“I DON’T THINK IT REALLY MATTERS IF IT AIN’T ON A STAGE.”
Living legend, enthusiastic performer, and musical genius are just some of the phrases used to describe Prince. Art Official Age, his 34th LP, only adds justification seeing how he has two albums releasing on the very same day.
Let’s start from the bottom up. Art Official Age finishes the exact opposite of how it begins. It ends with “affirmation III,” sequel to “affirmation I & II,” which lands midway through a declaration of self-actualization that gracefully exhibits an actualized theory. The album begins with “Art Official Cage,” a track about the pros and cons of an arts and entertainment based world. Prince goes from 100 to 0 in a matter of 13 intensely necessary tracks.
Prince does things just as authentically as he’s always done in the past, with a band, with real instruments, and with real songs. Conceptually, there is so much to look forward to. The inevitability of the air guitar or the air drum is what makes this project so steady. The humor behind “THIS COULD BE US” and “BREAKFAST CAN WAIT,” the funk in “Clouds,” the devastatingly heartbreaking vocals in “BREAKDOWN,” and the flow in “U KNOW” is just as important as the other. Every track is musically in perfect sync and you can feel the love put into it.
There is no denying that this man loves what he does, that he loves making music, and that the bottom line of his legacy is the music. Art Official Age is contradictory because Prince’s art is ageless.
Art Official Age is the calm that engages the audience and takes its time. You can freely jam out, cry, or just sing along. This is what it feels like when music is ahead of its time, this is what happens when music is so richly filled with gravity that it holds you in place.
Is Prince’s legacy important to music? What did you think of ‘Art Official Age?’ Let us know in the comments.
*This review of Art Official Age is based on the 13-Track Standard Edition.
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