PRINCE - THE ALBUMS 1978 - 2021




"FOR YOU"
 
1978



FOR YOU - The very first track on any Prince album is a little over a minute long and showcases the astounding vocal range of the then teenage artist.  Harmonising with himself, using his voice as melodies and adding a Gospel and church choir like style.  Brave for a first track to bare himself like this but then Prince was to be no ordinary performer!

IN LOVE - A Pop Soul track that has very slight hints of Funk.  It is essentially a mid tempo ballad.  Showing the early talent this guy had for hearing unusual sounds that merge together brilliantly.  All tracks here composed, performed, arranged and produced by this teenager on his debut, that in itself is remarkable.

SOFT AND WET - The first introduction to the now famous (or infamous to some) sexual innuendo laden tracks that he composed during his reign.  A Disco Funk track with a little Soul, was released as a single on his 20th birthday as the first from this album.
 
 
 
CRAZY YOU - A lovely slow tempo almost Acoustic Soul ballad.  As Prince proved with many tracks in his career, less is more sometimes.  This is a case in point, a great emotive and easy going track.

JUST AS LONG AS WE'RE TOGETHER - The second single and is a funky Pop Disco track with some fabulous assorted instrument solos throughout the epic 6 and a half minutes.  Experimentation was never a problem with Prince and this is sheer class.
 
 

BABY - An outright Soul/R n' B ballad in the vein of classic early 70s artists of that ilk.   Superb vocal range from Prince once again, the master of the emotively powerful ballads.

MY LOVE IS FOREVER - A jaunty, bubbly and bright Pop/R n' B track with a great guitar solo towards the end.  

SO BLUE - This has an almost Country style intro but then turns into an Acoustic emotive Soul ballad reaching a crescendo towards the end and ending with a gentle Jazz style outro.

I'M YOURS - First real hearing of the superb guitarist that is Prince.  The first real 70s style Classic Rock track from him.  Some awesome guitar solos and various vocals make this one of my favourites of all of his work, its just fantastic from such a young guy at the time!
 



 "PRINCE"

1979


I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER - The opening track to Prince's second album was his first big hit in the USA reaching number 11 in the Billboard Hot 100 and also was his first single in the UK chart although only reaching number 41. It is a falsetto vocal all through backed by a funky almost Disco sound.  At about 2 minutes 40 the Synth Pop Disco style takes us to the end of the 5 minutes plus tuneThe first big notice that Prince was coming.

 

WHY YOU WANNA TREAT ME SO BAD? - A New Wave Funk Rock track, with hints of Rock N' Roll with the guitars and bass and easy drumbeat.  Sung in high pitch once again but well worth a listen for the awesome guitar solo for the last minute or so, introducing us to the sublime talent.

 

SEXY DANCER - A genre popping track, not so complicated lyric wise, with lots of grunts, sighs and soft vocals with an occasional scream.  Funky as hell, and because of the "orgasmic" breathy sighs was treated as risque here in the UK, clearly not ready for the upcoming Prince phenomenon just yet.  It is New Wave, Synth Rock, Disco and Funk all rolled into one.  Simple but engaging.

WHEN WE'RE DANCING CLOSE AND SLOW - The first real emotive ballad on the album.  The line "I want to come inside of you" may be risque but that's Prince.  Sex is love and faith in equal measures.  Still it is a lovely, light, gentle and sweet song.

WITH YOU - Another emotional ballad with Motown Soul leanings, I hear its not a favourite with some Prince listeners but I like it.  It has emotion and feeling and Prince's falsetto vocals give it a great emphasis.  The final "...with you" at the end is heart wrenching.

BAMBI - A big Rock workout with a little Funk.  Heavy on the guitars with some Glam Rock hints to the likes of Marc Bolan and T-Rex in the middle of the song.   Awesome guitar riffs abound.  Class.

STILL WAITING - A Jazzy, Rhythm and Blues track with some soulful vocals.  It is bright and breezy but in a quirky soft tone.  It is a nice, laid back tune although not one of Prince's best.

I FEEL FOR YOU - The original version of the classic Chaka Khan hit that everyone knows.  This is a funky Disco version with hints to R n' B and of course does not feature Melle Mel's rap.  Its still a cool track but most people heard Chaka's version first so feel fit to compare both with this a less flattering rating.  The synths and guitars blended together makes this a great track either way.

IT'S GONNA BE LONELY - The best ballad on the album comes to end the set.  It has a little of everything, synths, deep bass and guitars and a repetitive drumbeat.  The falsetto vocals work best on the big Gospel-like chorus.  Great end to the album, one of my favourite early Prince tracks.


 "DIRTY MIND"

1980

DIRTY MIND - The title track of this majorly creative and most controversial of his three albums so far says it all.  This Synth driven New Wave track led by the masterful keyboards of Dr Fink has a pumping drumbeat, crossing Disco and Funk.  Prince explains he has a "dirty mind" which is pretty much what this album is about, albeit brilliantly crafted.

 

WHEN YOU WERE MINE - I heard the Cyndi Lauper cover version on her debut album before I heard this.  I must say she did a great job.  This is the original with Prince giving us a straight out 80s Pop Rock track with the sleek guitars prominent.  Less falsetto than previous albums but this reminds of the New Wave sound of The Cars and early Blondie, showing Prince listened to what was going on around him.

DO IT ALL NIGHT - This funky slice of Pop Rock was the lead single in the UK for the album but still didn't get him noticed as yet. Its repetitive chorus over a simple keyboard arrangement and funky bass make it engaging but not the best Prince track lyrically.  Still gets the foot tapping though!

GOTTA BROKEN HEART AGAIN - The first ballad on the album, softly sung and emotive, a big soulful Gospel type song.  Its nice but doesn't have enough to compare with other great Prince slow love songs.

UPTOWN - A great mix of Funk, Pop, Rock and Disco.  The song tackles prejudices and racism and the place in the title is somewhere where no boundaries exist.  This is something Prince was an advocate of, whether it be genders, genres or music expression.

 

HEAD - The first of two supposedly outrageous songs on the album and in Prince's whole repertoire.  This song celebrates fellatio, yes oral sex.  The fact is, this is a superb Funk track regardless of the lyrical content.  It is sexy and danceable and includes an awesome synths solo, add some breathy vocals from Lisa Coleman and this was a major punch in the eye for the prudish media.

SISTER - A frenetic, guitar driven non stop New Wave Punk Rock track.  Similar in tempo to other Prince tracks like Horny Toad and Jack U Off.  The outrage continued as this outlined some brother-sister incest, allegedly stories abound led to the truth it was actually his stepsister.  

PARTYUP - Similar in vein to "1999", Prince doesn't wanna die in battle he wants to party.  Seemingly about President Jimmy Carter thinking about a possible military draft for the army.  Funk, Dance, Disco, Pop, Rock and Synth Pop all rolled into one.  "You're gonna have to fight your own damn war, 'cos we don't wanna fight no more" Prince sings to the end.


 "CONTROVERSY"

1981


CONTROVERSY - Prince's 4th album is said to have bridged the gap from the sexual energy of "Dirty Mind" to the Funk Rock Dance phenomenon created on "1999".  The album opens with the epic 7 minute Dance title track.  Its pumping funky beat along with delightful keyboard harmonising keeps the energy flowing throughout.  Prince acknowledges the so called "controversies" and pretty much blatantly spells it all out about the pre-conceptions about him "am I black or white, straight or gay?" and also culture in general.  It didn't chart in the UK on release but made number 5 a mere 12 years later!

SEXUALITY - Another funky Dance number with Prince declaring that "sexuality is all we ever need".  Of course everybody must dance as well! A great track and glides along nicely with Prince's trademark sexually charged spueals adding cheekiness, eroticism, or whatever the listener takes from it.

 

DO ME, BABY - This track has no such innendos, it is what it says on the tin! Prince desperately asking a lover to "do me, baby" is exactly what you think.  Its a slow, sexy, piano led love ballad as is synonymous with Prince's catalogue.  There are no hidden overtures at the end where Prince literally takes matters into his own hands, if you know what I mean?.  Yes its filthy but its Prince, and its great.

PRIVATE JOY - A jaunty, bright and breezy song in a Motown/Blues hybrid ending with some nice screeching guitars which could have come earlier (no pun intended) in the song. Some real funky bass as well.  Cheeky and playful but cool.

RONNIE, TALK TO RUSSIA - A two minute anti-nuclear/war message to President Reagan.  Its hard hitting, no nosnense machine gun style tempo tells it like it is.  Prince has many times took a Political stance but usually veiled with clever lyrical connotations, this is straight to the point.

LET'S WORK - One of my favourite tracks in prince's catalogue.  A great Funk workout, similar to D.M.S.R. from the follow-up album, "1999".  Prince delivers a falsetto vocal over a pumping beat while the synths and keyboards give a kind of melody.  Way ahead of its time once again.

ANNIE CHRISTIAN - An unusual overdubbed track filled with techno synths, electronic whirss and faint guitar solos.  The subject matter deals with obsessive fans and their weird desires to assassinate celebrities in the "name of God".  Another hard hitter but Prince was never afraid to voice his opinions on anything.  

JACK U OFF - In the vein of other songs of this style like "Horny Toad" for instance.  Its theme is plainly obvious and about masturbation with a lover in some way or form! Its fast tempo Rock 'N Roll Blues is incredibly energetic and engaging.  I remember happily singing this in my room as a boy not really understanding the lyrics but living the sound of it.  Years later I wondered what my parents thought!


"1999"

1982


1999 - Prince's iconic fifth album was years ahead of its time, apart from the obvious title, this set paved the way for what was to come, the genre experimentations corssing boundaries. This opening title track was immense, it was a fun, funky, disco dancing tune.  The fact that the lyrics were incredibly dark and concerning the end of the world didn't matter.  Prince just told us to party while the workd was burning! It was Funk Synth Pop, Disco and a little New Wave.  A classic.  Everybody's got a bomb but dance!

LITTLE RED CORVETTE - This was the track that got me hooked completely on the great man.   The epitomy of Prince, this was another storming track.  The fusion of Rock, Funk and Dance were to be his trademark.  Throw in the obligatory seductive lines and sexual innuendos, this was just a masterpiece.  An MTV classic and rightly so.

 

DELIRIOUS - A quirky, quick fire, Jazzy styled squeaky keyboards and dance beat track.  It is bright, breezy and fun, it sounds like prince was having fun.  Its Bluesy and has elements of Electronic Pop.  

LET'S PRETEND WE'RE MARRIED - An incessant synthesized keyboard and chopping drumbeat keep this track moving.  Its New Wave in style, with hints of Kraftwerk in there too.  The first overtly sexual lyrical content on the album.  No innuendos here, and no repeating of the words here for minors reading this review!  Love this track though.

 

D.M.S.R - An absolute gem and one of my favourites from Prince.  Dance, Music, Sex, Romance, the four cornerstones of Prince's songwriting techniques.  This is Funk, Disco, New Wave and Synth Pop at its best. Over 8 minutes of class, it will have you singing the the four words constantly throughout and playing your imaginary funky bass.  Simply class.

AUTOMATIC - An all out seduction song, one of Prince's many in his catalogue.  New Wave Funk Pop over 9 and a half minutes.  Its repetition does not derive from a great song.  Maybe one for the Prince officianados like me who love the elongated epic tracks.  

SOMETHING IN THE WATER (DOES NOT COMPUTE) - Not one of my alltime favourites as its quite experimental.  Its sparse Electro Synth Pop backing with Prince singing softly only to scream at any point and violently at the end, wondering why all girls are the same and things don't make sense.  As with most of Prince's below par songs, they are still miles ahead of most artists.

FREE - A pure Prince Soul ballad led by strong piano and guitars.  Its a political statement in an emotional cloud with some Gospel choir-like vocals for good measure.  Its powerful and the message is " b glad that u r free, free 2 change ur mind".  Things could be worse...

LADY CAB DRIVER - Full on glimpse into Prince's "dirty mind" as we hear him taking a cab "ride" with a lady cab driver and having some good, "clean" fun with her.  This is before the keyboards let rip and bring him back to reality with street noises aplenty merging with the backing.  Its naughty, its fun and its funky!

ALL THE CRITICS LOVE U IN NEW YORK - One of those strange Prince tracks that just don't hit the mark with its experimentation.  Its repetitive title lines and its sarcastic lyrical content at the fake inhabitants of New York may be lost on anyone outside the city or who hasn't visited there.  It has a lot of up and down beats, various whirrs and vocal snippets and effects.  Not a favourite.

INTERNATIONAL LOVER - The song that awarded Prince his first Grammy nomination.  Its another seduction song just under 6 and a half minutes.  Prince is the captain and in this aeroplane one special lady is going to have fun.  Prince shows off his amazing vocal range in this big Soul driven number.  Hi soon to be trademark screaming falsetto can be heard in full effect. 




"SIGN O' THE TIMES"
 
1987


SIGN O' THE TIMES - The title track was pretty cutting edge containing references to AIDS (the first song that mentioned the disease), gang violence, drug abuse and poverty.  The Blues guitar and minimal drum machine backing made it thought provoking and with the ground breaking lyric only video just made it more powerful.  It was the lyrics and not the performer that mattered, something Prince was always proud of, breaking boundaries.
 


PLAY IN THE SUNSHINE Full on joyful and playful, a real Summer foot stomper with it seems like all the band in virtuoso mode, there a little instrument breaks all over and the chorus is singalong, just brilliant.

HOUSEQUAKE - This is a funky, scorching dancefloor track, its manic and features the brass section of the band with a minimal drum beat.

THE BALLAD OF DOROTHY PARKER - Allegedly was about a dream Prince had, even though the name was the same as an American writer and poet he later said he did not know who she was!  Its a very nice song, although the lyrics suggest it must have been a sex dream! Minimal backing again with just Prince on vocals and a lady harmonising which perhaps is Susannah Melvoin.

IT -  Guitar driven track, almost Hendrix style with a drum machine backing, searing guitars and Prince basically saying he wants to do "it", and yes your imagination is correct, it is precisely "that"! Great track though.

STARFISH AND COFFEE -  Apparently a sweet little story about one of Susannah and Wendy Melvoin's classmates, including all the names and even the starfish for breakfast were Susannah's recolelctions of Cynthia Rose! Minor drum, bass and keyboards that make for a jolly little ditty that kids can enjoy.

SLOW LOVE - An orchestrated typical Prince ballad with a little guitar and a lot of strings, an epic almost Classical Opera style.  Falsetto and normal Prince vocals abound for the full romantic effect.

HOT THING - One of my favourites, a pulsating drumbeat with brass accompaniment and bass was one of the "Crystal Ball" tracks as it references "tell him you're going to the Crystal Ball".  A little like another of my favourites from the "Lovesexy" album the following year called "Dance On".

FOREVER IN MY LIFE -  The track is minimal here and is a really lovely track and romantic, Prince singing in his usual voice and the backing vocals sometimes come to the fore over the lead which is very unique.  The "Sign 'O' The Times" concert film version has superb guitar backing, very Blues style and a little funky. Classic Prince.

U GOT THE LOOK - Duet with Sheena Easton, there is so much going on but its a great thumping track and background guitar riffs with harmonies, "Camille" (Prince's female alter ego, his voice speeded up basically) vocals and Sheena's unmistakeable (to UK fans who remember her hits from the 80s) vocal.
 
 

IF I WAS YOUR GIRLFRIEND - Sung by "Camille", again minimal keyboard, bass and drum beat singing a unique perspective of a man asking the woman if he was a woman would she open up her feelings to him.  Again, ground breaking at the time.

STRANGE RELATIONSHIP - Credited as "Camille" once again on vocals.  The keyboard Sitar sound gives a faint Easter feel to the track and its thumping drumbeat keeps the tempo going.  One of my favourite Prince tracks.

I COULD NEVER TAKE THE PLACE OF YOUR MAN - Over 6 minutes of class. Its Blues driven guitar with catchy chorus and searing solos and funky Blues break in the middle makes this an awesome song.

THE CROSS - Just amazing, the song that epitomises Prince as a superb guitarist and underrated.  A bluesy feel to the song, spiritual lyrics with slow guitar building and building into a mega crescendo solo ending.  Always loved this song live, the lighters would come out, the arena goes dark, and everyone feels part of the Prince family.  Maybe it wasn't God they believed in but Prince.  Just awesome.

IT'S GONNA BE A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT - Live Instrumental jam with all the Revolution involved, and fun is had by all.  Funky and with overdubs, a "transmississippirap" by Sheila E (allegedly recorded over the phone!) and each section of the band gets a segment to show their skills.  Brilliant fun and is a live killer.

ADORE -  This track ends the album with a falsetto ballad that would not be out of place on Prince's first couple of albums.  Its a couple of minutes too long for me, but its a lovely song and I am sure its been used on many a romantic night for lovers!




 "LOVESEXY"

1988


EYE NO -This 10th studio album by Prince addresses the battle between good and evil, Lovesexy and Spooky Electric and tries to justify the Black Album pull put. Lyrically that's what it is about but the musical backing is a mix of Funk, various orchestration, mismatched sounds and various yelps and screams.  This overpowers the actual message.  Not my favourite Prince track and one of the throwaways for me (1 per every genius 10 I might add!)

ALPHABET ST. - The first single from the album is a sparse funky beat with sprinkles of electric guitar solos.  Complete with a Cat Glover rap, the video contains various hidden messages saying basically, "don't buy the Black Album, I'm sorry".  The song actually works and the 12" version is even better.  It is basic and unlike anything else that was around at the time.  It reached number 9 in the UK chart.  Great track.


GLAM SLAM - Another criminally ignored single, only reaching number 29 in the UK chart.  This is one of my favourite tracks, it has elements of Funk, 60s and 70s Progressive Rock and plays out like a mini rock opera.  


ANNA STESIA - An eerie slow ballad with a gospel chant of "love is god, god is love".  The feelings of loneliness are encompassed in this song with the only cure, some company.  The spiritual and mental imagery here comes to light.  I remember at a Maine Road, Manchester concert, 60,000 people sung "love is god, god is love" back to him, includng me, and like me, many were not even religious! Prince had this power in songs to convey emotions you may not know you had.

DANCE ON - Not a favourite of many fans but I love the energy in this track.  A pulsating funky drumbeat with thumping percussion and Classic Rock guitar segements.  A catchy simplistic chorus drives this track to a higher level.

LOVESEXY - The title track is a scorcher, a great favourite of mine.  A Funk Rock track with sexual innuendos, guitar licks, orchestral accompaniment and special effects.  The album recapped in one song, brilliant.

WHEN 2 R IN LOVE - Prince's usual soft and slow seductive ballad.  Beautiful melodies and harmonies support the laid back, sexuality stance of the singer.  The only track here proposed to feature on The Black Album (which everybody eventually bought anyway in some form or another!)

I WISH U HEAVEN - I don't think is a fan's favourite but I quite like it.  It is simple wth a light, lush melody.  It is classic Prince, a short smash of spiritual, uplifting Pop balladry.  I wish it was longer (no pun intended, coming in at 2 minutes 48 seconds it has so much more to give).  The third and last single to be released and made number 24 on the UK chart.

POSITIVITY - I usually like Prince's elongated track, whether they be sexually driven songs or funky workouts.  This track has always dragged on a little too long for me, I get the message and its a perfect bookend with the opening track.  It just fails to grab me in musical form.  A disappointing end to an intriguing album.  The previous track could have been longer and ended the abum on a high, but that is Prince, he does what HE wants, not what you expect!

 


 "BATMAN"

1989


THE FUTURE - Prince's 11th studio album was a soundtrack to the film of the same name starring Michael Keaton.  Not a soundtrack score but tracks Prince wrote to accompany the film and his own ideas and a new persona, Gemini.   I think the album is underrated  by many and this opening track is a funky styled Electronic Pop track with a pumping beat and a genius spoken but catchy chorus.

ELECTRIC CHAIR - One of my favourite tracks, the guitar is amazing on this.  A screeching rocker similar to Prince's early late 70s days.  Very cool.

THE ARMS OF ORION - A beautiful sounding slow ballad duet with Sheena Easton. Not many fans' favourites but I love the sweet sound of this.  A contrast to the last duet, the upbeat "U Got The Look".  The third single from the album and reached number 27 in the UK CHART. 

PARTYMAN - Another tongue in cheek classic from Prince, it is fun, quirky and funky as hell.  Awesome track and again criminally ignored here in the UK, reaching only number 14.  Also coming in various remixes which were equally appealing.


VICKI WAITING - A slightly funky slow to mid tempo ballad with a steady drumbeat backing.  Not one of my favourites but its a decent enough song.

TRUST - A big, brash funk workout track.  Reminds me of The Time in that quirky, teasing dance style.  Always loved this song.

LEMON CRUSHAn experimental dark sounding slice of eerie Funk.  A mish mash of sounds, effects and drumbeats with perhaps the least notable lyrics on the whole album.

SCANDALOUS - This was released as a single in other countries, the style is similar to other saucy, sex laden tracks such as "Do Me, Baby".  Big operatic vocals, lazy, jazzy stle chanteuse backing, giving just the right "lighting" to an intimate time! On the 12" version it ends up being a 20 minute sex fest with his then girlfriend, Kim Basinger (who was Vicki Vale in the film).  Still its a great love song, Prince style.

BATDANCEReaching number 2 in the UK chart, this first single from the album was a masterpiece of Prince's genius.  Keeping in the vein of the "Batman" keeping snippets from the dialogue, effects and incorporating hints of Blues, Jazz, Funk, Rock and mashing it altogether to make a unique track.  It is sheer class and definitely up there as one of my faovurite Prince tracks.  Like "Partyman" came in some brilliant remixes.


 

 
 
"WELCOME 2 AMERICA"
 
2021
 

WELCOME 2 AMERICA - The title track starts with an eerie, sparse soundtrack before giving glimpses of a little funkiness.  Prince's sarcastic social commentary is backed by female harmonised vocals.  It reminds me of the "Lovesexy" album in its creation.  its funky, quirky and has some electronic noises interspersed with guitar and bass licks.  Cool opener.
 
 
 
RUNNING GAME (SON OF A SLAVE MASTER) - A light funky jazz number even though the lyrical content is slightly dark in composition.  It rolls along nicely and is laid back but I guess the content is more important than the quality of the opener.
 
BORN 2 DIE - Prince's famous falsetto vocals emerge in this track.  another slice of light funk with an irresistible simple catchy chorus.  Again the song is light but the lyrics are not so, seemingly talking about a "bad girl" which could be a prostitute and/or a drug taker/seller.  Great track nonetheless.
 
1000 LIGHT YEARS FROM HERE - A light Pop/R n' B track, with a hint of Jazz.  Prince again backed brilliantly by the "three ladies", Shelby J, Elisa Fiorillo and Liv Warfield.  Its a jaunty little number that will give you a lift.
 
HOT SUMMER - A more upbeat, Pop track reminding me of a Roxette track.  Its funky and has a great ongoing beat with some great harmonies by the ladies and another simple catchy singalong chorus.  Prince kicks it up with some searing guitar midway into the track.  This is one of those Prince tracks that seems simple but seems still ahead of its time.
 
STAND UP AND B STRONG - Elisa joins Prince on this first verse at the lead mic.  Its a really beauitful and melancholic song.  This for me is on a par with some of Prince's greatest ballads such as "Sometimes It Snows In April" and "Still Would Stand All Time".  Brilliant and one track that tells you how much this guy is missed in music.  Uplifting and sad in large amounts with a positive message.
 
 

CHECK THE RECORD -  The tempo rises in this cool rocker.  Its dirty, kick-ass beat and searing guitar licks pump up the volume on the album.  Also some trademark Prince piercing screams for good measure.  Awesome track.

SAME PAGE, DIFFERENT BOOK - Similar in vein to the title track, that Electronic Funk style of "Lovesexy" tracks and various voices linking.  Another gem.

WHEN SHE COMES - Prince's famous (some would say infamous!) sexy lyrical content arrive on this album.  This is exactly what you think, no innuendos here.  Its a great slice of sexy, naughty romanticism in the style of "Do Me, Baby" and the like.  Non-fans hate this sort of stuff but us Prince fans love it!

1010 (RIN TIN TIN) - A Jazz-Funk composition with mentions to the aforementioned Rin Tin Tin, The Lone Ranger, Beethoven  and Bach.  Add to this eclectic name check with nods to Social Media, earthquakes and genetics.  Yes its that weird but its still good! As with most of Prince's work, even the mad and bad is still better than most other artists' best work!
 
YES - Prince is encouraging us to say "YES" if we want a better future.  Its uptempo Funk Rock reminding me a little of the "Batman" soundtrack in its composition.  Under 3 minutes of glorious fun(k).
 
ONE DAY WE WILL ALL B FREE - The final track on this album is a little bit of everything we have just heard, a summary of "Welcome 2 America" if you like.  A nice little easy going singalong chorus adds to this nice ending.
 


 



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