On Episode 102 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, Erica Thompson (APurpleDayInDecember.com) and I dive right into Prince’s most overtly religious album track to date and talk through some of the imagery & nuance that he added to what seems like a pretty straightforward expression of faith. Why did “The Cross” turn into “The Christ” later in his career? We discuss that and more on this standout track from Sign o’ the Times.
“Black day, stormy night. No love, no hope in sight.”
Prince makes a song about Jesus and God, and people pay attention. Why has this song resonated more than some of his more overtly religious songs of the past (e.g., “God,” “The Ladder”)? My theory is that Prince uses the power of music, more specifically, the guitar, to attract listeners to his declaration of faith. “God,” the B-side to “Purple Rain,” was abstract and odd in its delivery. “The Ladder” was gorgeous but also a bit plodding. “The Cross” starts simple and builds and builds and builds until its cathartic release. The live version seen in the Sign o’ the Times film mimicked this build perfectly and gave us the visual experience we only heard on the album.
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!