Monday, June 28, 2010

Record of the Month - Classic

Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 5 years old.

Nine songs; six of them pretty great, three just ok. Still, not a bad at bat record.

I was not a fan of the X-Files, but Denton was, and I would catch scenes here and there and only remember one - and it made me laugh. While looking into some weird precipitation that killed people, the native tribe called it 'purple rain', and then the script ran like this:

Scully: "Purple Rain?"
Mulder: "Yeah. Great album. Deeply flawed movie, though." ...

How true that was/is. The movie, while providing me a line for the last 26 years that an audience member shouted out, was a lame story that only came alive during the performance segments. ....not so much Apollonia 6's "song" (that was the comedy portion of the show), but I'm speaking of Prince & the Revolution and the Time's stuff.

But on its own, Purple Rain worked - and 26 years later it is still an overall great disk.

Clearly buoyed by the first single "When Doves Cry", the other songs are good, but really, that song is still fucking genius. The lyrics, the arrangement, the instrumentation are beyond good. It also produced a great Simpsons line, when Milhouse met someone just like him over in Shelbyville ("so this is what it feels like when doves cry!").

But if you tie the music to the movie, the record version of "Let's Go Crazy" pales in comparison to the longer version - and somehow those visuals are needed for how intense Prince and the band could get. Ditto with "I Would Die 4 U".

Like with album 1999, Prince moved a little further away from the true funk and soul stuff on Controversy and Dirty Mind, and gravitated more and more to a pop-based sound - while keeping some veins open of his old self. It worked well for sales and exposure.

I still love "Baby, I'm a Star" and have always been a big fan of "Computer Blue" - which skews more towards an instrumental, but it really works. And even though Tipper Gore didn't like "Darling Nikki", I do.

Had it been on any other album that wasn't as popular, you might not have seen the words "Explicit Lyrics" on album and cd cover art. All for the word "masturbating". But that ticked off Tipper enough to get a group together to monitor music releases for adult content.

Purple Rain's flaws? I'm not a huge fan of "Take Me With U" (nothing wrong with it, but it is just blah. Apolloina isn't the best singer or harmonizer), "The Beautiful Ones" and yes, the title track (snore!).

What I do love about this disk is that it takes me back to 1984 immediately and yet the music is not dated. It stands the test of time. Whether I like all of Prince's stuff isn't important, but I think he is and was way talented and innovative, even if no longer commercial.


Cubby said...


Man, you really took me back to college this morning! I agree with everything you said, except I like the song Purple Rain.

I had the biggest crush on Jerome Benton who played Morris Day's valet in the movie. The first time I saw him I completely melted in my seat. I wanted to do him in the worst way (or is it the best way?) Uh oh, I'm starting to melt again right now!

I just added Purple Rain to my Netflix queue. I can't wait to see it again.

david Joseph said...

I thought you were inspired by last evenings weather. I don't know how good your hearing may be but that is the sound of one hand clapping at your excellent selection of album choice. My only disagreement would be that a classic has to be at least 20 years old. This is because, like yourself, I live in Cleveland where we 3 classic rock stations one for each decade. And now with a slightly mute golf clap, "well done, Robert."