The Beautiful Experience EP

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Just when critics, and even some devoted fans, thought that the artist still generally known as Prince didn't have another hit single in him, along came "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," a dreamy slice of soul-pop in the style of Delphonics mastermind Thom Bell. The success of "Beautiful" was not just a creative triumph. As his first independent release, it was also a major blow for Prince the businessman. So he decided to celebrate with this elaborately packaged remix EP. There are several reasons why The Beautiful Experience is more satisfying than your typical club-oriented grab bag. The Artist saves the original single version for last, so the remixes feel like a musical exploration leading to a final, climactic discovery. The delayed gratification model works especially well because, rather than farming out his baby to here-today-gone-tomorrow remix gurus, he keeps his place behind the boards and laces the six new tracks with repeating themes and motifs. Thus, he patiently builds up anticipation for the single until the music becomes the kind of seduction that has always obsessed him. As always, it's astounding to sit back and listen to the man demonstrate his offhand mastery of styles as diverse as house, electro, down-and-dirty funk, and slow-jam soul. And the song itself is the real deal: a timeless (albeit minor) classic.

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