I have never seen Under the Cherry Moon, just like I haven’t seen his other movies. But everything I read says that this is a lot better than the movie, so I should be okay.
This soundtrack is an onslaught of Prince melodies and styles with his usual lyrical obsessions, though I guess those might be coloured through the prism of the plot of the film. (I mean, maybe…) It’s certainly a decent set of songs though, for me, far from his best.
If you’re worried that the music will have changed to suit to the setting of the film, don’t. It’s fairly typical of ’80s Prince in terms of both his proclivities and its stylistic diversity. It’s just a little more accessible: as others have noted, it’s less indulgent than some of his records, at least in terms of song lengths and showing off his chops. (Is there a notable guitar solo on here? No, no there isn’t.)
But it’s also safer, as a result. And this is the only ’80s Prince record I can think of where, when he does a ballad, it’s conventional. There are only a couple instances of this and usually the songs are filled with the usual inventiveness (such as the title track to the film). But “Sometimes It Snows in April,” for example, is almost cheesy, which is something I have a hard time imagining from Prince. (Usually he’s too weird or too inventive to be cheesy. Or he sells it well enough.) “Venus De Milo” is another one that is just so conventional (this time it’s a film piece), it’s hard to really believe he did it.
Still, it’s mostly full of Prince doing his thing really well, and in relatively conventional, pretty short songs. It’s actually probably a pretty damn good place to start listening to his stuff.