Episode 53: Computer Blue

On Episode 53 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, Jerry Bonner and I discuss the longer, alternate “Hallway Speech” version of “Computer Blue,” originally released on the Purple Rain soundtrack. Wendy & Lisa set the progressive & experimental tone for the track with their iconic spoken-word opening before Prince & the Revolution take this song to epic highs. What exactly is the message being communicated during the Hallway Speech? We break it all down for you in this episode.

“Where is my love life? Where can it be?”

Prince takes the dance-rock elements of his sound that he’d been perfecting for years, adds some avant-garde art-rock complexities to the mix, and the result is one of the more unique compositions of his entire career. Clearly, “Computer Blue” was a song that Prince valued for the Purple Rain project, considering how long he worked on it before calling it “complete.” Even then, “complete” meant that “Computer Blue” would balloon to over 14 minutes in total length. Ultimately this epic “Hallway Speech” version of the song would be pared down to the final album length, removing all of the additional spoken word section, Wendy & Lisa’s “poor lonely computer” chastising, and the 3+ minutes of psychedelic guitar feedback noise that ends the original track.

Jerry and I tackle all of the additional lyrics that we got on the “Hallway Speech” version released on 2017’s Purple Rain Deluxe reissue. There’s a lot to unpack here, and these lines add a ton of context to the computer metaphors Prince plays with in the song. I don’t want to spoil it here, but listen to the episode if you’re not overly familiar with this longer version and prepare to get your mind blown.

The 14:10 version of “Computer Blue” with different guitar feedback ending than what was heard on the Purple Rain Deluxe edition version.

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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