Picks and Pans Review: Diamonds and Pearls

updated 10/21/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/21/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Prince and the New Power Generation

The minimogul from Minneapolis is back again with another mercurial outing. Actually this collection is so schizophrenic; it should probably be credited to both Prince and Pauper.

You have to wade through the pretentious bluster of "Thunder," the mushy mess that is the title track, and the nursery rhyme foolishness of "Walk Don't Walk." Then just about the time you're wondering what your record store's return policy is, Prince will spin around and blind you with his brilliance, as he does on the conspicuously funky "Gett Off," the tart and bluesy "Cream" and the exotically soulful "Willing and Able," with its spindly West African guitar style, and "Insatiable," which sounds like Percy Sledge meets Peter Gabriel.

As always, Prince blurs the sexual and the spiritual: "The bed started shakin', I don't know who 2 blame/Me or this flower right in front of my eyes/Is this my sweet savior or the devil in disguise." Maybe he should get busy writing the Rick James comeback album.

Diamonds and Pearls also contains some interesting experiments, such as "Daddy Pop," an attempt to recast Sly and the Family Stone in a hip-hop light, and the jazz-tempered falsetto Lark of "Strollin'."

The primary impression left by this record is that Prince is once again exercising his royal option for self-indulgence. (Paisley Park/Warner Bros.)

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