Alone inside Studio in 1983, Prince is actually Revealed
Prince probably never expected these recordings to be made public. The album feels like eavesdropping, as Prince the songwriter delves into nuances in addition to Prince the pianist cuts loose. He’s exploring in addition to playing around, not constructing taut commercial tracks. Yet the album also turns out to be a compendium, or at least a thumbnail, of Prince’s boundless musicality in addition to of his lifelong themes: romance, solitude, sensuality, salvation, sin, yearning in addition to ecstasy. He shifts musical styles in addition to vocal personae at whim — melancholy, playful, devout, flirtatious — yet the item’s all Prince.
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The album includes familiar songs (a brief excerpt through “Purple Rain”), B-sides (“17 Days,” which was the B-side of the single “When Doves Cry” in its band type), album tracks (“Strange Relationship,” “International Lover”), covers (Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” the gospel standard “Mary Don’t You Weep”), in addition to previously unreleased songs in addition to sketches (“Wednesday,” “Cold Coffee & Cocaine” in addition to “Why the Butterflies.”)
Nearly all of the lyrics are, in some way, about longing. Prince sings about post-breakup loneliness in “17 Days,” offers a slow-motion come-on in “International Lover” in addition to depicts a love-hate seesaw in “Strange Relationship.” He performs “International Lover,” which had already been released on “1999,” as a suspenseful, impulsive constellation of sounds in addition to silences, chords in addition to clusters in addition to single notes answering his falsetto vocal; the lyrics jettison the airplane metaphors of the studio type for single entendres.
Prince plays “Strange Relationship,” which he might rework for eventual Discharge on “Sign ‘o’ the Times” in 1987, as a jazzy rhythm workshop, a two-minute experiment in percussive chords in addition to vocals of which devolve into grunts. He even reshapes “Mary Don’t You Weep” — a spiritual of which, as he must have known, Aretha Franklin turned into a catharsis on her gospel album “Amazing Grace” — through a profession of faith into a bluesy warning of which “Your man ain’t coming home.”