Today's Country

The best Country music in the World!


March 03, 1998
NPG Records
Rhythm & Blues, Urban, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Album Review

As any die-hard fan knows, Crystal Ball was the triple-album set Prince had planned to release in 1987, when Warner forced him to trim it to the double album Sign O' the Times. Since then, Crystal Ball had become a legendary "lost" album among Prince collectors, and many of its outtakes had circulated on bootlegs for years. So, it didn't come as a complete surprise that Prince revived the title for his own collection of outtakes, which turned out to be the first release on his independent NPG label. Any collector will quibble with the track selection, since there are literally hundreds of known Prince outtakes, and there's no way that a three-disc set could include all the best cuts. Still, this is an impressive sampler that illustrates the true depth of Prince's talents. There may be no hidden masterworks on the level of "When Doves Cry," but the music here is consistently strong and compelling. As a compiler, Prince errs by favoring latter-day recordings over his '80s studio creations, but this is a minor complaint, since he has included such legendary (at least among collectors) songs as "Dream Factory," "Movie Star," "Crucial," "Sexual Suicide," "Days of Wild," and "The Ride." Prince added a full-length album, The Truth, as the fourth disc to Crystal Ball. Taken on its own terms, The Truth is a terrific little record with a similar feel to Chaos & Disorder, but with stronger material. Purportedly, it's Prince's acoustic album, but he uses that concept to spring into the blues, tape effects, straight-ahead pop, and soul. It's a joy to hear him work in such a structured form, since it helps him focus his ideas and deliver a tight, enjoyable pop record that offers proof he hasn't lost his gifts.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Crystal Ball
  2. Dream Factory
  3. Acknowledge Me
  4. Ripopgodazippa
  5. Love Sign
  6. Hide the Bone
  7. 2morrow
  8. So Dark
  9. Movie Star
  10. Tell Me How U Wanna B Done
  11. Interactive
  12. Da Bang
  13. Calhoun Square
  14. What's My Name
  15. Crucial
  16. An Honest Man
  17. Sexual Suicide
  18. Cloreen Bacon Skin
  19. Good Love
  20. Strays of the World
  21. Days of Wild
  22. Last Heart
  23. Poom Poom
  24. She Gave Her Angels
  25. 18 and Over
  26. The Ride
  27. Get Loose
  28. P. Contro
  29. Make Your Mama Happy
  30. Goodbye
  31. The Truth
  32. Don't Play Me
  33. Circle of Amour
  34. 3rd I
  35. Dionne
  36. Man in a Uniform
  37. Animal Kingdom
  38. The Other Side of the Pillow
  39. Fascination
  40. One of Your Tears
  41. Comeback
  42. Welcome 2 the Dawn