Must Have Prince Bootleg: “Diamonds & Pearls: Beginnings”

Posted by The G on October 26, 2015 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photo, artwork and words by G.

Diamonds and Pearls

Diamonds and Pearls

While the lamestream mainstream media was reporting on Prince reinstating his Instagram account, the real Prince news item of the day went unnoticed: an early incarnation of his 1991 classic album “Diamonds and Pearls” has leaked, and in perfect sound quality! I’ll get to the differences in a little bit, but can we just take a moment to completely lose our minds at how awesome this is! For decades, Prince fans have wondered how these things make their way out of Prince’s legendary vault, and we could speculate for days without a clear answer since reporters never directly ask Prince this million dollar question. One thing you should know if you are just a casual Prince fan: the man has had a 30+ year career and has released over 40 albums under his own name, has written the lyrics and words for another 20 albums for his “proteges,” has toured the world tirelessly throughout his career, sometimes performing as many as 3 shows a day (with completely different set lists) and never stops recording!  At his Minneapolis recording complex, Paisley Park, a library of music known to die-hards as “The Vault” exists, and is rumored to contain thousands of unreleased songs.  THOUSANDS!  The average number of songs an artist releases in a 30 year career usually averages around 300, and this means that Prince is sitting on at least 700 songs that the world will never get to hear.  That’s several 30 year careers worth of music if you don’t want to do the math!  Whoa!  Luckily for die-hards, songs mysteriously escape the vault from time to time, and many of the tracks are as vital as anything he has officially released.  The creativity of this man is something of an anomaly, and that is something that is rarely celebrated in the press, and frankly should be mentioned in every article about him from now until eternity.

“Diamonds and Pearls,” The 13th studio album released by Prince on October 1, 1991 featured the debut of his new band, the New Power Generation.  For the first time, Prince included a backing singer (Rosie Gaines) and a rapper (Tony M.) in the official band lineup.  While Rosie Gaines was a perfect compliment to Prince’s voice, fans and critics did not feel the same way about Tony M.  Prince’s 1980s “golden period” where basically every song he released was amazing, had started to wain, and Prince, for the first time in his career – up to that point – decided to follow a trend rather than set it.  The result was an album that featured some brilliant tracks along side some cringe-worthy rap performances by both Prince and Tony M.  Over the years, the Prince fan community has learned to love all the songs on the record, except “Jughead” which aside from his current output ranks as one of the worst songs he’s ever released.  Meanwhile, in November of 1990, his box office bomb “Graffiti Bridge” had just been released and Prince submitted the first incarnation of one of his final classic albums.  The bootleg “Diamonds and Pearls: Beginnings” features not only a vastly different track list, but every version of every song that eventually got released was dramatically changed.  So this is what you will hear when you track this amazing bootleg down (read: please don’t come asking me for it!)

  1. Something Funky This House Comes.  The officially released album opens with the spiritually charged “Thunder,” but before that song was included, the album was set to open with the rap-heavy “Something Funky This House Comes.”  Tony M. introduces each member of the band and gives them a chance to “do their thing.”  A bold move for Prince to sparsely appear on the opening song, but eventually he changed his mind completely and the track remains unreleased officially to this day.
  2. Daddy Pop.  The song also sits as the second track on the officially released album, but this version is dramatically different.  It features different vocals and the end rap verse by Tony M. is cut out completely in favor of an instrumental break down. The song shows off Prince’s bad-assery (not a word), where he plays the role of “Daddy Pop,” the funkiest man in the land who has “grooves and grooves up on the shelf,” (the first lyric to acknowledge the Vault).  He also basically tell the competition to kiss his ass with the cut lyric, “Oh yeah, I turn the other cheek/ Swing… oops and miss / See this, kiss it!”  Rosie Gaines is utilized greatly for the first time in her brief stint with the NPG as she plays off Prince towards the end, but all of that was cut from the final version. Personally, I think this version is much better than the officially released version.
  3. Walk Don’t Walk. Not that much different than the officially released version, other than it’s a little more stripped down, and perhaps mixed differently.
  4. Schoolyard. This song is Prince as his nastiest.  Taking the view point of a 16 year old kid who is trying to get laid for the first time, it’s perhaps a little more true to life than we all know as around that time, Prince had met his future first wife, Mayte, who was 16 at the time of their meeting.  Not only is the song funky, but the lyrics are the tongue-in-cheek Prince that is very absent from his recent output.  Only Prince could have and get away with a chorus that contains the refrain “Schoolyard / Schoolyard / Gettin’ it on in the Schoolyard.”  The first verse finds Prince fantasizing about his dream girl and when he hangs out with her and his friends, they sit too close in the car and with each turn “Carrie fell in my lap / He asked me where I wanted to / I said “yeah right, like you need a map!”  The second verse finds the botched seduction with Prince getting turned down in favor of his girl getting stoned.  “I said “Carrie, do you wanna dance?” / She said “mmm hmm, yeah, like later man.  First let me smoke this weed.” / “I said “Damn!  My cologne ain’t sayin’ shit if this is what she needs.”  The bridge comes around and Prince finally gets laid.  “Now boys and girls for the graphic part / Close your ears if you ain’t got a nasty heart.”  He continues by slipping a condom on and having premature ejaculation!  “Take a glove and fill it with hot baby lotion and slip it on / Pull it tight / That’s what Carrie was like / 1 stroke and I was done.”  Despite being super funky, the song got shelved and has been circulating in sub-par sound quality among die-hards for 20 years – until now!  He could never release a song like this now, because a Bill Cosby-like investigation of sex with underage girls would surely come up (and maybe it should?  Just sayin’).
  5. Diamonds and Pearls.  One of the big hits off the album, after all these years, it comes a huge surprise to hear a Prince-only version of the song.  The officially released version features Rosie Gaines mirroring Prince’s lyrics and she has her big solo in the middle of the song when she sings “D to the I to the A to the M / O to the N to the D to the Pearls of Love.”  This version features music only during that part and your brain will still hear Rosie when that part comes on.  I’d also like to take this time to give a shout out to the video, where during this part, Prince jumps off a couch and does the splits.  BAD ASS!
  6. Strollin‘.  Again, not much different than the officially released version, but a slightly different mix.  What was great about this song was that Prince showed the world that he could master any style of music from rock to funk and light jazz, in this case, often all in the same album.  Not many people did that then, and certainly not that many people do it now.  That’s yet another reason Prince is so great!
  7. Interlude (Joyful Sound).  This has been circulating as part of an early mix of “Willing and Able” among fans, and it’s basically just a false start and stop to the next track.
  8. Willing and Able.  Prince and the NPG take you to church with this song as Tommy Barbarella’s organ is featured prominently.  The officially released version featured backing vocals by The Steeles, giving the song an extra gospel vibe, but this version features only Prince on vocals.  The Tony M. rap verse at the end of the song is also absent and instead we hear that organ solo I previously mentioned.
  9. Insatiable.  This is the jewel in the crown of this set as this version of the sexy single is dramatically different.  The music is more sparse, to give it a late night jam feeling, and while the vocals on the verses and chorus are the same, the second verse was cut out of the officially released version (despite the lyrics appearing in the CD booklet).  As the song discusses Prince’s insatiable appetite for sex, he also talks about filming his lover for their tryst and as you hear the song, you will submit to any request Prince makes of you!  The ad-libbing at the end of the song is quite different too, and Prince admits that he’s had too much wine, perhaps the only time in his entire catalog he’s admitted that he is wasted.  An interesting historical document even if Prince’s ballads aren’t your thing.
  10. Money Don’t Matter 2Night.  The mix is different, but otherwise the politically charged track is the same.
  11. Horny Pony.  The track was eventually scrapped to make room for the hit song “Gett Off,” and later became the b-side to “Cream,” which was not on the first draft of this album!  A bootleg version that is different than the b-side version has circulated among collectors for many years, and this version is different to that one!  Gotta love Prince!  It is closer to the bootleg version than the b-side version, with different lyrics than the one that got released, but this version is more stripped back and is a lot funkier than both other versions.
  12. Live 4 Love.  The final track on both this and the officially released version of “Diamonds and Pearls.”  This version is slightly different from the original version that has been in circulation and much different to the officially released version.  The lyrics are much more sleepy sounding, versus the released version that finds Prince asserting the lyrics much more forcefully.  The robotic intro is gone from this version and once again Tony M.’s rap verse is nowhere to be found.  The lyrics are also a lot different in several places and the song is about 1 minute shorter than the track that saw the light of day in 1991.

As you listen to this bootleg, you hear a whole different side to Prince, and again, the things he decided to throw away are often better than the best tracks from artists which we shall not name!  It’s really remarkable.  While the casual fan probably cannot comprehend how prolific this man is, die-hards across the world are simultaneously losing their minds as another puzzle piece of the genius known as Prince is revealed.

 

“Rebel Heart” by Madonna – The G Review

Posted by The G on March 4, 2015 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photo by G. “I Won The Internet!” art by Troy Gua.

Rebel Heart vs I Won The Internet

Rebel Heart vs I Won The Internet!

Hello!  Remember me?  Since we last spoke, I released my third book, “I Won The Internet!” which is available now on sites like Amazon.com.   I took a break after the release of the book to do some promotion and also to get my nervous system back.  For 5 years, I’ve been going out pretty much 7 nights a week in search of letting you all know the best art and music you should focus your energies on.  To this day, there is not another website on the internet that has ever done the things I have done – experiencing, photographing and writing about all the content that appears on their site.  It’s really sad to me that the world isn’t any the wiser as they continue to read sites written by people who rip off and re purpose content off the web and try pass it off as their own, but that is not my problem – it’s yours for supporting it!  Readers have kindly been nudging me to return to this site for a few months and the love has been overwhelming.  I thank you kindly for your love and support.  You shouldn’t consider this my full return to According2g.com, but I will try pop in from time to time and let you know what’s up.  You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter @according2g for updates.

What better way to kick things off than with one of my favorite love-to-hate subjects – Madonna.  I’ve been a fan of her since the beginning of her career and to her death, I will probably always be interested in what she’s up to.  What I despise about her is that she has never lived a “practice what you preach existence,” and pretty much anyone that has been around her that has not signed a non-disclosure agreement rarely has a nice thing to say about her. It’s a shame since she is always singing about love and peace, but it fascinates me that people (myself included) continue to be captivated by someone whose only care for you is how she can carefully take your money.  If you think that sentence is egregious in any way, you are in serious denial and you need help.

Regardless, I go into all of her albums with an open mind, because I will not lie, when her music ‘does it’ for me, it makes my world a happier place and I will always be grateful for that, and this new album has those moments from time to time, although fleeting.  Her 13th studio album “Rebel Heart” has been a disaster since before the album even had a title.  In December 2014, before the record even had a release date or a title, 13 songs in perfect quality, but in demo form, leaked to the internet in full.  To try and do some damage control, Madonna oh so kindly, finished up 6 tracks and let people who pre-ordered the album have those songs instantly.  She called it her Christmas present to fans.  Insulting since her real fans (the people still interested in supporting her career) downloaded the songs for free days before (deny it all you want, but you and I both know that is the truth – not just for her but for any veteran act), but I digress….   In the interim, she announced the full album would be 19 songs long (except for a 26 song deluxe edition) and would be released in March of 2015.  Before the end of 2014, an additional 19 songs leaked in full, so the grand total of songs that were “out there for free” at this point was 32.  Madonna’s PR team went on a manhunt to find the person that hacked into her computer and released these songs into the wild and a person was captured.  Leaks over, right?  Not!   A few days later, the finished version of the deluxe edition (25 songs) leaked onto the internet in perfect quality.  And before the official release of the album, an additional few songs leaked, bringing the grand total number of tracks (including multiple different versions of certain tracks) to over 50!  Makes you wonder – was the leak a publicity stunt?  Is she having trouble with her mega-deal and she wants out?  Rarely any information “officially released” these days is the truth, and so many of her fans are sheep that actually believe she’s a kind hearted person, so we may never know the truth.

It’s a good time to be a fan because there is certainly a lot of material to choose from and some of it is her best work in over a decade.  Whoever sequenced the album and chose certain producers did a really crappy job as many of the demos were great and subsequently ruined by over (or under) production.  Also many great songs were scrapped from the official release in favor of much worse songs.  She’s been pulling the ageism card in interviews to try and gain sympathy and attention for the album, and to some extent she is right – the world caters to the youth and that sucks – but awesomeness always rises to the top.  Frankly I think, Madonna looks amazing “for her age” (since she went there).  Her plastic surgery doesn’t look as scary as it used to and she works out so much, she has a really great body.  I am not really sure if I enjoy seeing her put her tits and pussy on display anymore, but sex sells and that’s always been part of the winning formula for Madonna, so why stop now?

After the jump, see my brief track by track review, as I try and make some sense out of this mess.

Read more of this article »

Bright Light Bright Light News!

Posted by The G on April 26, 2014 under GNN | Be the First to Comment

Photo by G.

Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light at Joe's Pub April 2014

Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light at Joe’s Pub April 2014

New York’s favorite import is back to stay!  Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) is back on our soil and at a sold out show at Joe’s Pub on April 25, 2014 in New York, he gave the crowd many reasons to believe in hope (excuse the pun).

He began the show by performing his upcoming album “Life Is Easy” in full on piano.  The record will be released in July 2014 and like his debut album, “Make Me Believe in Hope,” the songs deal with love, despair and and gratitude.  Rod’s voice is like a little slice of heaven with ridiculously catchy pop hooks that will make you want to get yourself to the nearest dance-floor immediately.  The first single is called “I Wish We Were Leaving” and it features guest vocals from Sir Elton John, whom Rod will be touring with in Europe in June and July 2014.

Rod Thomas mentioned that he can officially call Brooklyn his permanent home (on behalf of New York, welcome to the neighborhood, Rod!) and he is working with another beloved Brookylnite, Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters on the second Slo Knights album, which will hopefully see release later on in 2014.

During the encore, while he played the crowd favorite “Immature” off his first record, he mentioned that if you pre-order “Life Is Easy” on his official website, you will get a digital copy of the audio from the Joe’s Pub show!  I was at the show and it was a night to remember, so make sure you order your copy and spread the word!

The tracklist for “Life Is Easy” (released in July 2014) is:

1. Everything I Ever Wanted
2. There Are No Miracles
3. I Wish We Were Leaving (with Elton John)
4. An Open Heart
5. Good Luck
6. I Believe
7. Lust For Life
8. More Than Most
9. In Your Care
10. Too Much
11. Happiness

 

Bloc Party to Release “Nextwave Sessions” EP

Posted by The G on June 26, 2013 under GNN | Be the First to Comment

Photo by G.

Kele of Bloc Party

Kele of Bloc Party

Bloc Party is set to take a hiatus after their touring commitments in the summer of 2013 are complete. But before they do that, they will release the “Nextwave Sessions” EP on August 12, 2013.

The EP will feature:

‘Ratchet’
‘Obscene’
‘French Exit’
‘Montreal’
‘Children Of The Future’

Let’s hope their hiatus doesn’t last too long!

Portugal. The Man Announce New Album: “Evil Friends”

Posted by The G on March 9, 2013 under GNN | Be the First to Comment

Photo courtesy of Portugal. The Man

"Evil Friends" by Portugal. The Man coming June 4, 2013

“Evil Friends” by Portugal. The Man coming June 4, 2013

Great news!  Portugal. The Man have a new album on the way.  The record will be called “Evil Friends” and is coming out June 4, 2013.  The record will be produced by Danger Mouse and the video for the title track can be seen on Portugal. The Man’s official site.

The tracklist is:

  1. Plastic Soldiers
  2. Creep In A T-Shirt
  3. Evil Friends
  4. Modern Jesus
  5. Hip Hop Kids
  6. Atomic Man
  7. Sea of Air
  8. Waves
  9. Holy Roller (Hallelujah)
  10. Someday Believers
  11. Purple Yellow Red and Blue
  12. Smile

 

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