On Episode 69 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, writer Zachary Hoskins (princesongs.org) joins me to discuss the “too patriotic for the left and too critical for the right” track, “America,” from Prince’s 7th album, Around the World In a Day. Why doesn’t Jimmy pledge allegiance? Let’s discuss.
“Nothing made Jimmy proud. Now Jimmy lives on a mushroom cloud.”
Prince’s own psychedelic take on Jimi Hendrix’s iconic “Star-Spangled Banner” kicks off Side B with a funky yet political bang. According to my podcast co-host, “America” joins “Ronnie, Talk to Russia,” and “Free” as a cold-war triptych, and he’s got a very valid point. All three songs express a pinch of patriotism along with a dash of nuclear war fears to create what can be described as Prince’s response to Ronald Reagan’s first presidential term. It’s a very midwestern ideology (both sides have a point) and neither far left or far right seemed to have the answers to why the world kept getting scarier and scarier.
Capitalism? Bad. Communism? Also bad. Neither of these specific ideologies has lived up to their promises, but Prince’s take on the whys is wholly flawed but fascinating. In 1984-85 Prince-World, freedom, love, joy, and peace (as well as sexuality) were all we ever needed.
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!