This is the first Prince album in 4 years and he is even back on Warner Bros. - the very same record company he fought for years to obtain the rights to his master tapes. The general opinion amongst at least the Danish reviewers has been that "Art Offical Age" is a great album and the other album "PlectrumElectrum" which was released simultaneously is more or less crap. It seems I have a different opinion.
The album opens with "Art Official Cage" and Prince's Danish bass-player Ida Nielsen gets to introduce the album in Danish. I think it's a wonderful and funny idea to let Ida open the album "Åbn det her bur!" and besides that - the song is really funky. Next song "Clouds" is a nice slower song with co-vocals by Lianne La Havas.
"u should never underestimate the power of a kiss on the neck which u doesn't expect"
"The Breakdown" is actually a fine ballad where Prince really shows what a fantastic voice he has. It features Andy Allo on background vocals. It is however a shame that it has a partly distorted and overloaded sound and doesn't sound right with your headphones on. Bad sound like this is not something you'd normally expect from Prince. "The Gold standard" is a funky track and even if it's rather repetitive it never gets boring.
After those first 4 tracks the funky train derails and disappears for a while in a pool of sugar and gravy and Prince goes into an uninspired auto-pilot mode. "U Know" sounds more like loops and samples than a real song. "Breakfast Can Wait" is a heavily sugar coated song and if I didn't already mislike this song by itself the ridiculous Mickey Mouse vocals near the end surely make me hate it. "This Could Be Us" is hardly a song at all. If it ever was, it has certainly been lost somewhere in the mix. "What It Feels Like" is more crappy sugar shit. It featuring Andy Allo on co-vocals and it is the 4th song in a row that I don't like.
"Affirmation I & II" is spoken words by Lianne La Havas. Just close your ears though, Prince is making very little sense here. "Way Back Home" is much better. It has a dreamy feel to it and even if it's not exactly a great song it is rather nice to listen to. It has co-vocals provided by Lianne La Havas and Delilah.
"FunkNRoll (remix)" is a funky rock song and is also featured on the 3rdEyeGirl album "PlectrumElectrum". This is a remix version and it is very different from the "PE" version. Especially the last 1:30 of this remix is cool.
"Time" is another slow song which also features Andy Allo on vocals. It's got a nice bass and all in all it's not bad. Last track "Affirmation III" has even more silly spoken words by Lianne La Havas with the chorus from "Way back home" playing in the background.
"How are you feeling today Mr. Nelson?"
What I will do with this album is I'm gonna make my own artificial version instead. I will delete the tracks I don't like and add some of the tracks that should have been on this album to begin with according to me.
"FallInLove2Nite" (2014) was a digital single by Prince feat. Zooey Deschanel. Some may find it a bit cheesy, but I liked it instantly and it has the quality of a good pop song. The song "Groovy Potential" (2012) has a fine chorus and some nice horns. "Rock And Roll Love Affair" (2012) or "Extraloveable" (2011) would only improve the album further.
Bonus info: the cd does sadly not include a booklet with lyrics. The album was co-produced by Hannah's husband Joshua Welton.