Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
A year or so, I was mentioning something about my reimagined discographies, and the subject of Prince came up, and I said something along the lines of "Well, I have a few Prince albums that I've reimagined, but I also have Purple Rain, and that's untouchable." And Billy Tuggle replied with something along the lines of "Really, bro? Untouchable?"
And he was so right. Unlike most of my Prince mixes, this isn't a repiecing of two or three albums into one steady flow, this is a fleshing out. Purple Rain is a fantastic album. But could it flow better if you added a couple of the b-sides to it? Hell. Yes.
I know this is sacrilege. I know that diehard Prince fans KNOW that "Let's Go Crazy" is the perfect start to an album. And those people will always and forever have the actual releases of Purple Rain to prove how right they will always be. But I love listening to croony religious Prince sing about God while he alternates between falsetto and screeching. Fluctuating vocal Prince is my favorite Prince, and this is a great way to draw people in. See, he's singing about Christianity, but, like, in an inclusive way. None of your Nazi-sympathizing, National Anthem defending, constantly spouting the word "illegals", piece of shit Uncle Bernard's selective Christianity bullshit. And the song ends with Who screamed? / Was it you?
So, of course, we fade in to the end of the previous track with a scream of When Doves Cry. I'm sure there are bad versions of this song, but I have been fortunate enough to avoid them. This is one of the most perfect blends of Prince, synth, and guitars that he recorded in the 80s. There's not much to say about it. I mean, you've heard it, right? And if you haven't, why are you reading about Prince? Go listen to this song.
Climbing out of Prince's lamenting of crying doves is the peppy Take Me With You. It's a perfect radio pop single. And Prince continues to mature in his love song methodology. Ok, it's a bit beggy, but that's way better than stalkey. Although, who is this person he's so in love with that has their own mansion? I mean, if you've got a mansion, you can take Prince and me, too, right? Like, surely there are enough bedrooms for all of us.
On the original album, "Take Me With You" flows into The Beautiful Ones, and this is absolutely the correct choice. We need desperate Prince screeching his larynx out about how much he needs You. Yes, you. He needs you! Baby, baby, baby, baby / he wants you / woo! Sometimes the direct approach is best.
Billy Tuggle's original suggestion, when I thought Purple Rain was untouchable, was to check out the extended cut of Computer Blue. I'm sure Billy Tuggle has been wrong at least once or twice in his life, but this was not one of those times. It is worth every one of its thirteen minutes and fifteen seconds. The guitar solos are insane. The effects are fantastic. Lisa and Wendy's vocals. are. appropriately. robotic. And Prince continues to get his squeal on. So, ok, maybe Prince was listening to too much Rush when he conceived of this track, but it was totally worth it.
Out of the maddening riff and effects of "Computer Blue" cuts through a familiar strum. Take out your lighters, Purple Rain comes much earlier on this version of the album. I will forever imagine him when he played this during the Superbowl in the actual (not actually purple) rain. Like he ordered the weather, and it had no chance but to obey. I know this is two long-ass tracks back to back. But I wouldn't cut a second from either of them.
The tinkly piano outro and the violins and cheering crowd (though this isn't really a live version) get rolled in with the opening riffs and tinkly synth of 17 Days. The song is catchy enough that you can ignore sadboy Prince, sitting in his room, lamenting that somebody has done left him again. Instead of being all weepy about it, he's at that phase where he gives short answers to his friends and sighs a lot. It's like he knows he's been so melodramatic around his friends that he's got to be as chill as possible, while still establishing that he has been sad for seventeen days now. (Also, it's still raining.)
The organ pierces the fade. Minister Prince enters. The sermon is ready. Let's Go Crazy motherfuckers.
Darling Nikki is the first time in this discography that Prince engages in slut priding instead of slut shaming. Nikki is so good at sex, even Prince has to give her an "oh damn".
I Would Die For You continues the blend of desperate Prince who really really wants to fuck you, and the Prince who is learning how to talk like an adult about relationships. Also, continuity alert: turns out, PRINCE IS A DOVE! I mean, we know he cries. This changes ... well, nothing actually. But it's a perfect bridge into the final track, Baby, I'm A Star. Turns out We are all a star. That's a great note to go out on.