HITnRUN: Phase Two

Album Review of HITnRUN: Phase Two by Prince.

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HITnRUN: Phase Two

Prince

HITnRUN: Phase Two by Prince

Release Date: Dec 12, 2015
Record label: NPG
Genre(s): Pop/Rock

62 Music Critic Score
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HITnRUN: Phase Two - Fairly Good, Based on 10 Critics

Paste Magazine - 88
Based on rating 8.8/10
88

From the opening notes of Prince’s HITnRun Phase 2, it seems like a return to the days of the Purple One’s midcareer classics like “Cream,” “Most Beautiful Girl in the World” and even “Kiss. ” “Baltimore” feels good—churning, sleek, a bouncing to a rubbery beat—and that vibe permeates his latest collaboration with the New Power Generation. But even through the positive musical vibes, HnR2 shows Prince sowing seeds of social commentary.

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New Musical Express (NME) - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

At 57, Prince is bulldozing towards his dotage, firing out whole albums in the time it takes Frank Ocean to approve a magazine cover. This is his fourth since last September’s ‘Plectrumelectrum’. He’s in a (naturally) purple patch, in the prolific sense, and there have been hints he’s shaken his creative malaise, with September’s ‘HITnRUN Phase One’ reconnecting him with the funkiest (and occasionally crunkiest) essentials, if not always his superior sense of melody.‘Phase Two’ is a different proposition.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

It’s been a mere three months since Prince dropped HITNRUN Phase One first on Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service, and then a few weeks later via more traditional outlets. Arguably the single worst album of his legendary career, the sterile and soullessPhase One quickly sank like a stone, notable more for being the first product under Prince’s highly publicized deal with Tidal than for its music. At the time there was speculation as to whether a Phase Two would materialize—that speculation can now be put to rest.

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Rolling Stone - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Prince put out two back-to-basics LPs in 2014, but ultimately he was outdone by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," which rode his classic Minneapolis sound all the way to Number One. Late in 2015, he came back with another one-two punch – the second half of which is a well-timed reminder that nobody knows how to funk you up better. HitnRun Phase One seemed to focus on where Prince wanted to go – EDM-inflected bangers, poppy dance cuts – but Phase Two, with its brassy, buoyant arrangements and cheeky lyrics, embodies the artist in his natural state as a soul-funk master.

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The Observer (UK) - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Each new Prince album – this is his 39th and second of 2015 (it was released just before Christmas ) – offers up hope of a return to form hinted at by his incendiary live shows. While patchy, the good news is that Phase Two is much better than its predecessor, offering up some classic Prince moments including political opener Baltimore, the horn-led workout Groovy Potential and the fantastic, sexually charged Xtraloveable. It’s telling, however, that the latter was originally demoed in 1982, while other songs here have already appeared in various forms.

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musicOMH.com - 60
Based on rating 3
60

To paraphrase Miley Cyrus, he can’t stop and he won’t stop. Just three months after the surprise release of HiTNRUN Phase One in September, here comes Phase Two. This is nothing new for Prince of course – last year saw him release both Plectrumelecturm and Art Official Age on the very same day – but it’s still an impressive work ethic for anyone.

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Pitchfork - 47
Based on rating 4.7/10
47

As a thought experiment, it's fun to imagine how classic Prince records might sound to fresh ears, to guess how "Kiss" and "I Would Die 4 U" and "1999" might be received by someone raised in the Spotify era. He's a notoriously streaming-unfriendly artist, after all, and even as his reputation looms larger than ever, his art has become more difficult to obtain. What would someone vaguely familiar with the legend but completely new to the music discover? Well, a millions things obviously—a particular melodic sensibility, the urge to continually reinvent, the indelible stories, his undeniable chops, a restless creativity.

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Pitchfork - 47
Based on rating 4.7/10
47

As a thought experiment, it's fun to imagine how classic Prince records might sound to fresh ears, to guess how "Kiss" and "I Would Die 4 U" and "1999" might be received by someone raised in the Spotify era. He's a notoriously streaming-unfriendly artist, after all, and even as his reputation looms larger than ever, his art has become more difficult to obtain. What would someone vaguely familiar with the legend but completely new to the music discover? Well, a millions things obviously—a particular melodic sensibility, the urge to continually reinvent, the indelible stories, his undeniable chops, a restless creativity.

Full Review >>

Consequence of Sound - 44
Based on rating C-
44

“Can I get a kiss?” Prince moans on “Stare”, near the middle of the second volume of the singer’s HITNRUN series. The famous guitar riff from 1986 single “Kiss” follows the lyric in a gesture one might suppose is meant to be glib, a joke we are all in on. Instead, it provides a disappointing look in the mirror, a transparent comb-over for an artist seemingly out of ideas, left only with the chance to do a version of himself.

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Los Angeles Times
Their review was positive

Is this becoming a habit? That's the question Prince raised Saturday morning when, without warning, he released a new album, "HitNRun Phase Two," on the streaming-music service Tidal. As its title suggests, the 12-track set follows an earlier album, "HitNRun Phase One," which Prince had made available in similar fashion in September — proof, it would seem, that this legendary control freak has shed his once-famous disdain for the unruly Internet. SIGN UP for the free Essential Arts & Culture newsletter >> But a newly favored means of delivery isn't the only thing that feels familiar about "Phase Two.

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'HITnRUN: Phase Two'

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