Our latest Between the Grooves series examines Prince's Diamonds and Pearls, which offers further explorations into the mysterious/strange sexual side of Prince and his preachy/pedantic side, and also his relaxed/smooth side.
Prince’s 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls, which introduced his band the New Power Generation, is by some counts his second best-selling album period, after Purple Rain. It went double-platinum. It contained his fifth, and final (to date), #1 single. Yet the album does not seem to have stood the test of time with most critics.
Earlier this year, Touré released a book about Prince, I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon, which has no references to the album at all, yet does talk about seemingly lesser works like Graffiti Bridge, Emancipation, and Rainbow Children. In Michaelangelo Matos’ 33 1/3 Series book on Sign O’ the Times, he refers to Diamonds and Pearls as Prince “listlessly copying himself”, equating it to the 1999 album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. In the Rolling Stone Album Guide, there are only seven albums, of 33 ranked, that are given an equal or lower star rating than Diamonds and Pearls. They slam it as “overthought and lifeless” and a “blatant aim for commercial appeal” (as if that’s an unlikely m.o. for a superstar among the best-selling artists of his time).