YEAR OF RELEASE: 1988
COMMENTS: Prince's best entry in the dark night of the soul sweepstakes starts out as a piano ballad. A few stark piano chords set up the crisis. Bom...ba, BOM Then he's spilling out an explanation in flat affected monochromatic syllables, singularly not funky. You can feel the depression and anxiety. He expresses it lyrically as sexual desperation, the nearest he ever came to an admission of homosexual behavior. In his despair he meets a girl, only somehow she's not like other girls. He's pleading with her to do something, anything.
What she does, of course, is lead him to God. After a couple of verses and courses of the dark night, the song takes a left turn as Prince gives his testimony for Christ. (He does this in various ways in at least three different songs from the awe inspiring and under appreciated Lovesexy album.)
As would your very life, the whole song structure heads off in another direction. The second half of the song abandons the old life and musical structure for an extended bridge as confesses and takes his vows. "Forgive me Jesus, I've been a fool. How could I forget that you are the rule." Finally, he ends with a couple of repititions of a whole new happy chorus. "God is love. Love is god. Boys and girls love God above."
To me, this statement is philosophically questionable, but the musical statement is undeniable. It's not that friggin' easy. Just get saved and call upon the name of Jesus. That's certainly easier than doing the work and making the choices to take charge of one's own life situation. And you come to God through an anesthetic? Something that artificially stops you from feeling what is really happening to you in the hospital room? Even with my philosophical skepticism, though, there's no use in trying to resist the power of the testifying and praising of Him.
Music Sustains the Soul
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