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Prince

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Andre Cymone: 30th Century Man

Andre-Cymone

By Stephen M. Deusner, Contributor"Welcome to the '80s, y'all!" Andre Cymone half-raps on the title track to his 1983 solo album, Survivin' in the 80s. Behind him, synths pile up chaotically, like a malfunction on a robot assembly line; with every downbeat, the song changes shape and sound, simultaneously lush and frenetic. The world it depicts is a bleak one: If the rest of America was riding high on the first upticks of Reagan-era excess, such good fortune hadn't extended to the projects: "Out of time, out of work/ Special thanks to the master jerk," Cymone barks. "He's OK on Capital Hill/ He and his friends got a birthday pill." In sharp contrast to that dreariness, Cymone presents himself as a kind of sci-fi character right out of a comic book. On the cover of Survivin' in the 80s, he and his crew of synth-wielding sidekicks wear space-military garb — all white with black belts… more »

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Download: The Stylle Band, “If You Love Me”

MLF, one of the artists featured on 'Purple Snow'

MLF, one of the artists featured on 'Purple Snow'

By Wondering Sound Staff, ContributorThe 1980s were huge for music in Minneapolis, especially the soul and funk scenes. Prince — and later the Time, Andre Cymone, and the dynamic duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — catapulted into the mainstream and defined pop music for the better part of the decade. Purple Snow, however, is not that story. It is the prologue, covering the period during the late 1970s when local musicians were only just beginning to define the elements of what would eventually become the Minneapolis sound. Fostered in a highly competitive market, where the number of acts greatly outnumbered the number of available gigs, groups like the Lewis Connection, Mind & Matter, Haze and the Girls developed a sleek, streamlined aesthetic driven by tight, motoric beats, sharp guitar licks, and a giddy embrace of new technology. Songs like Haze’s “Waiting for the Moment” and Steven’s “Quick” bubble over with synths and drum machines, celebrating… more »

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Reinventing Kids’ Music

Tom Waits

By Elizabeth Isadora Gold, ContributorSo you had a baby! Can you believe how cute the little thing is? And how little sleep you're getting? Yup, the rumors are true: you'll ricochet from ecstatic love to feral panic in any… more »

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Schizo-Pop! A Guide to Musicians and Their Alternate Personae

Nicki Minaj

By Laura Studarus, ContributorWhether it's on account of creativity bursting at the seams, or just a desire to try something musically or lyrically different from their previous work, sometimes artists feel the need to step outside themselves and… more »

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30 Shocking Albums

Lou Reed

By Wondering Sound Staff, ContributorNow that Halloween's over, we decided to shift the conversation away from cobwebs and costumes to an evergreen guide featuring eMusic's most shocking albums; the kind of records that have caused riots and revolutions. Or… more »

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Prince & The New Power Generation, Diamonds and Pearls

By Michelangelo Matos, ContributorPrince adamantly denied that his 1991 album was a comeback attempt. He'd never gone anywhere, of course. But it was pretty clear when suddenly he was talking to journalists like never before — Spin, Details — and was courting an audience more directly, taking over The Arsenio Hall Show for an evening of performances (even though he left talking duties to Patti Labelle — huh?) and showing his lace-covered ass on the MTV Video Music Awards. He rented a rapper of no great import (Tony M) and traded in his synths for a heavier live-band sound, emphasizing his showmanship. And he made the worst album of his career to that point, which meant that Diamonds & Pearls contained a handful of classics anyway. "Cream" is the T. Rex rip everyone knows and most love; "Gett Off" is a deadpan, everyone-trades-lines sex romp reminiscent as much of Sly & the Family… more »

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