The Vault – Old Friends 4 Sale
By: Eric Greenwood
Warner Bros. continues to flaunt its power over Prince by releasing another random collection of tunes intended for private use only, while Prince fights to get his master tapes back. The label hopes to cash in on the relatively bizarre backlash Prince has faced in recent years from the press by claiming this material to be “vintage Prince” and not music by “The Artist” or that symbol. This record is culled from sessions ranging from 1985 through 1994, so the styles are obviously diverse. There is a distinct jazz influence that rears its head on the extended remix of “She Spoke To Me”, a light, funky number in which Prince celebrates even the slightest bit of attention from a girl. The horns sound like the ones used on “Adore” off Sign ‘O The Times. Prince is jaunty and energetic, particularly on the ecstatic “Sarah”, but it’s all pretty much a misrepresentation of where The Artist is today.
“The Rest Of My Life” is the kind of tight, funky pop that Prince practically invented. Short, sweet, and to the point, the song kicks in with an infectious bass line and is then picked up by choppy horns and a jazzy piano bit. “It’s About That Walk” is the token horny number (a staple on every Prince record) saturated in brass and dripping with soul and sax. “There Is Lonely” and “Extraordinary” are classic Prince ballads, but the whole record feels exactly like what it is: an inconsistent collection of an artist’s private material. It’s all surface no substance. Don’t be fooled by Warner Bros.’ manipulation. The real Prince record will be released in November.