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Case Number 10028: Small Claims Court

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Prince: Diamonds And Pearls

Paisley Park // 1992 // 58 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // September 18th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum finally gets to use the phrase "sporting his assless pants" in a review.

The Charge

If I gave you diamonds and pearls
Would you be a happy boy or a girl?
- Prince

The Case

Back in the day I owned a VHS copy of Prince and the New Power Generation: Diamonds and Pearls Video Collection. Well, now the DVD version has come out and…it feels like the same thing. The picture quality, the stereo sound mix—it's all VHS quality. So why even bother getting excited? Prince is funky, and even stripped down to low technical grainy transfers it's still a fun ride. Diamonds and Pearls was a great album, and the videos that accompanied the songs were pretty damn cool.

Here's a list of the gems to be found:
• Music videos for Get Off, Cream, Diamonds and Pearls, Call the Law, Willing and Able, Insatiable, Strollin', and Money Don't Matter Tonight.

• Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans take note because Robia LaMorte (aka "Jenny Calender or the love of Giles) is featured as Pearl flanking his Purple badness with the equally alluring Diamond (Lori Werner, who never did much afterwards other than a small appearance in the television movie Double Platinum}.

• Spike Lee directed the Money Don't Matter Tonight video, so it's well worth tracking down as it is not often shown.

• There are portions of the Diamonds and Pearls concert tour which shows excerpts of the band performing Thunder, Dr. Feelgood, Jughead, and Live for Love.

• We get to hear each member of the New Power Generation explain why they are in the band and how they came in to the business.

So what's the deal here? Back in 1992 Warner Brothers had hoped to expand its offerings to include video albums on VHS to compete with MTV. They wanted to see how well these conceptual video versions would sell in comparison to the traditional CD or cassette. The idea came about after Madonna had been banned off of MTV with her racy track for Justify My Love, and then turned around to move millions of units of a VHS single of the clip. Prince was one of the biggest Warner Brothers acts, and he was obsessive enough to record marathon filming sessions on a whim. The man doesn't sleep, so he could produce a conceptual video album in about three days. That's about what happened too. Yet when the VHS collection hit shelves, people bypassed it to buy the CD. Prince would still release the odd video project here and there, but he'd be one of the few acts to embrace this idea. And why not? Prince obviously loves moving images after Purple Rain, Under the Cherry Moon, and Graffiti Bridge (his own funked up trilogy of terror also available on DVD).

So why release this now? Because hardcore Prince fans will snap up just about anything anybody throws at them. Warner Brothers released Prince from his record contract, but they still own his back catalogue. This is a cash grab for them pure and simple. Still, the faithful won't mind. Most of us are asking where is Sign 'O' The Times damn it? Yet we'll settle for this for a few moments. It's nice to see Prince sporting his assless pants, his up do wrapped in a scarf, flanked by "pseudo" bisexual women, and supported by the ample voice of Rosie Gaines. There's nobody like him on earth, and Diamonds and Pearls was a watershed album of musical diversity and sheer joy. If you can forgive the attempts at rap (at least most of it is done by a real rapper instead of his Purpleness), it's certainly one of his best. All hail the Prince who can only offer us his love and this grainy copy of Prince: Diamonds and Pearls.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Paisley Park
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Bulgarian)
• None
Running Time: 58 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Concerts and Musicals

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb Profile of Prince

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