Episode 52: The Beautiful Ones

On Episode 52 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I welcome Leslie Ballard back to the show to discuss the emotionally intense “The Beautiful Ones” off Prince’s Purple Rain album. We both agree that this particular song is a highlight not only for the album and the film but as one of Prince’s most memorable tracks over his entire career. Is it the lyrics, the music, the performance, or that amazing scream at the end? Probably all of the above, but please check out the episode anyway!

“The beautiful ones always smash the picture. Always, every time.”

Gorgeous. Emotional. Angry. Pleading. Wrecked. Those are just some of the words that one might use to adequately describe the musical journey Prince takes us on in “The Beautiful Ones.” Then again, that collection of words only works when you use them all together, as this song is every one of those words and more.

In this episode, Leslie and I talk about some of the potential lyrical inspirations and those goosebump moments that make it such a memorable composition. The falsetto, something Prince didn’t use much during the Purple Rain era, plus those discordant notes and gorgeous yet straightforward piano melody. The building towards that epic and orgasmic scream. Not bad for what was initially thought to only be a replacement song for “Electric Intercourse.”

This slightly longer version of “The Beautiful Ones” includes additional singing during the breakdown towards the end.
This performance of “The Beautiful Ones” was taken from Prince & the Revolution’s October rehearsal for the Purple Rain tour. Ultimately, the beginning was changed to remove the backward crying used in the movie and replaced with a more spiritual intro.

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!

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