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4.8 10
by Prince
After a long period of faltering record sales and artistic decline, Prince unleashed 2004's promising Musicology, giving fans a glimmer of hope that His Royal Badness would reclaim his pop-rock-soul supremacy. And while 3121 may not be the triumphant comeback Prince's faithful following wished for, it does offer a few gems


After a long period of faltering record sales and artistic decline, Prince unleashed 2004's promising Musicology, giving fans a glimmer of hope that His Royal Badness would reclaim his pop-rock-soul supremacy. And while 3121 may not be the triumphant comeback Prince's faithful following wished for, it does offer a few gems worthy of joining his laudable collection of classics, including the dizzyingly funky lead single "Black Sweat" and the guitar-driven, Hendrix-esque "Fury." "Beautiful, Loved, and Blessed," Prince's Jehovah-witnessing duet with his newest protégé, Tamar, is downright infectious, and the Latin-tinged "Dance," where he yelps, "How you gonna stand there and act like you don't want this?," is sexier than anything found on the pious Musicology. Even so, Prince is just too set in his marital bliss and funk-era ways to make something as rhythmically challenging as "Tambourine" from Around the World in a Day or as lyrically cheeky as Sign 'O' the Times's "Ballad of Dorothy Parker." Although 3121 isn't his Holy Grail, it offers enough revelations to sustain the Purple One's new power generation until his next tour. That's where the real magic still happens.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Musicology was a self-conscious comeback, a record designed to return Prince to the spotlight and the charts, and it worked: even if it spawned no big hits, the 2004 LP became his first album to crack the Billboard Top Ten since 1995's The Gold Experience, get a fair amount of radio play, and get a bunch of positive press, along with a well-received tour. Prince no longer seemed like an eccentric consigned to the fringes: he seemed like a savvy pro, reclaiming a reputation and respect that he'd lost. That he did it with an album that sounded uncannily like a deliberate return to classic Prince as performed by the New Power Generation was almost beside the point: it was enough that he sounded engaged, and that he made a focused, purposeful album. Its quickly delivered 2006 follow-up, 3121, proves that Musicology was no fluke. Like its predecessor, 3121 is tight and concise, offering 12 songs in 53 minutes, and it's classically structured, emphasizing shifting moods and textures between songs. It is an album, not a collection of songs, and you could even call it old-fashioned, but it feels fresher than Musicology, as if Prince had listened to enough Neptunes productions to understand how they've absorbed his music. That acknowledgement doesn't come often -- it's evident in the sly, sexy grooves of "Black Sweat" and the squealing synths of "Lolita" -- but since it's paired with an emphasis on dance tunes and a retreat from the enjoyable but endless NPG-styled vamping that characterized a good portion of Musicology, 3121 winds up sounding lively, varied, and, at its best, exciting. And at the beginning of the album, 3121 is quite exciting, as Prince revives his high-pitched alter ego Camille on the title track and dives head first into the electro-funk of "Lolita" and "Black Sweat," songs that recall such mid-period masterpieces as "Kiss" or "Sign 'O' the Times" without being rewrites. Nevertheless, the fact that the freshest sounding music here still has a direct line back to records Prince made 20 years prior is a good indication that the album, like Prince himself in the wake of hip-hop, is a little bit conservative, emphasizing funk of both the James Brown and George Clinton varieties, late-night slow jams, classic dance, and soul, instead of wrestling with modern music. While that may disappoint some listeners who yearn for the return of the trailblazing Prince of the '80s, when he reinvented himself with each record, it's hardly surprising that a 47-year-old musician is spending more time refining his palette than expanding it. What is a surprise is that Prince is in top form as both a writer and record-maker; perhaps the one-man-band nature of its recording doesn't mean the album is as gritty or raw as his reliably thrilling live performances, but 3121 crackles with excitement, filled with different sounds and styles. Best of all, this is filled with songs that hold their own as individual tunes, yet gel into a cohesive record that is thankfully devoid of an overarching concept, a problem that plagued his albums after Diamonds and Pearls. 3121 does fall short from being perfect -- there may be no bad songs, but the momentum slows ever so slightly on the second half -- yet it's something more valuable than being a one-off classic: it's proof that Prince has indeed returned as a vital, serious recording artist on his own terms. Maybe he's no longer breaking new ground, but his eccentricities are now an attribute, not a curse, which goes a long way in making his trademark blend of funk, pop, soul, and rock sound nearly as dazzling as it did at his popular and creative peak in the '80s.
Though his last few albums have been less than stellar, 3121 is a testament to the singer's versatility and musicianship. The 12-track set runs the gamut from uptempo pop ("Fury") to steamy R&B ("Incense and Candles"). Clover Hope
People Magazine - Chuck Arnold
Even better than its double-platinum predecessor, it boasts higher highs: The utterly irresistible "Lolita," along with "Black Sweat," gives this disc the best one-two punch he's had since "Get Off" and "Cream." [3.5 stars]

Product Details

Release Date:
Umvd Labels

Related Subjects


  1. 3121
  2. Lolita
  3. Te Amo Corazón
  4. Black Sweat
  5. Incense and Candles
  6. Love
  7. Satisfied
  8. Fury
  9. The Word
  10. Beautiful, Loved and Blessed
  11. The Dance
  12. Get on the Boat

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Prince   Primary Artist,Vocals,Various,Musician
Candy Dulfer   Horn,Saxophone,Track Performer
Maceo Parker   Horn,Saxophone,Track Performer
Sonny Thompson   Bass Guitar
Michael Bland   Drums,Track Performer
Greg Boyer   Horn,Track Performer
Sheila E.   Percussion,Track Performer
Ricky Salas   Percussion,Bongos,Timbales,Track Performer
Tamar Braxton   Vocals
Herbert Ureña   Percussion,Bongos,Conga,Track Performer
Sonny Thompson   Bass,Track Performer
Cora Coleman Dunham   Drums
Ray Montiero   Horn
Ricky Salas   Percussion,Bongos,Timbales
Joshua Dunham   Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

Prince   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Clare Fischer   String Arrangements
L. Stuart Young   Engineer
Ian Boxill   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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3121 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prince is known as one of the most eclectic musicians out there, singlehandedly crafting a style unlike any other, combining rock, jazz,r&b,funk,soul,blues,folk for a signature sound that is Prince. 3121 is a return to that style that made him a superstar in the early to mid 80's, and is also generating much success just like his previous albums of the 80's. With Prince you never know what cards he has in his hand, which makes his albums a great listen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, this is a very cool album. Prince has never left or lost a thing and this album proves it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great job! When I got this CD first I thouhgt it's bit sophisticated funk, but when you listen to it more, you start to appreciate it. My favourites are 1.Black Sweet 2.Love 3.Incense And Candles 4.Get On The Boat 5.Beautiful, Loved And Blessed. Prince's greatest thing is that he isn't afraid to go against the mainstreem (well, not always). Black Sweat for example is to simple for today's mainstreem funk at the same time it's to sophisticated for usal mainstreem hip-hop song. Really great job!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As always when it comes to his royal badness, theres always a few duds admist the golden gems. After the first 3 duds the 9 gems shines through. My faveorite is the track Love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album just shows how versatile Prince still is and that the brother still has it! The song 'The Word'...so heavy. Buy this album and support real musicianship. We love you Prince!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best CDs that Prince has ever released. EVERY song is a hit! Prince is truly an icon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do not care about what other critics say, this CD is off the hook. Prince is phenomenal and there are no musicians out there in the bizness. He said it truthfully that music is gone. There are no Aretha Franklins, James Browns, or Ohio Players anymore. When do we get to buy quality music anymore? Well let me tell you that "3121" is indeed a quality cd that you can play straight through to finish. I love Prince because he is true to the music. This is a must have!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best Prince album ever. All the tracks are brilliant and fresh. "Fury", "Love" and "Te Amo Corazon" are sure hits and soon to be classics. This is really a very solid album from Prince.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been the Purple Highness' fan since his album titled "Prince." It doesn't surprise me that 3121 is just as good if not better than ANYTHING the man has done. He is true to the music and that is what makes him timeless. This album is a must have for any Prince fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago