PMO: Purple Rain – Prince and the Revolution

Welcome to PMO (short for “Put Me On”) –  a biweekly column dedicated to introducing music (both new and old) and explaining its history and impact on music culture. The purpose of this column is to introduce music of all genres and to encourage readers to expand their musical palette.

The 80’s have been a big trend lately: with the recent success of Netflix’s Stranger Things, a series set in the 1980s, and the revival of the shoulder pad trend in fashion. What better way to live out the 80s than to indulge in fashion and pop icon Prince’s magnum opus: Purple Rain.

  • Background:
    • Released June 25th, 1984
    • RIAA certified 13x Platinum (wow!)
    • Nominated for four Grammys
    • Won three Grammy Awards

Purple Rain is the soundtrack to Prince’s semi-biographical eponymous movie; however, this soundtrack proves to be enjoyable whether or not one has seen the motion picture. Though this was Prince’s sixth studio album, it was the first for his band, Prince and the Revolution. The entire album was written and produced by Prince. If that’s not impressive enough, Purple Rain yielded top hits like “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain”, songs which are still popular today.

  • Tracklist:
  1. “Let’s Go Crazy”
    • Rate:★★★★
  2. “Take Me With You”
    • Rate:★★★
  3. “The Beautiful Ones”
    • Rate:★★★★★
    • Fun Fact: Various covers of this song have been done by musical stars such as Beyoncé and (skinny legend) Mariah Carey, whose version of the song can be found on her popular album Butterfly.
  4. “Computer Blue”
    • Rate:★
  5. “Darling Nikki”
    • Rate:★★
    • Fun Fact: This song is the reason why albums have “Parental Advisory” stickers on them. After former Vice-president, Al Gore’s daughter bought this album, Mrs. Gore heard her playing this song and was disgusted by the song’s sexually explicit lyrics. This led her to start an organization where parents would monitor music. Thus, the infamous “Parental Advisory” sticker was born. Despite the sexual nature of the song, Prince was a devout Jehovah’s Witness.
  6. “When Doves Cry”
    • Rate:★★★★★
  7. “I Would Die 4 U”
    • Rate:★★★★★
  8. “Baby I’m a Star”
    • Rate:★★ ½
  9. “Purple Rain”
    • Rate:★★★★★

  • Overall Review:

Purple Rain is an album about sex, love, desire, and passion experienced by an entire generation of youth during the 1980’s. The classic album features themes that are still relevant today: the urge to be youthful and enjoy one’s life (“Let’s Go Crazy”), and the youth’s willingness to embrace sexuality (“Computer Blue” and “Darling Nikki”); moreover, Purple Rain touches on innocence love (“Take Me With You” and “I Would Die 4 U”), the frustration of unrequited love (“The Beautiful Ones”), arguments between loved ones (“When Doves Cry”) and the frustration with oneself (“Purple Rain”). In retrospect, Purple Rain is a body of work that encompasses the feelings of young people at the time of its release.

  • Personal Favorites:
    • “The Beautiful Ones”
    • “I Would Die 4 U”
    • “Let’s Go Crazy”
    • “When Doves Cry”

Overall Rate: ★★★★

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