On Episode 56 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, Erica Thompson (APurpleDayInDecember.com) and I talk about the various interpretations of one of the more surprisingly complex songs from Purple Rain. “I Would Die 4 U” has fascinating lyrical content (and a pretty damn catchy beat and dance moves) so we try to cover as many angles as we can when discussing what Prince may have been thinking about when writing this song.
“All I really need is to know that you believe.”
Prince, the musical messiah, gives us a lesson in double meanings and multifaceted songwriting on “I Would Die 4 U.” A song that is meant as both a film-narrative driven accompaniment as well as a declaration of Prince’s faith. And a pretty overt one at that, once you’ve opened your third eye (or third ear) to the messages he’s expressing very clearly in the later verses.
My co-host for this episode, Erica Thompson, conducts Bible study to help all of us heathens understand the passages and scriptures that Prince is drawing inspiration from. I think once you listen to the episode and break each line down for yourself like we do here, the religious metaphors (father, son, holy spirit) become crystal clear. I take the straightforward approach to the lyric dissection and attempt to make the song fit into the film’s narrative, Purple Rain, in which it was featured as the second to last song The Revolution plays. There are plenty of direct connections one can make, from lines in “I Would Die 4 U” to plotlines in the film, but there are just as many that do not, and that’s where Erica comes in. I hope you learn as much as I did then recording this episode!
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!