The late Prince released his sixth album “Purple Rain” in the June of 1984. It is an album that has sold over 22 million copies to date and is full of unique and interesting music and sounds which elevated Prince to another stratosphere of pop artist.
The album kicks off with the very busy sounding “Let’s Go Crazy”. For me this is one of the most underrated party songs of all time as it has such great positive energy running through it.
The song talks about personal confidence and that in this life you can only really count on yourself. The track talks about how life is fleeting and that ultimately we can only try to enjoy our time.
We’re all excited
But we don’t know why
Maybe it’s cause
We’re all gonna die
“Take Me With You” is a departure from the manic sound of “Let’s Go Crazy”. I wouldn’t say there was much to get excited about in this song as there isn’t much to it. It’s melodic structure is pretty uneventful and lyrically we are just talking about wanting to be with someone no matter where they are or what they are doing.
“The Beautiful Ones” is a lot richer in it’s lyrical theme with Prince telling a story about unrequited love and a relationship that is in trouble due to the indecision of one of the parties.
Baby, baby, baby
What’s it gonna be
Baby, baby, baby
Is it him or is it me?
Don’t make me waste my time
Don’t make me lose my mind baby
The atypical synth drum is prevalent on this track as Prince sings most of the lyrics in his trademark falsetto. The track gradually builds in it’s volume and emotion as Prince turns the intensity up as the song plays out.
The 4th track is “Computer Blue”. This is a funk rock explosion and a real highlight on this set. Looking at the lyrics I can only interrupt that Prince is dealing with the subject of internet porn. But then I look at the time the album was released and that perhaps needs to be revised. He asks where his love life has gone and says that until he finds the righteous one its ‘Computer Blue’.
As for the track musically it is one of my favorites. The synth drums, the guitar solo, the driving bass all come together as a well rounded track. I advise listening to this nice and loud and with a good sound system.
The 5th track (and final track on the first part of the vinyl) is the deliciously brilliant “Darling Nikki”.
Quite simply this is Prince at his most barmy best. It’s daring, it’s a explicit but most importantly it’s a compellingly good song. From the first note to the final one it keeps you engaged as prince talks about this girl Nikki who he has been enjoying the company of.
The production is slick, the vocals are clear and direct and overall this is a really great song.
“When Doves Cry” is one of the best tracks Prince ever made. This isn’t much of a controversial view. What is interesting about this track from the perspective of a fan of black music and that Prince has come from that community is that the song is totally void of any bass. This song was Prince completely blurring the lines between white rock music and black R&B/Funk. With this song Prince wouldn’t be defined as a colour but as a musician in his own right.
This song is just a drum machine and a guitar solo with Prince singing over it. It is so simplistic it is almost funny. Vocally Prince gives one of his greatest performances and despite having heard this song many many times it is never one that I get bored of .
“When Doves Cry” is phenomenal
. “I Would Die 4 U” is yet another extraordinary track. It may sound a little dated in it’s production (more so that most Prince songs) but it’s such a atmospheric and layered track lyrically.
I’ll never beat you
I’ll never lie
And if you’re evil I’ll forgive you by and by
The conveyance of all consuming love is stunningly delivered. The way Prince sings the song is almost in a desperate obsessive tone. It’s relentless as he splurges out all these lyrics from beginning to end. It’s a joy to listen to.
“Baby I’m A Star” keeps the quality going. And boy oh boy this song is quality.
This track screams out being heard loud. Most of the tracks have that feel on “Purple Rain” but no more so that “Baby I’m A Star”. It’s a track which sounds as if they are doing it live as you listen to it. You can imagine Prince charging around the stage with The Revolution playing so brilliantly.
It’s a song you can’t imagine was constructed in a studio as it seems to have a life of it’s own. A track that feels organic and real. Love it.
The album is concluded with the title track “Purple Rain”. Arguably the most famous song that Prince has released this is an epic 8 minutes and 41 seconds long.
It is one of my personal favourite songs of all time so I may be a little biased in pointing out that this track is magnificent. It’s got every quality that Prince has shown us so many times. It’s a song that isn’t to be put into any category of genre. It’s just a great song.
From the black music community Prince is often not given the credit he deserves because a track like Purple Rain would be seen as leaning more towards a white rock crowd. The track musically isn’t much to do with Soul music granted but the essence of his lyrics and even his voice do lean itself into that box.
Prince was breaking boundaries with this album and in particular this track.
Purple Rain is an an album of epic proportions and everyone who likes music in general should listen to it as I am sure they will find something to hold on to.