On Episode 61 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I pore over the biblical lyrics in the strange yet arresting vocal acrobatic exercise that Prince gives us on “God,” the B-side to the massive pop hit, “Purple Rain.” Is Prince sermonizing, teaching Bible Study or finally…finally….giving us a completely naked example of his spirituality without all the metaphors & hidden meanings?
“God made you. God made me too.”
“God,” or as I like to call it, “How to Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Spiritual Side,” is an odd song. I mention this more than once in the podcast episode, and it bears repeating here. A piece that relies heavily on Prince’s vocal acrobatics to the point where it almost sounds like he’s speaking in tongues was the B-side to the enormously popular “Purple Rain” single. A song titled “God.” Wow, that was a ballsy choice, but one that Prince finally felt ready to put out there.
No longer hiding in metaphors or available only to those who attended his Controversy-era concerts (i.e., the inclusion of the unreleased “The Second Coming” as the opening song), this song lays bare Prince’s spirituality in a manner that cannot be mistaken for anything else. While the song’s actual lyrics don’t touch on anything beyond basic creation stories from the Bible and the reiteration that God made all of us equally (racists, take note), it’s still something to behold. I can imagine the look on the faces of “Purple Rain” fans as they flipped the 45 over to side B and heard Prince blooping, blipping, and screeching like a banshee over a sparse piano melody and drum beat.
I also spend a little time in this episode touching on the connections between the line at the end of the song that references the Dance Electric and the song of the same name Prince recorded two days earlier, then ultimately gave to friend and former bandmate Andre Cymone. Who screamed? Was it you? Wait, it was just Prince.
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!