Prince + M.I.A. | Track reviews

A paean to morning sex and a provocateur’s ode to herb.
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“Breakfast Can Wait”
Prince

4/5 stars
Prince may occasionally undermine himself with eccentric pop maneuvers, but that’s a side effect of taking risks, and in his case, redemption is often just around the corner. Recently he dropped the disposable “Screwdriver,” a tepid rocker that sounds as if it was commissioned for a pool party at the Playboy Mansion. But he quickly (and quietly) followed it up with a gem, “Breakfast Can Wait,” a seductive bedroom plea more in line with the sleek funk he was pumping out in the ’90s. The tune finds Prince floating a steady stream of sweet nothings disguised as food metaphors over glowing keys, rubbery bass and a crisp beat. That would be enough for most artists, but Prince remains a resolutely strange dude, and toward the end of the song he pitches up his voice until it sounds as if it’s an infant who’s saying “Come here baby / Let me put you on my plate.” It’s deeply odd, creepy almost, but at this point we expect nothing less of the Purple Yoda.

“Doobie”
M.I.A.

4/5
Love her or hate her, there’s no denying M.I.A.’s ability to provoke. Following a mountain of bad publicity for her sorta self-titled album, MAYA, she rebounded with a spellbinding video for “Bad Girls” then proceeded to give the Super Bowl its weakest kerfuffle ever. “Doobie” may be included on her forthcoming follow-up, it may not. The producer of the track, Danja, leaked it via a YouTube clip, explaining that he prefers it to “Bad Girls,” which he also produced. Over a staccato march that calls to mind a crunk drum corps, M.I.A. chants, “I spy with my little eye / Something that can get you high.” But this is the opposite of a stoner jam, hard driving with a tinge of paranoia. Baroque-like chords underscore an ominous synth warble before M.I.A. offers a fleeting melody in the form of a few falsetto “doobie doo”s that leave us wanting more. The track is a tease, a vehicle for innocuous boasts but a banger nonetheless—that it’s called “Doobie” is utter provocation.

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