I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, this is not a song about Bayside High School hangout frequented by Zack, Kelly, Screech, Slater, Jessie, and Lisa, even it it was from the same era. This is not an analysis of Saved by the Bell. That would be fun. This song, on the other hand…
“The Max” is a track from Prince’s Love Symbol album, released in 1992. There’s great work on this album. I would not include “The Max” among that group. It sounds very much like it’s from 1992, and unfortunately, not in a good way. I wrote a few nights ago about Prince’s complicated relationship with hip hop and how he struggled incorporating it in to his repertoire. This song and video help bolster my argument.
Prince’s vocals are solid, but the beat and music generic early-90’s stuff. Nothing creative or groundbreaking happening here. Prince is singing about how when he does something he does it to the max, making it feel like it should be in a commercial for Mountain Dew Code Red. Rapper Tony M. is featured and does more yelling than rapping to the point where I actually double checked Google to see if he was the rapper from Snap. He sounds identical to Snap’s rapper Turbo B on their hit “The Power.” I kept waiting for him to yell, “I’m the lyrical Jesse James.”
The video is typical early-90’s fare as well. A lot of guys in bad colorful suits. Concert footage and backstage hijinx. While the song features Tony M., the video is all about Mayte. They began dating right around this time so they may have been a couple already, but this video took place 3+ years before they were married. She’s doing a lot of dancing and balancing swords on her head. You know…normal stuff. Seriously, though, this is one of those Prince videos you’d see and say, “Did you see the girl in the Prince video?” Mayte has her A game going here. Sadly, it’s the highlight of the song.
There’s not much more to say about “The Max.” If you couldn’t already tell, I don’t like it when Prince attempts to sound like everyone else. He should’ve been above a song like this. It sounds like a desperate attempt to fit in by a musician who was infinitely more talented than his so-called peers. He stooped to their level and certainly did not “do it to the max” on this track.