!

“You Really Got Me” by Van Halen (from The Best of Both Worlds, 2004)

“When I Come Around” by Green Day (from Dookie, 1994)

Apparently Prince doesn’t want anyone to hear this next tune. Probably a good thing, I’m just sayin’…

“Home” by Bria Valente (from Elixer, 2009)

“No Ordinary Love” by Sade (from The Best of Sade, 2001)

“Heard It on the Radio” by The Bird and the Bee (from Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall And John Oates, 2010)

What’s on your shuffle today?

Ick’s Pick (Week XIII): Prince’s LotusFlow3r Set

This week, Michael joins me for a joint review of Prince’s new 3-cd set, wherein we discuss 2 out of the 3 cd’s in back and forth rapid-fire style. It’s incredible! Enjoy! – Pete

Michael: I should say at the outset that this is pretty damned critical, and that in reality I’ve had these records on repeat since Sunday…

Pete: Show of hands, who bought the CD set at Target and still hasn’t removed the Bria Valente disk? I guess it’s truly not 1985 anymore, when I would voraciously devour any Prince-related project put out in a store. But it looks like Bria will have to wait. I’ve got two new Prince albums to play with.

By the way, where was Bria during Prince’s big publicity week? Three Leno appearances and three shows in Los Angeles, and not even one appearance? Strange. Beautiful strange.

Pete’s Quick 21st Century Prince Album Review Disclaimer: There is nothing Prince will ever release again that will tap into every fiber of my being like he did with his 80’s output. I – and a lot of others – have a very special relationship with Dirty Mind, Controversy, and Purple Rain; with Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sign ‘o’ the Times, and Lovesexy – and all of the B-sides and outtakes and “related artists” of that era. The guy’s got a huge mountain to climb to ever match those records. It can’t and won’t happen. So having said that:

Here’s a song by song look at the two new albums…


1. “From the Lotus..”

Michael: Prince has been listening to too much Santana.

Pete: I hear ‘Rainbow Children’ Redux in this opener. The jazzy groove sounds like it’s sliding right into P’s 2001 album. “Just like the SUN!…”

2. “Boom”

Michael: Indistinguishable backwards vocals in lieu of a proper chorus, ever so slightly auto-tuned vocals and wah-drenched leads give the record a kick in the pants to start. Dig it.

Pete: Agreed. LOVE the guitar and the voice effects. Prince has been tweaking his voice since what – “Erotic City”? The result is always odd & interesting. I’ll take it. Now we need to grab the vinyl so we can play the chorus backward (I mean forward)…

3. “Crimson and Clover”

Michael: I just jotted down “Meh” in my notes. I preferred when he saved covers for his aftershows (only).

Pete: I like it, BUT – I only compare it to the Tommy James original, which I adore. And when P rewrites the lyrics, it’s distracting (like his cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”). Cool songs to cover, but he’s tweaking classic songs. Sure, he’s “Prince-fying” them, but in then end, I just want to return to the originals.

4. “4Ever”

Michael: It just sounds like it belongs in a Disney movie. The major progression with the big chorus… it just doesn’t do it for me.

Pete: Funny, I thought along the same lines. It sounds sanitized and safe. “I can be your future lover / and you can be my future girl.” Prince singing that? Come on, give me the “International Lover” instead.

5. “Colonized Mind”

Michael: “All Along the Watchtower, Part II”? I realize I’m being overly critical here, but this just reads like a bitter old man bitching about getting duped with a record deal (2nd verse) in the middle of a perfectly honest social commentary.

Pete: Nice vibe, but you’re right, Michael. Who really wants to keep hearing Prince bitch about record deals in 2009, besides Prince? We get it, you were a slave to the industry. Boo record execs!

6. “Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful”

Michael: I like this one better live, good song though.

Pete: Not the most memorable of the bunch for me. Emancipation, disc 3. Love the synth though.

7. “Love Like Jazz”

Michael: He’s done jazzed-up funk so much better than this.

Pete: This one grabbed me from the first time I listened to it. I think it had a lot to do with hearing it first while I was driving at night. I love the da-da-da-da da-da-da-da “horn” part that pops up throughout the song. Real horns? Wish I were smart enough to distinguish. Liner notes would’ve been nice. Do I need to pay $77 for those?

8. “77 Beverly Park”

Michael: Three instrumental tracks? Really Prince? It’s not bad, it just reeks of ‘filler’ to me. She’s laughing, right?

Pete: Sorry Michael, I’m fished in on this one. I’m a sucker for his purty instrumentals like “Venus de Milo”, “Alexa de Paris”, and “The Sensual Everafter”. And nope, no April foolin’.

9. “Wall of Berlin”

Michael: I wish I knew who was playing drums on this one. Alas no liner notes to give credit where it’s due.

Pete: How could he fade out in the middle of that drumming madness, right when it’s heating up? This one had me crying for a “Wall of Berlin” extended 12” maxi-single, but P don’t do those no mo’. Good song – a smooth, flowing chorus, funky to rockin’ tempo changes. Cool lyric: “Not one for rituals but one thing I’ve found / everything’s better when u come around”.

10. “$”

Michael: With shades of “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” this is the first track on this record to live up to the hype for me. The guitar tone is dope as hell and the horns coming in to sweeten up the deal make this the standout track for me.

Pete: The money reference had me thinking back to his other “$” song: “Love or $”, the B-side to “Kiss”. I’m not sold on it yet, but this one will be a long term keeper, I can feel it.

11. “Dreamer”

Michael: Obvious Hendrix nod does not do anything but uplift this power-trio banger. I’d love to hear this one segued live out of “Papa”… yeah, I know… I’m dreaming.

Pete: I’m thinking of the same era – “Dreamer” would have fit quite well on P’s Undertaker project, sandwiched between “Poor Goo” and “Honky Tonk Women”. Jimi’s spirit is alive & kickin’ hard.

12. “…Back to the Lotus”

Michael: I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the NPG Operator…

Pete: I like this ending though. Whatever voice alteration gizmo he’s got going here is right up my alley. It’ll take me 120 more listens to figure out what he’s saying. Or should I pay $77? (Hey subscribers, are there lyrics & liner notes in the purple kingdom?)


1. “There’ll Never B (Another Like Me)”

Michael: I’ve been rockin’ this one since it made its appearance on the Lotusflow3r site. Sure, it’s got a bit of New Power Soul in it, but come on… this is so dope!

Pete: Bring in the 80’s drum machine! You have to think Prince had fun on this album, revisiting the technology he used during his most innovative period. Yeah, this tune is fun, harmless funky Prince.

2. “Chocolate Box”

Michael: I don’t even miss him being dirty if he’s gonna bring the funk like this. Q-Tip drops a classic guest verse on this one. More positive use of auto-tune here, I dig when it’s used tastefully. Pop this one on before “Sleep Around” and you’ll get some asses wiggling.

Pete: “Wherethadrums”? Bringing the funk indeed. If any song this decade has begged for old dirty Prince, this is it. This needs some cussin’ up! I mean, heavy breathing Prince with no “come here baby and let me #*@ your $&#… mmmm, yeaahh”?? And yay for Q-Tip.

3. “Dance 4 Me”

Michael: Would not have been out of place on Parade. Dig it so hard!

Pete: If you’re hip to the old school, this one reminds you of Zapp’s “I Can Make You Dance”. This one has 80’s B-side written all over it.

4. “U’re Gonna C Me”

Michael: I’m a sucker for this brand of mid-tempo syrupy goodness (I will readily admit that “Future Baby Mama” was my favorite track from Planet Earth.) I liked the version on One Night Alone, I love this one.

Pete: Classic Prince falsetto lovey dovey time – complete with the “Beautiful Ones”-type drum sounds.

5. “Here”

Michael: Layer upon layer of layer of vocals, springy acoustic guitar, this is straight out of the 80’s purple cookbook.

Pete: Nice. Laid back. A spoken interlude where Prince pleads: “just believe in me and trust this ride”. Whoever you are, Prince wants you there. Stat.

6. “Valentina”

Michael: Funky to a fault. Can you picture a 16 year old Valentina Paloma Pinault listening to this… “Mama, why’s Uncle Prince hitting on you in a tune with my name?” Priceless.

Pete: Yeah, I’m slow. I’ve listened to this tune about a dozen times, and it took me until today (from Michael’s full name drop above & Google) to figure out that this is about Salma Hayek and her daughter Valentina. I’m slow. Very slow. Salma Hayek:”Curvier than a Fender Stratocaster guitar”.

7. “Better with Time”

Michael: Mmm-Hmm. Grown folk’s music!!

Pete: Another one that sounds like an Emancipation outtake. Not an early favorite at all. Whatever happened to the Prince slow jams that were fun as hell to sing along with? “Adore”, “Scandalous”, “Insatiable”, “Do Me, Baby”… how am I supposed to sing along in the shower to this one?

8. “Ol’ Skool Company”

Michael: Dig it… the new MPLSound. Put this one on repeat.

Pete: Enjoyable, but it seems like he’s trying a little hard on this one. He got the point across in the funkier “Musicology”. But it’s cool to hear him name drop Cee-Lo, Maxwell, and Christina Milian.

9. “No More Candy 4 U”

Michael: Would anyone be surprised if he admitted to pulling this one out of the vault circa 1982?

Pete: Nice closer. A quirky dose of pop-funk. But the underlying theme of the song is Prince’s disdain for others, including: *gasp* “all the haters on the internet / nobody’s lookin’ at you / no more candy 4 u / they got your number now fool”.

In Closing

Michael: I certainly have connected with MPLSound more than LotusFlow3r straight off. As with previous multiple disc Prince efforts, this could have been easily edited to a stellar single disc. The guitar heavy LotusFlow3r just seems indulgent when standing on its own. Don’t get me wrong, even a bad Prince record is still a good record, and for all of its faults it has truly redeeming qualities, I just happen to subscribe to the camp that he needs the editorial voice that he’s sorely been lacking in the last decade or so. MPLSound on the other hand is the record that I think most Prince fans have wanted to hear. When “F.U.N.K.” reared its funky head last year it was like a breath of fresh air. This record delivers on the promise of that track (albeit with less piss and vinegar) and a willingness to revisit his past a bit. Overall, I’ve been consistently more pleased with this offering than the last two. Well worth the $11.98!

Pete: I can’t even say I’m leaning more toward one than the other at this point. Like Michael, I’ve spent the entire week keeping them on constant rotation – and I discover new things and enjoy them more each time. I haven’t been able to do that with a Prince album in a while. His last three albums – Musicology, 3121, and Planet Earth –have their good moments, but I never felt like hearing them as a body of work over and over again. MPLsound and Lotusflow3r are both solid bodies of work in their own right. Could Prince have knocked it down to one album? Probably. But he’s one prolific dude in the studio, and he has his vision. This particular vision is packaged in a $11.98 3-cd set sold exclusively at Target.

A solid set overall. Now please Prince – get the show on the road!

BUY the LotusFlow3r set | Visit:

Video for “Chocolate Box”, feat. Q-Tip:

Prince on Leno

[Yo – If you’re looking for the May 28th appearance (“Somewhere Here on Earth”), click here]

For anyone up past the nightly news the last couple of nights, you may have caught Prince on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Wednesday night was funk night, as P. pulled out “Ol’ Skool Company”  from his new Linn-driven funk album MPLSound. Last night was guitar night, as we saw the man absolutely shred sh*t up on his Strat with “Dreamer” – which comes from another new one, the guitar-driven Lotusflow3r.

We still have tonight, and if playing one song off of each new album is his M.O., then tonight we’ll see his new lady, Bria Valente. Her new album, Elixer, has been panned in every review I’ve read – sort of like an album full of safe, cheesy Pussycat Dolls ballads. BUT, I haven’t heard it, so I can’t judge quite yet. Look for my take on the new releases in next week’s Ick’s Pick.

If you want the new albums now, and if you’re ready to part with $77, you can head over to and pay your money down right now. Or, you can be like me and wait til Sunday, when the three albums are released at Target for $11.98.

The Leno appearances are still riding the Youtube waves as we speak. It probably won’t be long, so catch ’em while you can…

Prince – “Dreamer” – Leno, 3/26/09

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Prince – “Ol’ Skool Company” – Leno, 3/25/09

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Update: And here’s Friday night’s performance – the funk was flowin’…

Prince – “Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful”- Leno, 3/27/09

–dead link–

My Name is Prince, and I am…

… still trying to confuse, frustrate and alienate my fans!

Seriously man, the decision makers behind this triple album / deal must be smoking a lot of good weed up there in Beverly Hills, because they’re moving…very… slooowwwlyy. We’re a few days away from March, and this groundbreaking venture called – where he’s supposed to be offering up his three new albums – Lotusflow3r, MPLSound, and Bria Valente’s Elixir – has yet to see the light of day. It was back in early January when the site launched, and Prince said in an interview that the new music would be hitting his web site and a big box retailer “as soon as the holidays are over”. Maybe he’s talking St. Patty’s Day as that milestone holiday? If so, only a few more weeks! does have some activity. The latest out of this world, cutting edge features:

  • A mini television that can be clicked on to reveal a butterfly floating through Prince’s futuristic mini-fantasy land for 30 seconds.
  • A fake newspaper article touting how “Prince’s LOTUSFLOW3R Oscar Bash is the talk of the town”, with some links to a few external entertainment sites with reviews from the night. (P’s random cover of the night: Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle”). $100 at the door. Show started at 1:45am, and wrapped up around 3:30.
  • A photograph of Bria Valente, shooting a video on the beach.
  • A closeup of Bria Valente’s face. Pretty girl, yes.
  • A side shot of a grinning Bria Valente starting into the distance. Okay, enough!
  • An interactive “ticket” where you can fill in your First Name, your Last Name, and your Email Address to sign up for “updates”. I’ve been signed up for several weeks, and still not a peep.
  • And three little cassette tapes that are playing snippets of one song each: “Colonized Mind” (a slow guitar-driven track from Lotusflow3r), “Discojellyfish” (80’s synthpop/funk from MPLSound), and “Another Boy” (from Bria’s new record, it’s a smooth, zzzzzzzzzzzzz).

Other than that, you can enjoy the view of clouds floating through blackness.

Am I being impatient? Or does this guy just not know how to market his music anymore? At the very least, he could be taking some of these individual songs and making them available for purchase somewhere. Prince loves him some $$$, and there’s plenty of folks like me ready to pay out for our fix, for better or worse. Just give us the opportunity!

I keep hearing how groundbreaking this is going to be. Well, I do believe it’s time. Stop the hype and give us some substance. Rock us! Funk us up! Something! Anything! Kick these brilliant webmasters in the ass and give it to us!

Something tells me the little general’s Ego is about as big as the planet Earth out there in Hollywood, and that the poontang done clouded his brain. Again.

Snap out of it Prince! Oh, and get back out on the road, dude. There’s other people who are interested in seeing you besides Jamie Foxx, Penelope Cruz, and your Hollywood star-porkers. Thanks. updates…

Every day I’ve been cruising over to, Prince’s new web site, to see if there’s anything new. Well, it’s nothing earth-shattering, but we do have a few changes since yesterday…

First off, snippets of three new tunes have replaced the three previous. “Chocolate Box” is another selection from MPLS, Prince’s “old school” Pro Tools album, which I’m looking forward to the most. “A Colonized Mind” is supposed to play next, but at this point I hear only silence. That one I’m guessing comes from his second new album, Lotus Flower. The third is “All This Love”, which must be off Bria Valente’s new album, Elixir. Only about 30 seconds of each song are streaming…

Secondly, we have an itty bitty little ticket icon on the site. If you click it, you’ll see the ticket pictured here.  Looks like January 31st will bring us a show in L.A., or some other item up Prince’s sleeve that will cost $77.  Better than $777…  You can also enter in your name and email and sign up for updates.

Bria Valente: Prince’s New Talent

If you saw the Lakers-Celtics game on Christmas Day, you may have seen Prince in the crowd, next to an attractive brunette. A shocker, I know! Her name is Bria Valente, and while I hesitate to call her Prince’s Flavor of the Month, or 21 st Century Vanity, he has spent some time with her in the studio. The track is “Here I Come”, and has Prince written all over it. The lyrics, guitars, and every other piece of instrumentation most likely.

Brias bedroom eyes
Bria's bedroom eyes

My mind is not blown, but it has a nice, quiet storm feel to it. You can hear it on P’s new playground on the web: Not sure who the tech gurus are behind this venture, maybe Prince himself? That, or someone in need of a tutorial in 21st century web design. But have a listen, and look at a slide show of the lovely Ms. Valente.