It seems like only yesterday - well, April 2004, to be exact - that Prince was unveiling his Sony debut Musicology. Now here he is, just a couple of years later, unveiling his Universal debut, and frankly, only the deeply committed fan would be able to tell the difference between the two. While 3121 is marginally more satisfying, it is in effect yet another retread of the standard Prince formula, mingling bare-boned, brittle electro-funk and sumptuous romantic balladry, with rather too many cheesy Eighties synth tones spoiling the party. Apart from the title track, where Prince plays mine host welcoming us to his gaff, a place where you wear Japanese robes and "drink champagne from a glass with a chocolate handle" - surely the most impractical vessel devised by man - the funk grooves serve mostly to remind one of their superior inspiration in the work of Sly Stone ("Black Sweat") and James Brown ("Get On the Boat"). Better by far are the slower numbers like "The Dance", "Te Amo Corazon" and in particular "Satisfied", a sensual Southern soul outing on which he tries to "discover the land beyond expertise and chastity". A filthy job, one presumes, but he's clearly the man for it.
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