Purple Rain review- 1/9/09

Last night was full of ups and downs. Mostly downs, but watching Psych made me smile, just like always.

Earlier, I had checked out the “Backstage Pass” feature on the Purple Rain DVD and had seen it for probably the 7th time. I needed a mind refresher. At the time, my mom was in the room, so she caught some of the secrets behind the movie. In fact she seemed interested in some of the parts that were deemed as true. She also got a kick out of the “Darling Nikki” footage, but probably was just laughing at what a fool Prince was being.

Ugh, thinking all this over is making me want to watch the movie again. Pardon my swearing, but I swear at times that Prince is like a drug. Once you get him in your system, you need to increase the dosage or at least have the same dosage each day to get the same high. If you don’t get the same high, you get depressed. Getting depressed over Prince is something I’ve often done that I really should avoid. From the outside looking in, he looks like a really interesting guy. But once you’re in, there are some things you just can’t take if you’ve seen or done them too many times. I’ve seen the movie close to 30 times now (I lost count last summer) and the other day, it felt like brand new even though I knew all of the details already.

Life gets in the way as usual. With the economy the way it is, chances of getting a job anywhere are slim. Not to mention my plan to get published looks close to impossible because who knows how many companies want to take a chance publishing something new? I almost have my degree in Marine Bio, but I can’t think of anything I want to or can do with it. I either teach or I work for the government. The DEP actually doesn’t look like a bad idea, but then there’s the whole idea of getting out there. Putting myself out there. Is there anything there that I could do? I have no experience writing articles, so I doubt National Geographic would take me.

Writing is the only thing I can see myself doing because I just love writing. There’s nothing I love more than writing aside from music. Singing and listening to music is probably one of my biggest interests. I’m not as cultured as I should be, but I enjoy the music I have. The stuff I don’t enjoy, I’ve sold, gotten rid of. What’s the point of owning an album if you’re not going to listen to it?

Then comes the idea of writing “The Word.” Some of my original reasons are gone with the release of 21 Nights, but that’s just one PART of Prince’s career. I want to go into as much as of it as I can. Purple Rain will have a big chapter all to itself, but I’ll try to do more than just talk about the pinnacle of his career. Prince makes me think in ways I never thought possible and in all honesty, I want to do him justice. I believe Bob Cavallo said to Prince if you’re going to make a movie, let’s make a hit movie. Maybe I should attack the idea of “The Word” with the same gusto. I want to really do this well, do justice to Prince and tell his story the way it should be told. With few judgements and putting out as much as I can about each album/era.

What am I gonna tell my folks now? I want to write and publish for a living and my goal in life is to publish a book on Prince unlike any other? They’d laugh and try to talk me out of the idea, but once I find a niche that works for me, I can spend as much time as I want on this project. Early on, I might very well consider a trip to Minneapolis just to soak in the sights and the atmosphere. Otherwise, if I try to do that towards the end, I might change my mind on some things and have to rewrite a lot. If at all possible, I could seek out some people Prince had worked with to get their opinions in there, but that might be the most difficult part. Getting in touch with famous people to know more about a really famous one? I’d laugh myself past the bank and down Wall St. most likely. Absolutely outrageous.
Note to self: keep this idea in mind and start making a list

Last night, I had to have been in the worst of moods. Almost a year ago, my mind was full of dark thoughts the night I returned to school after winter break. The following morning, news got out that Heath Ledger had died of “accidental overdose.” That kind of thing scares you. That particular night, I listened to Disc I of Sign o’ the Times and it did well for my depression and loneliness.

That same state of mind returned last night. I started the album and it was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster.

“Let’s Go Crazy”
-opinion: I am REALLY sick of this song. I’ve heard it way too many times. There’s not much to it and it surprisingly went by fast. I’m strongly considering listening to the extended version only from now on because this version is a snoooozzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeee
-review: The morale from the 1999 album returns to kick things off. Life is hard, but you shouldn’t let that get you down. So long as you have friends, you’ll be all right. Let’s go crazy and just get nuts, have fun, take a chance, get out and enjoy life.

“Take me With U”
-opinion: it feels like a breath of fresh air. Most likely goes back to that scene in the movie that’s outdoors.
-review: The strings are something else. There’s nothing else like them. According to the album insert, part of them were played by Lisa’s brother, David, so that could have been part of the magic. Lisa and Prince conducted them, one of their many great collaborations. Apollonia’s voice is sweet, but in some fragments, you realize that she really can’t sing.
-side-note: To read up a little bit, I checked out her Wikipedia page. It could be wrong, but it said that Prince lost interest in Apollonia 6 because he realized that she really couldn’t sing well. At the time, I believe they just wanted a girl to play the role, but it didn’t really matter if she could sing. I shudder thinking about the work she had done since the movie because you can’t even recognize her anymore.

“The Beautiful Ones”
-opinion: didn’t kick in for me until the very end where Prince is begging down on his knees. Screaming never sounded more romantic, haha
-review: It’d be a wonder to hear this song without any vocals because the beauty lies in the music itself. It sounds like the Oberheim synth combined with piano (explains why I can’t play it on my keyboard to save my life). The drums are as subtle as a heartbeat, never overpowering, but loud enough that you can hear it. Don’t believe me? Listen to them where Prince first says “Do u want him or do u want me? Cuz eye want u.” They beat fast as his pulse increases with eagerness and a hint of desperation.
I’d tried several times to figure out just what the song means and each time, I feel like I get a different idea. Tonight was the following:
All of Prince’s past girlfriends have been beautiful, but they’ve always broken his heart. Then he sees another beautiful one, but can’t help but be drawn in by her beauty. Perhaps he sees something beyond those big beautiful eyes that he can’t quite explain. In the past, he has tried to put his best foot forward, bringing out the best person he can be for them and always gets hurt.

At this point, my mood was somewhat level. Then Computer Blue comes along and everything starts to change again.

“Computer Blue”
-opinion: what a rollercoaster ride that was.
-review: when he performs this song, he’s blindfolded. Maybe because love is blind or because he can’t see what is in front of him. He follows through with lust rather than love. In the past, he had blamed girls for the failure of relationships (“Something in the Water (Does not Compute)”), but here, he starts to look in the mirror. The guitar shows much ire and discontent in the beginning as confusion sets in. Then the search begins as the “da-elevator” falls below ground level with “Father’s Song.” Confusion is deciphered and decoding it is attempted. Then the angry guitar returns, somewhat discombobulated and shaky. Before a “verdict” can be reached, everything comes to a screeching halt. Perhaps the transition to Darling Nikki signals that Prince had given into the temptation.
-side-note: this begins a section where Prince sets away from the typical song pattern where there are verses and a chorus repeated several times over. Emotion is favored over content and order.

“Darling Nikki”
-opinion: one of the few highlights of that night, strangely enough. The most enjoyable number so far.
-review: Most likely the nastiest song Prince had ever written, it was the type of song he was notorious for releasing. Nobody else in their right mind would even go that route. Just as he recorded “The Beautiful Ones” on his own to achieve that desired level of intimacy, he recorded this alone so he could reach he place he needed to be to make it work. The majority of it was loud drumming, screaming and the overall vibe rivaled on sanatic. In the film, it was used as an attack on Apollonia. Though its creation dates to 1984, one of the last songs recorded for the album, there’s no telling who it was really about. There’s a reason why he calls this “the coldest thing he’d ever written.” This energy and rapture is then followed by a gospel section of layered vocals that were somewhat spooky, but ultimately try to level the playing field.

“When Doves Cry”
-opinion: very few songs like this. When WB first heard this song, they wanted more instruments to be added. Somehow, I can’t quite see that happening, nor do I wish it to. The song is perfect as is and shouldn’t be tampered with
-review: Within [at least] a 12-hour period, Prince wrote and recorded this song at the request of Al Magnoli for the “montage portion” of the film. Up to this point, Prince became notorious for his exceptional bare-boned compositions, but nothing equals this gem. All you hear are a drum machine (or two), a keyboard (and/or) Oberheim synth, an electric guitar and a variety of vocals, which can be argued as the use of every possible vocal Prince is capable of. The guitar solo expresses a sense of confusion, trying to find the sought-after answers, but after a while, it finds a feeling and goes with it until the confusion fizzles out.

“I would Die 4 U”
-opinion: surprising, the next song came off a lot better than this and this is usually my favorite
-review: The message does bring with it some confusion. All of these spiritual references? What are they supposed to prove? Is he comparing himself to his Saviour? Saying that he is Jesus or something like that? I can understand why people were put off by this song (and also why he later changed the lyrics). The lyrics took so much of my attention that the music didn’t get as much an earful.

“Baby I’m a Star”
-opinion: the highlight of the entire night, the happiest moment
-review: nothing but energy. It’s like an explosion when Prince storms on the scene. Its here where it appears that he has finally come forward as himself. He asks the audience if they like what he has to offer and he seems hell-bent on doing what he can to keep his audience with him. What a party!

“Purple Rain”
-opinion: I’m gonna be honest. This song made me cry like a baby!
-review: They say that the first notes played ring when first heard. From there, you’re captivated. Through listening to this, the lyrics suggest this song as a eulogy for a fallen lover or friend. As a way of saying good-bye, Prince offers his apologies, wishing he could have done more and only wishes for them to reach that place of eternal happiness. Purple Rain=Heaven
Side-note: I can’t quite explain what happened or how it happened. By this time, all of my previous concerns were gone and my thoughts were with Prince. The 2nd verse barely started and I feel my insides reacting. In my mind, so many things are swirling. How people complain how many things he had done this song, how they are sick of it, how Prince is known for this song and only for this song… all of that negative stuff. Also the fact the scene in the film hadn’t made me blubber since I say it for the 7th time. The thought of this being a eulogy and the sound of the guitar made me feel all kinds of things. My lip quivered during the third verse and as the guitar played, with it came sadness and loss. Boy can Prince make a guitar cry (not to mention his entire audience). Tears streamed down both of my cheeks by the time of the sing-along chorus. His falsetto made it even worse and as the song slowly faded out, I felt myself calm down somewhat. For about three minutes afterwards and I had put away my iPOD and such, I was still blubbering. I didn’t quite know why, but in the end, I decided that the song got to me. Prince had again brought me to tears and ultimately, I didn’t mind that. It had been too long.

I don’t know how long it’ll last this time, but for now, DreamyPop is back.

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