This is Prince’s original recording of Purple Rain, sans several minutes of jamming at the beginning, an extra verse in-between the standard second and third verses and a minute or so of the final guitar solo. I get it, an eight minute song is already pushing it, unless you’re in the prog-rock business. That said, I do wish he’d just kept the original like this. Sure it’s sanctimonious, sure it’s kitschy, but that’s what Prince is. The power of this man is to turn (often perverse) semantics into intensely funky tales. There is no-one else in the audience except the girl he’s singing to, and anyone who’s seen Purple Rain (which I completely recommend) can remember the sheer amount of close-ups between him and Apollonia.

I personally don’t give a shit what Purple Rain is, or what it’s supposed to symbolise. I don’t care that every Prince song is about sex, love or dancing. I care because this insane, idiosyncratic man puts his all into the music he creates. People don’t always like it, because it isn’t neatly definable. It’s too dirty for pop, too robotic for funk, too heavy for dance, too electronic for R&B and too muddy for rock. It’s this strange, convoluted sound, that makes you groove as much as you want to rock. What stands out is not only his bizarre intellect and prodigious output, but how genuine he is. While admittedly some of Prince’s material is hardly the sort that is generally regarded as being “written from the heart”, there are moments, like this, where he does dissolve some of the barriers he puts up between his audience and himself.

And damnit he’s sexy.

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