SONG TITLE: JOY IN REPITITION
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1990
COMMENTS: There is not one sumbitch ever who could cut Prince in the sexy love ballad, nay not even Marvin Gaye or Barry White. "Joy in Repitition" is probably the single most undeniable evidence that Prince listened to Marvin, notably in the production of the rhythm track. He definitely learned some of this listening to "Let's Get It On" and "What's Going On," but he just flat shoots straight past his teachers in production technology, instrumental (sexual) prowess, and even (if it is possible) pure aching soul spirit.
The key to this is the emotional desire that is mixed in with the physical. Prince has certainly written some memorable expressions of the immediate gratification of a good, quick bang. (See "U Got the Look" or "Gett Off.") There is no way, however, that they are going to compete with the ultimate satisfaction of using sexual expression to commune with someone spiritually as he describes here. This record positively throbs with the blood flowing through both his heart and his dick as he crys out for both the release of human understanding and a physical orgasm. This isn't about sex, it's about making love.
Again as elsewhere, his song -the melody- stands out from everyone else's. For example, note how utterly generic Boys2Men's "I'll Make Love to You" sounds compared to the idiosyncrasies of this song, starting with the sounds of the "pimps and things" in the street as Prince leads his beloved off in search of a little privacy. Listen to how he winds up the melody under the words "Was this woman he had never noticed before he lost himself in the inarticulated manner in which he said them." I know of no one else who could have made those words parse out into a continuous musical thought. They are not baggage: he actually needed all those syllables.
One of the top things that makes this recording unforgettable is the guitar work. I wouldn't trade the understated jazzy guitar commentary that runs through this song for the whole goddamned Eric Clapton catalogue, much less the searing extended blues solo that ends the song. It's this guitar that really most totally communicates "the moans of his condition." It is just aching with a desire that goes well past the physical into the metaphysical.
Music Sustains the Soul
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