497: Art Official Cage

Art Official Age (2014)
In 2014 two new Prince albums were simultaneously released, heavily enshrouded with the usual media spiel as a return to form. You’ve been burnt before but the press is all “fo’ realz this time” so you have hope in your careworn heart. A hope that diminishes during the artless rock of Plectrumelectrum and sinks completely when this Art Official Age opener begins. A new plateaux has been reached. Prince has gone full Eurovision. You should never go full Eurovision. And if you switched the album off at that point and unflinchingly walked away, not looking back at the exploding fireball that is Prince’s career you would have missed his most creative, interesting and damn right listenable album since 1995’s The Gold Experience. Hell, even more so. What follows track one is such refined, purple genius that repeated exposure worms this eurodance pastiche into your soul. It’s ridiculously bombastic. I stand corrected – you should never go half-measures Eurovision. Crowd noise. Electronic hand claps. Ricardo Da Force style rap. The whole shebang. And just when you think he has emptied the entire Eurovision toy box, the pyrotechnic operatics kick in, followed by 16 bars of dubstep, Egyptian guitar and a waterboarding sketch??? The song buckles under the weight and shuts down like HAL 9000 singing Daisy Daisy. Istanbul plunges into darkness as the Israeli lightshow trips the city’s power. Douze points!