I listened to the album maybe five times this past week. There is going to be absolutely no way that I’m going to be able to transition smoothly to that album being so invested in Purple Rain. It just doesn’t work.
Its really a matter of separating completely from Purple Rain before embarking on the next album.
Right now so many things are popping into my head when I’m thinking about this album so bare with me as I sort them out one by one. Or is it bear with me? I sometimes forget which one to use in which situation.
Quick aside: I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with that show “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” I can’t stand Desperate Housewives and in fact the show makes me sick.
Maybe its just the drama. I really don’t like any of ABC’s new shows with the exception of Castle.
Maybe its the superficiality.
And just because of, although I lived there for my first year, I have several relatives that live there, some of my friends, went to college there for four years, I’m a Jersey girl deep down and have a sense of loyalty. There’s some superficialness with some of the women, but at least their situations are real and tangible, relatable.
A little envious also, they have such nice homes and clothes and such. One of those “I wish I could be them” things. Just love it.
And with the loyalty, I refuse to watch of any of Bravo’s other housewife series just because you can’t relate to high end New Yorkers and OC residents quite as much. But I will also refuse to watch Jersey Shore and anything Real World related.
I really don’t like any and have boycotted all MTV reality shows because MTV is short for “Music TeleVision”… not really about the music anymore so why watch it?
All that aside…
One of my close Prince “penpals” said that this album had some of Prince’s best B-sides.
I think I’ll take it one step further and say it has some of the best alternate & extended versions of the album tracks.
Word is and actually it is fact that Prince actually wrote some of the tracks while his trek through his purple rain album was winding down. You can hear the rocker edge on a handful of the tracks, but you don’t hear them until getting through some of the trees in the forest of the album.
…it felt that way the first time I listened to the album this week.
Coming back to it after such a long time and after Purple Rain no less… its a very strange album. I may be thinking about the album artwork (have it front of me actually), but I’d come it to a Picasso painting at first glance. It takes a few extra moments to truly appreciate it.
A few extra moments meaning 1-2 listens after the first one.
The first track felt like a little something different, but I’ve spent a lot of time the past couple months listening to Lady Gaga’s “Paparrazi” and Nelly Furtado’s “Loose” album so I’ve heard my fair share of that Mideastern/India influence that I hear in that song.
I like it, but its a little strange for it to be coming from Prince.
Then with “Paisley Park” I felt like I was at a county fair with the merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels and such. You hear those carnival effects in the Beatles song “A Day in the Life” from the Sgt. Pepper Album. I saw the video for this song and saw the same images, but I was disappointed in it overall because Prince wasn’t even in it.
I wasn’t aware of his “retirement” from music videos until a week after I saw it on Housequake.
I was expecting a little something else at the time I guess when listening to this song.
My musings on the alternate/extended versions actually began with the start of the album. The first song, I remember there being another version of it, but its been a while since I heard it.
But it was really strong with Paisley Park because there’s a lot more guitar in the extended version that is one of the main reasons I couple the album with Purple Rain as rock albums opposed to funk albums.
The album has a stronger tone of strings and synthesizers mimicking strings that helps define it as an individual rather than being affiliated/coupled with another album in particular. With the exception of Tambourine, America and Temptation, every track on the album has that feature.
Condition of the Heart, at first I’ll admit, I was starting to get sleepy while listening to it. The intro is nearly 3 minutes long without any vocals and it was early in the morning at the time.
Its a brave move on Prince’s part (among many on the album) to do a ballad the way he did this. He makes us wait that long just to hear him sing and all you hear are piano and soft backing synthesizers with just his voice. If anything the vocals are very RAW. You can hear him ennounciate every syllable, putting a period at the end of every verse, when he takes a breath in between phrases.
Susan Rogers says Prince likes to record his vocals alone. The way the song was made, it feels like the vocals were done last and stamped on top of the instrumental portions, which actually feel secondary and insignficant compared to the vocals.
I may not know the answer to the question of U or even what the question is…
but I may know, not positive, but I think that the condition of the heart is a strong pining one has for another person and this love isn’t replicated, reciprocated or even acknowledged.
And I listened to it the first time and realized that I’d misinterpreted one lyric.
there was a dame from London who insisted that he loved her and left him for a real prince from Arabia..
It had me confused, thinking that he was the dame who insisted she love him… then I realized that the dame insisted that he loved her, but she left him for this Arabian prince…
something I probably should have realized ages ago, but I got too caught up in the music to really listen to the words.
Raspberry Beret has the Linn-drum at work if only to put an exclamation point at the end of every 4 measures during the main hook.
It definitely feels like being back in a sense of normalcy, if Prince ever has any normalcy, when we get to this track. Maybe because its commercial or because it was written a couple years before and reworked for the album.
Tambourine, I’ll admit that its ridiculous. A frustrated Prince with a frustrated libido is pretty much the song in a nutshell…
and I’m surpised. A lot of people condemn him for writing “Delirious” and call it a ridiculous excuse for a song.
Get me delirious before handing me the tambourine. I’ll just say that.
Delirious is cheesy, but tambourine… easily the weakest track on the album. If anything, its an lol lmao moment… maybe even wtf in places, heh.
A lot about America makes it great.
And I actually got in the mood to listen to the 20 minute extended version of it after listening to it this first time this week. I thought it was overkill at first but I just wanted more after hearing the song.
The whole song is a combined effort of the extended Revolution line-up, but my favorite band collaboration track (aside from Purple Rain because its a given/too easy) is Mountains, which is on the next album.
A lot of the song’s lyrics reference the cold war, but some of it can be relatable to today’s economy, espeically the 2nd verse.
The third verse has definitely become a favorite, talking about Jimmy Nothing. But I’m probably thinking about the Seinfeld episode about this guy Jimmy who kept referring to himself in the 3rd person so even though it might be a serious track with serious subject matter, I find that verse hilarious with Prince’s delivery of the line “now Jimmy live on a mushroom cloud.”
Why won’t Jimmy pledge allegiance?
He didn’t believe in capitalism, moved to the USSR and got nuked, therefore the mushroom cloud.
Someone on .org thought the mushroom cloud meant the dude dropped out of school and became a druggie and the cloud was talking about him on mushrooms…
hello, nuclear warfare was a big thing in the 80’s, lol
“Pop Life” stands out for me as a favorite and always has and will. It makes you think. Makes you look at yourself and what you’re doing with your life.
Word is that its about the pitfalls of being a celebrity.
I see it about just living life in general. Forget the celebrity thing.
People are always struggling with all kinds of things ranging from serious to everyday follies:
Poverty, being poor, having a boy instead of girl, wanting straight hair when you have curls, maybe depression (see 2nd verse), drug addiction (3rd verse supposedly written with Vanity & Morris Day in mind)…
To me the message is this:
everyone wants to give their life meaning, to do something with it that’ll make them feel its worth while. People want to find that high that makes them feel good, but are doing it in ways that aren’t really good for them.
It hits home for me, definitely. He had me at “don’t you know straight hair aint go no curl” because I wish my hair were pin-straight but its very curly and wavy. I’ve spent 10 minutes a couple times a week straightening it to try to get them under control.
Mind you, that was something I started to do a little bit at college cuz I love the way smooth hair feels… but I stopped between the pain it takes to get it the way I want it… and maybe after hearing this song I’ve decided to embrace the curls and not bother with it anymore.
I’ve kinda bounced away from that and trying to straighten my hair more.
Don’t have much self-esteem for my appearance and reallly try to embrace my beautiful mind. But I’d never go so low as to get a high off drugs and such.
But that’s also a great song because it has great versions of it. I love the remix and the extended version with the alternate verse that ends with “everybody wants to get high but no one’s standing in line to say bye-bye, that’s pop life”.. .I might be wrong with the lyrics so don’t quote me or condemn me for it, lol
“The Ladder”… it follows the example of “Free” and “Purple Rain” but falls short. It starts with a narrative about a greedy king with one subject who loves him but he’s too concerned about finding salvation and heaven despite the crimes he committed.
The two verses are repeated throughout the song and that’s all there is to it. Its more or less a hymn at a church service, might as well be. I don’t get so much out of it, but maybe because I’m not strong in the faith department.
My policy is that I only ask for help and call upon faith unless I really do need the help, the reassurance that things will work out and such. And there was one time that my faith paid off… I wanted badly to pass some of my classes one semester at college and some strange twist of fate resulted in the only semester I got straight A’s…
Since I was 14, I’ve had at least one low a year when I wanted to find love and nothing ever came of it. But I do have a friend that I’ve often considered for being boyfriend material, but I never know whether or not to tell him that I might feel that way about him, lol
Temptation is a lot of things, haha.
Hilarious to start.
And a trend started when I started to listening to Purple Rain as much as I was. I started screaming along with “Darling Nikki” to the point I could feel my voice start breaking up.
I’m in the car driving on my own so nobody can hear me and I’m not self-conscious. But its something I shouldn’t do because I don’t want my voice in shambles afterwards. Its fun to do, but there has to be a limit to how far I go with the song.
The ending is interesting where Prince supposedly is smited by God for his criminal lust. He says he has to go but doesnt know when he’ll return.
After that, he starts a completely different sound.
There’s an interesting debate with the album. Does it stand alone? Does it contain elements that set the trend for future albums? The sign of what’s to come? The end of an age or the beginning of another?
I still have to figure that out for myself 😉