Thursday, October 28, 2010

"When Doves Cry" (1984)

46. Prince, "When Doves Cry" (June 9, 1984, #1, 5 wks.)

Even in retrospect, something about this always felt immediately and almost viscerally inevitable, like a change in seasons and the storms it brings, the crack of a voice that has deepened, a death in the royal family. I don't think anything had ever sounded quite like this before. But for decades since, there has arguably always been something on the charts that sounds a bit like it in one way or another—the audacious stomping beats, open spaces, intermittent drilling guitar attacks, lilting keyboards, a melody that hooks instantly and a touching story at pains to make itself transparent: "How can you just leave me standing? Alone in a world that's cold (so cold) Maybe I'm just 2 demanding Maybe I'm just like my father 2 bold Maybe you're just like my mother," etc. I remember, in its time, hearing it out on the streets coming from boomboxes everywhere. Rarely has an inescapable song of the summer ever announced itself quite so inescapably. For about a month it seemed like every day people lined up everywhere to play it on boomboxes while they stood on line for tickets to Ghostbusters. "His Knee Highness," as we sometimes rudely called him, was making a move in the media war with Michael Jackson that Michael Jackson probably didn't even yet know he was involved in. Prince: with a movie of his own, starring him, that had a story, a real sad story, and what's more, a soundtrack that started off sounding this good? Jesus fucking Christ. How could he possibly miss? No one was exactly ready for it. He really blew the roof off with this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment