SONG TITLE: THE BALLAD OF DOROTHY PARKER
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1987
COMMENTS: This is one of the damnedest contraptions in the whole of my experience to try to explain to people what it is. The bottom line is that Prince managed to do some sophisticated and arcane mathematics to write a perfectly catchy and hummable non-repeating melody 4 full minutes long. There's some jazz level actual musical mathematics going on to make it sound like hip conversation that just fell out of the sky wholecloth. Stuff that would take Prince far longer to dumb it down for me than it did to write in the first place. It almost seems like this is Prince doing his accelerated math homework, trying out every possible combination of elements from all these different musical traditions, hooks piled in sideways and backwards square-rooted and quad-rangled just to see what it would sound like.
The lyrics here cast a favorable light on the "other" woman - as marriage counselor. Her counseling methods run to fully-clothed bubble baths, and child-like play.
There is a beauty in the perfect math of the words themselves, how precisely logical the mission to get these exact words that tell this much story in this much detail and nuance with this precise beginning and ending point in the exact right syllable counts. The extravagantly detailed nuance in this recording is a testament to the human spirit at play.
And you can dance to it.
Music Sustains the Soul
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