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Originally released as a download to fanclub members from npgmusicclub.com on 16 October 2001, it received full commercial distribution via the independent label Redline Entertainment from 20 November that year.
The Rainbow Children is essentially a concept album, and as a result showcases Prince's most diverse work. It explores several and complex themes, such as spiritualism and racism, and although it is critically acclaimed The Rainbow Children sold only 158,000 copies. The core musical theme of the album is funk/jazz and as a result is quite an inaccessible to for non-fans. It arguably, however, represents Prince at his creative and musical peak. It does not feature a drum machine and the sound is very raw and refreshing. The Rainbow Children was released six months after its single, The Work, Part I and peaked on the Billboard charts at 109, but is notable in that it is Prince's first album released under his proper birth name since previously changing it to The Artist Formally Known As Prince.
1 Released as a single
2 Hidden track (#21)
Prince's creative peak (and his first album back again as 'Prince'). But perhaps his most inaccessible album to date, and thank god (literally!) that Prince decided to release this one in stores rather than side step it as an internet only album, for he finally releases an album that showcases his musical dexterity. Isn't it great when you listen to an album and you fall in love with every track? The Rainbow Children is so beautiful, funky, yet musically inspiring, it really does take music to another level. It does not even take a second listen to grow to like it, easily one of his all time best though probably not one for the casual listener. This is a collection of songs and that could only go together on the same album, but it is let down by the religious undertones which comes across as preachy, you can hardly believe this is the man who also wrote Scarlet Pussy and Sexy MF but still, there are few albums as well crafted as this. You simply don't hear music like this today and, like fine wine, Prince improves better over time. This could well be the album which Prince's musical genius sees its peak, supported by his best tour to date. It also demonstrates Prince's hard fought epitome of musical freedom, he would never have been allowed to release this under a large label. Yet it blends funk, melody, lyrical godliness, with some truly stellar guitar. The title track and Family Name make the album, it is so nice to hear Prince being genuinely enjoying making music again and not using his craft to bicker about the industry that made his name, here Prince is back in love with music once again.
The Rainbow Children reviewed by Goldies Parade.