The Royal House of Musicology
With a career spanning almost 30 years, one would think that Prince’s songwriting and sound would easily stick to one era. Not so with Musicology, his most recent. Prince once again proves that he is as modular as music itself. While the album maintains its “Prince-ish” flavor and signature vocals, Prince has also managed to use sounds that pull him firmly into the 00s.The album starts with the funky Mo-Town-ish “Musicology,” setting the pace for an album full of hip relaxed beats and signature sounds. The funky sound continues through much of the rest of the album, interspersed with sexual innuendo-laden ballads such as “Call My Name” and “On The Couch.” “Cinnamon Girl” is a catchy pop tune, one you could swear you’d heard the chorus from before elsewhere, but may not be able to place. With its catchy melody and electric guitar embellishments, Prince shows he still has mastery over the instrument. “What Do U Want Me 2 Do?” is R’nB flavored, but uses synths in a way that non-intrusively revives the eighties.
The funk returns in full effect with “Dear Mr. Man,” a groovy man-of-the-people refrain, on which Prince showcases more of his electric guitar stylings. The album ends with “Reflection,” another Mo-Town infused tune, but with a beat and acoustic guitar that give it a more modern spin.
I won’t presume that Prince attempted to create an album that spans multiple decades and appeals to all of them, but from the sound of the album that presumption isn’t far off. For the most part, Prince succeeds. Musicology is fairly cohesive, an accomplishment for such an eclectic artist.