Musings in the Dark: Prince's Legacy, #1


Prince's Legacy, #1

#1: Parade

My favorite album by His Purple Majesty.   Parade is the soundtrack to Prince’s second film, Under the Cherry Moon.  The movie was nowhere near as good as Purple Rain, but it didn’t have to be.  I love Parade because it has a European feel to it, as UTCM was set in France.  From start to finish, the album is a classic fusion of pop, jazz and soul with some definitive French undertones.  It is different from any of his previous albums, and along with the theme change, Prince himself changed.  He went from his trademark curls and ruffles to a sleek slickback and feminine-tailored suits.  Yet he remained beautiful and ethereal.

Check it…



...fight me.

Parade dropped in March of 1986 and peaked at #2 on BillBoard.  “Kiss” was the first single, and if it is not a perfect pop track, I’ll eat this hat I’m currently wearing.  The video is simple; Prince is dancing around in a black outfit and belly chain while Wendy plays acoustic guitar.  To my knowledge, everybody and their mother loved “Kiss,” as they should have. 

The album opens with “Christopher Tracy’s Parade”; Christopher Tracy being the character Prince played in UTCM.  It is lighthearted and upbeat and I consider it a solid opening, but as Parade is my favorite Prince album, I’m biased.  It rolls seamlessly into “New Position,” which has a ‘get up and dance’ beat.  I always do.

Probably my favorite song is “I Wonder U,” which is a minute and a half long, but has a sickening melody.  It feels more like a bridge between songs or an interlude (before interludes became an actual thing).  I don’t know what the track is about but it doesn’t matter.  I love it.  I love that Prince was bold enough to drop a cut like that and allowed us to feel whatever we wanted to feel.

“Under the Cherry Moon” is haunting and elegant, as is “Venus de Milo,” but “Girls and Boys” is my shit.  I love the way it sounds and the way it feels.  I can’t name the instruments being used, but the song is a unique cut on an already unique album. 

“Life Can Be So Nice” is fun.  I love the breakdown when the tempo changes.  Drums and cymbals go crazy and change the song into something else.  “Do U Lie” is a French song through and through, except the lyrics are in English.  It makes me feel like I’m sitting outside next to the Seine having a croissant and a cappuccino.  I love it.

“Mountains” is another released track that had wide radio airplay and it is awesome.  It reached #23 on the US pop charts.  It’s the kind of track that feels…big.  Like maybe Prince was traveling the world in his head as he composed the song (with the help of Wendy and Lisa).  Fantastic cut.  

“Anotherloverholenyohead” is a jealousy track that happens to be fun to listen to and sing along with the chorus.

Parade ends with “Sometimes it Snows in April,” and even though it references the death of Christopher Tracy, it has new meaning for the Purple Army.  Prince died in April of 2016, and from now on, every time I hear that song, I think of the loss of one of the greatest musicians the modern world has ever known.  I still get sad whenever I listen to his music.  He left us an unbelievable legacy.

I think about what could have been and what will become of the magic sitting in his legendary vault.  I think about how much of his music was part of the soundtrack of my formative years and even well into adulthood.  I think about this crazy, creative virtuoso who never met an instrument he couldn’t master, with the exception of horns.  I think about how private he was and how there was never any scandal attached to his name.  

For Prince, it was all about the music.  Everything else about him was his business unless, like the music, he chose to share it with us. I respect his desire to aggressively keep his personal life private.  I loved the fact that he was so shady that he was practically a Grand Master of the craft.  I loved how he could call bullshit on folks without opening his mouth.  I loved this wunderkind, this artist, this man who could help me figure out what was going on in my head just by listening to what came out of his.  His genius will forever live on and I am grateful I got to experience him during my lifetime.

Rest in power, sweet Prince.

With love,

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