Remember that dream I briefly mentioned? I decided to follow what I saw and checked into some Controversy tracks, the 1999 album and the video 4 “When Doves Cry.”
I thought early on, maybe I like albums like Planet Earth and SOTT because in them, its as if Prince knows exactly who he is and what he wants 4 himself. There’s something “attractive” about a person that knows exactly where he’s going in life.
With Controversy, I played the 1st 2 songs (got bored pretty easy, actually… it was 11 at night by now), Jack U Off and “Do me baby”… that last one was interesting. I experimented by turning off the lamp next to me so my room was 90% pitch-black (except my clock & the the display on my CD player)… when you lose one of the senses, the others get stronger they say. I wanted to see what I could “see” in this case. I noticed the texture in his voice a lot and I tried to listen to the piano part during the scene in the 2nd half.
I turned the light back on and actually, I experimented a little with the album (just remembered). I started off with “Dance Music Sex Romance”… which I really don’t get into music. I was listening to the music pretty close, just to find something “worth liking” or just a reason 2 come 2 play this song. I got more into it than usual, and started enjoying it when he started going instrumental. And the sound does sound like something from the previous album, so smooth transition there.
Then when I played 1999… phew… it brought back all kinds of memories and all kinds of thoughts to mind. It was crazy. I was listening to how incredible the sound of the music is. And Prince did that all by his lonesome. He just needed the voices of three people to back him up. The drum machine he had just amazed me and the song was so much fun. Totally ahead of its time! “Little Red Corvette” had a great drum machine sound as well, but the guitar was also a great player, along with the organ-esque keyboards that played the melody. The perfect pop song in so many ways.
Then I felt like he was going downhill with “Delirious” and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”… musically, both were weaker and the lyrics weren’t much to smile about either. Compared to the first 2 songs of the album, it seemed like they lacked something extra… but Prince probably just winged it and decided to have a little fun. And the 2nd of the two is just Prince being Prince, completely into the “sex”.
During the 2nd half, I was trying to think about what I went to get from this album. I was trying to figure out what makes the album special and what made Prince appear on the cutting edge of something completely his own, something special. “Automatic” creates an illusion like no other and all around, musically and lyrically, its the strongest track, but length can be an issue at times. I figured that the strings that I believe I heard after the drums beat 3 times in the beginning… it sounds like a a giant chandelier leaning back and forth. Is it him tinkering on the brink of insanity? I can’t really say for sure at this point, but at least now I have a name for it. “Something in the Water” is the strongest all around… Automatic goes all over the place to prove a point, this song is very direct, and probably the most personal track on the album. The other ones are either not about him or go out on such a limb, you can’t tell quite how personal it is. I have an alternate version of the song that I heard b4 this and I think it makes the album one look bad in comparison, but it does prove a point.
At this point, it was after midnight and I was already getting tired, so I just wanted the next songs to be over soon. “Free” has very good lyrics and sounds like it could be precursor to the ever-famous song “Purple Rain”… sending a message of great importance to his listeners. Musically, “Lady Cab Driver” is one of most experimental and unique tracks he’s done here and in his career. The music kept me around, but I was getting tired at this point. The next song kinda had me bored and I didnt really see its point in the album.
“International Lover” I turned the lights out for to “feel around” and because I was getting tired. I was thinking over and over about the set-up he’d have onstage with a bed… oh, I shudder the thought of what he did… so I didn’t let my imagination dwell on that. I just listened to him and enjoyed one of the cheesiest tracks he’s ever done.
It took me a while to readjust to “When Doves Cry”… just the sound of it, being as different as it was and it was from the next era forward. I looked on like I had never seen it before and I was trying to soak all of the scenery in as well as some of the movie, but I didnt go too much into that. This had been the first time I saw him in person in what feels like weeks. Considering how I’ve been listening to him intently, it was quite interesting seeing him in person again. It was almost as if he was… no joke, a normal person… regardless of the fame & fortune that had (or in this case, will) befall[en] him. He was like a modest musician doing what he loves. I watched his expressions and just the way he danced in the mirrored room.
I didn’t listen as intently as I could have, but I took one interesting thing away from that night.
Considering that “When Doves Cry” was already a hit b4 the movie came out, it marked the time when Prince was just on the verge of becoming a superstar and becoming the person I see him as now. I can’t say enough what an interesting person he is. And what that one person told me about SOTT, she said I’ll get into it and should give it time to sink it because it seems like I’m interested in his growth as an artist. I AM… very much. Everyone in life goes through an evolution as a person. Prince did it in the limelight like no one else could/can. I didnt look at him like a person I personally connected with or look up to as a “spiritual guide” or mentor. I looked on him the way he’s meant 2b looked at: a simple musician who lets the music speak for him and doing what he loves.
Why do I get this feeling that I’ve come full circle?
And is watching “Purple Rain” again in my immediate future?