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Ocean of Violets: Prince song by song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. Popmartijn

    Popmartijn Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    And so, on the last song of the album that followed Purple Rain but did not want to sound like that album, we come to a song that sounds most like a logical follow up to the Purple Rain album. Yes, the sax is a new element, but the guitars sound very Purple Rain-like. And I love it!
    Temptation is totally over the top. The subject matter, the guitars, the screams, this is Prince in overdrive. And the song (and thus the album) ends with an appearance by God. Listening to it I get a big smile on my face. It is a typical album track, with that comical dialogue at the end. But that's part that makes this song great.
  2. Piiijiii

    Piiijiii Hundalasiliah

    Ruhr Area, Germany
    I have to go now
    I don't know when I'll return

    That's not a bad way to finish the album :righton:
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  3. America

    Funky and fun. Prince does seem to care about the well-being of the earth, and people in general, and recognizes the position of the United States as a potential keeper or destroyer of the peace of the world. It is also fun how he incorporates little hints of the melody of the patriotic USA song, "America, The Beautiful." Pretty good song. Live version is an all-time great 5/5. Album version 4/5.

    Pop Life

    I've never liked Pop Life very much. It is too mellow for me. I am drawn to intensity and this is kind of the opposite of intense. It has interesting production choices, such as the vocals being panned hard left and right with a delay from the right to the left. I never thought the message of the song was all that compelling. Just okay to me. 3/5

    The Ladder

    I love The Ladder. It hits on the essence of life, which is that we all want everything to be okay in the end (meaning after life is over). We all disagree on what that means or even if there is life after death, but we all hope for a glorious future. (Unless we believe our conscience ends at death. If that is the case, then I don't know that hope for a good after life even matters and perhaps the hope seems like hogwash.). I share Prince's view that we do go on and that it does matter. I have tremendous hope for the future after I lay this body down. 4/5


    I identify with the song and therefore find it very compelling. I feel the same as Prince and struggle with the same thing he did. I feel like my hormones are way out of whack and I struggle to NOT think of sex at almost all hours of the day and I struggle to not want to have sex with all women I find attractive (and there are millions of them.....). It is a real struggle for many, and not something easily controlled. Most of it seems to be chemically generated as after satiation the chemicals creating that desire keep building until a tremendous pressure builds to satisfy it again. I know exactly what Prince was singing about and agree 100% with his dilemma he presents in the song: that sex and lust are incredibly attractive but outside the bounds God has set are ultimately wrong and bring separation from joy and from the influence of God. 5/5
  4. Freek999

    Freek999 Forum Resident

    Temptation 4/5
    Lance LaSalle likes this.

    JUNKIE Forum Resident

    There us something about Temptation that I like but would only give it 3.5 / 5.
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  6. Gavaxeman

    Gavaxeman Take me back to dear old Blighty...

    West Midlands U.K.

    Reaches for the epic conclusion..but falls in on itself ..3/5 for effort
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  7. alugjk

    alugjk Forum Resident

    Atlanta, GA

    This might have received a 3/5 but it is docked a point due to the unbearably silly dialogue at the end.


    Lance LaSalle and sunspot42 like this.
  8. Campaigner

    Campaigner Too late to cause a stir

    Can't give 'Temptation' anything higher than a 3.5/5.

    Even though it's got some searing guitar, and those screaming interludes I love so much, I can't get past the ending. Those final three minutes aren't good.
    Lance LaSalle and croquetlawns like this.
  9. Michael Macrone

    Michael Macrone Forum Resident

    San Francisco, CA
    "Temptation" manages to be slugdier and even more annoying than its musical forebear, "Darling Nikki."

    I can't remember exactly how I'd been feeling about this record on first listen, at least up through "Pop Life." But I do know that as the record kept playing on and on, the more my enthusiasm died.

  10. hotstuffmama

    hotstuffmama Forum Resident

    new york, ny
    The Ladder...not one I ever really listen to, not my style. 2/5

    Temptation is a good closing track. Bluesy, great guitar work and Prince singing about lust. What more could I ask for? It wakes me up at the end of a pretty snoozy album with few high points. 4/5
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  11. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    I just went back and checked - my 1/5 was the lowest rating I've given anything first released on an actual Prince studio album (as opposed to some later compilation or bonus track) since "With You" from Prince. So I was right that "Temptation" was the lowest-scoring such track in a long time. And "With You" is just bad, not staggeringly embarrassing.
    croquetlawns likes this.
  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Temptation"

    Average: 3,15
  13. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today, Around the World in a Day, the album.
  14. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    After Purple Rain, almost anything Prince put out was going to disappoint some people. I have read somewhere that in terms of sales following up a multi-platinum release, it is one of the biggest sale drops ever, at least in the USA. All of this means that Prince has to be given credit for such a brave release when many people, especially Warners, really just wanted Purple Rain II. The highs on ATWIAD are very high, but some of the lows on side 2 are also quite low, by Prince standards especially. Again, this may be in part due to Prince wanting to do different things and, considering the amazing b-sides from the era and vault tracks, purposely choosing to put non-commercial 'difficult' music on the album. Brave - a 3.5/5 for me.
    Jayseph, EVOLVIST and robcar like this.
  15. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    ATWIAD is kind of a hot mess. "Beret", "Tambourine", "Pop Life" and "America" are varying degrees of good to great. The rest don't measure up to most of the B-Sides from Purple Rain. Bonus points for going further down the whole pop / funk / psychedelic path. But several demerits for overblowing weak to non-existent melodies and producing embarrassingly self-indulgent dross like "Temptation".

    3/5, and that's really only thanks to "Beret" and "Pop Life". His weakest set for me since Dirty Mind, and ultimately not as interesting. Kind of a spectacular flameout on the heels of Purple Rain. However, there are elements here that would be greatly refined on his next release, to the point where it becomes probably my favorite Prince record, so I'm ultimately thankful for this particular experiment even though I think it fails. In a way it's kinda like the relationship between Dirty Mind and the superior Controversy. One kicks down a lot of doors but was kind of a mess, the other makes better use of this new environment.
    hotstuffmama and croquetlawns like this.
  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    While I've been living wtih this album for more than thirty years, I never really hit me what a panoply of styles he was doing: it's like every song could come from a different album. It's really a broad mix of styles and colors, and I can't think of another album by Prince that I've heard that does that, that intentionally goes for this grab-bag of styles. For the most part I think it succeeds, though I think that the last two songs in particular are not as strong as the others, still gospel and that rocky trad-R&B sound are good sounds for Prince: it's just that the one seems underdeveloped (no verse melody, though I guess the spoken word verses is something that happens in soul music) and the second one just needs to be edited of silliness. On some days i even like that.

    Looking over my collection in iTunes from this year there are a number of great albums: Tim, Psychocandy, Head on the Door, Dream of the Blue Turtles, Suzanne Vega, Fegmania!, Voices Carry, Rum Sodomy and the Lash, Meat Is Murder....of all of those I think only Head on the Door comes close to the stylistic variety of this album -- and yet, ARound the World In a Day definitely does not sound like a hodge-podge that you'd think it would.

    All the songs sound meant to go together, and if it falters a bit at the end, it's not enough for me to think this is anything but a great, quirky work from a great artist at the very top of his game.

    Judging from teh comments here, It seemss on this thread a lot of people at the time and still to this day really wanted Purple Rain part II, some ultra-commercial album: good on Prince for following his muse, as he of course, could have given them that had he wanted.

    But then he'd just be another boring pop artist and not the greatest and boldest artist of the eighties.

  17. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    While I agree that Around The World In A Day was a brave album to make and release in the wake of such a massive commercial and artistic success with Purple Rain, this act of bravery is somewhat undercut by the fact that ATWIAD is not a great album. I would assert that it is no better than a mediocre-to-good album. I do think that Prince was running on fumes somewhat by the time he put the finishing touches on ATWIAD, with all of the side projects he was effectively manning in addition to his own recording and performing career. I think that the album starts quite impressively with the opening run of four tracks, with "Paisley Park" and "Raspberry Beret" in particular being career highlights. However, with the exception of the excellent "Pop Life", the rest of the album struggles mightily to match the quality of that opening quartet. "Tamborine" and "America" are woefully lacking in melody, and while they both offer driving grooves, there is precious little song-craft on display in either tune. "The Ladder" is a step in the right direction but ultimately fails to deliver much in the way of intended rapture or glory. Lastly, "Temptation" is good lyrically and dives into a topic that would become something of a Prince obsession - the intersection of sexuality and spirituality and, in particular, contrasting the gift of sexual pleasure provided to us by God with the declaration of the corporeal church that the enjoyment of this pleasure is a "sin". Powerful stuff, and Prince would address it far more effectively in later songs. "Temptation" is merely a clumsy first attempt that is marred by an almost unbearably cheesy musical backing.

    As brave as it was, I think that ATWIAD is ultimately something of a failure and is, by some measure, the weakest album that Prince would release (under his own name) during the decade of the 1980s.

  18. Moggio_4K_Ultra_HD

    Moggio_4K_Ultra_HD Forum Resident

    Vancouver, BC
    Not really. There are far more follow-up albums that have had larger sales gaps. It did sell less of course. But in the US, by the summer of 1985, PR had sold over 8 million copies. Whereas, ATWIAD had sold nearly 3 million copies. However, today, there is a larger gap, as PR has sold nearly 17 million copies and ATWIAD has sold over 3.5 million copies...
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
    Chris Bernhardt and croquetlawns like this.
  19. groovelocked

    groovelocked Forum Resident

    Columbus OH (USA)
    Agreed, but I’d drop The Ladder altogether first, keep the first half of Temptation
  20. A-Tone

    A-Tone Well-Known Member

    Around The World In A Day - The album.

    I'll leave the musical analysis to others who can word that stuff better, but this was the first album by any artist that made me want to find out more about the person responsible (that and the broadcast of the PR Syracuse show on TV). It was more than just a collection of songs. Prince around this period fascinated me above probably everything else. Subsequent albums would continue to blow my teenage mind, but ATWIAD was important in that it contributed greatly to my love of music... in a nerdy way.

  21. Around the World in a Day ~ It's interesting, that with all of those songs in the vault, Prince basically decided to write a bunch of new tunes, except for the biggest hits in the album, "Raspberry Beret" and "Pop Life."

    So, yeah, on one hand Prince still knew what a strong single was, but on the other hand, the rest of the songs, right are wrong, were more of an artistic statement, setting the stage for his vision to come. That's what Around the World in a Day is: a transition album, with a little bit of pop style, yet more experimental as a whole.

    Whether the experiments paid off in the moment is subjective; however, it did not take Prince long at all to grow into what would later be Parade, Dream Factory, Crystal Ball, and Sign 'O' the Times. With Around the World in a Day, Prince was cleansing his palate of everything that had come before. I think he needed that as an artist. It wasn't so much about the listener; he was pleasuring himself.

    Indeed, until Rave in2 the Joy Fantastic, I contend that he intentionally left the wants of the masses behind. It was his show and you could come along or settle for something else.

    Around the World in a Day might not have been the album that everybody wanted, but it was the album that Prince needed.

  22. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Around The World In A Day - album
    It has been interesting to come back to this album, which I have listened to very little since it appeared. In retrospect I think I like every song except Raspberry Beret and I feel that the sequencing lets the album down, particularly with the placing of Condition Of The Heart at track 3. Still, it's a good album.
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  23. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Leeds, UK
    I can no longer bear to decide what my top ten albums of all time are (too hard to leave stuff out) but in the days when I did, this was always in it. Purple Rain was a bit behind, though now I rate that even higher. I'm afraid no other Prince albums were or are really in the running of my all-time list. But there Around the World in a Day was always there, around the 7 or 8 mark. I also had no idea it was a lesser rated Prince album generally- it shocked me when I found out. Maybe because I'm in the UK, and I feel critics liked it more over here/in Europe generally? When I first got into Prince, the current album was Diamonds and Pearls, and the critics were like, yeah this is fine, but you should check out those gems from the mid-eighties when he could do no wrong. I listened to the album, therefore, with an expectation of greatness, and anything that didn't click right away, I assumed was my fault as a listener. So I persevered and it blew my mind.

    It's not that I don't see the faults on this record. It's that I have come to love the faults as well as the virtues. The sleeve helps explain the album. It's a multicoloured, multifaceted, patchwork quilt of an album, with influences all over the place. It's so rich, so tuneful (I don't understand when people say there's no melody in "Tamborine", it's right there, present and correct) so full of spirit and life and humour.

    Jayseph, Freek999, thekid87 and 3 others like this.
  24. Campaigner

    Campaigner Too late to cause a stir

    I really enjoy ATWIAD, but it isn't something I return to often.

    And I don't really know why that is. Taken individually, the songs here are stronger than the songs on other albums I listen to more often, but for some reason I just don't find the album (on the whole) to be amazingly strong.

    Maybe it's because I don't think that there's an out-and-out masterpiece track that I can't keep away from. I love some of the tracks here, but there isn't anything that I could never skip. Even 'Raspberry Beret', a slice of pop perfection, can catch me on the wrong day and I won't be in the mood to listen to it. That's something I can't say about songs like 'The Beautiful Ones', for example.

    So thinking about the album like that, I can't go any higher than a 4/5. Which isn't anything to sneeze at.
    Lance LaSalle and croquetlawns like this.
  25. Piiijiii

    Piiijiii Hundalasiliah

    Ruhr Area, Germany
    Around The World In A Day

    This is my 2nd favourite Prince album although She's Always In My Hair should also have been on it, it's too strong for a b-side.

    So people wanted Purple Rain 2 ... how boring. But thank god Prince was like chameleon during the glory years. Maybe not like a chameleon because I think his music didn't change from one album to the next ... he expanded his musical texture.

    Soul, Funk, Disco, Rock ... soon Jazz (SOTT) and Gospel (Lovesexy) and more would follow.

    It was love at first listen.


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