Hello readers, and welcome to my blog!
For my first post, I was assigned to write about a song that I didn’t like at first, but grew on me the more I listened. Now I’ve heard multiple songs in my life that I started out hating but eventually learned to like them. James Blunt, OneRepublic, even some rap, believe it or not. But one song that I really started to love the more I listened is Purple Rain by Prince.
When I was younger, my mom and stepdad would always have 70s and 80s classics playing in the house. Now I would always jam along to Def Leppard and Aerosmith, but the couple times I heard Purple Rain I just didn’t care for it.
This past summer, I met a good friend of mine, and he just happened to be a major music junkie just like me. He was into all the same music (I mean really, what other 20 year old is going to sing John Waite with me?) and so music was most of what we talked about. We were talking about Prince one day and I mentioned how I didn’t care for him all that much. He told me Purple Rain was his favorite and that I needed to listen to it, but like I do every time someone tells me I should look up a song, I blew it off. “I will!” Not.
One night right before I started my first semester of college, I was driving over to his house to hang out and when I drive, I always have to have music playing. So I got in my car and put my phone on the aux cord and pressed the shuffle button for all 800-something songs in my library. The second or third song that played made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up with the first chord struck. The progression gave me chills and when he started singing, I immediately turned it all the way up and tuned in entirely. I didn’t even recognize it! I’m sitting here thinking “What is this song and why have I never heard it??” Then I hear “I only want to see you laughing in the purple rain” and thought “ohhhh….” I got to his house about four minutes into the song and literally sat in the driveway for four more minutes listening to the rest of it. To this day, it is the only eight minute song I will listen to all the way through.
So why do I love Purple Rain so much? First, the progression. The chords are pretty basic. It’s the order that makes the progression so beautiful. Instead of playing a I V vi IV or vi IV I V that is heard pretty regularly in most modern songs (Taylor Swift is a great example of this), the progression is actually a I vi V IV pattern. Sounds difficult, but overall, not a hard song to play and is still stunning.
Second, THE VOCALS. If you’re planning on ever writing out the melody line for the vocals of Purple Rain, step one is don’t even attempt it, there is no set rhythm or pitch in the majority of the song, which makes it all the more emotional to me. This is definitely a hard song to match vocally, but if anything, I think it just makes the song even more powerful. Not to mention his falsetto run at the end. I WISH I could sing as high as Prince.
Third, lyrics. If anybody has ever lost someone close, they can probably relate. Now to me, this song doesn’t sound like it’s about death, but maybe losing touch with someone that once meant the world to them.
And last, just a random fact about Purple Rain that really sends it over the edge for me, Purple Rain was never recorded by Prince in a studio. That eight minute long song you can find on iTunes was recorded live. At some points, especially near the end, you can even hear feedback and the audience clapping and cheering. Cool, huh?
I couldn’t find a YouTube recording of the version I’ve been raving about, so I attached a cover that at least shows off the vocals and progression a bit. However, my favorite version can be found on iTunes on the album “The Very Best of Prince.” I encourage you all to listen if you haven’t heard it before and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks for reading!