For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
Second Listen Sunday: Prince, N-E-W-S
Prince had validated his legacy as that DUDE numerous times by the time his instrumental album N-E-W-S hit the NPG club on May 26th, 2003, before arriving in stores on July 29th, 2003. N-E-W-S was Prince’s twenty-seventh studio album and his second instrumental album. N-E-W-S was an acronym for North, East, West, and South. Never one to pigeonhole himself, N-E-W-S finds Prince dabbling heavily into jazz fusion.
Containing only four tracks that run fourteen minutes each, N-E-W-S is a very eccentric offering. I remember purchasing the album at the age of twenty-two, but I didn’t fully grasp the instrumentation. I would revisit the album again three years later, during my first deployment in the United States Air Force, as a coping mechanism. At the age of 41 and with everything going on with the Tyre Nichols video, I decided to play the album again to bring positive energy into my life.
Since there’s no actual singing on the record, the best way to describe this album is mood music. I’ve heard that the intent behind N-E-W-S was a jam session, and that’s the vibe I got. With “North,” I got a vibe of funk. “East” gave off cinematic vibes. “West” starts a bit as a ballad before going back into the funk, and the closing number, “South,” puts me in the mindset of wanting to 2 Step.
N-E-W-S isn’t for all tastes, but You will enjoy this project from Prince the musician and his band a lot more if you avoid expectations and simply take in the joy of hearing them play.
Final Grade: B
N-E-W-S is available on all streaming platforms.
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
One of the most talented men in indie music, Eric Roberson, kicked off his 30th-anniversary tour last night in Pittsburgh, so for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to revisit Mr. Roberson’s third album, The Vault 1.5, which hit record stores in 2003. As Erro fans know, Roberson initially hit the scene with the lovely ballad “The Moon” while studying at Howard University. Roberson’s first record deal didn’t go as planned, but not one to just lay down, Roberson continued to build a name for himself by writing for the likes of 112 and Will Smith. Additionally, Roberson collaborated with Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Cam’ron.