I figured since I’m getting around to The Black Album… which came out (or would have come out… more on that later) in December 1987.
Wendy & Lisa’s debut album as a duo came out August 24th, 1987.
I’m running out time to kinda incorporate it into the overall scheme of things so I gave it a listen today.
I first found and downloaded this album in February 2009. It was my soundtrack while walking around campus, which is deep within the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and I had to walk them every day to get from the off-campus apartments. Thanks to my iPod, not only Prince, but this album went everywhere with me.
After college, I’ve always brought this album with me when we go down to our shorehouse and I like listening to it in bed before going to sleep. As well as when we take trips out to other shore points. That way, this music always reminds me of those good times that last semester and of that scenery and atmosphere.
Okay- enough back story 😛
After taking all the Prince music off my iPod at the end of last year to start with a clean slate, this was the one album that stayed… but I never listened to it.
It may be a summer album for me, but I almost always listen to one or two songs whenever I feel the need.
The one song I didn’t listen to today was “Light”… that’s the one song I just always listened to at night before going to sleep. Also because I went off to see friends at night (one of the few times in my life had close friends that I got to see very regularly), I took this song with me. So when I listen, I imagine myself back on campus.
Honeymoon Express- I always love swaying to the beat of this song. Most of these songs have signature beat I always groove to or picture in my head as I groove.
There’s a great reverb on Wendy’s lead vocal, awesome harmonies on the bridge.
With these two, I feel like I’m able to hear every instrument and each one stands out on its own. This is keyboards. Then before the final bridge, there’s something like a xylophone that gets played and then that part comes back to feature in the final chorus.
Also that final bridge- there is such a dreamy rich keyboard line that Lisa holds and the track becomes so much more.
The story of the lyrics is very straight forward. Lovers vow to reunite at the station where their relationship first started.
Sideshow- oh, this one is so much fun. This is one I groove to and also see choreography in my head. [On the last few notes of the lead line, I nod my head to the right on the beat and imagine spinning around a couple times].
The lyrics are so nonsensical- I’m almost afraid I’ll ruin it if I look them 😛 on the verses. everywhere not so much.
it was the first moment I started to wonder: how many of these songs [if any at all… it could be none of them and it wouldn’t change how I feel] were inspired by working with Prince or how he disbanded The Revolution and cut himself off from them?
Prince World kinda is a sideshow when you really think about it.
Interesting thing about the song… the song plays through all the verses and choruses… twice. First, it’s with the vast arrays of textures and sounds. Then it gets what I call the Madonna treatment- the music sounds like something in the background of “Express Yourself.” It’s mostly Lisa on dreamy synths creating atmosphere and playing a set of notes and some interesting percussive effects.
The song runs more than 10 minutes long and I don’t mind it. I enjoy it so much.
Light- it’s got dreamy synths again. It creates such an amazing atmosphere. I listen to it and I imagine coming out of my apartment. It’s early evening. The sun is down. Few people are around. I walk down the steps and start walking down the stretch of apartments towards campus, looking at various landmarks, cross the bridge and meet my friends at the end of the road.
The theme of the lyrics is about embracing your own light.
The synths are borderline spooky, but to me, they’re like a good friend whenever I come back.
This is also one of those songs I don’t listen to all the time because I’m afraid the magic will disappear.
Waterfall- I saw the videos for Honeymoon Express and Sideshow previously on that VH1 Soul Prince protégé labor day marathon.
This was the song where I just fell in love and wanted to get to know more about these girls.
The drum beat kicks things off, you get guitar from Wendy, great harmonies with Lisa on certain lyrics as if to emphasize their meaning.
It sounds like this could have been about the break-up of The Revolution, looking into the lyrics.
What made me fall in love- Wendy playing that guitar solo in the video. I saw her style and had that fond reminder of how Prince played. Like she learned a few things from him. But I think everyone who worked with him did. He took their individual talents and helped them blossom into the best versions of themselves.
This song also continues onward with different music… but you don’t get any more lyrics other than the occasional “Waterfall”… this is more of Lisa’s part because it’s all about the keyboards, playing some notes and holding others to create dreamy atmosphere.
Blues Away- this is another one for choreography. In my head, it starts off as a faster variation of Tai Chi, going with the beat of the music, which remains mostly consistent.
Then there’s a part where it speeds up and I imagine skipping through the woods in circles. Well, maybe not me. Someone.
Keyboards feature here, playing some interesting notes to create a vibe and atmosphere.
It seems to be about locking the blues away and not letting them bring you down.
Chance to Grow- I think this is Lisa’s only lead vocal on this album… This is the Life might be another. But that makes it stand out.
Once when I listened to it, I was coming to the campus cafeteria in the early morning (ok, 7:30 for me is early- shut up!) and early sunlight peeking through the trees.
The lyrics seem to be about a parting of ways because “everybody needs a chance to grow.”
The keyboards are the lead instrument and they really come off amazing here. I believe that’s Wendy playing the accompanying instrument- I don’t think it’s a guitar, but I have no idea what else I’m hearing.
Everything but you- this one is one of my favorites on the album… “Light” might be it, but this is the one I hear more often.
It starts out so dramatically, Lisa playing alternating notes with Wendy’s guitar slowly gaining power in the background. With the main melody, once the song settles down, I’m back to Tai Chi mood again 😉
The drums are very dramatic and drive the song from verse to chorus and so on.
This REALLY sounds like the parting of ways between them and Prince.
They say how they like it “when you talk/laugh/scream” and how it makes them laugh and cry and they have to go outside to get some air.
Sounds like they’re trying to escape Prince World.
The highlight of this one for me is another guitar solo… absolutely tremendous!
I kinda don’t like, though, how the song just keeps going and fades out… as if there’s no legit conclusion for it.
so… I was saying how much I love this album… the truth is after that semester in college… I only listened to those first 7 songs and just stopped.
It’s not that I don’t like them. I just love those others so much that I don’t feel like continuing after the high of this last song.
“Song About It”- I think I found the lyrics a little repetitive or I just hated in the chorus how it sounds the phrase is incomplete.
Again- I can’t help but think about Prince and how this might be another song about their relationship with him and how things changed and they aren’t what they used to be.
Instead of keyboards, it sounds like more of a traditional piano piece. Kinda melancholy.
“Stay Baby Stay”…
I think I heard this once since I graduated college. I was listening to this album at night, I fell asleep at one point and woke up to this song. It was nice. Kinda like a lullaby.
What I loved about it- in the chorus, it doesn’t go where you think it does. You have the first few notes, then it down half a step so it’s a non-traditional melody. It’s a little imperfect, but that’s the whole beauty of it.
“White”- I remember this being an instrumental and the last time I heard it, I think I was walking around campus after finding one of my classes was postponed so I had a free afternoon. It gets a little repetitive, but that’s perfectly fine. It borders on jazz and has some saxophone in it- sounds almost like Eric Leeds 😛
“this is the life”- this was one I didn’t particularly care for. The main reason- it’s kinda repetitive and melancholy. Hearing it again for the first time in ages- it kinda sounds like they’re doing “Sometimes it snows in April” but they didn’t capture the same magic.
Plus, it’s a long track.
I don’t know if I’m ready to get into the habit of listening to all of this album again. I feel very good with those first 7 and kinda only want to listen to the others sparingly. That way, they still have that connection to that special time in my life. And as the years go by, they’re slipping further away from conscience.