But the real news about Prince’s career, according to music journalism in 2012: this mask is so totally YIKES! What do you mean, a new single?
Zach Lyon: “Wow, what a great ’80s Prince sound,” I thought to myself before realizing I was listening to Prince.
Mallory O’Donnell: Sounding like a classic Prince b-side isn’t something we’ve expected of Prince lately, so this is a somewhat welcome deviation / return. Unfortunately, there still lingers the same old deflated-sac feeling of most everything the man has done since the mid-’90′s. Improvements aren’t always dramatic.
Brad Shoup: The L.A. ingenue is a concept as old and common as dirt. But they’re still coming, and coming to Prince. “When Stars Collide” isn’t just a referenced cosmological rarity, it’s the last track on Andy Allo’s new record. The bass and rhythm guitar create an earthy timbre, the horns are just this side of loony, and the man himself keeps it in the vocal pocket until well-timed squealing or falsetto.
Alfred Soto: It doesn’t matter that as both polemic and music I prefer this to “Musicology.” Prince’s T.Rex moves (see “Cream”) guarantee interest, especially when the guitar hooks interact in a most peculiar way with an organ and a massive synthesizer that’s pure 1999-side-three. But it remains a tentative, tame affair: an effort instead of a song. Maybe he’s so crabby because he’s realized he’s the only R&B guy extant who believes in crappy live drumming.
Katherine St Asaph: Yes, yes, this could be vintage Prince. Problem is, that’s maybe 20% due to synths, 80% due to storyline.
Jonathan Bogart: When did Prince start wanting to be Tom Petty?
Anthony Easton: It sounds like the ’80s, but I don’t think that he has ever moved past this funk sound, so it’s not quite nostalgic and not historically sound. Even the lyrics have a kind of Hollywood Babylon narrative that is shopworn and kind of dated. It’s not terrible, but the man is an utter genius with perfectionist tendencies. I cannot imagine that he would ever sound bad — but I am kind of bored, and this surprises me.
Andy Hutchins: The only time I had heard this song previously to this was while sitting in the chair at the dentist, getting the first fillings I have ever have put in. I found it enjoyably adult and contemporary then, and find it enjoyably adult and contemporary now. May Prince never stop writing orgasms into the lyrics and music of his songs.