Prince pays tribute to 1970s R&B

Just when you thought Prince couldn’t get funkier, he comes out with a new release. Appropriately titled, The Vault (Warner Bros.) whisks listeners back to the `70s, including tunes representing every genre of old school rhythm and blues.

Without straying too far from his characteristic flamboyance, Prince manages to exhibit musical maturity in his new album. He eloquently combines elements of jazz, classical music, funk, rock and blues to intrigue listeners.

As a whole, the album, like Prince, is spastic and volatile. “The Rest of My Life” and “It’s About That Walk” get the album off to an energetic start, with a fast beat, swinging horns and Prince’s characteristic shrill wail. Then, t`low and sexy blues. “5 women+,” typical of the `70s “get-it-on music,” could have easily been done by Isaac Hayes. More sensual songs follow, complete with Prince’s grunts, moans, oohs and ahs.

If not in a romantic mood, you could fall into a stupor during these lengthy tracks. But Prince is not one to stay still for long. The album revives at track nine with the funk-driven, big-band sound of “Sarah.” After a long stretch of mellow tracks, “Sarah” makes you want to get off the couch and groove.

The Vault tops off with “Extraordinary,” a gentle and smooth jazz tune. “Extraordinary” brings pleasant closure to the album’s ups and downs.

While at times this album may turn into a clich?, it does so gracefully. Besides, who better to pay tribute to the wildness of `70s R&B than Prince?

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