Chaos and Disorder (Warner Bros.)
Prince

By Bob Bahr

I'm one of those people who think that Prince is so talented, he could put together an album in two weeks and it would most likely be a good record. But I never really wanted to put that theory to the test.

Chaos and Disorder seems like just such a rush job. Prince wanted to quickly escape his Warner Brothers "enslavement"/record contract, so he quickly offed this album and publicly announced that it was the last new material he would write and release for the company. If you didn't know this little nugget of information, chances are you would have soon gone searching for this fact or a similar one in an effort to explain the hurried, fresh, retro-Prince sound of this album. The music certainly begs explanation. How Prince has changed since the lush, ambitious, successful "symbol" album!

Nothing sounds deliberated on Chaos and Disorder. This is not necessarily a bad thing (see the "Batman" soundtrack for proof), but he doesn't really seem to be going anywhere new or exciting here. On recent past albums, he's played around with techno, rap, hard rock and current R&B. Evidently, he didn't find anything that captured his fancy.

For this album, Prince evidently surveyed the instruments at his disposal and chose his guitar as his primary ax, and hardcore Prince fans and Purple Rain fair-weather friends alike will tell you this is a promising development. The guitarfest reaches its peak on "Zannalee" in its Hendrixian glory, and is evident on every single track, from the acoustic, pop-sweet lilt of "Dinner with Delores" to the hyper puppy bounce of the club-ready "Right the Wrong." Sometimes Prince's raunchy rock guitar is the strongest part of a tune, sometimes it plays a bit part— like on the gorgeous "I Will." Prince guitar fans (my hand's raised) will hold Chaos and Disorder close to their hearts. The New Power Generation provide ample support for Prince's whims.

Radio is already taking a shining to "Dinner with Delores," although the wretched/infectious "I Rock, Therefore I Am" with its amazingly dated keyboard licks will undoubtedly be coming soon to a speaker near you. Me, I'll cue up "Dig You Better Dead" and "Zannalee," and wallow in the dirty grooves and nasty guitar transmissions. The rest, well, doesn't suck, and Prince albums have always grown on me slowly and surely. I may even grow to like "I Rock, Therefore I Am."

Nah.