On Episode 50 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I’m joined by Christy Norman from The Mountains & the Sea and Killer Fun podcasts to decipher our interpretations of Prince-isms such as “purple banana”, “de-elevator”, and “Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright” which can be found on “Let’s Go Crazy,” the opening track of the world dominating album, Purple Rain.
“Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?”
“Ladies and gentlemen, The Revolution!” “Let’s Go Crazy” was featured as both the opening track for the Purple Rain album and film; therefore, this song is even more synonymous with the movie than the first single released from the album, “When Doves Cry.” It’s a-rockin’ and raucous musical journey that starts with an iconic Princely sermon. “Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” At this point, even non-Prince fans that grew up in the ’80s can cite where these lines came from.
If you didn’t know what this song’s hidden or alternate meanings were, the sermon with backing church organ should give you a clue. Prince codes the lyrics that, on the surface, seem to serve as a reminder that we should take time out of our busy and sometimes tricky existence to chase after whatever makes us happy. Look for the “purple banana” in our lives, so to speak.
Upon further scrutiny and inspection, through the use of the handy Prince Decoder Ring, Christy and I dissect the meaning behind lines like “And if de-elevator tries to bring you down. Go crazy. Punch a higher floor.” In the context of the song that implores us to find that higher calling in life, “de-elevator” makes sense as a metaphor for satan/hell, while “punching a higher floor” implies that ascending to heaven by accepting God is the proper way to “go crazy.” Put the pills, thrills, and daffodils away.
What Prince created with “Let’s Go Crazy” was an entertaining and exciting way to write a fun, danceable, rowdy guitar and synth track. No matter where you’re coming from in life, this song can be both a party track and a deeply meaningful spiritual one. At this point in his career, Prince was still somewhat concerned about incorporating overt religious messages in his lyrics to fear alienating fans and radio programmers, so what we get is one of the most complex, lyrically and musically, #1 singles of his career.
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 along with any guest I may have
- If submitted, discuss listener’s interpretations of each song’s lyrics
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Prince’s catalog!