Friday Five : |ˈfrīdā – fīv| : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button in iTunes and share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up the media player of your choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.
Being that this week marks the 30th anniversary of Prince and The Revolution’s iconic Purple Rain, I thought it only appropriate to shuffle through the artist that occupies more space in my library than any other. So fire up the tricked out purple motorcycle and let’s go crazy…
“Girls & Boys” by Prince & The Revolution (from Paris Parade (disc 2), 1998)
This is an excellent soundboard of an equally excellent date off the ’86 Parade Tour stop at Le Zénith, Paris, France. The band is in top form here, vamping on the tune’s wonky descending groove for a good two minutes before Prince even opens his mouth. As this would be the last tour before the dissolution of The Revolution this boot stands as a testament to the power of that band. Here’s a little bit of purple history: the first performance of “It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night” occurred on this date and its performance appears on Prince’s Sign “☮” the Times—albeit with some significant overdubs.
“Tick, Tick, Bang” by Prince (from 30 Years of Unreleased Funk, Volume 1 (disc 1), 2007)
It’s a well documented fact that Prince has as many tunes sitting in “The Vault” as he’s been able to release. One would assume that these recordings would be well guarded, yet over the years dozens of unreleased tracks have made their way into the hands of rabid fans, unwilling to wait for Prince—or Warner Bros.—to release them. “Tick, Tick, Bang” was originally recorded in ’81 during the Controversy sessions and succinctly locked away until he resurrected it for the soundtrack to Graffiti Bridge. Reconciling the two tracks takes some doing, as the original version is pretty straight-forward, revved up, punk tune.
“Sometimes It Snows in April” by Prince (from Abu Dhabi 20ten (disc 2) 2010)
Depending on the day this may be my favorite Prince & The Revolution song. There is something so honest in the melancholic progression and the too true sentiment of the song. While it’s easily written off as being tied to the plot of Prince’s 1986 film, Under the Cherry Moon, a peak beneath the covers reveals the inner-struggle between Prince and his band. “Tracy died soon after a long-fought civil war…” opines his Royal Badness, which clearly extends beyond his character in the film. The final lines of the song, though—the final song, from the final album featuring The Revolution, by that name—prove to be the most revealing: “…All good things that say, never last / and love, it isn’t love until it’s past.” You can argue that the tune was recorded in ’85, and that there is no way the principal players (Prince, Wendy & Lisa) could have known, but then again … did they?
“God (Vocal)” by Prince & The Revolution (from 12″ Archive 2.0 (disc 2), 2001)
Remember a few weeks ago when the Internet lost its collective shit when Prince announced that he had entered into a new “partnership” with his former employer, Warner Bros. Records. A move that anyone with even a passing knowledge of the man would find, well, perplexing. What made slightly less waves was the previous week’s announcement that he would be assigning the rights to his catalog to NPG Music Publishing—a move which would have been an obvious precursor to the Warner Bros. deal, if it hadn’t been for the fact that just weeks earlier he had signed with Epic Records.
Wait, you missed that bit of news? Don’t worry; it was buried almost as much as the NPG Music Publishing headline, obscured by the release of (via Epic Records) his “duet” with Zooey Deschanel, “FALLINLOVE2NITE.” Further confounding everything, he then released another new track, “THE BREAKDOWN,” via Warner Bros. the following weekend. Then there is a fate of the record that he recorded with his band du jour, 3RDEYEGIRL, reportedly entitled Plectrum Electrum. Are you confused yet? Chances are if you are a fan, this is just more of the same with some bigger—and admittedly far more important—names.
The real significance of the deal with Warner Bros. is the fact that it puts the master recordings of everything from For You (1978) through Chaos and Disorder (1996) will be under Prince’s control. Presumably control will transfer when the original copyrights expire, making the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain ripe for the “deluxe remastered edition” play, with Prince firmly in the driver’s seat. But, see, that’s the thing: Prince is once again in control of his recorded legacy, but should we trust him with it?
See, 2014 Prince seems to have a hard time reconciling with 1984 Prince. That’s not to say that he’s not the same cat, but he clearly doesn’t believe in the same things, at least not on the surface that we’re able to see. Consider this: would a 30th anniversary edition of Purple Rain be complete without “Let’s Go Crazy’s” legendary b-side, “Erotic City”? Would “Darling Nikki” or “God” be the same if Prince decides to edit the lyrics to fit in his current religious beliefs? You see where I’m going with this, and this is the reason I’ve only said that I’m “cautiously optimistic” by the news of the Warner Bros. deal.
“Breakfast Can Wait” by Prince (from Breakfast Can Wait 2013)
I’m not going to try to pretend, this is one of the best cuts that Prince has released in the last ten years. You can argue that its pretty generic, but I’d defend that laid-back, “three fine” groove anytime. It’s also a fine way to wrap this Five up.
What’s on your shuffle today?