Graffiti Bridge (album)

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Graffiti Bridge
Prince Graffiti.jpg
Studio album / soundtrack by
Prince and other artists
ReleasedAugust 20, 1990
StudioPaisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN; Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, CA; Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY; United Sound Studio, Detroit, MI, Washington Avenue Warehouse, Edina, MN
LabelPaisley Park, Warner Bros.
Prince chronology
Graffiti Bridge
Diamonds and Pearls
Singles from Graffiti Bridge
  1. "Thieves in the Temple"
    Released: July 17, 1990
  2. "Round and Round"
    Released: September 24, 1990
  3. "New Power Generation"
    Released: October 23, 1990
  4. "Can't Stop This Feeling I Got (Philippines only)"
    Released: 1990

Graffiti Bridge is the twelfth studio album by American recording artist Prince and is the soundtrack album to the 1990 film of the same name. It was released on August 20, 1990, by Paisley Park Records and Warner Bros. Records.

The album was much better received in sales than the film. It reached number 6 in the United States and was his third consecutive chart-topper (following Lovesexy and Batman) on the UK Albums Chart.[1] Nearly every song on the record was written by Prince despite the handful of artists performing, including Tevin Campbell, Mavis Staples, and the Time. The album produced the hit singles "Thieves in the Temple" and "New Power Generation", an anthem in two parts celebrating Prince's newly created backing band, the New Power Generation. "Can't Stop This Feeling I Got" was released in the Philippines only. The band would get its first official outing on Prince's next album, Diamonds and Pearls.

Evolution of the album[edit]

The concept for the album and film began as early as mid-1987, but experienced delays for various reasons. The title track was originally recorded during this period, hence the liner notes listing Sheila E. and Boni Boyer as performers on the track. In fact, nearly the entire album is composed of previously recorded sessions that were updated for this release.

"Tick, Tick, Bang" was originally from 1981 during the sessions for the Controversy album. Written by Prince, it was originally a more punk rock song with a bass synthesizer; the update of the song includes an uncredited drum sample from Jimi Hendrix's "Little Miss Lover". "Can't Stop This Feeling I Got" was from 1982, but later updated in mid-1986 during sessions for aborted album Dream Factory, before further updating. "We Can Funk" was first recorded in 1983, originally titled "We Can Fuck", before Prince re-recorded the song in 1986 with the Revolution (under the title "We Can Funk"), before further updating to 1983 version took place. A melody similar to that of "Purple Rain" can be heard during the bridge of "Can't Stop This Feeling I Got". The three tracks were drastically updated in 1989 for release on Graffiti Bridge.

"The Question of U" was recorded in 1985 during sessions for Parade with little updating added to the original version. "Joy in Repetition" was first included on the Crystal Ball unreleased album in late 1986, and the same recording was used for this album (the track was not updated further for release, unlike the other "old" songs). Prince also kept the original segue of party noise at the start of the song (this time segueing from "We Can Funk" on this album instead of "The Ball" when "Joy In Repetition" was placed on Crystal Ball in 1986) which is also heard at the end of "Eye No", leading into "Alphabet St." on Lovesexy. The title track (from 1987) was updated for the album as well as "Elephants & Flowers" (from the 1988 unreleased Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic album) and "The Latest Fashion" (later given to the Time for "Corporate World" album). "Melody Cool" and "Still Would Stand All Time" were intended for Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic album and were later performed in some Lovesexy aftershows. "Still Would Stand All Time" was later considered for Batman, but was replaced by "Scandalous". The four tracks featuring the Time were originally going to be on their unreleased Corporate World album, recorded in 1989, though "The Latest Fashion" reuses music from "My Summertime Thang" from their album Pandemonium. "New Power Generation" was originally recorded in 1982 as "Bold Generation".[2]

The only truly "new" compositions recorded for the album were "Round and Round" and "Thieves in the Temple". The latter song was the final track recorded for the album, recorded in early 1990. The B-side "Get Off" would soon be incorporated into Gett Off the following year.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
Entertainment WeeklyA+[6]
Los Angeles Times[7]
MusicHound Rock2/5[8]
Orlando Sentinel[9]
Rolling Stone[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[12]
The Village VoiceB+[13]

Graffiti Bridge received positive reviews from contemporary critics, who praised Prince's songwriting and the variety of the music while deeming it an improvement over 1988's Lovesexy. Time magazine hailed the record as a "groovable feast", while Q claimed it was "practically impossible to choose anything that doesn't deserve to be there. How long is it since that can honestly be said about a Prince album?"[14] In Entertainment Weekly, Greg Sandow said the album was likely a "masterpiece" that found Prince rediscovering his ability to cover different styles effortlessly.[6] Rolling Stone reviewer Paul Evans credited him for lending a "sharper focus", "harder groove", and emphasis on funk and rock rather than "the feckless genre dabbling" of albums such as Lovesexy and Around the World in a Day (1985). Evans also believed Prince's catchy compositions helped make the "omnivorous mysticism" of his lyrics "newly convincing — convincing, but still startling, sensual and freeing".[11] Greg Kot, the Chicago Tribune's chief music critic, called the album "a sprawling, wildly diffuse statement on love, sin, sex and salvation that ranks with his best work", as well as "perhaps his most complex and, dare we say, mature exploration" of those themes.[4]

In The New York Times, Jon Pareles believed Graffiti Bridge would perhaps give Prince a success on both commercial and artistic terms, although he lamented some of the lyrics: "Verbally, he's no deep thinker; when he's not singing about sex, his messages tend to be benevolent and banal."[15] Robert Christgau was less impressed in his consumer guide for The Village Voice. He applauded the guest artists, particularly the Time, and some of Prince's own half of songs, but said most of them were "overly subtle if not rehashed or just weak: title track, generational anthem, and lead single all reprise familiar themes, and the ballads fall short of the exquisite vocalese that can make his slow ones sing."[13] At the end of 1990, Graffiti Bridge was voted the tenth best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop, a nationwide poll of American critics, published by The Village Voice.[16]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine called Graffiti Bridge an "often very good" album whose best songs were those performed by Prince, with the exception of the Time's "Release It" and Tevin Campbell's "Round and Round".[3] Michaelangelo Matos was more critical in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), finding the record "interesting primarily for its guest stars" and "for the fact that it now sounds as dated as the new jack swing it apes".[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Prince, except track 3, co-written with Levi Seacer, Jr., track 7, co-written with George Clinton, and track 9, co-written with Levi Seacer, Jr. and Morris Day.

1."Can't Stop This Feeling I Got"Prince4:24
2."New Power Generation, Part 1"Prince and the New Power Generation3:39
3."Release It"The Time3:54
4."The Question of U"Prince3:59
5."Elephants & Flowers"Prince3:54
6."Round and Round"Tevin Campbell3:55
7."We Can Funk"Prince feat. George Clinton5:28
8."Joy in Repetition"Prince4:53
9."Love Machine"The Time feat. Elisa Fiorillo3:34
10."Tick, Tick, Bang"Prince3:31
11."Shake!"The Time4:01
12."Thieves in the Temple"Prince3:19
13."The Latest Fashion"The Time feat. Prince4:02
14."Melody Cool"Mavis Staples3:39
15."Still Would Stand All Time"Prince5:23
16."Graffiti Bridge"Prince3:51
17."New Power Generation, Part 2"Prince and the New Power Generation2:57


Singles and Hot 100 chart placings[edit]

  1. "Thieves in the Temple" (extended)
  2. "Thieves in the House"
  3. "Temple House dub"
  1. "New Power Generation" (funky weapon remix)
  2. "T.C.'s Rap"
  3. "Brother with a Purpose"
  4. "Get Off"
  5. "The Lubricated Lady"
  6. "Loveleft/Loveright"
  1. "Round and Round" (Solu Mix Edit)
  2. "Round and Round" (The House Mix)
  3. "Goodbye" (Tevin's Dub – Part 1 & 2)
  4. "Goodbye" (Soiddub & Listen)
  • "Melody Cool" maxi-single (#36 US R&B)
  1. "Melody Cool" (Extended LP Mix)
  2. "Melody Cool" (Extended Remix)
  3. "Melody Cool" (Deep House Vocal)
  4. "Melody Cool" (Mellow Dub Mix)
  5. "Time Waits for No-one" (Edit)
  • "Shake!" maxi-single
  1. "Shake!" (Extended Mix) – 5:03
  2. "Shake!" (Battle Mix) – 4:06
  3. "Shake!" (Funky House Mix) – 8:20
  4. "The Latest Fashion" (Remix) – 6:20
  5. "Shake!" (Boom Mix) – 5:01
  6. "Shake!" – 4:00



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[34] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[35] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[36] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[38] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ *Roberts, David (editor). The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, p444. Guinness Publishing Ltd. 7th edition (1996). ISBN 0-85112-619-7
  2. ^ "New Power Generation - Prince Vault".
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Prince: Graffiti Bridge > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b Kot, Greg (August 23, 1990). "Graffiti Bridge". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). "Prince". Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 10 (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 653. ISBN 0195313739.
  6. ^ a b Sandow, Greg (August 31, 1990). "Graffiti Bridge: Prince". Entertainment Weekly. No. #29. Time. ISSN 1049-0434. Archived from the original on August 29, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (August 12, 1990). "Prince's 'Graffiti Bridge' to the Past : *** 1/2 PRINCE "Graffiti Bridge" Paisley Park/Warner Bros". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 897. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  9. ^ Gettelman, Parry (August 24, 1990). "Prince". Orlando Sentinel.
  10. ^ "Graffiti Bridge Soundtrack CD Album". Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Evans, Paul (August 23, 1990). "Prince: Graffiti Bridge (Sdtrk)". Rolling Stone. No. RS 585. Wenner Media. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Matos, Michaelangelo (November 2, 2004). "Prince". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 655–6. ISBN 0743201698. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (October 23, 1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  14. ^ Draper, Jason (2016). Prince: Life and Times. Book Sales. p. 98. ISBN 978-0760353639.
  15. ^ Pareles, Jon (August 19, 1990). "RECORDINGS; Sonic and Sexual Updates From Prince". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  16. ^ Anon. (March 5, 1991). "The 1990 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  17. ^ " – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  18. ^ " – Prince – Graffiti Bridge" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  19. ^ "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 52, No. 24, October 27 1990". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  20. ^ " – Prince – Graffiti Bridge" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  21. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "Prince". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 204.
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  23. ^ " – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  24. ^ " – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
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  29. ^ "Prince Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  30. ^ "Prince Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  31. ^ "Prince Chart History (Soundtrack Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1990". Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Music Canada.
  35. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. 2005. ISBN 8480486392.
  36. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Prince; 'Graffiti Bridge')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
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  38. ^ "American album certifications – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]