Second Listen Sunday: Prince, Originals
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday: Prince, Originals

I celebrate Prince year round, but as I did yesterday with Slow Jam Saturday, it’s only heart he gets some flowers on the anniversary of his homegoing. Prince was renowned for his collaborations with various other musicians during the height of his creative and commercial career in the 1980s. On Originals, we are granted insight into this process as every cut is an original song Prince handed off to another artist – whom he either created or sharpened their personas – and subsequently gave them songs that best suited their style. 

The album features many big hits, such as “Manic Monday” by The Bangles, “Love… Thy Will Be Done” by Martika, and perhaps most famously, “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. Each song is written and sung primarily by Prince on this record, so Masters of Music has gained access to invaluable footnotes to his artistic legacy.

Prince was a quietly influential performer, even when singing popular hits. That restrained delivery lends itself well to the lesser-known songs that were later collected, servicing them with energetic touches and intimate performances. Those tracks provide an insight into Prince’s imperial period that often goes unnoticed, containing fiery dance-rock moments and luscious slow jams. While it must be considered that these are demos only, they nevertheless have their unique charms. Listening to these tunes provides a window into Prince’s musical genius; the compositions showcase his talent for creating captivating music even in its embryonic stages of production.

Originals offers a unique look into Prince’s genius; on each cut, it’s as if we’re hearing a demo of an original song he wrote for another artist. You hear this loud and clear in tracks like “Jungle Love” (Morris Day & The Time) and “The Glamorous Life” (Sheila E). Many of these artists were his protégés, such as Apollonia 6/Vanity 6, Jill Jones, and Mazarati. But some – like Sheila E and The Time – were already established artists whose sound and style were sharpened by Prince. 

On Originals, all the songs are sung almost entirely by Prince himself – with Wendy & Lisa providing background vocals. It’s an essential collection of songs that offers important insight into one of music’s most iconic figures.


Final Grade: A-

Originals is available on all streaming platforms

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