Graffiti Bridge (album)

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Graffiti Bridge
Prince Graffiti.jpg
Studio album / soundtrack by Prince
Released August 21, 1990
Recorded 1983–1990 at multiple locations
Length 68:32
Label Paisley Park, Warner Bros.
Producer Prince
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

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 21, 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. The band would get its first official outing on Prince's next album, Diamonds and Pearls. Though its 17 tracks constituted a double album, the significance of this was obscured by the rising popularity of the CD format.

Evolution of the album[edit]

The concept for the album and film began as early as 1987, or possibly earlier, 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 tunes that were updated for this release.

"Tick, Tick, Bang" was originally from 1981 during the Controversy sessions, and considered for Vanity 6. Written by Prince under the pseudonym Joey Coco, it was originally a more punk rock number 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 1986 for his unreleased project Dream Factory, along with a 1983 track, "We Can Funk". A melody similar to that of "Purple Rain" can be heard during the bridge of "Can't Stop This Feeling I Got". The two tracks were drastically updated for Graffiti Bridge.

"The Question of U" was from 1985 during the Parade sessions, surviving with little updating to the original version. "Joy in Repetition" was a Crystal Ball outtake from 1986 that survived unchanged. Prince even kept the original segue of party noise at the beginning of the song, which is also found at the end of "Eye No", leading into "Alphabet St." from Lovesexy. As mentioned, the title track was updated from the 1987 recording, as well as "Elephants & Flowers" (from the then-unreleased Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic album) and "The Latest Fashion" (later given to The Time). "Melody Cool" and "Still Would Stand All Time" were considered for Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, later performed in some Lovesexy aftershows. "Still Would Stand All Time" was also 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" shares elements with "My Summertime Thang" from their album Pandemonium.

The only truly "new" material recorded for the album was "Round and Round", "New Power Generation", and "Thieves in the Temple", recorded in January and February 1990, and included at the last minute. Many outtakes for the album are also in circulation, several of which exist as samples in "New Power Generation (Pt. II)".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly A+[5]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/5 stars[6]
MusicHound Rock 2/5[7]
Q 4/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[10]
The Village Voice B+[11]

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?"[12] In Entertainment Weekly, Greg Sandow said the album was likely a "masterpiece" that found Prince rediscovering his ability to cover different styles effortlessly.[5] 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".[9] 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.[3]

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."[13] 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."[11] 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.[14]

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".[2] 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".[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Prince, except track 3, co-written with Levi Seacer, Jr., track 9, co-written with Levi Seacer, Jr. and Morris Day, and track 11, co-written by Morris Day.[15]

No. Title Length
1. "Can't Stop This Feeling I Got" 4:24
2. "New Power Generation" 3:39
3. "Release It" (performed by The Time) 3:54
4. "The Question of U" 3:59
5. "Elephants & Flowers" 3:54
6. "Round and Round" (performed by Tevin Campbell) 3:55
7. "We Can Funk" (featuring George Clinton) 5:28
8. "Joy in Repetition" 4:53
9. "Love Machine" (performed by The Time with Elisa) 3:34
10. "Tick, Tick, Bang" 3:31
11. "Shake!" (performed by The Time) 4:01
12. "Thieves in the Temple" 3:19
13. "The Latest Fashion" (featuring The Time) 4:02
14. "Melody Cool" (performed by Mavis Staples) 3:39
15. "Still Would Stand All Time" 5:23
16. "Graffiti Bridge" (featuring Mavis Staples and Tevin Campbell) 3:51
17. "New Power Generation (Pt. II)" 2:57



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


Chart (1990) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[16] 10
Austrian Albums Chart[17] 8
Canadian Albums Chart[18] 22
Dutch Albums Chart[19] 4
German Albums Chart[19] 4
New Zealand Albums Chart[20] 3
Norwegian Albums Chart[21] 2
Swedish Albums Chart[22] 7
Swiss Albums Chart[23] 2
UK Albums Chart[24] 1
US Billboard 200[25] 6
US Billboard R&B Albums[25] 6


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[26] Gold 50,000^
Germany (BVMI)[27] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^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. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Prince: Graffiti Bridge > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b Kot, Greg (August 23, 1990). "'Graffiti Bridge'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). "Prince". Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 10 (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 653. ISBN 0195313739. 
  5. ^ a b Sandow, Greg (31 August 1990). "Graffiti Bridge: Prince". Entertainment Weekly. No. #29. Time. ISSN 1049-0434. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Graffiti Bridge Soundtrack CD Album". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Evans, Paul (23 August 1990). "Prince: Graffiti Bridge (Sdtrk)". Rolling Stone. No. RS 585. Wenner Media. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Matos, Michaelangelo (November 2, 2004). "Prince". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 655–6. ISBN 0743201698. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (October 23, 1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  12. ^ Draper, Jason (2016). Prince: Life and Times. Book Sales. p. 98. ISBN 0760353638. 
  13. ^ Pareles, Jon (August 19, 1990). "RECORDINGS; Sonic and Sexual Updates From Prince". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ Anon. (March 5, 1991). "The 1990 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Album: Graffiti Bridge – Prince Vault". Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on July 31, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Austrian Album Charts (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. 
  18. ^ "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 52, No. 24, October 27 1990". 
  19. ^ a b "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. 
  20. ^ "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. 
  23. ^ "Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on April 11, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Graffiti Bridge". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "Graffiti Bridge > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Music Canada. 
  27. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Prince; 'Graffiti Bridge')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Graffiti Bridge in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Prince – Graffiti Bridge". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sleeping with the Past by Elton John
UK number one album
September 1, 1990 – September 7, 1990
Succeeded by
In Concert by The Three Tenors