317: Muse 2 the Pharaoh

The Rainbow Children (2001)
The falling ash of the album’s opener settles into a steady, soft-jazz groove for track 2, where the softest caresses of electric piano, bass and drums dust a spacious landscape for the layered vocals to roam freely in any direction they choose. Muse 2 the Pharaoh has all the ingredients to become the most achingly beautiful slow jam in his whole canon but this is Prince at peak piety and a AAA pass allows him to realm into confusing remarks about the Holocaust, slavery and NATO. The lyrics are cryptic enough to glean your own message, causing some fans to get angry at their personal interpretations, but regardless of the artist’s intent, no-one relishes hearing genocide referenced in a soothing ballad. This is Prince though and as The Max informs us, you tell him to walk a straight line and he’ll put on crooked shoes. It’s his party and he’ll sermonise if he wants to. If you prefer your Prince laced with scripture and History Hot Takes instead of naked lust then Muse 2 the Pharaoh could very well be your Insatiable. But for the rest of us, it’s not hard to tune out the message while still absorbing the gentle Fender Rhodes ambrosia.