戦慄の貴公子(紙ジャケ SHM-CD) CD, Limited Edition, SHM-CD
The title track has long been a favorite of mine in Prince's canon of great songs, that thumping drum accented by those funky keyboard sounds always got my hand reaching to crank up the volume button. For years I only knew this track as the 3 minute edit that was used in the music video and single edit from The Hits collection. "Controversy" features here as a 7 plus minute jam with added raps and instrumental sections that puts it right over the top of being sooooo good. My all-time favorite Prince ballad "Do Me, Baby" is also featured here and it too has an extended section from the single edit added to the end of the song. Prince gets hot and heavy here and at first it was annoying a bit, but on repeated listens it feels like the logical extension to how that song should go. These two tracks, along with the hyperactive "Sexuality" (another funky number), makes for a solid first half of the album.
The remainder of the album is no slouch either. Kicking off with the buoyant pop of "Private Joy" and concluding with the jaunty "Jack U Off" Prince adds greater diversity of styles to the mix. The brief and chaotic "Ronnie Talk to Russia" is a workout of machine-gun blasts, military drumming and Prince's snarling, distorted guitar work. This segues into another funky number "Let's Work". The only bummer number on this record is "Annie Christian", which is musically the most out-there track and one I find too tedious to sit through as it doesn't boast of any real melody or chorus to speak of. Lyrically it's an intriguing read, but still far less compelling than "Sexuality" or "Ronnie", the other two overtly political songs on this album.
It's hard to top Dirty Mind for Prince's best early work, but on certain days and on certain moments there's nothing better than Controversy.
The packaging for this Japanese import edition is very unique. For those old enough to remember the joy of purchasing a new vinyl, this edition packages the CD in a minerature version of the LP style format. Instead of a plastic jewel case the disc is housed in a pocket with the front and back covers printed on either side. Inside the pocket is held a paper sleeve, which in turn contains a protective clear sleeve that holds the CD. There is also a booklet insert with the lyrics in both English and Japanese, but no added photos. The most intriguing inclusion is that of a small fold-out poster that features a half-naked Prince standing in a shower, looking ready for a Playgirl pin-up.
The price is quite outrageous, and I was able to acquire mine for far less. I don't know if the sound quality is a big improvement over the standard domestic edition since I never owned this on CD before. The pocket outer sleeve is a bit more lightweight than other Japanese imports I've purchased in this format, so that is another disappointment. I would leave this for collectors only.
Music rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Packaging rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.