Let’s go all the way back to 1978. Prince’s first album, For You. He was 19 years old when the album was released. I repeat this every third day on this site, but I’ll say it again: The entire album was produced, arranged, composed*, and performed by Prince. *Someone named Chris Moon gets a co-writer credit on “Soft and Wet.” The rest is 100% Prince. When I was 19 I was trying to pass Super Metroid and hoping to borrow my parents’ car so I could visit my buddies in Oshkosh. Prince was single-handedly creating albums for a major record label.
For You sounds like 1978. You hear it throughout the album. The closest thing the album had to a hit – “Soft and Wet” – is disco funk. Songs like “Just as Long as We’re Together” and “My Love is Forever” sound so much like the 70’s I can close my eyes and picture the terrible clothing and furniture when I hear it. “I’m Yours” is a stunning display of young Prince’s musical chops on numerous instruments, even if it does occasionally sound a like a Mannheim Steamroller song.
Then there’s my personal favorite track on the album: “Crazy You.” Coming in at a lean 2:17 it gently rocks you in to a lull, then sneaks out before you know what happened. It’s the only song on the album I consider timeless. If you know nothing about it and hear it with no context I promise you’ll have no idea when he recorded it. It’s driven mostly by acoustic guitar. There’s a strange laser beam-esque sound effect at the 0:47 mark, but not enough to be distracting. It adds to the overall mellow vibe in the song. His silky, soft falsetto blends perfectly with the music. For a song that makes numerous references in the lyrics to things being crazy – kind of crazy, I’m just a crazy fool, crazy things, crazy you – this song is more like a cool breeze on a lovely summer Sunday morning. It’s all kinds of pleasant and not even remotely crazy.
I tend to avoid For You because it’s got a bit too much 70’s stank on it for my liking. I do sneak in “Crazy You” on some chill playlists, though. A nice track on a promising debut album. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.