On Episode 14 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I talk about “With You,” a ballad that Jill Jones covered on her 1987 solo album.
“I guess my eyes can only see as far as you.”
Prince channels his Quiet Storm influences to create a soft, gentle ballad that leads off side B of his self-titled second album. “With You” is a track that would fit right in as a slow dance song performed at a prom or other school dance in a way that the more erotically charged “When We’re Dancing Close and Slow” could never be.
This song is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it is noteworthy for being recorded in early 1979 during recording sessions with Pepé Willie and André Cymone (assumed). The idea is that this song would be recorded by the vocal group, Little Anthony and the Imperials, but wasn’t to be. Like other songs Prince wrote with another in mind (e.g., “Kiss”), he reclaimed it and re-recorded it for his second album.
“With You” is also notable as having been recorded by Jill Jones, as a cover, for her eponymous debut album released in 1987. It was a rare feat for a Prince protege to record a song previously released by Prince on an album produced and arranged by Prince and released on Prince’s record label (Paisley Park). Has there been another example of this?
Despite my protests in the episode that “With You” is basic, traditional sounding, and borderline treacly, I appreciate its musicality and the nod towards the R&B traditions. Prince sings of the rush he feels holding the hand of the one he loves and the feeling he gets when she’s in his arms. It’s a perfect song to express devotional love between two that can attest to the lasting powers of true love.
However, he also says later in the song that “we’ve come so far, in so little time,” that one can interpret that the relationship isn’t all that old. It may be that it just feels like it’s old to Prince because of his youth. It’s also possible that to him, this one feels different.
Prince’s insecurities rear their head again, even in a song that seems on the surface to be about a deeply seeded love that isn’t one-sided. No worries, Prince. That confidence in how much she loves him must be earned, not taken for granted.
The goal of each episode of Press Rewind is to:
- Take a track by track look at the lyrical content of Prince’s discography
- Discuss my own interpretation of each song’s lyrics
- If submitted, discuss listener’s interpretations of each song’s lyrics
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Prince’s catalog!