Where to begin? 3 Cds. 3 Hours. 56 tracks of wildly varying material. So, an average Prince record.

In all seriousness, this release requires a little background perhaps. Having just been released from contract by his previous label and the legal issues, Prince felt, as the title sugguests, freed. A man with a million ideas flowing at once, he threw everything at the wall and organized them as he wanted. That’s not even to mention the several discs worth of circulating unreleased outtakes and whatever has not escaped the vault.

Is it a good album? Well, it is tough to listen to all the way through. Statistically, it is average. There are just as many good songs are there are throw-aways. But maybe that’s the point. Instead of chiseling away at everything and crafting a particular vision for a singular, comercially viable album, Prince strategically opened the view wider to *everything* that he was at the time, and lets the listener pick and choose what they like.

For what it’s worth, my favorite song is “Sleep Around”. Yours will likely be something else. Do I recommed it after all the preface? Absolutely. No, Emancipation will not be revered as the greatest Prince album, but there is plenty to enjoy, and what you don’t, its juxtaposition will expand your understanding of why, and all the other possibilites that came from the great purple one.

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