Purple Rain – Prince and the Revolution
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life”
Being capable is one of those feelings of pure power that is intoxicating. No matter how good you are though, you will always be better when you collaborate—and conflict—with others. That tension creates magic. It’s also why I enjoy the shit out of Purple Rain.
I am not diehard Prince fan, at best I’m a casual observer of the man and mythos. But I can always appreciate a solo that feels like sutures being ripped off a guitar, hearing it wail into the night like a liquid siren and ride waves of synth and poundings of analog drums.
Purple Rain, released in 1984, demonstrations all of the above in nine tight, lush and catchy tracks from that hard-craziness of “Let’s Go Crazy” to “Darling Nikki” to “When Doves Cry,” and the seminal closer “Purple Rain.”
But I can always appreciate a solo that feels like sutures being ripped off a guitar, hearing it wail into the night like a liquid siren and ride waves of synth and poundings of analog drums.
The album manages to be experimental without being overbearing, with slashes of hard rock, new wave, and everything in between, all definably Prince. But what’s makes it all work so well for me is that it’s not just Prince, it’s Prince and the Revolution. That distinction matters. The contributions from keyboardists Matt Fink and Wendy Melvoin and bassist Brown Mark create a communal sensibility and thick, sexy compositions, with unbearably catchy—and kinky—hooks.
Yes, Prince could play every instrument excellently, was a polymath, a producer, and didn’t really need anyone else. This is a fact that even critics are willing to admit with the sounds of Sign o' the Times and 1999. But when his voice is dominant, not solo, Prince shines brighter than Pink Floyd’s crazy diamonds.
I have a habit of doing as many things for myself as possible: finance, art, writing, fitness. But, as in all things, when I have a sounding board, when I have tension of other collaborations, my life is much richer.
And that’s why, for me, Purple Rain is Prince’s Magnum Opus.
Until doves cry