62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
If 1999 was a warmup for Prince's stardom, it hit him like a bolt of purple lightning from the heavens, followed by an earthshattering thunderclap, for Purple Rain was Prince's supreme moment. And Prince introduced a sound that incorporated a snarling guitar that owed a nod to Jimi Hendrix.
The organ and Prince's monolgue heralds "Let's Go Crazy", then comes the drum machine and that snarling guitar. The song goes into full drive here and like "1999", is a song that brings life to any party. The fiery guitar solo at the end is well worth the song. There's a stab against psychiatrists who prescribe pills to their patients instead of real solutions. "Instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind."
The lush string-oriented "Take Me With U" is a mid-paced duet between Prince and his Purple Rain co-star Apollonia. Her vocals are really prominent when the two sing "I don't care if we spend the night at your mansion" and the other four verses of the bridge, as well when they repeat the title line toward the end of the song. Unless one has a copy of Apollonia 6 and her solo album, this is the closest one'll have of hearing her.
"The Beautiful Ones" about how the most beautiful women aren't necessarily the happiest, starts out as a slow ballad in Prince's falsetto, before he raises the power adrenaline several notches when screaming out "Do you want him, or do you want me, 'cause I want you." Matt Fink's piano- and later organ-sounding synthesizers provide a lush backing to this wonder. It comes to a quiet close, with only Fink's and Bobby Z's drums. Mariah Carey covers this on her Butterfly album to no avail.
"Computer Blue" starts out with a suggestive conversation between Wendy and Lisa. "Wendy?" "Yes Lisa?" "Is the water warm enough?" "Yes Lisa." "Shall we begin?" "Yes, Lisa." What actually takes place is a hard-pounding track featuring the lyrics at first, then fiery guitarwork throughout, climaxing in Prince's falsetto screams. Bobby Z's percussion provides a strong backbeat throughout. Love this one!
The grinding "Darling Nikki" has its notoriety about the title character and her house of eroticism, and is also the song that inflamed Tipper Gore. And yes, it has another killer guitar solo and passionate Prince screams. I wonder, are the last lyrics of that song the ones played backward at the end?
"When Doves Cry", which zoomed up to #1 to the charts in six weeks, punctuated by the percussion and keyboards, is yet further proof of premier songwriting and sound.
"I Would Die 4 U" which has a rippling fuzzy sound throughout, seems to be about God: "I'm not a human/I'm a dove/I am your conscious/I am love." Then again, it might be Prince, as he's for love and peace. It segues into "Baby I'm A Star", which rivals "Let's Go Crazy" in energy level. It's simultaneously a declaratory statement by Prince to his audience of what he is and an assertion by the common person that an engaging personality will make him shoot to the stars.
The apocalyptic title track is one of the loveliest compositions Prince has done. To hear it in anything other than its full 8:45 is sacrilege. The lyrics come in up to 3:45, the song then becomes a thundering symphonic rock instrumental with a fusion of guitar, cello, violin, and viola. For the last minute and three-quarters, the strings carry it through to its conclusion.
Every song on this album is so entwined together in Prince's unifying theme and sound that it's sometimes jarring to hear any of these songs on anywhere else but this album. Anyone wanting to know why Prince made the impact he did should get this album, which is the first ever piece of music I bought sung by one artist. A personal favourite and all-time classic.
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I was in seventh grade the year Purple Rain came out. It was a time of making out with girls, riding my bike around the neighborhood after dark, hanging out with my best friends in our clubhouse, and just generally trying to gain more freedom from my parents. But the one thing that really stands out about this formative year is how much my friends and I utterly loved Purple Rain and its accompanying soundtrack. Stretching an extension chord from the garage to our clubhouse, my friends and I would watch the movie and listen to the soundtrack just about every Friday night for that summer. While probably somewhat of a bizarre thing to admit now, it was truly a great time which I'll never forget.
As it stands today, the Purple Rain Soundtrack is still one of the best albums I've ever heard. The nostalgic qualities it possesses after just a few notes into "Let's Go Crazy" are very powerful to me and remind me of those days camping out in the backyard on weekends. And I could even care less if Prince ever made another album after Purple Rain. It's the one! Sign of the Times was a fair effort, granted, and his first couple albums have charming appeal, but everything after Sign of the Times just missed the boat or ventured too far into insipid R&B territory.
So what exactly is it that makes Purple Rain so much more enjoyable than the rest of his catalog? What makes it the indisputable stand-out? For me, I think it has a lot to do with the Revolution's sound. They had a huge influence on the aesthetic of Prince's early albums, particularly from the input of Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman (a/k/a Wendy & Lisa). Furthermore the production and instruments used by this group of musicians were less polished than what you'd hear from Prince today. And therein lies the primary reason for his decline over time.
The moment "Let's Go Crazy" opens with its funeral-esque keyboards and Prince's dialogue about life, there's a certain prevailing darkness. It remains until the ending moments of "Purple Rain," which I'll get to in a moment. And even though this is a pop record by design, there isn't the sugary sweet coating typically associated with this sort of music.
"Computer Blue" is another Purple Rain highlight. With a solo from Prince and an unobtrusive rhythm section, we get to hear the intricacies of his guitar skills. The song leads directly into the infamous "Darling Nikki." It's usually a favorite among the female crowd, but I find it to be one of the best due to the screeching vocals that have become synonymous with Prince. "When Doves Cry" is self-explanatory. "I Would Die 4 U" shows the same keyboard flair Prince possessed when writing the music for Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back." It glides along effortlessly and stands as one of the best tracks to grace this 40-minute experience.
Ending with Prince's most recognized song, "Purple Rain," I can't help but declare this one of the most perfect pop songs ever recorded. It's been played to death and just about everyone knows it, but that doesn't mean a thing to me. I'm talking about a song that should never be mentioned without words like iconic, transcendent, or epic attached to it. It also happens to be a gripping part of the film, in which Prince dedicates its lyrics to his father who has just committed suicide. Very few songs have since matched its beauty or timelessness.
Ultimately, I'd admit that it's inconsequential to review an album like the Purple Rain Soundtrack. It had such a huge impact on '80s culture and is still one of the most highly respected soundtracks in the history of our generation. It doesn't need press and it certainly doesn't need justification from me, but it's certainly worthy of celebration from time to time. And really, that's all I'm here to do. Well, that and maybe to relive my past a bit.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life". My personal handbook I use to get through life, is this album. Clocking in at a ballsy 45 minutes, the album takes you--whether you're ready for the ride or not--on a journey of unprecedented scale. Prince holds no punches musically or lyrically on this tour de France of an album. Head bashing riffs, toe tapp'n beats, and tear jerking melodies collide here in a musical harmonic convergence. Simply put: you can go no wrong with Purple Rain. Now go, shower in its glory.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Prince took the style that he had created on 1999 and polished it to perfection making Purple Rain the masterpiece that it is. This album is a display of all of Prince's talents from his vocal pyrotechnics to his musical versitility. Prince is at his peak here in creating melodies that complement his outlandish lyrics perfectly. "Let's Go Crazy" begins like a sermon with Prince doing a little preaching behind a raging organ only to kick into a full blown rocker that never lets up. "The Beautiful One" is about a man confused and broken hearted because his lover is with someone else and he can feel the ominous end. This song is set to a slow pulsating groove culminating in a plea of passion. "DO YOU WANT HIM OR DO YOU WANT ME." "Darling Nikki" is a little tale about a woman in heat who can't get enough set to a seductive beat and melody. It's a wild and sexy ride that lingers in the mind long after its over. Some other highlights include "When Doves Cry", which was Prince's first number 1 hit,"I Would Die 4 U",the furious funked out "Baby I'm A Star",and the title song which features guitar playing that is passionate and inspired. Anyone who tells you that the 80's was a worthless decade for music should pick up a copy of Purple Rain and become enlightened. This is timeless stuff.Get it. To quote the Purple one... "We're not going to let the elevator break us down oh no lets go!"
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although I've always felt that 1999 was Prince's true breakthrough (read cross-over) disc, it's hard to argue wth this masterpiece. Prince took it to another level with this one. Wherein on his previous albums he pretty much stuck with R&B/Soul with a punk attitude, with Purple Rain he took rock by the horns and breathe new life in it. As usual, let's look at it song by song. Let'Go Crazy: A flatout, head banging rocker that became an anthem for the most part of the 80's. Besides Sign O' The Times, it is the best album opener in Princes great career.Though the album version is great, if you can dig it up somewhere, the 12 single version is even better. We hear some of the 12 inch version in the movie. All in all, it's a classic. Take Me With You: Only prince can rock us out and then take us to a pop wonderworld without skipping a beat......and we like it! Prince is helped out in the vocals by a cooing Appolonia. Which actually sounds perfect for the popish groove of this song. It's one of my favorite songs on the disc. The Beautiful Ones: This love triangle song is most notable for it's ending. It's filled with primal screams of anguish by Prince. The last where he states "I want you, yes I do". The music, a synth drum beat coupled with a cymbal fade away. It's a heart breaking song that should be played very loudly unless you have very thin walls. The neighbors may think you're killing someone! Computer Blue: This is a turning point for the album and I'll tell you why in a second. It's starts with a very lezbo exchange between Wendy and Lisa about the water being warm enough? Very sexy! That fades into what is the heart of the song where Prince is asking us "Where is my love life?" There can't be more than a minute of lyrics before we move on to another stage of the song that is solely instrumental, mainly guitar. And a great guitar solo at that! This finally ends with prince again screaming at the top of his lungs to end the song. But as the last notes fade into the next song, you can hear what can only be describe as a whooping, howling scream by Prince. So why is this a turning point for the album? This album is from a movie of the same name. When people bought it they of course would associate each song with a scene or moment from the movie. This song separates the album as a unique work apart from the movie. This album could stand alone even if a movie about it never existed. AND, the album is much, much, MUCH deeper than the movie could ever think of being. This album is about pent up sexual, and personal frustration. Prince fights his own demons on a daily basis. Like Marvin Gaye, his demons are dealing with sex and still loving and serving God. Prince took it a step further by really beliveing that when we make love, that is when we are the closest we'll ever get to God here on Earth. The screams amd howls of excrusiating pain at the end of Computer Blue brings this to the forefont on this album. Darling Nikki: Another very important song on the disc. On the surface "Nikki" just seems to be a funny song about a very horny girl of the same name. By the end of the song though, after more painful screams, the song fades into what sounds like a rain storm coupled with very weird backward singing. On the original album (and unfortunately you'll never be able to hear this from a CD) you could play it backwards. He sings praises and hallelujah to God and his plans for us. Now what a crazy way to end the most perverted song on the album! Again, it's the God and sex connection. And it's pure Prince. When Doves Cry: What can I say about this song? It is one of the songs I picked as the 5 greatest of the 80's and it is one of the best songs ever! Why? Really listen to it. It is the first song that solely uses percussion instruments for most of the song. The only melody is the lead vocal. Even at the begining of each chorus, those weird notes are played on a steel drum. A percussion instrument. Not until the end does the guitar come in. Why is this so important? Rock and pop songs up until then were built around an instrument that could actually play a tune! Although R&B and soul definitely put more emphasis on the rythym section, this song took it to the extreme. Couple such an arrangement with some very oriental sounding keyboards and harmonies and you get the timeless classic that is When Doves Cry. I Would Die For You: A jittery classic. This is a fast moving song that on the surface just sounds like it's about undying love for someone. It's about far more than just that. Listen to the lyrics. In the context of the movie it is just about the relationship between two people. In the more layered context of the album, Prince is speaking to us as God/Jesus Himself! Think of the lyrics, "I'm not a woman, I'm not a man. I am something that you'll never understand". Later on he even says "I'm your Messiah". The real tell tale lyric is said close to the end in the "rapid rap" part as I like to call it that starts off "You're Just a sinner I am told. Be your fire when you're cold..." Couple all of this with an infectiuos melody and rythym and you have a classic. Please, go back and REALLY listen to this song. You will appreciate more. Baby I'm A Star: Prince saw his own future when he wrote this one. Yes you are a star my friend. The song itself is just pure hard rockin' R&B/rock, and a joy to hear. In the movie this was the last song, which was fitting the way the movie played out. On the album it's followed by....Purple Rain: One of the original "wave your cigarette lighter to the rythym" songs and maybe still the best. It's a bonafide rock 'n roll anthem. Prince does one of his best guitar solos in this one too. This is also another example of how the album is superior to the movie. On the album, after the main part of the song is done, Prince ends it with a very weird and mornful string violin coda that goes on for about 2 or so minutes. It helps the album stay consistant with the frustration felt throughout it. Had it ended with happy go lucky "Star" it would have made it a completely different album. The only album that has a closing song to compare to this one is Sign O' The Times' Adore. Although I feel "Sign" is Princes best effort, Purple Rain was a journey I'm glad I didn't miss. Thank you Prince for showering us, no DRENCHING us in your purple reign.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2003
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have 5 cd's, I would be hard pressed not to include this one in the group. I believe this is the definitive work of Prince and truly represents that magical time in the 80's where music came alive for the first time via MTV !! Really good music creates a feeling that transcends words....you simply want to share it with others and let them enjoy it with you. Purple Rain does that for me (and I'm sure for many of you). Prince is a master "Ar'Teest".....killer guitar licks, haunting keyboards and lyrics....whoa....this guy taps into a place "we all know" but few can put into words !! Love, sex, relationships, defeat, redemption.....Purple Rain touches it all. Its life captured on a glitsy set we can all see in our minds....and our hands all go up in the air...swaying back and forth...mezmerized !! And let's not forget THE REVOLUTION...his best backing band ever....it all just clicked !! Songs like "Beautiful Ones", "Doves Fly", "Die 4 U", "Nikki" and of course "Purple Rain"....are all indelible marks on the fabric of America....That's great music !!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
So here we have it. One of those dread mid-'80s mega-smashes. But what if I told you that this particular mid-'80s mega-smash was one of the best albums ever? Would you believe me? Because it's true. It's such a great record that even the typical '80s pop tune with Messianic lyrics ("I Would Die 4 U") works spectacularly well, and is one of the album's very best songs.
On a whole, though, this isn't your average pop album, and it's pleasantly refreshing that this album became as big of a hit as it did. Prince does all kinds of weird stuff here, and two of the weirder cuts (bup-ba-da-daaa!) topped the charts. One of them is "When Doves Cry," probably Prince's signature song, for a good reason. Ever tried to think of a dance track without the bass? And with prominent heavy guitar? Prince not only makes it work, it's a fantastic experience. And the synthesizer line the song is based on, which would've been dumb in anyone else's hands, is just about my favorite part of the song! Oh, and you can dance to it. You don't ever want to see ME dance to it, but it's possible. And "Let's Go Crazy's" fusion of heavy metal, rockabilly, and funk would probably be considered audacious even today. It's a very odd fusion of genres, but it succeeds as well.
And those are just the two #1's. This one's a REAL wild ride. "Darling Nikki" (Tipper Gore's favorite song of all time), with its strip-club-on-acid rhythm and crazed, carnivalesque synths, is at least as freaky as its infamous lyrics would suggest. "Take Me With U" is a fun, psychedelic pop song with a slight edge in its intro. "Computer Blue" is a real head-trip, starting with a dirty bit of dialog before launching into a bizarre but captivating jam with memorable guitar and synthesizer solos. There's a brief vocal bit, but most of it's focused on the jamming. Not like I'm about to complain. And "Baby I'm a Star" sounds like a crazy person's version of a dance song. Prince pulls out all the stops there, throwing as many weird production details in as possible - guitars, synthesizers, and backing vocals fly in and out, creating an insane but enjoyable whirlwind of a song.
And then there are those two power ballads. Power ballads get a bad name these days, and if you ask me, they're generally wretched. But Prince... he's made a career out of breaking rules. The nine-minute title track is Prince's best song ever. It's a brilliant build-up from a vocal-and-drums intro to a roaring guitar solo that breaks into an intense coda. Then there's the soothing, string-laden ending, closing off the album on a fine note. "The Beautiful Ones" isn't quite as famous, but it's equally stellar. Prince turns in the vocal of a lifetime here, ranging from a romantic croon to a bedroom monologue, then breaking into the most intense fervor possible. It's impossible to describe. Let's just say he lets loose the "BABY BABY BABY!" to end all "BABY BABY BABY's!"
This is a brilliant record. It breaks genre barriers, flies in the face of sexual taboos, moons conventions, and is a collection of flawlessly performed, creative, wonderfully melodic songs on top of that. I've heard almost all of Prince's albums, but this is just about my favorite.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The weird backwards-sounding ending to "Darling Nikki" with the rain and chanting vocals is actually another "song"!
If you play this part backwards (which I did back in the 80's on my dad's turntable - remember those?), it says:
"Hello. How are you? I'm fine, fine, 'cuz I know that the Lord is coming soon. Coming again soon."
These words are sung to a very strange tune in an erie, almost unsettling harmony of voices. Haunting and unforgettable!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Prince is an artist who polarizes most music fans. To some, he is an unparalleled genius and even his apparent mis-steps are merely "beyond our scope" to understand. Others are confused by his sexuality, vulgarity or general behavior and find it more convenient to dismiss him as a overhyped wierdo. I tend to think of him as a genius who sometimes makes bad music (and I don't toss around the g-word lightly), but it doesn't really matter. Regardless of what you think of Prince personally, I can't imagine that anyone wouldn't recognize the monumental talent required to write and perform the songs on Purple Rain.
Barely a minute into "Let's Go Crazy", the tone is set. This is Rock. This is Funk. This is Pop. This is something else entirely. This is music with the cockiness and strut of an artist who is in full command of his considerable skills and knows it. What follows is a journey that is more vibrant and dramatic than the movie that bears the same name. Prince is demonstrating that he is beholden to no convention, but doesn't throw that fact in our faces. When he makes a decision on this album, there is no ulterior motive to show off or be controversial. His only purpose is to advance the "musical narrative". The level with which he succeeds can only be matched, not surpassed.
Many people will point to Sign of the Times or 1999 as Prince's best effort, but neither of these albums boast a collection of songs that cling together so organically, or pulse with so much energy. This is a soundtrack that renders the movie unnecessary. Each new song unfolds like a fresh scene or chapter, evolving out of the previous music. Check out the transitions between "The Beautiful Ones" and "Computer Blue" and "Darling Nikki", or the melding of "I Would Die 4 U" and "Baby I'm a Star". Whether its the squeal of the purple one's gutiar or his voice, the conviction is clear. He has committed fully to his work, and so will you.
Purple Rain is the rare album that is perfect to throw on at party, but also holds up through a pair of headphones with all of your focus on every note. One of the top ten albums of all time.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This CD is utterly flawless from start to finish.
Prince is the the most underappreciated talent in the history of music - period. With the term "musical genius" being thrown around far too often, this is one man who truly earns that distinction. Any other musician would kill to have just an ounce of the talent that this man possesses. His influence, guitar skills (to name just one instrument), and creativity are rivaled by very few (if any). In addition, he remains - some 20 years later - the greatest live performer on the face of the earth. He earned a (well-deserved) induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in the first year he was eligible.
Rant over... now on to the review:
1. Let's Go Crazy: One of the most brilliant album starters ever heard. Mind-blowing guitar solo one of the standouts of the album. Just a great song.
2. Take Me With U: Great synth line and layered vocals. The chorus seems so simple on this one, but it still rings true. Great song for that Valentine mix CD! :)
3. The Beautiful Ones: Heartbreakingly beautiful. Dang, this man can sing! "Do you want him... or do you want me?" "Paint a perfect picture / bring to life a vision in one's mind / the beautiful ones always smash the picture / always... every time." One of his many "non-hits" that is as good as anything you'll hear.
4. Computer Blue: Angry, and testosterone-filled. It's about the sadness of being lonely and wondering if you'll always be that way. About 2 minutes in, it gets happy, before the ultimate anger trip...
5. Darling Nikki: A song about getting used. Nasty and raw -- just like the feelings it expresses. Great rock and roll vocal gymnastics by Prince on this one.
6. When Doves Cry: Perfect.
7. I Would Die 4 U: A song about sacrificing everything for someone you love. Though, as with Let's Go Crazy (and many of his songs), Prince has a religious meaning here as well.
8. Baby I'm A Star: Great song about being confident. He's good, and he knows it. "Might not know it now, baby but I are... I'm a star". Good to play when you're feeling down. And that leads us into...
9. Purple Rain: Oh. My. God. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest songs ever written. It is a song about unconditional love and wishing for someone else the ultimate in happiness. On a personal note, the single greatest concert experience of my life occurred during this song. To see and hear thousands of people of all ages, races, and backgrounds joining hands and singing along to this song while Prince made the most beautiful sounds with a guitar that I have ever heard... well, I'm sorry if you missed it.
Purple Rain is a timeless masterpiece.
And it's not even his best album.