New Power Generation / Prince

New Power Soul

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Releasing two multi-disc sets may have been an audacious way to begin his career as an independent artist, but it did nothing to reestablish Prince as a commercial powerhouse. Perhaps that's the reason he released New Power Soul (credited to his backing band, New Power Generation, but it's a Prince album in all but name) a mere four months after his mammoth quadruple-disc Crystal Ball hit the stores -- it was time to release a concise, focused pop-funk record that proved he could still deliver. And it does, to a certain extent. New Power Soul is a tight, focused record, filled with energetic funk workouts and classy, seductive ballads. It's paced to entertain, just like one of his legendary concerts, and there's no shortage of well-crafted songs. The problem is, nothing stands out and makes itself known. Certainly, the album sounds great as it's playing, but it cements Prince's evolution from groundbreaker to craftsman. There are pleasures in his craft, to be sure, but in order to hear them, you have to be a committed fan.

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