CedricCed| November 11 2014
Arts Official Age is funky, groovy and most of all a signature Prince album. Ok, that means it is better than anything released in the last four years. This serves as a follow-up to the lukewarm 20Ten released in 2010. Sonically every track serves purpose in supporting the theme of “freeing the people” from the Art Official Age. Prince delivers his most poignant and fulfilling album since 2004s Musicology. Prince released this album through Warner Bros Records, choosing against independent distribution this time. This new age should be thankful and appreciative to witness Prince in his most creative state of mind.
Freeing his mind to heal the people behind a modern piece of jamming production “Art Official Cage” is a killer start to the album. The lyrics also hit home: “I woke up in the city in a bitter of rage\To try and free my mind from an art official cage.” The synths and synthesisers benefit this record in a massive way. I dare you not to dance.
In the dreamy “Clouds” a tutorial is given on how to treat a lady,”You should never underestimate the power of a kiss on the neck when she does not expect.” In this brand new age, Prince says, “we do everything quick fast in a hurry.” One of the clear highlights of the album for it is infectious hook. The next song “Breakdown” is the albums most beautiful introspective ballads. In his high pitch tone, he pleads, “Every book I read, said I would meet somebody like you| Whenever I was sorry so for the things i used to do.” The passion screaming through the vocal is the perfect emotion behind the song.
“This Could Be Us” is the another notable record from Art Official Age. On this very sexy tune behind a lovely piano organ where Prince flows the best vocally giving another passionate vocal saying “You’re the cage to my dove\Only one i been dreaming of|Forever and Forever.” The repetitive hook is instant and very reminiscent of Prince songs we’ve heard in the past.
The radio-ready “Way Back Home” is a beautiful song where Prince is ” trying to find his way back home.” The earnest vulnerability in the vocal has Prince in a light that shines brighter than a diamond. Equally parts are uplifting, and introspective creating this as a standout from the rest of the pack. Moreover, just when we think the album is about to run out of steam a breakthrough happens in the next track.
Easily the most fun time is on a very “get turned up” song “Funkroll.” Prince produces a beat over an 808 beat, unapologetically giving the best surprise near the albums end. A force is inside the lyrics and production granting all permission to attempt the new future dance called the “Funkroll.” A hit if I ever heard one before!
So Art Official Age is vying for my favorite album of the year. It is a rarity to receive an album from musical legend, Prince. Furthermore, it is a very cohesive album full of classic records to hold us over until we meet again. Embrace the message given of freeing one’s mind from Art Official Cage.
Grade: 95= A+
Art Official Cage Best: “Way Back Home”, “Funkroll”, “Art Official Cage”, “Clouds”, “Breakdown”, “This Could Be Us”, “Time”, “Breakfast Can Wait”