During the 1990s it looked as though Prince, once one of the most vital and inventive artists in the industry, was in all ways over. Yet 2004's MUSICOLOGY redeemed the man who seemed lost to obscure re-christenings and self-indulgent double-albums by proving he could still deliver the goods with strong songs and tight, funky musicianship. 2006's 3121 does MUSICOLOGY one better. Not only is it full of fine writing, superb production, and infectious, high-energy jams, it is Prince's most focused and consistent effort in a long time.
That 3121 doesn't rival masterpieces like PARADE and SIGN 'O' THE TIMES is not surprising; Prince doesn't invent at such a furious pace here. Instead, he sticks with what he knows best--forward-thinking, idiosyncratic funk--and does it to perfection. The rolling stomp of the title-track opener, the synth-driven "Lolita," and the down-and-dirty "Black Sweat" tell us this will be an album full of body-movers, while beautifully downtempo tunes like "Te Amo Corazon" prove the man hasn't lost his sense of songcraft. MUSICOLOGY put Prince back in the driver's seat, and 3121 finds him revving up the engine.