This week the Purple One, Prince, released three new albums: Lotusflow3r, Elixer and Mplsound. It’s a continuation of his “comeback period” which included albums, Musicology (2004), 3121 (2006) and Planet Earth (2007) and a Superbowl Appearance in 2007.
On Lotusflow3r, Prince performs a nice axeified version of “Crimson and Clover”. “4ever” and “$” are among the best here. Elixer introduces singer Bria Valente. Nothing to write home about here. In Mplsound, Prince, returns to his earlier ‘80s funk sound. …Very interesting selections and is perhaps the gem among the lot here.
If you’re expecting more great hits from Prince like “1999”, “Purple Rain”, “Kiss” or “Raspberry Beret”, this is not the offering for you. “Serious” Prince fans will enjoy these “deep cut” albums from the Purple One …to a degree. Nevertheless, with genres of swing, fusion jazz, funk and rock perhaps there is something for everyone in these three albums which are sold together as a unit.
Not to be overlooked is the artwork on these offerings. We aim to make this an “edifying blog” so silence here in not way implies consent!
Western Christians are well into Lent and Holy Week is almost upon us. This year perhaps more than others temporal concerns occupy our mind. (I don’t really need to elaborate on the recent political and economic news events here.) Regardless of current events, Christian discipline during Lent and Christian discipleship should prepare us for misfortune knowing that accepting our personal Crosses along with the Cross is the only way to our salvation.
In the Long Lent of 2002 many inside the Church were discouraged by scandals of some priests and others. Although painful for the faithful to endure, the Great Lent has already produced many good fruits and will continue to produce many more good fruits. The Church continually needs to be purified and renewed!
Perhaps we can see the current problems in the political and economic spheres as the second stage of “purification” if we recall the inspired words of St. Peter? …
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 NASB)
Perhaps, “judgment” on the “family of God”, the Church, is now given way to “judgment” on “the world”? Perhaps, our frailties are coming to light and illusions are vanishing as part of our purification and renewal by the Will of God?
“For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.” (Mark 4:22 NASB)
Regardless of possible purifications and renewals of the Church and of the world in the events of the past few years and of the present months, our individual lives need to be constantly purified and renewed as well. Part of our personal renewal certainly includes accepting what Irish theologian Fr. D. Vincent Twomey calls “outrageous fortune”.
The Church’s major strength in the past was the way it formed people to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, which are part of the human condition — and which can only be faced if one has learned to pray the Stations of the Cross, and has learned to live daily life from a source that is not simply human. Hope accepts the reality of the Cross in our lives. It knows at the same time that the Cross is not the last word. Resurrection, joy, and happiness ultimately prevail, because we know that His victory has the last word.
This awareness of the Transcendent and, with it, the inner joy and confidence about future victory (summed up in the phrase once used in adversity: “God is good”) enabled the faithful to endure the worst. It was the source of true hope and, paradoxically, it leads not to fatalism but to making a greater effort to improve the situation.
By way of contrast, the impression I get today is a growing inability to accept and cope with the reality of suffering, as a result of which so many seek the escapist outlets we are all too familiar with: drugs, excessive drink, suicide. I dead to think of what will happen when the present recession was have just entered begins to make itself felt in any serious way.
Today I learned of a real shocker: New Age Greek musician Yanni is going ‘stacheless when his new music album Voices is released on March 24th. The iconic mustache and flowing black hair are no more! At first glance this seems to be an iconoclasm in the same category as when Weird Al Yankovic dropped his glasses.
Although it’s not the end of the world, I wonder how we would react to Fred Rogers (1928-2003) without a sweater or to Brian Johnson without a scally cap. Time is a measure of change. Now we will have a new division in time: the post-stache-Yanni era!
'stacheless Yanni ... say it ain't so!
Images: Yanni Ethnicity (2003 Virgin); Yanni Voices (2009 Walt Disney)
In the West and in many other parts of the world, people’s hearts and minds these days seem to be ever more focused on the equity and bond markets, on the course of businesses and on the increasing government intervention and control of free market economies as a form of “capitalistic socialism”. Historical perspective can perhaps ameliorate some long-terms concerns but nevertheless, all of us need to certainly face short-term concrete realities. Nary a day goes by without either hearing or reading about more disheartening business and financial news.
Always, but especially in times like these, we should recall that men and women are much more than simply “the members of a work force or consumers”. Even with a proper perspective on reality the temptation to to do more rather than to be more will always be there.
I was pleased to read Pope Benedict XVI’s December 18, 2008 address to the Ambassador of Luxembourg Mr. Paul Dühr: Keeping the Sabbath a mark of profound humanist wisdom recently in the January 7, 2009 edition of L’Osservatore Romano (Weekly Edition in English), published the Holy See. In his address, Pope Benedict reminds us of the “most important of human realities”:
[T]he financial context is an invitation to seek the true treasure of existence and to be attentive to the balances that make harmonious social life possible. Respect for Sunday is certainly one of the elements that contribute to this, Over and above this day’s religious significance, its uniqueness reminds each citizen that he possesses a lofty dignity and that his work is not servile.
Sunday is offered to all so that the human being is not reduced to being merely the member of a work force or a consumer but rather that he may rest and devote some time to the most important of human realities: family life, free encounters with others, spiritual activities and the worship of God. It is important not to lose in a vain and dangerous race for profit, that which is not only a social acquisition but also and especially a mark of profound humanist wisdom.
Although the “most important of human realities” like economics can be contemplated by believers and unbelievers alike, they are merely a starting point toward the even more deeper realities of man, in particular, of who man is. Christians, like Pope Benedict, are concerned with all of human realities, but in addition we also proclaim that the deepest reality of who man is was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, God-become-man.
The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. (Gaudium Et Spes , Vatican II, December 7, 1965)
So let’s have solidarity with each other in these trying times and find comfort and aide with the help of God’s grace!
Musically, I'm not quite sure what one gets when combining Hanson, Smashing Pumkins, Cheap Trick and Fountains Of Wayne. But on April 21st we will find out. Tinted Windows, a new group featuring Taylor Hanson [Hanson] (lead vocals), James Iha [Smashing Pumkins](guitar), Adam Schlesinger [Fountains of Wayne] (bass), and Bun E. Carlos [Cheap trick](drums).
I like all four groups. This collaboration may make sense since Taylor Hanson should pursue a solo career apart from his brothers and after listening to Cheap Trick's Rockford (2006) it should be obvious that their best days are behind them.
Tinted Windows'swebsite has a sample song already posted: Kind of a Girl. The song sounds like Fountains of Wayne adding Taylor's distinct vocal inflections with Hanson's sentiments and Bun's familiar drumming. It sounds very upbeat and I look forward to hearing the totality of their collaboration. This album may be one to keep tabs on.