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Re:Collection #001: Around The World in a Day - Prince

There's this meme / thing that keeps doing the rounds on Facebook where people get "challenged" to post a picture of the cover image from 1 album a day for 10 days - usually with the comment "No explanations, no order, no reviews, just album covers."

I don't get it. I mean, OK it's a thing to do, but surely the interesting thing IS the comment, the explanation. Maybe not the review - not everyone should be doing that - but why you chose it, what it means... sometimes even who the hell it's by as that's not always obvious either.

I am a great admirer of album artwork of course - it's a bit of a lost art in the digital streaming age. When I was first collecting music (because we were pretty much all collectors) it was a joy to be able to hold the 12" square in your hands and give it some scrutiny. But come on - we bought it and kept it because of the the vinyl / cassette / CD etc inside didn't we? You can't dance to a poster!

Anyway, it reminded me I'd been meaning to do some writing about the music I love, and as no one has asked me to participate in the 10 album thing anyway I have made up my own rules. With some optimism and ambition I have titled this series with a number, and in a format that indicates room for up to 999 entries. Do I have a enough love for 1,000 albums, or will be I bothered enough to do that many...only time will tell.

So - with explanation, comment and maybe even a chart ordering system at some point - here we go!

Around the World in a Day (1985)

“Seems that I was busy doing something close to nothing, but different than the day before”

In 1985 I was in my final year of school and what would also turn out to be my family's final year in Edinburgh before moving to Worcester so in many ways I remember this time as either the start or the end of an era. My first recollections of hearing anything by Prince would be on a tiny radio I used to carry around with me on my paper round, almost certainly listening to Radio 1, and the track would definitely have been When Doves Cry. It's hard to remember how quickly that track, the Purple Rain movie; and the resurfacing of older material like 1999 and Little Red Corvette cemented "The Purple One" as a firm favourite among my music loving mates.

Around the World in a Day is not my favourite Prince album (that would be Parade) and it doesn't include my favourite single (Cream) but it is one that has always been fondly remembered even if seldom played. I started listening to it again this week, for no real reason other than it came to my mind - although coincidentally this week marks the 4 year anniversary of Prince's death. I have also been in regular conversation with my artist friend Baron Goodlove, who I recall surprising me with a cover of She is Always in My Hair, the B-Side from Paisley Park (the first UK single from the album). B-Sides aren't always great but I always liked that one, so maybe some strange firing of the connective synapses brought the album back to my mind.

One of the surprising things about revisiting older albums like this is how short they are. This clocks in at just 9 tracks spread over 42 minutes, and the last two tracks account for almost a third of the total running time. The album is a bit nuts really, although not without it's great parts. Raspberry Beret is probably the most commercial single taken from the album, although personally I have a soft spot for Paisley Park and Pop Life. Track 3 Condition of the Heart sounds a bit like a trial run for Sometimes it Snows in April from Parade and The Ladder is maybe trying a bit too hard to be Purple Rain II. But the most terrifically bonkers is final track Temptation which includes the following splendid spoken vocal interlude between God (presumably) and Prince

"I'm not talking about any ol' kind of temptation, people, I'm talkin' about,
I'm talkin' about, sexual temptation A lover I need a lover, a lover, I need a, right now You, I want you I want you in the worst way I want you Oh, silly man, that's not how it works You have to want her for the right reasons
I do! "You don't, now die!"

Additional Prince notes:

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World was the only UK number one single by Prince as a performing artist
Prince had two other UK number ones as writer:  Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor) and I Feel For You (Chaka Khan)

Other high chart positions:
Batdance from the Tim Burton Batman movie hit number 2 in 1989
The Double AA 1999 / Little Red Corvette (re-released in the wake of the success of Purple Rain) also reached number 2 and has charted a number of times since making this his most successful UK single release.

Like this? Listen to Superbird

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