It’s a long way to the end if I want to jack you off. Year four of my approximately thirty year crusade to revisit and document each Prince album annually. I’ve so far found that His first two albums, unfortunately, really don’t stand up to modern scrutiny, but his third album ‘Dirty Mind‘ was as demonstrative a mark of His genius and as revelatory an LP in 2020 as it was in 1980. That album reached #7 on the year end chart and, fair warnings, we’re going to see a fair few of his following albums do the same, as that masterpiece officially kicked off one of the greatest run of albums any artist has done, ever.
While ‘Dirty Mind’ is much lauded over and intensely debated to this day, and His fifth album frequently joins it on lists of greatest albums ever (as does His sixth. And His seventh. And His eighth. And His ninth. And occasionally His tenth. Probably not His eleventh though), His follow up and fourth album ‘Controversy’ doesn’t get anywhere near the same attention. It seems to be looked upon as merely a transitional point between Prince really nailing down the style and the look on ‘Dirty Mind’ and then later finding the right mix of invariables to make him the biggest star in the world.
‘Magdalene’, despite it often raising both the tempo and intensity, sounds like one, thirty nine minute cry of exasperation. Isn’t this enough? Do you all somehow want more? Didn’t I, as it were, do it, if you will, for, one could argue, you?
FKA Twigs is looking at the consequences of her labour, both emotional and physical (something something fibroid tumours something something “fruit bowl of pain“), and is at once incensed and dejected that it’s seemingly all been for nothing. Her sacrifices in the past mean nothing now and she’s not the one who gets to decide how she’s perceived. No matter how much she learns to love herself, her body, and whomever else decides to share that love at certain points, they can all turn against her at whim and make all of this adoration seem wasted. “Sure, Alex”, I hear you craw, not deigning the situation important enough to stop shoving food into your fat mouth as you speak to me so that with every vowel sound I can see disgusting mushes of Tangy Cheese Doritos swirling around your decaying teeth, “you’re an amazing, Pulitzer-Prize level writer and I, for one, am enthralled, but what’s this all got to do with Mary Magdalene, that tart with the heart who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair, the filthy tramp, and who Dan Brown tells me painted The Last Supper, or something?”
So Kanye ditched ‘Yandhi‘, which was late in its production and looked like it might become very worthwhile, to instead work on a completely new album. OK. I mean, switching projects completely so rapidly and frequently might not bode well for general standards of quality, but who am I to speak about artistic methods? I do this list every year and yet still manage to never let the quality slip below pelvis shattering power, so I’m sure lesser artists like Kanye will be able to ensure standards are still high. And it’s a gospel album?! Well colour me intrigued! Perhaps Kanye will be able to put similar spins on (and analysis of) the genre as Chance the Rapper did on ‘Coloring Book‘! Back when Chance was good! Perhaps, in the future, we will look back on ‘Yandhi’ as Kanye’s ‘Black Album‘, Prince’s mythical 1987 album that he allegedly dropped work on after experiencing a spiritual epiphany while on pills* and decide to instead focus on the gorgeous paean to the struggles of good over evil (and, y’know, shagging) that was ‘Lovesexy‘. Perhaps something happened to Kanye similar to Prince coming up and seeing the light. Kanye West doesn’t take good drugs though, guy has far too much upper body tension, so it’d be an experience more suited to him. Maybe he saw someone else wearing leather jogging pants- his invention!!- and it just pushed him over the edge. Maybe he realised the president he’s such a fan of is an unashamed racist and wants many of his fans removed from the country. Hard to say. Perhaps ‘Yandhi’ will finally receive a proper release in 7 years time and people will be ever so slightly disappointed
(*described as a ‘bad experience on MDMA’ in the Wikipedia article, which, hehehe, no. Taking a pill and then deciding to drop the darker work you’re doing in favour of positive stuff that tries to bring love to everyone isn’t a ‘bad experience on MDMA’, it’s just what happens when you take pills)
“The idea that if once we got rid of religion, all problems of this kind would vanish, seems wild. Whatever may have been its plausability in the eighteenth century, when it first took the centre of the stage, it is surely just a distraction today. It is, however, one often used by those who do not want to think seriously on this subject”