26 February 2008

'Condition Of The Heart'



Suffice it 2 say, in my formative years a good deal of what learned about sex, God, and playing the guitar came from listening to 5'3" man from Minneapolis. And thinking about it have quite a few musical icons that seem to mix the sacred and the carnal.

But that's another discussion 4 another time.


So after the monster hit that was Purple Rain, Prince (pre-symbol-name and with the penultimate appearance of The Revolution) decided 2 go 4 something akin 2 his Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Granted, not so much musically but...erm...spatially. The result was Around The World In A Day, which wasn't the huge success that everyone hoped it would have been in following a 13-million seller. But by no means does that infer that the album is inferior. Quite the contrary--it's got the usual radio-friendly fare (Raspberry Beret), some naughty funk (Tambourine), and some lashings of psychedelia (Paisley Park), all crafted as finely as U would expect a Revolution album 2 be. Every song has a different feel totally, not adhering to one musical style alone or daring 2 repeat itself. And there in the middle of side 1 (yes, still refer 2 'sides' as got this cassette in 9th grade from my friend John Penta) it all comes 2 a satiny halt. ('d say 'screeching halt', but the song isn't very screetchy.) In fact, it barely shows signs of life with the faint piano strokes that start track 3. Welcome 2 Condition Of The Heart.

Placed between the bounce of Paisley Park and the obviously successful Raspberry Beret, Condition Of The Heart is otherworldly. It's nearly 7 minutes of atmosphere, where the vocals don't even start until almost the 3 minute mark. The slow-build of the song brings the anticipation that there will be a huge sonic blast and the up-tempo turn will begin. Well, that never happens. Nope, it maintains a languid pace, chock full o' Prince's overdubbed vocals giving the bulk of the singing an almost gospel feel. Piano crescendos, sparse aquatic-laden synthesizers, and little else. It's beautiful, haunting, and silly. But mostly beautiful. Sometimes this song reminds me of the scene from Creepshow where Ted Danson is buried up to his neck in the sand and the tide is slowly coming in drowning him. Yeah, this song has a definite Danson-slow-drowning-Creepshow vibe 2 it.
But in the most gorgeous of ways.

And of course, any song that name-drops Clara Bow is aces in my book. She's also featured on the cover of the album as she appeared in the film Hoopla.

Mainly picked this song out of the ether because it's supposed to rain sometime today and this is the perfect song 4 a stormy afternoon. Barely lucid, overly maudlin, and playing like a drapery. also have found that it segues well into the Screaming Masterpiece soundtrack, but again that's a story 4 another day.


-N.
26.02.08

Prince - Condition Of The Heart

*ADDENDUM: After posting this noticed that Prince was in the news twice today. First, there was a story about Lindsay Lohan being verboten from Prince's post-Oscar box social. There is a very humorous mathematical analysis why she was banned. Secondly, and speaking of humerus, or rather closer 2 the ilium, the Purple-and-briefly-peach-and-black 1 will be getting hip replacement surgery. Please insert your own joke about visiting Dr. Fink here. Thank U.

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