Each month I will share some brief, personal thoughts on one of my favorite Prince songs.
Released on Arista Records in 1999, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic was supposed to be Prince's "comeback" album. Unfortunately, it failed to make an impact in the mainstream music industry. He and label head Clive Davis reportedly hoped the first--and only--single, "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold," would appeal to women and teenage girls. I was in the latter group and I actually remember seeing the video on BET or MTV, so the marketing was on point. During that time, I knew some of Prince's classic music and respected his talent, but I was not engaged. I thought the song was interesting, but his look was odd to me. I remember noticing his eye shadow and thinking, "I don't really understand this aesthetic," but in junior high-level language, of course. I was fully into the boy bands and young, R&B groups of the day. Other than his attempts to design "The Greatest Romance" to fit into that sound (to a point), Prince was an outlier for me. Frankly, I thought he was weird and a little scary. It's funny; I see some of this thinking in my teenage niece's perception of Prince today. Just a few years later, I would watch Purple Rain and then listen to The Rainbow Children and become a superfan. Now, I actually love the song and the video. He and his co-star are absolutely gorgeous. It is my favorite track on Rave, which is my least favorite album in his discography. It's sexy, slick and has an intriguing, Arabic-influenced melodic line. The lyrics are poetic. I also like how much he is feeling the beat in the video and in the Rave Un2 the Year 2000 concert film. Is it his strongest song? No. But I love how Prince can't help but make quirky musical choices even when he's attempting to make a conventional product.
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