“Condition Of The Heart” – Around the World in a Day (1985)

When trying to decide which song to dive into after such a long hiatus I tossed around half a dozen or so tracks. Do I choose the last song from the last album as a kind of requiem or should I focus on something that might help heal the emotional scars? In the end I went back to my original list of song suggestions from back before Prince died and I realised that any song I chose would bring sufficient emotional baggage with it, given the circumstances, so there was no need to try and doing anything special for my “comeback.” So what made me choose this one from the list? Well late last year I asked a friend to suggest a few songs to help me focus my efforts and next to each suggestion he made a few notes about why he liked the song and why I should add it to my list. Next to “Condition Of The Heart” he’d simply written “because beauty.” When I read those words I realised that was the answer. Not just the answer to which song to write about next but also the answer to why I was such a Prince fan. Why we all are. The answer to why we really do anything worthwhile in this life at all. Because beauty.[1]

 

“Condition of the Heart” is the third track from Prince’s seventh album, Around the World in a Day. I’ve written about this album before (see the entry on “Temptation”[2]) so I’ll try not to get repetitive. The follow up from his biggest album ever and he didn’t even wait a year before releasing it. Think about that for a second. After the biggest success of his life, he didn’t sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labour. He just kept working. This album was recorded between January and December 1984 for the most part. For those of you keeping score, this was the same year that Purple Rain was released (25 June for the album and 27 July for the movie). This means that during shooting of the movie, promotion, meetings, rehearsals, etc., he still found time to record a double platinum album. For comparison, consider that after Michael Jackson released Thriller in 1982 he didn’t put out a new record until 1987’s Bad. That being said, Prince and the band were always busy writing and recording during this era of his career. So much so that it really is no surprise that he had enough great material to put out an album. The real question is why do it so quickly and why this album. Of all the albums that he could have released after Purple Rain with the multitude of songs that we know he had ready to go. Why did he choose these songs?

 

The songs on Around The World In A Day are quite a departure from Prince’s previous albums. Most hardcore fans will have great praise for this record as his “psychedelic” attempt at consolidating his work as an artist and his rejection of the pop star career path and record label intervention (get behind me Warner Brothers!). If you’re reading this blog, chances are you like the album a lot. But to your more casual Prince fan, this album ain’t that hot. Sure it’s got “Raspberry Beret” on it but most of it is weird and “experimental”. Around The World In A Day is clearly a statement by Prince and not just your everyday regular ol’ LP. The fact that there was no lead single and that it was released so soon after the last record says a lot. If Purple Rain was a record label’s dream, this record must have been a nightmare. The fact that it sold as well as it did suggests that the heat from Purple Rain hadn’t dissipated and that there was in fact a market for this type of record. At least amongst Prince fans.

 

“Condition Of The Heart” is one of those songs that you could argue was more on the experimental side. Coming in at 6:46mins, the first two and a half minutes are all instrumental with the first two minutes sounding like they are part of a movie score. The first sound you hear is some sort of deep bass drum evoking a pacing heartbeat before the ethereal piano and “fairy” keyboard sounds float in. Although stylistically different to the main part, the intro sets the tone for the whole song and eases you into what’s to come. To my ear the introduction to this song sounds like a butterfly floating from flower to flower in search of a mate. In my mind’s eye it’s almost Disney-esque in the way it flows from scene to scene.

 

Picture if you will an animated anthropomorphised purple butterfly that looks somewhat like our Prince, floating and flitting from flower to flower presented in a style somewhere between Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and Fantasia. Being a Prince song the flowers and plants in the meadow look, unsurprisingly, like naked women. He flits and floats and fleetly flees and flies across the screen checking out all the female butterflies that he comes across and falling for each one in turn. But they all fly past him or ignore his attempts at courtship. At about the fifty second mark of the song the music drops out and this is when he sees her. They lock eyes. She turns away shyly. He approaches cautiously. They smile at each other. He whispers in her ear. She giggles. They hold hands. Then finally they move in for a passionate embrace as they envelope each other with their wings and get to work on making little baby caterpillars. The act is symbolized by the “crash” in the music we hear at the 1:35min mark. After this the music settles back down and becomes steadier. It doesn’t have that flitting feeling that we heard at the beginning. Now, basking in the afterglow, it sounds somehow calmer and more relaxed as it transitions to the song proper and we hear the actual melody that will carry us the rest of the way.

 

There was a girl in Paris
Whom he sent a letter 2
Hoping she would answer back
Now wasn’t that a foolhardy
Notion on the part of a
Sometimes lonely musician
Acting out a whim is only good
4 a condition of the heart

 

Is this the first time he’s used “whom” in a song? Perhaps the only time? I’m struggling to think of any others. It’s always stood out for me as an unusual turn of phrase. He’s definitely trying to sound fancy, although I think he may actually be using it correctly (grammarians sound off!). But who’s the girl? It seems clear that Prince is referring to himself as the “sometimes lonely musician” but who is he writing to? Loneliness is a fairly common theme in through a lot of Prince’s music. It highlights the emotional isolation that can come from the level of fame that he had achieved in his career at this point. Lonely but not alone. And only “sometimes.” So there must be times when he isn’t lonely. When he’s with his lover perhaps? I love the way that he pauses in the middle of “foolhardy.” He clearly knows that he was a fool for sending this girl a letter but he sent it anyway, even though he had a fair idea that she wouldn’t respond to his “whim.” A whim that only works to give him a “condition of the heart”.

 

There was a dame from London
Who insisted that he love her
Then left him 4 a real prince
From Arabia, now isn’t that
A shame that sometimes money
Buys U everything and nothing
Love, it only seems 2 buy a
Terminal condition of the heart

 

Could we be talking about an actual “Dame” in this verse? I would imagine there would be a fair few of them in London. This one seems to be quite the force of nature. It’s not that he fell for her; she actually forced him into it. Dame or not, it would seem that this girl has a thing for princes; with a preference for the rich Arabian kind over the musical Minnesotan kind. Just how much of this song is autobiographical? The “real prince” reference implies that he’s the “not real prince.” He may have money now after his Purple Rain pay day, but that’s all a façade really. His name is as far as his “prince-ness” goes. He reinforces the idea by saying that “sometimes money buys U everything and nothing.” To me this is one of the best pieces of wordsmithing in all of Prince’s catalogue. So much meaning is conveyed in just seven words that you could write an entire book analysing their meaning. But I’ll just say that this line cuts deep and speaks to the reason why this album was released the way it was. Off the back of his Purple Rain success and the massive pay day that this brought, he still had the awareness to see that the extra money and fame wouldn’t automatically lead to him finding love or continuing to be a creative artist. Our narrator realises that money won’t buy love (but it can help with the search). Money can purchase most tangible things in life but if you are looking for something more emotional or philosophical it isn’t always that helpful and can even be a detriment to your cause.

But what of love? Our narrator is now onto the second course of his trans-continental love story; first Paris and now London. And according to him love, it seems, is deadly. His “condition of the heart” is akin to a broken heart. A condition bought by love. Love is a disease. An affliction. A cancer. A detriment to a happy life. Although it seems in this verse that it is lost love that is the culprit. To love and to lose, this is the terminal condition. But what happens when you love and you win?

 

Thinking about U driving me crazy
My friends all say it’s just a phase, but ooh-ooh
Every day is a yellow day
I’m blinded by the daisies in your yard

 

Our singer goes from telling a story in the third person in the verses to making his confession in the first person in the choruses. He’s talking directly to the object of his affection (and the audience) trying to convince her (and us) that his love is real. Not some school boy crush. This is not a lost love. Not a whim. This is in the here and now, hence the first person narrative. The earlier stories were all history.  But what exactly does he mean by “yellow day?” Is this a good thing? Like a happy yellow face on a button you pin to your backpack. Or is it supposed to symbolize the dark side of the colour yellow – cowardice and betrayal. Given the obvious juxtaposition of the historical and negative verses with the more positive choruses I would hazard a guess that Prince’s “yellow day” is a happy, bright, sun-shiny day. He’s in love and she drives him crazy. He’s blinded by his love.

 

There was a woman from the ghetto
Who made funny faces just like
Clara Bow, how was I 2 know
That she would wear the same
Cologne as U and giggle the same
Giggle that U do?
Whenever I would act a fool, the fool
With a condition of the heart

 

Clara Bow – what a deep cut. Clara was an actress and super star of the silent movie era who personified “the Roaring Twenties and is described as its leading sex symbol.”[3] Referred to as the “flapper-par-excellence’ or “the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of sex, who always gets her man,”[4] she became known as the “It Girl” after starring in the movie It. A role which helped solidify her super stardom.  I find it interesting that Prince chose to reference a silent movie sex symbol. The original “It Girl.” But what is “It” I hear you ask? Well the novella upon which the movie was based was written by Elinor Glyn and she describes it thus:

‘It’ is that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force. With “It” you win all men if you are a woman – and all women if you are a man. “It” can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.[5]

Now whether intended or not, this sounds like Prince referencing himself. He was the “It” guy of his era. Pop star, movie star, sex symbol. He was “It.” He’s also been known to make the odd funny face or two. Could Prince’s “woman from the ghetto” be a masked reference to himself? Notice how in the earlier verses he mentions the cities of Paris and London specifically but here he uses the more general term “ghetto.” Could that mean New York or Chicago or Minneapolis (or any other major city in the world)? Clara was from Brooklyn which, to my admittedly limited understanding, is occasionally referred to as a “ghetto.” And if you’ve ever seen Clara on film you’ll know what the funny face reference was all about. Without a word (silent movies are a bitch that way) she could get across exactly what she was meaning and you’d know it. But Prince doesn’t just compare her to Clara Bow. He also compares the “ghetto” woman’s giggle and her scent to the object of his affection; his beautiful butterfly.

A butterfly that wears cologne apparently, not perfume. Even though perfume would fit the lyric, it seems an odd choice to use the word cologne. If memory serves he’s used the word “cologne” a few times over the years when referring to a woman’s scent. This seems odd when the general convention is that women wear perfume and men wear cologne. However, it turns out that terms “cologne (or eau de cologne)” and “perfume” have more technical definitions and aren’t necessarily gender specific. It turns out that “cologne” is composed of only about 2-4% of perfume oils in alcohol and water lasting for about 2 hours when applied. Whereas “perfume” is up around 20-30% and can last up to 24 hours.

I’ve read that Prince used to smell like lavender so it seems he did wear some sort of “cologne.” And he likely did “giggle” from time to time as well. We know he had a sense of humour. If this verse is actually about Prince himself then it seems he is trying to show his love that they have these things in common at least (cologne and giggling). That they have similar tastes and enjoy the same type of humour; they can laugh at the same things and shop in the same stores. Alternatively, if this about another woman then he’s making the comparison between the new girl and the old girl. She was almost like you, he’s saying, but not quite.  The butterfly has flown from Paris to London and to the ghetto but he doesn’t settle until he finds her. His one and only.

 

Thinking about U driving me crazy
My friends all say it’s just a phase, but ooh-ooh
Every single day is a yellow day
I’m blinded by the daisies in your yard

 

Back to the first person narrative – this is what’s happening now. His history may have brought him here, which is why it is important enough to spend three verses on. But the chorus is what is happening now. The bright yellow day full of happiness and joy. Even the daises are so happy they’re blinding. The daisy is known for being the fifth most popular flower in the world because the bloom comes in a variety of different colors and is appropriate for a number of occasions. In addition to loyalty and love, the daisy symbolizes innocence, cheerfulness and purity. A cheerful bouquet of the flowers is often gifted to brighten the day of someone who is ill.[6] And Prince is ill. He has a condition of the heart. But he’s blinded by her loyalty and love and innocence so his condition is not such a bad thing.

 

There was a girl (There was a girl in Paris)
Whom he sent a letter to… (Whom he sent a letter 2)
(Hoping she would answer back)
She never answered back and now (wasn’t that a foolhardy)
He’s got a condition of the heart. (notion …)

 

In the last line he drops all pretense and uses his natural speaking voice. In the movie of this song, this is where our hero looks straight at the camera and admits to us, his love and himself that this is the real deal. This is the real me telling it straight. I’ve got a condition of the heart and I’m in love. Everything that came before is merely prologue to this moment. The way the verses take a roll call of our protagonist’s past paramours is reminiscent of “5 Women” in that the catalogue of lovers is used as a counterpoint to the one true love that’s driving him crazy. Where in “5 Women” his true love has left him, here his love is still around. They may not be a couple just yet but she is definitely in his heart. The song starts to fade out and the last thing we hear is the faint sound of that drum from the start of the song (turn up your volume if you can’t hear it); only now the rhythm has slowed. Acknowledging that our butterfly has found his mate and his panicked search for love is over. His heart beats with a calmness and assurance that only comes to those know love.

 

Is this another song about Susannah? It seems like it’s about the right time for them to be courting or starting to anyway. Maybe she was just coming into his radar. The references to “real prince” and “sometimes lonely musician” practically confirm that Prince is singing about himself or at least inserting himself into this tale and being the only musician on this track means that there’s little chance of anyone else’s point of view coming into play. Whether or not the rest is a fictional story doesn’t really diminish the impact of the song. Yes, a lot of this song is about describing lost love but the whole point is that those stories are all history now. Because life isn’t about dwelling on the past. Because love is about being in the here and now. Because beauty.

 

 

Running time: 6:46

 

References:

 

Around The World In A Day (released 1985)

Purple Rain (released 1984)

Old Friends For Sale (released 1999)

The Peach & Black Podcast

Wikipedia

Prince Vault

AZ Lyrics

Prince in Print

Prince.org

Youtube

Reference.com

Gilda’s Blue Book of the Screen.

[1] Thanks Tombstoneshoes!

[2] https://thisisnotmusicthisisatrip.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/temptation-around-the-world-in-a-day-1985/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Bow

[4] http://www.gildasattic.com/clarabow.html

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4MOQSRC_bM you can read the quote on the title card of the movie.

[6] https://www.reference.com/home-garden/meaning-behind-daisy-flowers-a4fc2a05779a6a6b

“Temptation” – Around the World in a Day (1985)

This is the last (ninth) track on the Around the World in a Day album, by Prince and the Revolution. It was Prince’s seventh album and was released on 22 April 1985 by Warner Brothers. Purple Rain was released on 25 June 1984. For those not so mathematically inclined, that’s about 10 months between albums. Less than a year after the biggest album/movie/thing of his career. There was no single released prior to Around the World in a Day to help promote the album and no tour after. At the time, it appeared that he was going down the Beatles’ route of becoming a “studio-only artist”. Even the cover of this album was compared to the Beatles (Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band), as was some of the music. Does that make Susannah his Yoko Ono? The other big change was the massive increase in the number of players on the album. There were about 20 musicians working on this album (as opposed to 9 on Purple Rain), some were added to the Revolution and for some this is their only Princely appearance. The expansion of “The Revolution” also seemed to show that he was trying to move beyond them being just a touring back-up band and it’s likely that this was the catalyst for their eventual demise. As the older members of the band saw themselves “replaced” with fresh blood they started to become disgruntled and Prince disbanded the Revolution just before Sign O’ The Times came out. ‘Cause ain’t nobody got time for that. Wendy and Lisa have since confirmed that with the added Revolutionaires, Prince’s focus switched – It felt more like he had used up all he needed from us and he was going on to something else.”[1]

Even before Purple Rain came out he was recording songs for the next album. “Temptation” was recorded in the spring of 1984, before Purple Rain’s release, and most of Around the World in a Day was recorded before the Purple Rain tour started. “Temptation” was recorded at Capitol Records in L.A. (you may have heard of it, it’s in Los Angeles)[2] which is not on the usual list of studio locations for Prince but David Leonard, the engineer, was working there so Muhammad went to the mountain. The Purple Rain tour started on 4 November 1984 and concluded on 7 April 1985. Around the World in a Day was released on 22 April 1985. Two weeks after the end of the tour. During the Purple Rain tour Prince announced that the tour would be his last. Some of the songs from Around the World in a Day got a run during that tour (even snippets of “Temptation”) but the next Prince tour wasn’t until August 1986 with Parade. That’s the next tour after he was going to stop touring (if changing your mind earned you skill points then Prince would be a level 9000 paladin). If you have any doubts about the type of musician/artist/performer Prince might have been, consider the schedule that would have been in place from 1984 to 1985 in order to make all the above happen.

Around the World in a Day is an odd member of the Prince discography. The follow up from the massive hit album (and movie) that came before it and widely touted as a failure. Still, it went double platinum in the USA (back when that meant something). There was no leading single before it came out and “Raspberry Beret” wasn’t released until three weeks after the album was out. It’s almost as though he deliberately went out of his way to sabotage the marketing of this album. Or at the very least subvert the perceived “industry best practice” on hit making. “I sorta had an f-you attitude, meaning that I was making something for myself and my fans.”[3] This album and its delivery is a statement to his fans, the industry and the world that his art is going to take precedence over any demands from the money men. The music that opens this album is probably the biggest departure from “Prince music” that he’s made up to this point in his career, with the middle eastern sounds that start “Around the World in a Day” and the opening lyric of the album is “Open your heart, open your mind”. A plea for his fans to come on this trip (around the world – get it?) with him to Paisley Park – “I was trying to say something about looking inside oneself to find perfection. Perfection is in everyone. Nobody’s perfect, but they can be. We may never reach that, but it’s better to strive than not.”[4]

On the opposite end of the record is the album closer, “Temptation”. Rocking blues guitar, piano noodling galore and Eddie M. on the saxophone. A twisted wet dream of a song that’s full of sexual innuendo and moralistic retribution. Like Captain said on the Peach and Black podcast this song is “Prince being Prince.” Part serious, part sexual, part tongue in cheek (and in a few other places). It starts with an ejaculatory guitar solo intro. Then in comes the drum machine shuffling along making a sound similar to “Little Red Corvette” (to my ears anyway). That drum shuffle sound plays along unchanged all through this song (even in the second half) giving it an underlying drive and relentlessness, and tying the two parts of the song together. More drum sounds are layered over the “little red shuffle” until the sax pops in and there’s the bass in there too, swinging along. Essentially, the first part of this song (the wet dream part) sounds like a blues with some swing on it. The guitar sounds kind of “off” through most of it. As though it represents Prince not being able to contain himself. The guitar solo is the peak that leads into him just screaming the chorus as he finally climaxes. Then in the second half of the song (post-climax) the music slows and the piano takes over from the guitar – the two don’t interact. If the guitar represents his libido then the piano is his conscience (and never the twain shall meet). After the first half of the song climaxes he starts thinking “clearly” now that he’s physically spent (“It’s ’cause you ain’t got the baby batter on the brain anymore!”) and is starting to feel guilty about the potential spiritual harm he’s doing to himself and others. Where the first half was a rock/blues sound the second half is more jazzy and avant-garde. The sax punctuates the monologue and goes off on unhinged tangents that speak to the decline into chaos that our hero is experiencing in his sexy hell dream and the conflict in his mind. Even the piano work is kind of flighty and almost stream of consciousness.

 

 

Sex
Temptation
Lust

Each word is ejaculated by the guitar at the end of each riff. The guitar in this song is an extension of Prince’s “manhood” (penis, penis, penis). Every weird note and bent string. Every out of tempo run. Every off key riff. And every time he nails it. It’s Prince struggling with (or reveling in) his desire.

 

Pop go mama

Pop go Prince! Or Susannah. Probably Susannah.

Everybody on this earth has got a vice
And mine, little darlin’, mine is the opposite of ice
Mine is the running hot water of the daughter of morality
In other words, this little prince thinks a lot about U, see?
Baby, baby, baby
I’m guilty in the first degree

Even before the morality play that is the outro of this song, Prince is confirming that his attitude and feelings are criminal (sinner!). Daughters usually disobey their parents when Prince is around and this daughter’s “water” is running straight towards her “little prince” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Running hot water is the metaphor for female orgasm/ejaculation, so what our little Prince is saying is that his vice is not his own pleasure but the pleasure of his woman. His crime/sin is bringing women to orgasm (the shame of it all!). The use of the words “guilty” and “think” here echoes the idea that he later develops into “Electric Chair”. The idea of sexual thought crime and pre-emptive punishment. He deserves to be punished for what he’s thinking. Someone needs a spanking. It’s strange that even though Prince writes a lot of songs about sex and sexuality, and appears to be free and open about it, he still treats it as a “sin” or slightly transgressive in a lot of his lyrics. And when he writes about it (like in this song) he’s being naughty. It’s as though he understands that sex is a good thing and nothing to be feared or ashamed of but somehow his Christianity (or the culture he finds himself surrounded by) won’t allow him to get beyond what he perceives as the sinful nature of what he’s singing about.  It says something about the perverse nature of the culture at the time, and Prince’s place in it, where he was attacked for being too graphic and sexual, yet when he writes about sexuality he’s writing with essentially the same attitude as his critics. The bottom line is, sex outside of marriage is wicked and sinful and the devil will get you if you don’t do it for “the right reasons”. He may be cutting edge at this point of his career but deep down he’s still a prude.

 

Temptation
Working my body with a hot flash of animal lust
Temptation
All my fingers in the pool go splash we must

Interestingly he refers to it as “animal” lust; implying that humans should somehow be (or act like) non-animals. And that by giving in to his animalistic urges, he’s being sinful and less than human. It implies that we, as humans, are somehow not animals. But his body is all animal and his animal fingers (no thumbs) go splash. Go splash in a pool. A pool of temptation. He’s going to make you cum so much that your vagina will become a pool for his fingers to splash around in. That would make an interesting game of Marco Polo indeed.

 

Everybody in this room
Everybody in this room has got an urge
What’s yours, baby?
Mine is temptation, it reigns at a party where lovers splurge
Pop go mama when daddy gets a little 2 much
You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout?
Purplelectricity whenever our bodies touch
Ooh baby, I love it when our bodies touch

The lady that he’s singing to (probably Susannah) may well be starting to feel overwhelmed by this point. He keeps asking her questions but he never gives her a chance to respond. He’s too busy letting her know all about what he wants to do, see and touch. Pop goes Susannah when Prince gets a little too horny and “tempted” by her femaleness (so a win for Susannah!). You know what he’s talking about right? It’s that purplelectricity baby. Interestingly, there is another other reference to “purple” in the lyrics of this album is in “Around the World in a Day”. He opens and closes the album with purple, so to speak. As much as Prince would like to claim (and did at the time) that this album was a departure from his Purple Past™, there are references to Purple Rain all over this album if you look hard enough. It’s not so much a clean break from what came before as it is a dirty continuation.


Temptation
Working my body with a hot flash of animal lust
Temptation
All my fingers in the pool go splash we must

Temptation, temptation, temptation

Here starts an excellent guitar solo.


Wait a minute now

The guitar solo builds to a climax with Prince moaning and groaning and making all sorts of sexing type sounds.


Temptation
Working my body with a hot flash of animal lust
Temptation
All my fingers in the pool go splash we must

The way he screams the first half of this chorus makes it barely recognisable as words let alone the specific ones written above. This is where Prince and his guitar (little prince) come to climax. His temptation has been satiated.


Temptation
Working my body, working my body, working my body

Here is where the guitar drops out completely but the “little red shuffle” continues to motor along to remind you that this story is not quite over and there’s something more to be said. The rest of the lyrics are spoken word.

 

Temptation
I’m not talkin’ about just ordinary temptation, people. I’m talking
About the kind of temptation that’ll make U do things.
Oh, oh, temptation.
Oh, darling, I can almost taste the wetness between your…
Temptation, temptation
I’m not talking about any ol’ kind of temptation, people, I’m talkin’
About, I’m talkin’ about… sexual temptation.
A lover
I need a lover, a lover, I need a…right now.
U, I want U.
I want U in the worst way.
I want U.

I’m not too sure what “ordinary temptation” is – maybe it’s chocolate related? But I think that even ordinary temptation would make you do things, like eat chocolate. I think, however, that Prince is more interested in eating something else. Something a little moister. So moist you can virtually taste the moistness between the saxophone solos. Now we get to the topic at hand (finally!). The whole song, or so it would seem, is about “sexual temptation”. Who woulda guessed it? Notice that he kind of breaks the fourth wall here during the monologue and stops talking to his lady friend in a couple of the lines and directs the message specifically to us, the listener. His “people”. The line “want U in the worst way” is an echo of a line from the song “Girl” (recorded in 1982) the b-side to the “America” single. Wanting someone sexually is just the worst way to want someone, ever. Even worse than wanting to cut off their head and wear their skin as a coat. Again, this attitude highlights Prince’s conservative morals despite his sexual gratuitousness. Sex is “bad” and “sinful” but he’ll still sing about it all day long.

 

“Oh, silly man, that’s not how it works.
You have 2 want her 4 the right reasons.”

I do!

“U don’t, now die!”

No! No!

Let me go, let me go.

Initially I assumed that the deeper voice speaking to Prince was supposed to represent god. But I no longer think that’s right. First of all, I don’t think that an omnipotent, loving god would refer to him (or anyone) as “silly man”. It seems like such language would be beneath a deity of such stature. God’s more likely to use a phrase like “my son” or “my child” or something less harsh. Second, an all loving deity wouldn’t “kill” anyone. And lastly, Prince being the christian that he is wouldn’t be screaming “let me go” to god. He’d be screaming “take me away!” I think the voice represents something else. A demon, satan, the saint of killers or some part of Prince’s own psyche teaching him a lesson. Strangely enough, the demon does sound like he has some empathy in his voice, especially on the “right reasons” line, so maybe it is some part of Prince talking to himself. The lines in the monologue aren’t printed on the album sleeve like the “song” part is. The lyrics printed inside the album end with a quote “Temptation is useless love is more important than sex”. Love is the “right reason”.

I’m sorry.
I’ll be good.
This time I promise,
Love is more important than sex.
Now I understand.
I have 2 go now.
I don’t know when I’ll return.
Good-bye

Human beings can feel love and you can argue that some of the other animals in the world can feel love or something equivalent. So if we choose love over sex, then sexual reproduction would eventually cease which would lead to a universe without anyone left to feel the most important thing in the universe – love. They’re both important but without sex, there’s no-one left to feel any love. So sex (even loveless sex) must be just as important as love (if not more so). If only so that love has a chance of remaining in existence. He promises this time to exalt one over the other (maybe the last time wasn’t a promise – pinky swear!). So he’s tried to be good before but this time is different because now he’s got Susannah. He’s stopped touring. He’s looking to settle down. John and Yoko are about to get serious.

Prince recorded most of “Temptation” before Purple Rain came out and Eddie M. put down the sax parts later, but the closing monologue wasn’t recorded until 24 December 1984. Eight weeks into the Purple Rain tour. While on the road for Purple Rain he tires of touring and decides that he doesn’t want to tour anymore. Or like the Beatles, thinks that he couldn’t do justice to what was recorded in the studio anymore. So after the decision is made he finishes off a concert at the Saint Paul Civic Arena and goes back to his mobile recording studio and records the “outro” monologue over the tracks that he (and Eddie) had already put down. As a final goodbye to his fams. The final recording session for Around the World in a Day. No more tours. “I have 2 go now. I don’t know when I’ll return. Good-bye”.

The Peach and Black team hypothesised that the original track order on this album was “Temptation” and then “The Ladder”. Which makes sense if you want to end your album on an inspirational high. Putting “Temptation” as the final track only makes sense in light of the closing monologue and Prince’s “goodbye”, which is a late addition. I can see how the original ending to “Temptation” might have just been an awesome extended instrumental outro (not unheard of in Prince’s catalogue). Just Prince and Eddie M. having fun for three and a half minutes. Finishing the album in the way he did, it becomes clear that Prince is sending a message to his fans – you won’t see me for a while because I’m going to choose love and settle down with Susannah. His love for her is more important than all the backstage Betty’s. His lover takes precedence over his urges.

 

 

 

Running time: 8:18

 

References:

Around the World in a Day (released 1985)

Purple Rain (released 1984)

Batman (released 1989)

The Peach & Black Podcast

Wikipedia

Prince Vault

AZ Lyrics

Out.com

Prince In Print

Overthinkingit.com

 

[1] http://www.out.com/entertainment/2009/04/16/revolution-will-be-harmonized

[2] Ripping off Matthew Wrather again – www.overthinkingit.com

[3] http://princetext.tripod.com/i_mojo85.html

[4] http://princetext.tripod.com/i_stone85.html