Prince created dozens of songs that will never leave my head, but this one stands out especially strong this week. To my ears, it’s the ultimate track off the second Prince & The Revolution album, Around The World In A Day.
As the years since my childhood have passed, I slowly realized that my favorite Prince music was made during the brief Revolution era, comprising the trio of Purple Rain, Around The World In A Day, and perhaps my favorite album, Parade. The first was the incredibly popular soundtrack to the film of the same name, while the last was another soundtrack, for Under The Cherry Moon. Sandwiched in between was this wild pop carnival, his most stylistically adventurous release at the time. In a way, it’s the very heart of Prince’s legacy, even more so than the era-defining Purple Rain. Songs like Raspberry Beret and the title track lived on radio waves for years, while Paisley Park became the name of his Wonderland-like residence in Minnesota.
Still, Pop Life stands out for its audacious drive and psychedelic funk atmosphere, a warm combination ripe for carrying the timeless lyrics about dealing with life itself, a recurring theme for the artist. He touches on drugs, appearance, music, and the infinite little ways in which life can get you down. But he offers an antidote, a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about as reassuring and real as a pop song can get, one of the most relatable stories ever told by someone who stood so far above and outside normal everyday life.
I’ll probably post some more Prince favorites as the weeks roll on. It’s been an incredible pleasure to dive into both the popular and rarely explored corners of his discography after a couple decades of being a fan. For example, I was blown away by the face-shredding guitar solo I posted the week he died. For an artist so embedded into the popular consciousness, he’s got a lot of mysteries left to reveal.