Acclaimed Albums – Purple Rain by Prince

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 126/250Title: Purple Rain
Artist: Prince
Year: 1984
Position: #44

This is not my first time with a Prince album. That honour goes to 1999which left me pretty cold afterwards. I can happily say that the opposite was the case here, although I have no desire to watch the film after all the bad things I’ve heard about Under the Cherry Moon.

I will probably be in the extreme majority when I say that I prefer the second half of Purple Rain. For one thing it’s the side with ‘When Doves Cry’ on it. That song is epic and I only heard it for the first time when my mum played it for me after Prince’s death early in 2016.

The second half also has the pairing of ‘I Would Die 4 U’ and ‘Baby I’m A Star’. These are both great funk rock tracks in their own right, but it is the way that Prince mixed them to flow into each other that truly raises them up.

This is not to say that the first half of the album isn’t any good. It’s just that it pretty much pales in comparison to the second side of the disc. ‘Take Me With U’ is probably the standout track from the first side of the album, mainly because it’s the one where it feels like Prince is having the most fun before you flip the record.

I think that before ending this I need to ask something about the title track ‘Purple Rain’. Why is this the song included on the 1001 Songs list when ‘When Doves Cry’ is right there a few tracks earlier? I would argue that ‘When Doves Cry’ is the more experimental of the two and shows that particular spirit of Prince whereas ‘Purple Rain’ feels anthemic.

When my 1001 Songs playthrough reached 1984 at some point in 2019 (at this rate at least) maybe I will get more of a clue of its inclusion or completely fall for it like I did with ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Remains to be seen I guess.

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