dirty martini

old music for new people

princespiration or just prince-piration? September 15, 2007

princespiration.jpg

since the mid 80s, prince has been an inspiration for many artists, across all genres. his signature sound is uniquely prince and hard to define – for those not lucky enough to work with him or be granted their own piece of purple magic, there was considerable effort behind emulating those tight, suggestive vocals, flirty lyrics, electric production and syncopated beats.

‘sounds a bit like prince’ is lazy music journalism these days but his influence has shone through, and to be awarded such a accolade is every new artists’ marketing department dream, with stevie wonder a close second.

check out some rare prince and some even rarer prince and some artists he actually wanted to share his style with.

here are some songs that make me think of prince when i hear them:

download here

black buddafly – sexyback

nasty delivery and those beats. the girls’ answer track definitely outsasses justin timberlake and their musical upbringing has clearly taken in some of prince’s sleazier joints.

britney spears – i’m a slave for you

the neptunes were most definitely channelling lovesexy when they produced this track for britney. christina aguilera may have stronger vocals but could never pull off something like this. ‘dirty’ sounds horribly dated only five years later.

chromeo – needy girl

dirty mind-era funk updated for the 00s.  the theme is vintage prince – obsession.

ciara and r.kelly – promise

i was sceptical when i heard the new ciara track sounded like prince. but she does appeared to have transcended her crunk beginnings quite successfully.

egyptian lover – freakaholic

if prince had made a track for a high school prom scene in a john hughes movie…i could see molly ringwald, anthony michael hall and co dancing to this – badly. could also have worked as the soundtrack to the african anteater ritual in can’t buy me love.

entouch – all nite

slinky graffiti bridge era prince ripoff. understated but more soul and less mechanical than the new jack sound that prevailed at the time.

michael jackson – in the closet

so you’re the king of pop, what more could you want? to be the prince, clearly. wacko shouldn’t attempt to be sexy cos we’ve also seen how that turns out. even certified shortarse prince would have looked more natural alongside naomi campbell in that video.

ready for the world – oh sheila

one of the first acts to jack prince’s sound, this lot had clearly done their purple homework. at the time their debut, bar this track, was dismissed as ‘prince-lite’ which will do nicely for me until we get some more unreleased 80s prince material from the vaults.

robin thicke – cherry blue skies

darling nikki meets the greatest song title prince never used for the parade soundtrack. robin sound a bit like camille too.

rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n

what prince might have sounded like if he had been signed to sony in the late 80s. so, a hell of a lot better than most of their artists. 

sterling simms – nasty girl

this would have slotted effortlessly into late 70s disco influenced prince sets.

unklejam – love ya

i’m not sure if any of unklejam are really old enough to have been influenced by prince unless their parents have been playing prince to them since a young age. which is commendable but not quite authentic. we don’t want a situation in ten years time where every new band sounds like watered down prince a la all guitar bands since 1994 and the rolling stones…

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new edition – the beginning April 24, 2007

you only have to say their name and ladies of a certain age melt. as noted by kanye west in ‘slow jamz‘, girl needs to hear some new edition if you’re planning to get lucky tonight.bobby brown, ralph tresvant, michael bivins, ronnie devoe, rickey bell, and later johnny gill, gave an entire generation of girls a standard of boyfriend to aspire to. before they wound up with broke ass players ten years later. how big were they? madonna was their support act on tour in 1983. they appeared in ‘knightrider‘ with the hoff.

their first single, ‘candy girl’ was my first ever record in 1983. a shout out to seven year old girls everywhere, we rejoiced as finally there seemed to exist boys who understood how we wanted to be treated.

whilst our infant school nemeses pulled up our skirts, yanked our hair and made us pretend to be princess leia, minus gold bikini, new edition made it clear they were up for playing kiss chase.

sadly boys grow up more quickly than you think. After two great albums, bobby brown left due to behavioural issues (cough) and started his solo career in 1986. johnny gill replaced him and the next two albums were lacklustre.

then, they found their groove at the turn of the 80s on the burgeoning new jack scene with ‘heart break’. due to contractual obligations leaving them an album short of their agreement with mca, they reunited in 1996 as grown men, and their 2008 regroup as thirtysomethings is imminent. not so much a comeback as a ten year reunion.

no matter how old they or I get – I’ll always be their candy girl.

ten sugary sweet new edition classicsdownload here

candy girl
the one that started it all complete with sonic whooshes, bleeps and tambourines.

popcorn love
the follow-up, not nearly as successful, but classic. get the feeling the boys liked their junk food?

cool it now
their only real low point as a band has been letting amish casualwear sweatshop gap use this 1984 hit in one of their insufferably smug adverts.

mr telephone man
smooth 80s boy soul at its best. nice use of late 70s wah wah sound. there are no words to describe how much i loved this song.

my secret
1985 hit from their second and best album ‘new edition’. ‘ooh! sparks begin to fly, lightning in the sky…’

leaving you again
recently sampled for ciara and bow wow‘s ‘like you’….took me ages to recognise where it came from.

delicious
surprisingly mature effort from 1985 ‘new edition’ album. was covered in the 90s by british soulsters don-e and deni hines.

can you stand the rain
lush ballad from ‘heart break’ with johnny gill on lead vocals.

crucial
uptempo hit from ‘heart break’ that showcased the boys transition into new jack swing dons.

hit me off
the lead single from the 1996 comeback. slotted effortlessly into the mid 90s bumpy r&b scene.