I guess anything Prince-related seems a little alien at first when you haven’t returned to it in a long time. Two months is a pretty long time to put an album aside and forget about it, at least for me, who’s still roughly new.
Actually, I don’t feel like I’m much of a newbie anymore. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge, so I feel like I can stand against the rest who’ve known Prince for years (musically speaking, of course).
Since getting “Come” and I first understood what it was about, I listened to it a lot, so calling it quits for such a long time makes it sound foreign compared to what I’ve familiarized myself with lately.
Musicology is the only album I have that withstands the hiatus, but I guess I am used to shelving it for lengthy periods of time. And of course, I have that special bond with it.
Back to “Come.” I listened through it and felt like I took away so much. I learned a lot about it and I think I did pick up a few things from Prince. This is the 3rd time I’ve listened to it in the past three days (although yesterday, I only listened to tracks 1-4 and 6), and his charm worked its magic.
I’ve found that Prince’s albums tend to have two halves to them. I found that with Come and I have seen it in his other work too. Like Controversy, the first half is controversial and thought-provoking, the 2nd half is more fun and less structured. Musicology is like that too. The first half is more about the music and personal issues to Prince, things that are more or less about him and his views. The 2nd half is a lengthy storyline between him and his love interest(s), and it slowly seeps back to the first half’s message. I could call it a very loose palindrome cuz it’s not exactly equal on both sides. And of course, 3121, where he experiments with new modern sounds and then he brings back the old-school sound that some of the classics (music in general) began, but there are a few outliers along the way.
“Come” is kinda funny, but I think the 2 halves are pretty distinct and obvious. I took the first half laying on my back and just letting the music flow. I turned the control completely to Prince and let him do what he has to.
The title track, I was impressed with from the first time I heard it. 2 days ago, I was hardly a fan because I didn’t want to know that side of him at the time. I was willing to let him tell me what’s what, just like I always have. Considering the content, that says a lot, but maybe I’ve just dumbed myself down so much that I’m oblivious to the true nature of Come. Although in certain parts, he has me going “wtf ur going on about?” Mentally, I’d give him such a look that’s like “you gotta be kidding me with this”. Some of the things he whispers halfway through the track… no wonder people think he’s a weirdo. Who other than Prince would write about sex in its “purest” form like that? Not to mention, who’d make me listen to it and enjoy it the way he has. Call me naïve, or whatever… but I just like the track. But it makes me wonder. “What possessed him to write it in the first place?” An 11-minute “sex romp” that’s experimental and spontaneous… what inspired him and how did he figure all the things he put into it?
Space remains one of my favorite tracks. It’s just so sweet. I love the tone in his voice and what he does with the keyboards… enjoy it so much. While listening, I was thinking “oh no, the personal portion is almost over.” The whole Come-Space vibe ends with the segue b4 Pheromone “…my left hand under your head, while my right embraces time…” Beautiful.
Pheromone, who knows how he came up with this, but it’s a fun track that does kind of continue the vibe from the past two tracks. It can’t be explained, but it’s a very smooth transition through these guys. I had the song in my head earlier and its just so much fun. I just don’t think about the storyline too much and listen to everything else.
Last night, I figured that he came up with Loose after going to a night club when techno music first became popular. Just watching everyone dancing around to the music had to have inspired him. And its such a fun song. I was just on such a break-through that I couldn’t even enjoy it.
The first half ends here. The first half of the album, I’ll call “Purple Fantasy.” They’re all different fantasies from his own mind and his way of kicking back and having fun while experimenting with new sounds. And the fact he had fun really shows, especially with Loose & Pheromone.
The 2nd half, “Reality in Darkness,” starts with Papa. Probably just something from his own head or he heard about a similar story, but I’m doubting that it was personal to him. Although it reminds me of the climax in “Purple Rain,” but that was something the producers cooked up to juice up the script.
Race is a bit more serious, about an important issue, but he spices it up and makes it a bit more fun to lessen the drama. I definitely enjoy the verse where the end “dissolves with my guitar underneath the sea.”
Dark, I didn’t like much at first, but when I really took the time to listen it, it made more sense and I enjoy it more than I did before. It does kinda capture his feelings about his most recent break-up (I say Carmen Electra, cuz it sounds like a b-side 4 “eye hate U”), right now he just doesn’t have it in him to be angry or spiteful about it.
Solo, I didn’t get into much at first, but I started getting chills after a while. I can’t quite figure out who he was “with” in the song and what eventually brought him there. So much mystery lays within it. But the end, as always, just felt so sad.
Prince always said that music is meant to empower & enlighten cuz reality’s bringing us down enough as it is. So he wrote the “Purple Fantasy” portion. I think “Solo” was the harsh reality hiding in darkness in the 2nd half, a reality that he was facing. Still something I can’t really wrap my head around. But I can’t imagine what it must have been like for him when he wore “Slave” on his face, how he got through the day with seemingly the world on his shoulders. And how did he find his way back to the light that was in the shade of “gold”?
A lot of people use music to escape reality and take themselves from their troubles. Come might have just proved that Prince is no different from them. He wrote the “Purple Fantasy” to help disguise a deeper conflict, to get away from that pain, if only for a while. Then of course, you can’t always run from your problems, so “Reality in Darkness” came immediately after. This just might be me over thinking again, but that could very well be accurate.
“Letitgo” felt like his proclamation song, where he’ll be officially breaking away from the old and go onto the new. I had a lot of fun listening to it and I think he did too. All of the different instruments put into it make it just sound incredible. That’s why it stuck in my mind when few other songs did during my first listen to the album.
Who knows? I might be right about “Purple Fantasy” and “Reality in Darkness” and his reasons for putting them side by side in one tightly-knit album. Maybe I should pitch this to my fellow boardies when I return.
I guess this means that I’ll have to classify Come with Controversy and ATWIAD, cuz they all brought different things to my attention and held me learn more about Prince and get to know him more closely. But Come is cut above the other two for other reasons that I can’t really explain at this time.