MUSIC REVIEW | ***A.V WEEK*** Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain (1984)

I grew up in a time when Prince meant Diamonds and Pearls, the Batman Soundtrack and changing his name to a cheesy symbol.  And even though over the years I’ve come to realise what an amazing musician and songwriter he is, I’ve never delved deeper than the hits.  But it’s about time I gave him a real chance, so where better to start than Purple Rain?

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called, life”.  If Prince had ever once displayed anything close to approaching a sense of humour, I’d give him enough credit to think the opening line to the album is intentionally kind of funny.  But because this is Prince, I have to assume it’s pretentious and unintentionally hilarious.  But even that can’t take away from the fact that Let’s Go Crazy is as close to a perfect pop song as you’ll ever hear.  Somehow a perfect encapsulation of 1984, while also timeless at the same time.

Unfortunately, tracks like Take Me Withy U and I Would Die 4 U don’t share that same timelessness.  Some sound exactly like all the things I don’t like about the mid 80s. Even the melody in Take Me With U is a little awkward when he sings the titular phrase at the end of each chorus.

Darling Nikki is by far the strangest song on Purple Rain.  It has a weird accordion intro, then a jaunty synth break with the odd space age “blip”, a hint of rock guitar and lyrics telling a bazar story about a truly dirty mole.

There’s nothing new I can say about When Doves Cry, it’s a classic.  But it does remind me is that Prince seems like 100% pure ego, crammed into a tiny, tiny little body, which is then squeezed into even smaller clothing.  But when that ego means stopping a pop song like Doves or Let’s Go Crazy so he can shoehorn in an amazing solo to remind us the he’s a legit guitar virtuoso, you’ve gotta love the little egomaniac.


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