There is still something bright and welcoming about Around the World in a Day, an album that still received enough attention to arrive at the top of the Billboard charts and produced successful singles. However, the overall scope of the album is far more challenging broadly than its universally praised predecessor. The textures and layers of sound incorporated are mind-opening rather than intentionally hooky, for the most part.
There are still songs that fit similar formats to his previous work. One of his biggest hits, Raspberry Beret still incorporates a dense and catchy chorus that can easily be remembered, but the instrumentation underlying the track is still experimental and vastly different from what had been accomplished elsewhere. Condition of the Heart also feels similar in tone to Purple Rain as a single. Tambourine brings in some of the funk groove that had pervaded Prince's sound for the better part of his career, even with the almost silly vocalization that comes out. America feels rooted in some of Prince's rock influence, yet still having that funk-infused base line lining the track.
Even if the album featured similar things from Prince's work, Around the World in a Day was an audible left-turn for an artist at the top of commercial success. That Prince was willing to buck the system and refused to make the same album again shouldn't shock anyone following his career up to this point. For the new fans introduced to him through the success of Purple Rain, this album may have been a total turn off, but Prince didn't probably care deeply about those listeners unwilling to walk down the journey with him musically. Those more deeply in the know, or those with the ability to view this album in hindsight, are probably far more warm to the record.
Favorite track: Raspberry Beret