Considering Prince’s preference for the number 7, it’s kinda surprising that this wasn’t his 7th album…
So, here we are… the most famous Prince album ever. The one that everyone automatically thinks of when they think of Prince.
Now, I’m not saying there isn’t good reason for that. The album is BRILLIANT- I have a very good feeling that it’s getting a high score.
But I just wish people would expand their horizons beyond this album. I posted a video message on YouTube on April 21st and spent some of it randomly namedropping other albums worth looking into. Or just my personal favorites.
But that’s a campaign for another time. I might reserve it for after I watch NightEtheral (a Prince fan I follow on Twitter who also reviews Prince stuff and we’ve commented on each other’s posts) going through a list of underrated Prince songs submitted to him by fellow fans.
For now… I’m here to talk about the Purple Rain album.
I watched the movie on the first anniversary of Prince’s death and blogged about and after THE song left me such a mess, I decided I needed a day to calm things down. And also to say my final goodbyes to the 1999 album by watching the 4 music videos in circulation (well, “Let’s pretend we’re married,” I’ve had on me for maybe 9-10 years and it was so much fun to return to).
I was out on the deck. It was nearly a perfect day. Sun was shining with occasional clouding. Not too hot or cold. Had another Purple Rain martini
(Disclaimer: I didn’t invent it. But here’s how I put it together:
1 shot of vodka
1/2 a shot of triple sec
cranberry juice (as much as I want in the glass)
blue curacao (add enough to get the perfect shade of purple)
served over ice)
Ever since hearing about this drink, I’d been dying to have one while watching the movie or listening to the album. Now, I’ve done both. And it pretty much lasts me for the duration of the movie and the album.
I honestly don’t know how many times I’ll be listening to the Purple Rain album over the next week. Just as I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to hear the title track without crying and being a mess for 5 minutes after the song ends… Needless to say, I’ll listen to this sparingly or whenever I happen to be in the mood.
Another confession: this CD copy of Purple Rain is my dad’s and I hadn’t listened to it in a LONG time. In my first year of Prince back in 2007, I’d burned my own playlist of it- which includes some extended versions of tracks people had sent me as gifts alongside B-sides and songs that were almost used in place of others in the movie’s sequencing. Plus “Moonbeam Levels”- I thought that song fit in well with “destroying the basement” scene- how he’d hit an all-time low with his world crashing in around him. [It was also one of those songs I felt compelled to listen to the day after he died… and it wasn’t easy to get through].
My ultimate point there… I think I’m going to start rating these songs and figuring out where I stand with this album now. Then maybe I’ll add or subtract points as I progress through the week.
Going by the technical merit alone, these tracks are going to score very high.
As for components… let’s just say with a couple of them, it’s going to be tricky to be completely unbiased because I have personal history with them.
Here’s a preview:
At first, it was hard for me to think of these songs without referring back to the movie.
I Would Die 4 U, Baby I’m a Star, When Doves Cry- I was familiar with these before seeing the movie.
Let’s Go Crazy and Purple Rain, I was somewhat familiar with. I saw the music video for “let’s go crazy” (and he did do it at the SuperBowl, but I’d kinda forgotten about it by the time I saw the movie). And Purple Rain, I remember was part of a big moment in the SuperBowl… but again, my memory kinda waned. You never forget the first time you REALLY hear that song, so for me, it’s often hard not to think about the movie with that song. After all, it IS the title of the movie.
But after maybe the third song, my mind started to slip [not because I’m drunk on my cocktail, mind you] but I just slipped back into old habits. I’d played a bunch of these on their own without the rest of the album and love them. Then the last three songs, I was back to the movie with varying levels of enthusiasm and emotion.
Let’s Go Crazy
-it’s been long enough since hearing it as part of a live performance or whatever, so I was free to take the song as it is. Plus, I’d been wanting to hear the single version (the short 4minute version, opposed to the extended 7min mix we hear in the movie) for a while.
Right off the bat, this song gets your blood pumping and excited for whatever is waiting around the bend. The unorthodox opening with the church organ and sermon catches you off guard a bit and you don’t quite know what to expect. The chorus is maybe a little clunky with the lyrics (namely, I NEVER understood that line about the “look for the purple banana before they pull us in the truck” line).
Also- I didn’t realize this until a few months ago when I read that Max Martin interview: Let’s Go Crazy is exactly the same in the verses and the chorus with the melody. You’re just fooled into believing they’re different.
In some ways, it is a perfect pop song, but it has those little details that set it apart. One of which are a couple of monster guitar solos, particularly the last one.
Take Me With U
-yeah, kinda hard to not think about the movie with this one, considering it was written to correspond with that outside scene going to the lake.
Lyrically, it is so simple and almost unimaginative. Vocally, it’s nothing spectacular and Apollonia kinda brings it down a bit. But for me, the overall vibe created by the string arrangement.
It’s also one of those songs I played on my iPod while walking around campus to my classes and it’s on my summer playlist, so I have personal connection with it.
Not going to say it’s one of my all-time favorites, though. But certainly one I’d gotten to personally enjoy more over the years.
Also thought to say that any of those teenage heart throbs would kill to have a song like this for a single. If I didn’t know Prince any better than I do through his other music (many example on this album yet to come), I’d love to spend an afternoon his arms laying on the grassy shore of Lake Minnetonka. Just chilling 😎
The Beautiful Ones
-quite possibly one of his best ballads EVER.
“Do me baby” was the first of his bedroom ballads where he seduces you into spending a night with him- music first, dialogue second.
This is an amazing ballad I almost have no words to describe whenever I listen to it.
The synths create this dreamy atmosphere. I remember being wowed by the passionate performance of this in the movie, foremost because I didn’t know he played piano. And him speaking mid-song to break away from actually singing it- then the pleas and the screams at the end.
I learned so much about Prince’s style just by watching that the first time. Shows you what you can expect. But you can always expect some disappointments because this is, like I said, one of his best.
-unfortunately, I need to rate this by looking at the album version. That kinda sucks.
A couple months into my time with Prince, someone gifted me The Work, a selection of B-sides, outtakes and alternate versions of songs from Prince’s career. I think at the time I said I was interested in hearing more songs from the Purple Rain era and that private message happened shortly after.
I was introduced to the 12 minute version of “Computer Blue” I’d heard rumors about… and it blew my head off. Every time I listen to it, it still does.
Prince touches on some really deep stuff. It could be argued that this song was cut down for the actual album because it was too revealing and too personal to him. But it also slowed down the pacing of the album (heck, the movie only featured 4 minutes of this song and part of it was in the background during some Morris Day/Apollonia dialogue) and due to the capacity of CD and vinyl at the time, the inclusion of “Take Me With U” made it impossible to include all of Computer Blue.
But for whatever reason, this was one of my favorite live performance scenes.
I mean, I like The Beautiful Ones and of course the last three numbers of the last 15 minutes of the movie.
But this was the one I’d actually looked up on YouTube or online otherwise just to watch by itself. I loved the choreography and overall performance of it. The energy was out of this world.
-that girl is a monster…
Before I got a chance to see this movie (had to wait until spring break when I could go home and rent a copy from Blockbuster- which I proceeded to watch 6 times over the course of a week… twice in one day)… my point is that I’d heard rumblings about this song. It was hard not to. One of the most notorious songs ever… not just Prince, but by anyone.
And I was dreading this scene because I had no idea what to expect. I just knew the first verse and that it prompted the creation of the Parental Advisory label. The mere idea of it terrified me.
I honestly can’t say what my thoughts were when the scene finally happened… quite possibly, my jaw dropped and I couldn’t hope to process any of it.
Yet somehow I remembered that bit of dialogue (years earlier, we came across the movie mid-progress on TV and watched it through to the end. the last two performances were what had imprinted Prince on my brain for a number of years before I bought my first album)
“Your music makes sense to no one but yourself”
Within a couple months, this song went from being a source of terror (for someone like me who was very inexperienced and naïve about these sorts of things) to a guilty pleasure… the rawness of the instrumentals is so tangible that it reinforces the coldness of the vocal and the eeriness of the storyline.
The overall song is an experience in of itself. Into a very off-kilter part of Prince’s brain.
Then there’s that gospel portion at the end… to quote MC “who does that?” [lol- Player actually said something to that effect during one part of the 1999 review]… it kinda makes you think. And it’s a nice Segway (I’m spelling it that way, I don’t care if I’m wrong) to the next song.
When Doves Cry
-I will never stop complaining about the fact the radio never plays the whole song…
seriously, this song is 6 minutes long and has far more variation to it than “Hey Jude” and just about every Paul McCartney/Wings song that runs longer than 5 minutes… and don’t get me started on “Purple Rain” on the radio…
yeah, this song with no bassline (I’m sure people are clamoring for the bassline version to be part of the deluxe edition of Purple Rain in the works)… it is a Prince classic in every sense of the word. The multi-layered vocals, the (again) lack of bass line, the synth hook, the guitar solo…
and the lyrics are straight-forward for the most part, but the whole metaphor of “when doves cry”… you can take that a number of ways. And that’s what makes a good song.
Yeah, it’s hard to really argue with a masterpiece or even rate it.
Likewise, it’s hard to really take apart songs that I go back with a long time.
I Would Die 4 U
This is another one of those tough songs for me. Not just to rate or really discuss. But also, it’s… I have a lot of personal history with this song.
I heard it as part of my dad’s mix CD (Baby I’m a Star immediately followed) and it was musically unlike anything I’ve heard before. Those sharp drums. The chorus opens with fireworks (that’s how the synths sounded to me). The lyrics intrigued me like nothing else. I had no idea who this was at first and there was this great mystery about him. I don’t know if I knew 1999 at the time or, if I had, made the connection Prince was the same artist who did both songs.
…I don’t know what else I can really say about it… one of my earliest Prince-related memories is connected to this song, so I’m always going to be fond of it.
What I don’t like is the 30 minute version where nothing really happens to warrant the long cut. And I also didn’t like how Prince changed the lyrics not even a year after he cut the track. Like he suddenly decided that he didn’t want to be the messiah in the lyric, but to remind us that “He’s your messiah and you’re the reason why”…
I mean, it wouldn’t fit the context of the movie, but I also don’t like lyrics being changed from the original track. I can understand the conscience of his decision. But for me personally, it ruins the flow of the song and infringes on those memories.
I heard it on the radio a few months ago and felt so much in those 3 short minutes. It was like a montage of feelings and emotions and memories about this song, but Prince in general.
So yeah, it’s hard to be objective about this one…
it’s just the right length and a well-written song.
But as much as I don’t like the extended version, something about this song feels.. missing… without the one that directly follows…
Baby I’m a Star
…not sure where to begin with one…
I didn’t like this song quite as much as the previous one. I thought it ran long and I didn’t like how it would stop and then it’d start back up again.
It made no sense without the visual to go along with it.
And it’s also hard for me to separate the two songs 😛
I think I remember the Peach and Black podcast talking about these two songs and having very different opinions on both. And they were very for one track and not as into the other.
And I think my opinion differed. I think they preferred “Baby I’m a star” to “I would die 4 U” and I didn’t like that.
Anyway- this song is REALLY hard to think about without the movie because it’s what brought this song alive for me.
But times like these where I hadn’t been feeling myself, very down, it was the perfect thing to perk me back up. Prince was just so alive in this song and it felt great to be around that energy.
…I can’t take anything away from this song. I really can’t. It’s a masterpiece. I know it’s so cliché to say all this, but it’s true. It’s beloved for a reason.
It’s so emotional. It can mean anything you want it to mean. And it can be different every time you listen to it.
For me, it’s just going to be hard to listen to it for a while without coming to pieces. Today, tears were streaming down my face during the guitar solo and I had no idea why. It just happened. I held back sobs during the sing-along chorus and let myself come apart when it all ended.
Great strings by Clare Fisher to play it out those last couple minutes.
I also listen closely to the band. Love Lisa’s keyboard playing, how steady Bobby Z’s drumming is. Everything about it just came together so perfectly in this live performance. Really have to admire Prince for how he led his band to bring the perfect version of this song, as MC would say, “to wax”
I think Lisa or Wendy said in an interview that it was “the perfect song for that band”… that band being The Revolution.
And speaking of them, Wendy & Lisa just followed me on Twitter… I don’t know what I did to deserve that honor, but I’ll do everything I can to earn it. By pouring out my love for Prince as well as their own music.
So this is good for now… I’ll add my comments throughout the week as I listen to Peach and Black’s discussion of this album. It’s a monster- nearly three hours of conversation.
I thought I might rate it today, but it doesn’t look like that’ll be the case.
I also just put a lot of Purple Rain music on my iPod, so I’ll get to much of that era this week as well.
But I have a good feeling this will score very highly. I’m trying not to show this album any preference over any other and take it as any other album. But this material is so good, it’s hard not to award that.
The technical merit will range from 4-5.
The components score will be 3.5-5.
I think there’ll be three perfect scores here as well.
so my game plan to get through the week: I put all this Purple Rain era music on my iPod and I’m going to go through them little by little every day.
And I’ll take Peach & Black with me for the drive home from work- the point at which I have 30-40 minutes left in my ride.
And the music will take me through the last half hour or less of my work day.
Today’s mix was:
Let’s go crazy (extended version)
Sex Shooter (Vanity 6 version) for some reason this song wouldn’t play on my iPod so I had to postpone it
Take me with U (extended version)
I don’t know what it was about “Let’s go crazy”… maybe I forgot I pressed play, but it felt like a lightning bolt hit and electrified my entire body. And my body was on fire for the entirety of the song and it was an amazing feeling.
“Erotic City” is musically very interesting and it sounds amazing… but I’ve always had a small issue with the lyrics. I thought maybe it was the cussing or how overtly sexual it is.
Hearing it again, the first time in ages, it’s the first part of the chorus:
If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time
Thoughts of pretty you and me, Erotic City come alive
We can fuck until the dawn, making love ’til cherry’s gone
Erotic City can’t you see, thoughts of pretty you and me
…I’m sorry, this just rubs me the wrong way. How can you talk about procreation in the same breath as fucking just for kicks?
It just doesn’t make sense to me…
Everything else about the song is awesome. The hook, the shared vocals, the instruments… it’s just that one line that just doesn’t feel right.
but to help make for that, I had Jungle Love on right after it… and it felt like the perfect transition. The vibe rooted in that funk and that funk continues onward. and I love every second of it.
It ALMOST makes up for the fact The Time did not get a cool live cut of “Jungle Love” on their album.
I’m still mad about that… and won’t stop being mad until the deluxe edition of the Purple Rain soundtrack comes out with a live recording of this song…
[And no, seeing Morris Day and The Time perform this song live as the encore number doesn’t entirely make up for it… although it was awesome]
and again, Take Me with U is a breath of fresh air. The extended cut I have isn’t the best quality, but I love how the string arrangement gets more time to shine on this before the song fades out and ends.
but it would have been soo cool if that Vanity 6 track didn’t not work on me… the transition from Jungle Love to it… it would’ve sounded great.
Plus, it’d make for an interesting fake storyline for the movie… like this song was performed with Vanity in the band and Morris did something to piss her off and she left, so they need to find a new singer to fill that void. Enter Apollonia.
Peach and Black so far… I made the perfect transition… I’m 32 minutes in and they were just about to start discussing Take Me with U 😛
they spent 18 minutes on general discussion and 14 on “Let’s go Crazy”… rightfully so 😉
there’s so much history and historical significance to this album, it needs to be talked about.
There was a fun moment where Captain said Player blew his mind by saying how guitar heavy this album is and he got to thinking about how that’s so different from 1999, which is very synth and Linn-drum driven.
I think I may have made that conclusion myself at some point… and if not, I would have for sure 😉 and Player’s like “I’m glad I could blow something up for you, Captain”… something like that… boy, I’m gonna have to listen to that again to make sure I don’t misquote and make it sound weird because there was no awkward laughter afterwards, which is the case when an unintentional joke is cracked.
MC was saying how there’s nothing like hearing it live.
…yeah, instead of lamenting about my own circumstance where I won’t get that chance… it made me think about the SuperBowl and that energy when he went into that guitar solo.
although I think “Baby I’m a star” was a bigger moment for me, not just my history with the song, but also to hear him do a song I knew and just rocked it out… phew… that was the biggest highlight for me until Purple Rain itself happened.
[Just thinking about it now is giving me chills- for that performance, not the original version- which has made a mess out of me lately]
Tuesday- I meant to get all the way up to the “God” instrumental… but I ran out of time.
I kinda wanted to get to a more mundane task at work so I could really get into the music. But I wound up cracking up “Modernaire” when, get this, the radio was playing “Purple Rain”… not sure if anyone saw me grab the side of my desk really hard or slap my hand against it, trying to keep it together… but yeah…
I got to “Modernaire”- I hadn’t heard it since taking all the purple music off my iPod, so it’s been ages. It was so cool that the song got an official release a year after I joined the Prince community.
“Possessed” has always been one of my favorite unreleased tracks. Mainly because it was one of my first. So much fun. To me, it sounded like Prince was just letting the creative juices flow and having a lot of fun with himself in his home studio. In a way, it shows his age of 25, more than him being wise beyond his years, as a lot of his music kinda tells me. To me, he’s always been an old soul. But when I first saw him and thought about how he had to have been… I think my mom said he was old enough to be my father 😛
Then I got to “Chili Sauce”… the music in the background is interesting… it reminds me of something, but I can’t quite pick up what. But as it went on, all of the jokes and lines just came back to me so fast. Morris Day at the most over-the-top he’d ever been… the ego on this guy.
And “Electric Intercourse” was the last song I got to. The only version that’s circulating is live and it sounds pretty amazing. It gives me chills… but “The Beautiful Ones” is another level for me… and I just missed out on getting to it today.
Meanwhile, with Peach and Black, I got to three of the tracks… and I’m an hour and 5 minutes already into it… I’m trying to stretch this to Friday, but I don’t know if I’ll manage. Unless of course I’m inspired over night to listen to a certain album that’ll take most of my commute to get through (I’d been pulling out my spring albums, but nothing I’m super over head over heels for).
I was surprised about all the love “Take Me with U” got… well, everyone but MC. It wasn’t the “Morning After” discussion all over again, but Captain and MC seemed at odds or at least they were teasing that they were.
He just said this song never really did anything for him and he also dislikes it for being the reason “Let’s go crazy” and “computer blue ” got cut down.
But this song has grown on me so much in the past couple years… I mean, I can understand, but I almost wanted to jump to its defense.
“The Beautiful Ones” got so much love… and I completely forgot it was #5 of the Peach & Black “best Prince songs” poll. Rightfully so 😉
“Computer Blue” was an interesting discussion for sure…
I actually asked Captain if he’d heard the long version of the song because everyone was talking about it as if they hadn’t. His reply was kinda vague alongside something I kinda expected to see. I mean, this was the one podcast that got Prince’s blessing and that he’d also listened to and enjoyed. Of course they’re not going to talk about bootlegs on the show.
But I was curious- not just because the long version might change some opinions, but also with Captain, you just don’t know what you’ll get.
This is a guy who didn’t like “Automatic” that much because it doesn’t go anywhere and the music is pretty much the same all the way through. For all I know, he could have heard the long version of “Computer Blue” and after getting halfway through, he’d be like “meh, I don’t need to hear anymore”
Speaking of “Automatic,” Toejam raved about that song so much. But “Computer Blue,” he called it the most skippable track on the album. Never really got it.
I have a feeling, if any of these guys have heard the full version, he had and that hasn’t changed much of anything.
Then Captain said to him one of his idioms, I guess you could say… something like “you can say it’s a good song even if you don’t like it that much”… he admires the songwriting of “Little Red Corvette” yet says it’s not a personal favorite.
Either at the beginning of this podcast or the previous one, MC said how Captain doesn’t like it when he says “this sounds like it’s so [insert year here].” I remember that point being made in one of the 1981 album reviews and he’s like “it sounds like 1981 because IT IS”.
So he clarified that he doesn’t mind it being said, but he doesn’t like when it’s meant to make a negative point. Fair enough.
…and here’s another of those moments he’ll read and be thinking I’m absolutely nuts for remembering all this.
But definitely gotta love the guy for keeping you on your toes, not knowing whether he’ll like a song or hate. Makes me think that Crystal Ball is going to have some interesting moments from him because there’s no greater concentration of oddball songs than that set.
As for my thoughts on “Computer Blue,” I found it odd for the longest time… and by longest time, however long I only had the album version to go by.
The long version blows my head off nearly every time. Not just musically or vocally, but the lyrically… it’s completely insane.
Which is why, again, I’ll say the biggest reason why this song was cut down was because it revealed too much.
And I will have to do my rating solely by the album version. The long version, I wouldn’t give it a perfect score or anything because there is no perfect version of it… for obvious reasons. But there’ll be at least a 1 point difference, maybe 2 between the two versions.
This album is still scoring very high, though. So it’s not like that’ll make a huge difference on the final result.
Wednesday- I listened to it today… yeah, it blew my head off… It’s a good thing I saved it towards the end of my work day. It worked my brain over so much that it’s hard to concentrate afterwards.
And “Darling Nikki” right afterwards… forget it… I was done. As soon as the song ended, I wrapped everything up and got the hell out.
Speaking of which… the next part of the Peach & Black podcast revolved around “Darling Nikki”… it was SUCH a good thing I was in the car by myself while listening to this because I just love my freaking mind.
And of all the guys, Captain was the one that triggered the fits of laughter. [I probably should have seen it coming, knowing Captain… but then again, he’s not one for lyrics]
He was asking what that first verse meant- whether the magazine was being used for the act in question or she was reading it during or if she had Uptown or Controversy magazine with him on the cover…
So many questions… me, I always read it as him being with the magazine in the lobby, she sees him and propositions him on site.
I had to give kudos to Captain on Twitter for him being the brave one to ask the question cuz apparently they were all thinking it.
And they did “When Doves Cry” and he echoed my thoughts saying how we get excited to hear it on the radio and fume when they cut off when the guitar solo starts.
I swear, Prince gets no respect on the radio. It’s bad enough they only have 10 songs at most that they play, but they never even play the whole songs. With the exception of “Little Red Corvette” (leave the full version for the album… I find it ironic that the day Prince died, they actually played it in its entirety… since then, I don’t think I have heard the whole song on the radio since).
they were talking about how its a masterpiece and all the usual discussion… I’m probably just wasting my time even bringing it up.
I just know I have a great playlist coming up tomorrow:
When Doves Cry
Moonbeam Levels (I know it’s a 1999 outtake- but it’s what I’d play to represent the emotional breakdown in the basement scene…)
Which leaves me with all the songs from, what could have possibly been, The Kid’s final night performing at First Avenue:
I would die 4 U
Baby I’m a Star
okay, we’re at Thursday now… this week’s just flying by, which is great.
I have an hour left on the Peach & Black podcast, which means I’ll have them in my ears the whole ride home tomorrow 😎 which is fine by me. But I’ll miss out on playing the rest of the playlist until a later time. Maybe later that night.
Anyway- this stretch of the playlist was as great as I thought it’d be.
G-Spot is a jam more than anything else. The same beat kinda plays throughout, but I enjoy it so much. I can’t even say 😛 the one part I don’t like is when the main hook changes in what I’ll call the “James Brown/Maceo Parker section”
When Doves Cry- I have to recount the fact I did not like this song the first several times I heard it. Perhaps things would have been different if the music video wasn’t the first way I’d heard it. I should have realized that Prince couldn’t have gone full frontal on MTV and had a hit video on his hands, but even though it was from the waist up, that was the least I’d seen him dressed ever. I’d never seen ANY man fully nude before, so yeah, I was intimidate and terrified and my brain couldn’t process much of anything.
If that wasn’t enough, the song was just WEIRD… Little Red Corvette was the perfect pop song so I expected something like that… COMPLETELY different territory.
The song was so mechanical and… to me, it didn’t sound like a song. I heard a very cold drum machine that took it where it needed to go. There was a synth hook. The vocal was nuts and I just didn’t get it- all the layered vocals, I’d heard nothing like this before.
I’m sure it’s documented somewhere on this blog that I’d had for 10 years now when I went from not liking the song at all to being where I am now.
Where I could potentially call this one of my favorite Prince songs of all time. Like top five territory (I know “Gold” is my personal favorite and nothing will change that, but the others that’ll be there up, I’ve yet to figure out).
Yeah, I’d come a long way. But enough of the transcendental discussion… yeah, I’m making a clichéd sequeway here… we’re about to talk about a song written from the POV of Jesus…
well, Peach & Black had a short discussion of “I would die 4 U”… almost as short as the track itself.
But Captain’s head got blown off and he was still picking up the pieces throughout the discussion when Toejam said that this song might be about Jesus. And supposedly Toejam has issues with how religion is sometimes written into music– I guess I don’t know him well enough yet to pick up on that. I just know he rated 1999 and Lovesexy 10/10.
Also, that discussion about the song (not the Jesus talk, but other stuff) is why I had to hurry and get to this post.
This song didn’t get a lot of love… well, not head over heels love. Not the kind of love I’m going to give it. Granted, the song is a little too short and to me, it feels incomplete if I listen to it and there’s no “Baby I’m a Star” to follow.
But it may be my first Prince song ever, so like I said previously I’m sure, I feel protective of it.
Although after the likes of When Doves Cry, Darling Nikki and Computer Blue, plus Purple Rain yet to come, maybe Let’s go crazy and that blow-your-head-off vibe opening it gives to the album… it does slide pretty far down the list on the technical side. But the personal connection I have to it will give it a good boost.
More on that later…
17 Days was the perfect follow-up to When Doves Cry… not just because it’s the B-side.
For me, it felt like it took that initial vibe and just added so much to it, like it explodes.
Whenever I put together my list of favorite Prince songs, I need to add this song somewhere because it’s just as strong as an A-side.
It’s a sad song, but something about the lead line and the chorus… it makes me so happy. I love it so much. It’s the kind of magic that lets me know (as if I can ever be in doubt of this) that I’m listening to Prince.
Sex Shooter starts and I’m already missing the Vanity 6 version… but I get into the song, get taken into that scene of the movie and beyond… I know this got a Razzie and lyrically, it doesn’t paint a pleasant picture. But I love the vibe of it. That sick beat, the choreography. It makes me kinda wish that the movie had more than one song by Apollonia 6. Although I have no idea which of the other ones from that album would fit.
oh yeah, that reminds me that I need to listen to The Time’s album as well as Apollonia 6 (if the album or unreleased movie is still on YouTube, that is) to go along with the newest podcast from Peach & Black.
Moonbeam Levels… again, so glad it was the last song I heard at work because towards the end, I think I felt my right hand start to shake.
The depth of this song and what it means to me now… yeah, I had to get out of there before who knows what could’ve happened.
“I would die 4 U”… this is how I figure it…
it was based off something Prince’s father said when he was a kid. This is according to Al Magnoli on the Purple Rain BTS footage. He said that line in the movie and he had said it in real life.
so he built that song off of that moment and maybe he had planned out that scene for the movie and in the finale as he did on purpose, so this song would highlight all that.
and he isn’t just saying this to Apollonia as his father said it to his mother, although in different circumstances, but he’s saying it and all those lyrics to the crowd as he continues to try winning them back- since he kinda tarnished things with them with that “rare form” night he had previously.
Then Captain was trying to discern the opening lyrics and just say that Prince was trying to be androgynous and weird cuz that’s what he was about at the time.
Seriously- the first time I heard it, I heard him say “I’m not a boy, I’m not a man”… and I still feel like those lyrics make as much sense that way as “I’m not a woman, I’m not a man”… in fact when I found that out, I found that very odd. Why would anyone say that? Knowing Prince now as I do, it makes more sense… but I still like it my way better 😛
but I think that was what he was going for- trying to add the mystery and the overall “Prince persona”… and as someone who really hadn’t experienced him before, he nailed it.
I think my perception of him may have started with this song and just grew and blossomed into something pretty massive.
And it’s words on these pages for everyone to read 😛
So… yeah, this will score higher on the components score than technical for me personally.
I am not fond of the long version (I think it’s 30 minutes). As short as this song is and how unsatisfying it can be on its own (without that other song to follow), the long version adds nothing to it.
“America” has a 20 minute version that, by my memory, it just barely held my attention the whole time.
“Mountains” is probably the longest long version of any song (aside from Computer Blue of course) never get sick of no matter how it runs on. Because it has stuff happening every 30-40 seconds to keep it interesting. I just love the overall vibe of it.
…I think I’ll add to the rest of the tracks after hearing the rest of the podcast…
Baby I’m a star
this was an interesting discussion. Captain said it was his favorite on the album and that kinda blew me away. Didn’t expect that.
Then MC says he didn’t like it or I would die 4 U and Captain sounded like he was dying in the background. Toejam also challenged him saying that he said earlier that he wouldn’t go after this song (MC had this negative mini-rant earlier in the review and Toejam is like “you better not be saying that about Baby I’m a Star” and MC didn’t remember. Well it WAS an hour ago…
It’s so strange how sometimes MC takes me by surprise like that and really makes me mad at him for not liking certain songs 😛 Captain I at least expect the more than occasional oddball song choices of favorites or those that make him go “meh.” But MC proves every now and then that he could be the craziest one there.
After the last review of the song captain says “3 to 1, you lose” and I just lost it. 😛
But to be honest I didn’t like that song much the first time I heard. I would die 4 U, I just loved so much and hated for it to end. This felt like an immediate continuation with the “I would die 4 u” melody in the piano part (or at least to me with those notes, I could sing “I would die 4 u” and it wouldn’t sound/feel out of place). I didn’t know what to think of it other than “bring that other song back”. The lyrics did stick out in my head- bits and pieces. The vocal on the chorus sounds maybe a little strained either because it’s not quite in the pocket or he’s out of breath cuz this was a live performance and he was running around stage so much. (Hearing it again, it only gets kinda hoarse in the last chorus). And I think I mentioned how I hated the stop and restarts in the final minutes. The song just didn’t go anywhere for me and I wanted it to be over.
Well let’s put it this way. I think my love for this song comes purely from the nostalgia of that movie performance and how it stuck in my brain all these years. Not many specifics but just the way I felt when I saw it.
While watching it that first time, my dad said to watch these last two songs and implied I knew them. Or maybe by that point I actually remembered they were in this movie and I couldn’t believe it. That’s a moment or rather feeling I’ll never forget ever. Just being mesmerized by him and all that energy and stuff he was doing.
The nostalgia will boost it a couple points for sure but I don’t think it’ll beat the previous song for me ever.
And I looked it up. The guys spent almost an hour on purple rain- not just the song but the live versions and so on. Captain went on his “Top Fret!!” rant just as I remembered from the first time I listened to this years ago. Kinda funny that was the only thing I remembered about it. [But it is the reason Captain was the first of the guys whose voices I was able to recognize]
On top of that, he was saying it was a weird song for him cuz half the time he’s “meh” and half it blows his head off. (Man Id been writing that a lot lately but Prince pretty much does that for me daily).
But lots of love for it obviously. I know it’s his most well known song for a fact. But I’m willing to bet more people know of the title tiself than they do what the song actually sounds like. Prince and purple rain got hand in hand so well.
Honestly I don’t know what else I can add to this song that I hadn’t already said- on my previous entry, at least I went in great detail about it. It’s a different song for me every time but this last time was the most personal I’d felt it. (Ok maybe not the last- I mean seeing it in the movie last Friday- can’t believe that was a week ago)
and with the Peach & Black poll, every song from the album was in the top 10. And Captain was exasperated that “Baby I’m a Star” was #71, the last of all of them.
When Doves Cry, Purple Rain and The Beautiful Ones was 1, 2 and 3.
I think I would Die 4 U and Computer Blue were in the 20’s, one after the other.
so after typing these last parts of the post on my phone, I listened to the last songs on my playlist in the order they appear in the movie.
It makes sense to have purple rain dead last on the album 😛 but I kinda like putting it this was so it’s chronologically accurate to the movie.
But When Doves Cry, I realized, is the one anomaly I could never move to another spot other than after Computer Blue and Darling Nikki.
To put it after The Beautiful Ones (or in this recent case, “God” the instrumental)… it just doesn’t feel quite right. Very jarring. Plus “17 days” I put after “When Doves Cry”… and it’s even more jarring to put “Father’s Song” and the others afterwards…
I do have a clip of the opening of the hallway speech that I like to put before Computer Blue sometimes.
But I’m getting off track… as usual…
well… The Bird didn’t inspire a lot of energy from me. I mean, I’m practically in bed at this point, under the covers with my earbuds in. So I don’t necessarily need to be energized.
But the song just ran so long for me. In the movie and also seeing it live, it was pretty awesome. [If more people in the audience were doing the dance- more than the dozen or so in the front right side of the audience- I would have done it, lol].
But on album, I’m just “is this over yet, meh…” After a verse and chorus or two, it’s kinda repetitive and not much keeps my attention.
Morris Day wins on charisma alone- otherwise, there is no way that he’d be the headliner at this club with a song like that. Crowd participation or not.
Purple Rain- incredible as always.
At least I was able to keep things together.
But part two of the guitar solo and the sing-along chorus, I got choked up. Not where I’m physically bawling my eyes out. But as the string outro played, I felt wetness and slowly they trickled down my face from both sides.
I don’t even know why I was crying. I wasn’t super emotionally connected to the lyrics or anything. And I wasn’t thinking about how Prince isn’t with us anymore (I still can’t quite say “dead” or “gone”).
I don’t know how it’s going to go the next time I watch the movie and that sinks in again… but I feel like I got that energy and denial complex back where my body and heart forget he’s no longer here.
I felt like his energy was with me again and very strongly.
I would die 4 U, I had to stop halfway through and listen again 😛 cuz I needed to take it all in. The song goes by so fast. And I think I need to play these two songs a bunch more times before I’m done with this album.
Baby I’m a Star- It was supreme bliss!
Prince was very much alive and that energy was with me and I breathed every second of it like it was going to last forever.
I didn’t really even listen to the narcissism of the lyrics. I just felt the energy and the music and everything.
My heart wasn’t beating a million miles an hour or anything… but there were a few reasons why it took a while for me to fall asleep…
and now the moment of truth- what score am I going to give Purple Rain?
The Peach and Black guys… I think Captain gave it a 9, Player gave it 9.8 (noting the “muddy” production), and Toejam said “I gave Lovesexy a 10, so I can’t give this a 10, so 9…”
Like WTF… you can’t give multiple albums 10/10?!
As for me… I think I might have screwed myself a bit on this because I really hadn’t this album on heavy rotation.
Translation: I’m setting myself for extra bias on this album.
But literally, it is so good that I don’t try to play it that much.
Plus there’s the whole “I don’t want to associate Prince only with Purple Rain like everyone else on the planet” thing…
it’s kinda unfair that all these songs have visual representation in a movie.
and this last time around (we just watched it with my aunt, who’d never seen it), I was watching it like a movie and not so much about him in general.
But of course Purple Rain wrecked me… it is going to be a LONG time before that song doesn’t just kill me. I think I was gone from the last note onward.
Okay, time to rate this thing…
I think this reiteration for my rating system is more for me than anyone else reading this, but this, I really need to adhere the criteria.
Technical score is out of 5 and awards a point for solid vocals, great instrumentals, great lyrics, good songwriting and that extra 5 is for the fact it is a Prince classic or simply it has that X-factor that sets it apart.
Components score is my personal bias, how much I personally enjoy the song, nostalgia, etc.
LET’S GO CRAZY
…oh damn… it was so strange watching the credits roll for the movie and this song played and I’m saying to myself “it felt like centuries ago” the last time I heard that song. This movie really felt like it lasted for an eternity and that’s the way it should be.
Technical score- 5 (yeah, it’s as solid as they get… just because I’m sick of hearing it a million times with all those live appearances won’t take away from that)
Components score- 4 (it’s an amazing opening track and I enjoy it when it comes on- but in my mind when I came up with this system, I reserved the 4-point component score for the songs that I liked a lot, but they weren’t among my personal favorites)
Total score- 9 (maybe the most solid 9-point song I’ll ever give)
TAKE ME WITH U
Technical score- 3.5 (it’s not quite a classic or necessarily memorable in Prince’s catalogue- and Apollonia’s vocals kinda take away from it)
Components score- 4.5 (I spent 10 minutes deciding whether to give this 4 or 4.5. Fact is, I like it more than “let’s go crazy”… but I don’t like it enough to give it that perfect score)
Total score- 8
THE BEAUTIFUL ONES
Total score- 10
I can’t dissect this one by splitting it into the two scores. It’s one of Prince’s best vocals ever. The instrumentals have so much dimension and evolve as the song progresses- something that hasn’t happened much with Prince’s music before this point. It’s something only he would wrote and it’s extremely well executed.
And it’s easily one of my favorite ballads by him- maybe even my favorite… I’ll have to find that out later on.
…yeah, if this was the 12 minutes version, this would be a completely different story…
Technical score- 4 (With it edited down so much, it doesn’t have the room it needs to really breathe and evolve as a song. It does have that Prince X-factor, but not enough time to properly show it off)
Components score- 4 (again, a song I enjoy, but I can’t give it a high score for this shortened version… it just wouldn’t be fair)
Total score- 8
(if we were talking about the full version… technical would be 4.5, taking into account the production. Components score would 5 cuz it blows my freaking mind every time I listen to it… I hope one day we’ll get to hear a solid version of the 12 minute version of Computer Blue… cuz that’s a 9.5 easy. And if the production is amazing, it’d be a 10 because of its lasting impact several minutes after I finish listening)
Technical score- 5 (solid instrumentals, vocals have a lot of range and convey the song’s message well, good songwriting and storytelling, and it has that Prince X-factor… only he could pull off something like this and make it work so well)
Components score- 4.5 (yeah, this song grew on me A LOT in a very short time- and it’s a guilty pleasure for sure)
Total score- 9.5
WHEN DOVES CRY
…screw the radio edit…
Total score- 10
Yeah, this is a masterpiece. Classic Prince songwriting in a way only he could do. Make a song with no bassline just sell so well- not to mention having the perception to know how well the song worked without it (I kinda hope I never hear that version cuz there’d be no un-hearing it)
It’s hard to believe how much I didn’t get the song the first couple times and I’d just grown to love it so much.
The radio stations better wise up and play this song IN ITS ENTIRETY from now on… I don’t care if that makes it a 6 minute song, there’s no excuse for it. Especially now.
I WOULD DIE 4 U
Technical score- 4.5 (great lyrics, solid songwriting, commanding vocals with just the right amount of reverb, and that Prince energy is very apparent… it just feels kinda unfinished and incomplete without the other song on the album)
Components score- 4.5 (this song is as nostalgic as it gets for me, I have a lot of history with it. Yet I can’t quite give it that perfect 5-point components score. Maybe if it felt complete as a song by itself, this would be a different story)
Total score- 9
BABY I’M A STAR
Technical score- 4 (great live band performance, solid vocals, catchy lyrics, but it doesn’t have the same staying power of some of the other tracks on the album)
Components score- 4 (I enjoy this song a lot when it comes on the album and the movie. But it’s not one of those songs I remember as easily off this album. Especially not without its predecessor).
Total score- 8
…who I am freaking kidding with this?
Total score- 10
this song is a classical for a reason… it takes you beyond the actual song itself. It makes you feel things. And for some people, it means more to them than it just being a song.
Plus that guitar work is Prince’s best to date and it’s a testament to the strength of his band and how much they worked to get this song right for its actual recording- which was live at First Avenue August 3rd 1983.
Prince also liked it enough to play it at nearly every concert he did and gave it the same emotion and vigor every time. And it had a solid formula (3 verses, 3 choruses and a massive solo at the end) that he had tried to replicate and create the same magic with. Never quite getting there. (although “Gold” is my personal favorite and it was before I even heard the full version of Purple Rain- before that, it was just the SuperBowl and possibly the Brit Awards appearance)
Yeah… this is going to be a tough album for any other one to beat… especially with three of the most solid 10-point tracks I’ll ever score as such.
[this is really hard to put in order of preference, by the way, a lot of ties, but it’s a testament to the strength of the material]
When Doves Cry- 10
The Beautiful Ones- 10
Purple Rain- 10
Darling Nikki- 9.5
I Would Die 4 U- 9
Let’s Go Crazy- 9
Baby I’m a Star- 8
Take me With U- 8
Computer Blue- 8
Total- 81.5- divide by points possible (90)- 9.05, which will round out to 9.1 out of 10.
Wow… it is pretty much going to be impossible for me to give any Prince album a perfect 10 out of 10 unless I round up a 9.5 or higher.
Even with Prince, I guess I can be a harsh critic. If I was making these rankings on personal bias alone (i.e. the components scores), this would be a completely different ball game. I’d get a couple perfect scored albums easily.
But the technical merit must also be weighed and considered because Prince is just that good. And certain songs I might not like as much- I have to acknowledge where they excel. So I can be like Captain- “I can say a song is great even if I don’t personally like it”
and in the end, it’s only fair.
So… for the time being, I’ll promote the following songs automatically to my favorite Prince songs list:
When Doves Cry
The Beautiful Ones
and maybe with time, I’ll bring Darling Nikki and I Would Die 4 U as well. I just need to see how things progress from here.
And for those keeping track, my rankings of the other Prince albums so far:
For You- 6.2
Dirty Mind- 7.4
So pretty much, it’s going to translate as follows-
Any Prince album that scores at least 7 is a solid album.
But any album that scores a minimum of 8 or higher is exceptional.
The question remains whether any of these next few albums can reach the exceptional range… unfortunately it’s going to be a while because when I get to Around the World in a Day, it has to be when I’m ready to leave Purple Rain completely behind.
Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be able to withstand the shock of how different the two albums are. But we’ll cross that bridge whenever we come to it- even if it’s two weeks from now 😛
One final Peach & Black comment: Toejam talked about the choreography in Baby I’m a Star and how it trips him out. Prince bending backwards and into the splits. He said something like “I try to do that, I’d probably break my spine”…
that number was pretty spectacular… as if I hadn’t already made it clear enough…