Saturday, 6 December 2014

Prince and the Revolution - 'When Doves Cry'

Repeat Prescriptions....The Top 100 Classic Albums Of All Time that you keep coming back to!

Like doing a university course as a mature student, I am returning to my musical education and filling in the gaps. I intend to revisit The 100 Best Albums Of All Time (see them all here) as recommended by Q Magazine back when the poll was last done in 2006. Some I will know and love, some I will have skimmed and some I will not even have given time of day. This will all change when I listen to every album in full as it was intended, from 100 to 1, and choose my favourite song from each.

Album Number 94: Prince - Purple Rain - 'When Doves Cry' (1984)

Finally an album from the 80s I thought to myself when I saw this was next! I don't know a prince song I didn't like but admittedly I haven actually listened to an album before. I knew that Purple Rain was highly acclaimed so expected to be blown away. I was a little bit more than disappointed I'm afraid to say. I only knew about 3 or 4 songs which I was surprised about and found the album quite dated even for an 80s mega fan like me! I even noted myself thinking 'Jeez, even for Prince this is a bit self indulgent at times'. He would throw in a random screechy solo every now and again. I thought the song Little Nikki was pretty bad. The trouble is, I feel terrible about feeling this way about the music God that is Prince. He truly is a talent and play most of the instruments, writes and is just an all round performer. I have discussed this album a few with people who are almost a decade older than me and the opinion was unanimous: "Oh what a great album!" But when did you actually listen to this album last people? Not recently I'll bet.

Anyway, the end result for me was: yes I did enjoy it, but only in parts. The parts I enjoyed were probably the singles he has previously released, coincidence or not? Not sure! Highlights being Lets Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and of course my favourite from Purple Rain, When Doves Cry. Sadly I can't listen to the title track Purple Rain without cringing as it was constantly ruined by being played as an "end of the night" song and lots of drunken people shouting the chorus into the air. Shame.

The part I like best from the classic When Doves Cry is the drumming. Not your traditional drum kit sound, but it sounds like the noises you can make when you're trying to make a racket at home; a couple of bins and a table or something. I realised I haven't a clue what the song was about so looked it up. The director of Purple Rain asked Prince to create a piece of music for a particular part in the film and this was one of two things he came up with. It's about parental struggles and an affair inspired by his own relationship with Vanity 6's, Susan Moonsie. It was Prince's first number 1 single so I can understand its success. Not bad for knocking something up! For a song that is supposed to be a dance track, it's quite stripped back and quiet. The song is pretty timeless asides from the last minute of the track where you have the signature 80s spoiler of the synthesiser solo. Oh dear. Bring on the radio edit for that one!

Nb. Prince seems to have not allowed videos on youtube so I only have a clip to give you the idea. You can find the whole video if you click on this link though! 

Shell Hunter says, worth another listen

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Prince and the Revolution - 'When Doves Cry'
4/ 5


6 December 2014 at 21:14

I was looking forward to a review of an album you may actually have been involved with. This is a pretty good review and is interesting to note that you are not actually familiar with a lot of the tracks on the album.
It is a good honest review and I like that.
Prince to me, is and has always been OK..a few winners... a couple of classics...more hype than anything else. The Real classic albums. You lived each scratch. Sadly the album era is gone! it is the track now!

12 December 2014 at 13:37

You make a very good point when you ask 'when did you last listen to this album?' I actually did go away and gave the whole LP a spin for the first time in many a year, only to discover that it really does sound somewhat 'of its time'. It was never my favourite Prince record, but I was a bit taken aback by how little I enjoyed the listening experience. Funnily enough, the title track was one of the tunes I thought stood the test of time best. I fondly remember him virtually transforming the song into a hard rock anthem at Wembley one night long, long ago. The final guitar solo went on forever and it was a glorious thing to behold.