As you've undoubtedly heard, earlier this week 89.3 the Current got their hands on an unreleased track by Prince, "Cause and Effect," and was given permission to debut it on their station. Understandably, the station was ecstatic about the opportunity, and have been hyping it up all week on air and on their site -- and guys, we're happy for you too, but after listening to the song this morning as it debuted on the station and then again on their website, we started to scratch our heads.
When the Current announced that they would air Prince's new track, the release was steeped in hyperbole, saying that the new song featured "a musically re-energized Prince," who was playing with "a vengeance unheard by the majority of his fans in years, or at least since that Super Bowl performance in 2007."
To our ears, this track is on par with the songs off one of his most recent albums, Lotusflow3r; in other words, there are some promising moments and a killer guitar solo, but there are also laughable, flat-out cheesy spots that kept us cringing throughout the song.
This is not the mental image that we want in our heads when listening to Prince's latest "rock anthem."
Our reaction to the song was immediate and strong. We were horrified. Not only is there fake applause and cheering, but the five-minute track has so many different sections that it's hard to imagine it took very much time to slap together. The funky, distorted guitar of the intro has promise, but it immediately transitions into a hokey rockabilly guitar part and a chorus line shouting "hey HEY hey HEY hey HEY!"
Did we mention that the chorus line sounds like the cheering button on a Casio keyboard, and not actual voices?
Once we've endured the first segment, we're taken into a breakdown that, again, shows promise -- the distortion is back on, and it sounds like something amazing is about to happen. Maybe a guitar solo? Yes, it's a guitar solo! This is what we love most about Prince, he's an amazing guitarist! But wait, what is that? WHAT IS THAT NOISE.
Fuck. It's more fake crowd noise. Oh boy. The crowd's really going wild now. Prince must be getting a really high score on this round of Rock Band.
After a very brief, promising moment where Prince is singing into a distorted voicebox, it's back to the jaunty rockabilly, fake-shouting section, this time with someone growling, and then it builds up to the final guitar solo, and the solo is really amazing, but we can't really focus on the notes BECAUSE THE FAKE CROWD NOISE IS BACK. And then he's out, with one last chipper "Causeandeffect!"
We started laughing as soon as the song was over. But the DJs on the Current? They ate it up! They said that it was so good, they couldn't even find the words to describe it, and that they couldn't wait to play it several more times today! Are we missing something? Did we listen to a different song than they did?
It's totally and completely understandabe to be excited that Prince is back in town, that he's showing up at First Ave shows and hanging out at Envy and releasing new tracks to the local radio station. Maybe Prince will get his mojo back now that he's living in the Twin Cities, inspired by the overwhelming glow of our pale, white February skin. But we're not doing him any favors by eating up every little morsel of nonsense that he sends our way. Prince may be the most famous musician in Minnesota right now, but not everything he does is gold (hell, that Vikings disaster is not even a distant memory), and we don't have to pretend that it is.
"Cause and Effect" is a half-baked song filled with gimmicky, over-the-top moments. C'mon, Prince. We know you can do better than this.