Come – Prince

Prince’s overall fifteenth studio album came when he was right at the height of his battle with Warner Brothers Records. It was originally scheduled for released in 1993 in an effort to partially complete his contract with the label, however they felt it was lacklustre, so he was asked to go back into the studio and perfect it: This was the end result. It was quite a confusing time for the fans and general public, as he’d also just had a huge, worldwide hit with “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World,” issued independently under an unpronounceable symbol, yet the “Come” album was sold under his birth name and it didn’t even feature the song in question. He later explained that the “Come” album was a collection of left-overs and that its release had signified the “spiritual death” of “Prince,” hence the years 1958-1993 that appeared on the front cover under his name. Sadly, this is now a reality. Around the same time, he’d aired a late night TV special called, “The Beautiful Experience,” which was all about music being experienced through a personal computer. Yes, this was all the way back in 1994. Prince was most definitely ahead of his time. All righty then, here is another long-ass review:

Come: “If you’re 18 and over,” whispers Prince after the sounds of rushing waves are heard. “Come here… I got something for your mind.” From there it’s onto arguably the most sex-laced song of his career, running well over 10 minutes and comprising of some of the smoothest jazz arrangements Prince has laid down to tape, as opposed to the thumping dance-orientated version that was featured in “The Beautiful Experience” TV special back in ’94. Clearly he was getting even deeper with lines like: “As long as you wash between your soul and through your hair, the feeling will be there.” It’s typical Prince, then: Sexual and spiritual at the very same time.

Space: BASS. That’s the keyword in this particular ditty, in which Prince uses samples of astronauts in order to illustrate the point of his woman making him feel high. And yes, he sings in that incredibly high falsetto of his: “Where the souls go, do U want 2 go?” He wants to do all kinds of things to her body and when he wakes up from dreaming about them cuddling on the planet Mars, he’s all covered in sex. In the “Universal Love Remix,” he states: “This is the space where the cream flows.” Certainly not a reference to dairy products.

Pheromone: The first song on the album that begins with Prince reciting a rather cryptic poem: “Lie down beneath my shadow… my left hand under your head, while my right embraces time.” Both his voice and the equally cryptic music fade out and then BLAM! It’s onto some killer funk, in which Prince narrates the story of a man tying his woman up and then pulling a gun on her. And he does so in that incredibly high falsetto of his, while in the process muttering: “Pheromone make a n*gga go crazy fuck around make a n*gga wanna die.” Understandably it’s quite a dark sounding song and the listener can most definitely visualise everything that he’s saying, ever so clearly.

Loose: Prince’s first attempt at techno, which, actually includes some food for thought, believe it or not: “Bangin’ gangs, slangin’ wangs and rock won’t get you nothing but an angry cop. Get your education first then buy a pair of shoes.” In other words, don’t get yourself involved in any gangs, don’t try selling drugs, don’t get into prostitution, but most importantly: Get yourself educated. Then you can buy some high-heeled boots like Prince and be sexy. No, seriously he probably meant shoes in general. There’s clearly a lot of rage being expressed here, especially in the chorus: “Push your way up to the front and shake your motherfuckin’ do loose.” He was obviously referring to his hairdo at the time, which he referred to as a typhoon.. and it was humongous.

Papa: Possibly the most autobiographical song on the album, where Prince literally speaks about an over-worked father who “crucified every dandelion out on the yard. Then he screamed at baby twice, for throwing rocks at passing cars.” Prince then goes on to talk about this man smacking his child and locking him up in a closet before pointing a gun into the sky and killing himself. Certainly quite a disturbing song from Prince. He informs us: “Don’t abuse children… or else they turn out like me.” Finally, he loses his cool and breaks out an angry solo his blue cloud guitar while screaming: “Fair 2 partly crazy, deep down we’re all insane…..there’s always a rainbow at the end of every rain.”

Race: More waves rushing and some more poetry from Prince: “Lie down fair one and come away… till the rain is over and gone…” Then the song kicks in, “Give me the beat!” And it’s funky as all get out. Prince is rhythmically speaking, so it’s a little hard to make out exactly what he’s saying in each verse. But he’s obviously talking about racism, or racial intolerance: The main message being, “We’re all bones when we’re dead” and that we all bleed the same. This song was originally recorded in the early ‘90s and it definitely shows. Not to say it’s bad, though. Still one of the best songs on the album, don’t get it twisted!

Dark: Appropriately titled ballad, where Prince is talking about being left alone by an ex-lover who took everything he ever had: “You took my sex and my money. You took all my self esteem….. I never knew a bitch so mean, yessir!” He feels like an innocent man on death row and his falsetto is as usual on point, along with the live instrumentation, especially Michael Bland pounding away on the drums. We all thought he would never re-visit this song after giving up profanity, but he finally performed it live around 2012….. and it was still great… even if he was calling the person who dumped him a witch.

Solo: Certainly not what you would expect from Prince at all, it’s quite a haunting song where his falsetto really soars and he’s accompanied by a harp along with the occasional sample of rumbling thunder. The song was originally intended for a musical and its lyrics were written by David Henry Hwang. It most definitely threw a lot of people off back in 1994 because it was just so different to anything he’d ever done in his career…. it’s practically operatic. But you can tell Prince was quite sad in this song, especially when he concludes it with, “Solo… my name is… no one.”

Let It Go: The first single lifted from the album is about him saying that he wants to leave everything behind that’s troubling him. He’s taking a very thinly veiled dig at Warner Brothers, which wouldn’t necessarily register unless you were reading between the lines: “A horse couldn’t drag your ass 2 put me on. But now I’ve got an army and we’re three million strong, this song will ring in your ears when we are gone.” But that was Prince for you, always speaking in riddles and never straight up. There’s a really great keyboard solo in this tune, which was played by Ricky Peterson, brother of former protege, St Paul Peterson. It’s interesting how this song begins with Prince saying he’s kept his feelings deep inside, yet the song “Space” says he’s never been one to hide his feelings. So, like… which one was it? We don’t know.

 

 

Orgasm: Not really a song as such, just a bunch of samples of the now late Denise Matthews, formerly known as Vanity, letting out a few screams of passion as it were, over the closing guitar riff from the song “Private Joy,” which originally appeared on the “Controversy” album. She’s mysteriously credited as, “she knows” in the liner notes. Prince recites more of his poem throughout this one: “Don’t be shy… it’s only you and I… imagine what you look like from across the room…. you’re almost there… I love you” and then the CD ends.

Verdict: “Come… to what? I don’t understand,” types Marvin Gaye’s daughter, Nona in “The Beautiful Experience” after the title track plays. This album definitely confused a lot of fans at the time, but when you look back on it now, it’s still quite a solid album and because so many of the songs feature live instrumentation, it doesn’t really sound like 1994, unlike a lot of other albums released at the time. And if this album introduces somebody to Prince for the very first time, so be it. At the end of the day, it’s just music, regardless of how explicit it is… which makes you wonder what Tipper Gore would’ve thought of this album if she ever heard it at the time. Despite it being a contract filler at the time, “Come” is still a great album from Prince.