Come: “just lay back & dream”

And dream I did…

I’ve been having doubts about enjoying “Come”… or simply Prince’s company in general the way I usually have. For some strange reason I’ve been feeling very off this week. It could be because of school with mid-terms coming up or it could be some lack of enthusiasm over having all of the albums for my collection that I could ask for (all thanks to a good friend).

When I let him to take me to “Space,” my mind just painted a picture of an entire storyline. Well, almost entire. Orgasm misses out on having anything to do with it at all. It’s just filler, outside information not really crucial to what came to mind.

The visual I ended up getting for the setting was the mansion Prince is standing in front of on the Come album cover, the disc design, which all comes from the book “The Sacrifice of Victor.”

With the title track, I didn’t get much of a visual. I couldn’t really picture Prince even though I could clearly hear him when he spends half of the song whispering in my ear. The bells that he has shaking in the background make me think of snow falling. That’s the majority of the visual I got. It’s a cold, frustrating, dark time in his life and winter usually signifies the end of something. When someone’s in the winter of their life, they’re close to death. The view I had of “Come” was very dark and depressing at this point, so I was getting those kinds of vibes and visuals. I figured that this song and the next were merely Prince’s attempts to escape his problems through sex, something he’s been known to do in his music. Or perhaps using it to ask help from God since he believes that sex brings him closer to God.

My mind simply took off with “Space” and what came out was a very beautiful, short but sweet love story. Looking back, it was the happiest moment in the album and also the part I enjoyed the most. I just let my mind wander, something it hasn’t been able to do in a long time.

When “Pheromone” came along, I wanted to hold onto the vivid visuals “Space” brought to me, so I held onto the feeling for as long as I could. Once “Pheromone” took over, I could picture Prince jamming with his band, giving us the play-by-play of this particular story. My visuals were a mix between the band playing and what was going on beyond “the crack in the door.” The musicality was very effective for creating the mood and what “Pheromone” truly means. I think about the word pheromone regarding Prince and his must be especially potent if he can mesmerize me the way he does. Casting me under his spell.

“Pheromone” was generally a music video playing in my head just as I had described it. Then it changes over to “Loose!,” which I think kills. I’d love to show it to my folks, but the fact he drops MF a couple of times automatically denies that opportunity. This is as close as Prince gets to techno, a thread on the rise and he uses it as a medium to, once again, tell about his “Uptown”/”Dance Music Sex Romance” philosophy.

This is all taking place at that mansion I mentioned before, but in the case of the next few songs, it feels like one of the rooms had gotten transformed into a nightclub. “Loose!” has people getting down on the dance floor because of the music.

“Papa” more or less feels like a poetry reading and the nightclub becomes one of those places where they have poetry readings. Everyone just chilling at their tables, having drinks while Prince tells a tale. I can’t get the visual out of my head of him picking up a book and reading from it. One sound effect before he speaks sounds like him turning a page in a book. He closes the book shut when he starts with the “smacks.”

In fact, Loose!, Papa and Race are all about him delivering different messages for his listeners to take to heart and live by the way he has. At the same time, they all take place at this supposed nightclub or “jazz club,” as I’ll call it now.

“Race” is nothing without the band, so that’s how it came to mind. The “jazz club” atmosphere changes yet again, but it’s no Housequake like in “Loose!” and it’s not completely subtle like in “Papa.” It’s something different altogether, though slightly different from the “poetry reading” visual I mentioned before. The rest of the song is pretty much self-explanatory, though I think the little record scratch truly belongs with “Continental” but “Race” wouldn’t be quite complete without it. Looking at that, I can almost see the resemblances between Race and the other O(+> album tracks.

Quite appropriate, when I listened to “Dark,” I got no visuals at all. I couldn’t get a picture of Prince into my head. Nothing but darkness and his voice trapped in a “shadow of pain.” I truly believe this to be one of the best songs on the album because it captures so much emotion and the lyrics are amazing.

One visual I do get leads to “Solo.” Prince enters a dark room and closes the door behind him without making a sound. He walks to the spotlight in the middle of the room and lies down in the light, looking at the ceiling. In his case, he’ll be looking at his own sky.
I concocted the following interpretation last night. The girl that ends up leaving him isn’t the girl from Come or Space. In general, the girl leaving him is the last straw. He has nothing left. I get to thinking, though, could the girl could be his mistress, music? Most likely not, but always is a possibility. When there is rain and thunder, the room flashes due to the lightening, but he’s unfazed by it. He’s in a very bad place here and after the girl leaves him, he’s got nothing left. Nothing he believes is worth living for. It even seems that he had lost track of who he was. I draw attention to the lyrics:

“I’m so lost, no one can find me
And I’ve been looking 4 so long
But now I’m done”

He can no longer recognize himself because he has lost everything. Or so he believes, but belief can be a very powerful thing. The song simply ends with him shutting his eyes and lying motionless on the floor.

With the start of “Letitgo,” I can see myself returning to that very same room where “Prince” supposedly “died.” All that’s left is a rose in a vase of water and a letter. I pick it up and hold it to my heart, shedding tears for he was now gone.
The scene cuts to outside the mansion where Prince stood in the black & white photo, but here he is with his whole band. They play with their instruments and all, and the snow from the first song has once again started falling. It looks like a new beginning. In fact, it feels a little bit like “Mountains,” the way it was used in the movie “Under the Cherry Moon.” Because Prince supposedly “dies,” Solo is like the song where he dies (like “Sometimes it snows in April” where Christopher Tracy has already died). Like “Mountains,” Prince uses “Letitgo” as a vehicle to send one last message to those who’ll listen. This is where he ultimately gives the truth of his “condition” and why things are the way they are.

During this time, I’m reading the lyrics on the letter he left behind. The second verse is where this takes place. I look on, not believing that Prince truly wasn’t happy even though during “Space,” he seemed perfectly all right. I think, ‘I had no idea he felt this way.’ It sounds like he was trapped for a long time and not allowed to truly express himself. The last verse is a shot directly at WB, saying that they’ve got nothing on him, how radio stations were hesitant to play his songs on the O(+> album, and he and his band will continue to play the funk without their help.
Although I can still feel sadness coming from this song in general, I can’t help but feel happy when I listen to it. I enjoy it so much. The visual of Prince and the NPG performing in the snow outside is also a nice touch.
The last scene plays out where I hear them singing one more time, “Letitgo, lay back and let the vibe just flow.” Here I come to the window and believe I see them/him outside in the snow performing. I blink and then they’re gone, though the music continues to play. I stroke the window pane, turn around and hold the letter to my heart as I lean my back against the wall.

What happened in the “Space,” was where I ultimately dreamed myself into the storyline, but those details will go into a poem that may never surface.

What’s amazing about Come in general is that it’s an album of music that’s unlike any I’ve heard before and also its very unique for Prince. During the first song, it doesn’t even feel like a Prince song because it goes across the board.

I think that O(+> may very well take this album’s position in my top 7, but regardless, this is one experience with Come I’ll never forget. 😎

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