Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic is the twenty-third studio album by Prince (his stage name at the time being the love symbol he created). Featuring a radio-friendly sound, the album was conceived as a return to commercial success after several years without significant public attention. However, the album received only modest sales, mixed reviews, and is generally viewed by fans as one of Prince's weakest efforts.
The album's first single, "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold", achieved modest success, peaking at number 63 on the Hot 100. Though Prince's duet with Gwen Stefani, "So Far So Pleased", was considered to be a single, plans were halted when No Doubt's label refused to grant permission (fearing it would confuse fans since the band's album, Return of Saturn, was about to be released).
Every artist does a collaboration album at some point in their career, and so Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic became Prince’s. Employing the talents of Gwen Stefani, Chuck D, Ruff Ryder, Sheryl Crow and the arty Ani DiFranco it still remains clear Prince/The Artist Formally Known As Prince was the one firmly in control of the project as all the collaborators are reduced to bit-parts. (In fact noticing the collaborative contributions turns into an exercise on a par with Where’s Wally.) for in 1999 Prince was, after all, gearing up for his big year and due to all this ‘collaboration’ he came up with this highly eclectic album. Undisputed forms the most, lets say, interesting computerised beat in Prince’s discography but the album settles into its stride with the catchy Hot Wit U. His cover of Crow’s Everyday Is A Winding Road is a perfect example of the ‘Prince treatment’, making the song is tighter, sharper and classier than the original. Man O’ War is the outstanding track and the outtake Beautiful Strange gets its airing on the remix version of the album, Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic. Speaking of which, Rave In2, to be completely honest, would have fared far better in the charts than the under cooked Rave Un2 – left to languish at number 18 (Prince was unhappy with Arista’s disappointing promotion of Un2). Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic is successful in its production, a highly engineered album and the platform Prince intended to make his commercial comeback. Arista let it sink without trace and Prince’s commercial return would have to wait until 2004. He did forewarn “Heavy rotation never made my world go round, commercialisation of the music is what brought it down” – a case of life imitating art in its truest sense! User Comments