Am I qualified to review this? Debatable. There’s something both humbling and invigorating about reviewing an album put out by such an icon, especially after his death. I was almost nervous to even listen to the Deliverance. It’s like a loved one calling me up to talk to me after I thought they were gone. A bit dramatic? Definitely. But I’m not the only one who feels that way about Prince. This EP is certainly a delight, even if we don’t know how Prince really would have felt about it; neither Prince’s estate or his label, Universal Music Group, were involved in its release, and it’s since been made unavailable.
So perhaps I’m one of those privileged few who had a chance to peer into some veiled part of The Purple One’s mysterious world. But what about the actual album? The Deliverance EP was delightful, certainly. But it wasn’t groundbreaking, prolific, enigmatic like I would expect a Prince release to be. And it’s hard for me to properly assess Prince’s artistic choices; were they all really his?
The title track is a phenomenon in and of itself. It’s got all the makings of a Prince classic; Prince croons, the guitar sears, the choir gives it a spiritual touch. It’s somehow grandiose and minimal; perfectly produced while never detracting from Prince’s message. It reaches its climax, and then burns out, making you wish that it would just continue, even if just for a bit longer; almost like Prince himself. The remaining songs are not cut from the same cloth, unfortunately. They lack the same vigor, as if he’s holding back. On “I Am” and “No One Else”, the instrumentals are cluttered and confusing. On “Sunrise Sunset”, his voice cracks. In truth, it’s not that much of a stretch to see why Prince might have shelved them; if there’s one thing we know about Prince, it’s that he was a perfectionist.
So goes the music lover’s dilemma; is it better to just take what we’ve got, to be grateful for the art we got to enjoy when they were alive? Is it so wrong to wish for something more? Unfortunately, as fun and bittersweet as it is, the Deliverance doesn’t provide us with an answer.
Deliverance [EP] Track Listing:
02. I Am
03. Touch Me
04. Sunrise Sunset
05. No one Else
06. I Am (extended)
Run Time: ??:??
Release Date: April 21, 2017