“Plectrumelectrum” is more rock-oriented than “Art Official Age,” and richer as well; a crowd-pleasing arena-rock binge.
“Wow,” with its grand refrain, is a lesson on the right way to open an album and sets the bar for the rest of “Plectrumelectrum.” Its message of a beautiful drug addict in denial is an unexpected twist.
“Another Love” also weaves a venomous message. As he cries out, “The greatest living soul, you’ll never know,” Prince is defiant in his bitter testament to lost love.
The hard-rock hooks on the title track riff a bit off the first half of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean,” and the instrumental only gains strength.
Monster ’80s guitar chords and rhythms, including roiling chunks of downright hot funk, all dominate “Plectrumelectrum” ’s master-blaster sound.
The album is also full of sensitive, beautiful melodies. The country-tinged female vocals for “Whitecaps” float effortlessly on a contemporary wave, while “Stop This Train” is a delicate love duet set to a reggae beat.
Prince’s vocals sound just as good as they did five, 10, 15 albums ago, but now he’s got an extra edge to his messages of sensual love and social awareness.
If some felt Prince needed to shore up his title as the royal authority on dance, pop, funk and rock, “Plectrumelectrum” is here to shut them all down.