Prince – Around the World in a Day

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“Raspberry Beret” is pop perfection, and I love the backing vocals adding oomph to the choruses and the string hook that seems to come dancing out of it right after; like being trapped in a candy store with the shopowner’s daughter, the girl of your dreams, and you have to kiss and stuff to pass the time. And … “Paisley Park” has some undeniable back-and-forth melodic movement, and that’s more than I can say about any of the other songs (including the oft-quoted highlight “Pop Life”). But yeah, this is his worst album of the 80s, and a lot of people have tried to justify Around the World In a Day as Prince doing some misguided Beatles/Paisley-inspired left-turn into weirdness; “It’s bad, but it’s different” or whatever. Except: other than the formless flute of “Around the World in a Day,” none of this qualifies as (or even tries for) psychedelia. It’s just bad music, plain and simple: “Tamborine” is completely ignorable despite the breakneck tempo; the lyrics of “America” are probably the reason so many people despise the country; “The Ladder” builds slowly until Prince’s enthusiastic vocal (2:32) where it proceeds to do nothing else for another three minutes; “Temptation” has some of the most unnatural saxophones you’ll ever hear, as well as ending in some re-enactment between God’s smiting of Onan or some other inexplicable bullshit (you remember: the one where God killed a man for being forced to fuck his brother’s widow and ended up spilling his sperm when he couldn’t go through with the rape?).

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