141: The Truth

The Truth (1998)
I’ve never been a fan of acoustic singer-songwriter albums. Well, that’s not true; in my teens I went through a Dylan phase and a Melanie phase, trying on my dad’s and my mom’s idols on for size. Neil Young is still a thing now. But generally with every modern album of that ilk I’ve fallen asleep by track 3. The two exceptions are Fink’s Biscuits for Breakfast and Prince’s The Truth. I like to think that’s down to their superior songwriting but it could be the leftfield studio effects that nudge the tiller away from your average stone circle or open mic night performance. The Truth begins with the best intentions. Before its opening title track, Prince clears his throat to let you know this is live and intimate y’all. Raw, unpolished realness. Just you, him and his guitar. And the pretence is kept up for a good ninety seconds before his trigger word “time” has him reaching for his beloved ticking clock sound effect. “Just the one” he tells himself and “that doesn’t count” a few seconds later when he lets out a little digital flutter. The end of the track is in sight, he nearly makes it, but the abstinence proves too much and the digital dam breaks with a scream that rips a hole in the spacetime continuum. That’s not a synth wash you hear, it’s a portal into the seventeenth dimension of Blues. And now Prince is suddenly singing about moving back to Neptune. You don’t get that with Jack Bloody Johnson.