Purple Rain and Opinions on Mastodon

Jim and Greg look back at the classic Prince album Purple Rain on its 30th anniversary. They talk to Prince collaborators "Wendy & Lisa" about the album's avant-garde pop sound and suggestive lyrics. Later they review a new album by the metal band Mastodon.

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Music News

In music news this week, a lot of people are talking about Dolly Parton's performance at the recent Glastonbury Music Festival in England. She was celebrated onstage for her sales over 100 million, and this quintessentially American singer drew Glastonbury's biggest TV audience for the BBC. But, a lot of folks are saying that was an entirely canned performance (not that there's anything fake about her).

Jim is amused by another news item. Phil Collins will be donating his collection of Alamo related artifacts — one so vast it's considered the world's largest such private collection. He told the AP, "Some people would buy Ferraris, some people would buy houses…I bought old bits of metal and old bits of paper."

Finally, Jim and Greg remember soul singer, songwriter, session player and poet Bobby Womack. Greg writes in-depth about the musician here and here. And to honor him, Jim and Greg play a recent song produced noteworthy fan Damon Albarn.

classic album dissectionPurple Rain (Deluxe)Purple Rain available on iTunes

Prince Purple Rain

Believe it or not, Prince's blockbuster album Purple Rain turns 30-years-old this month. To mark the occasion, Jim and Greg give Purple Rain the Classic Album Dissection treatment. They talk to former Revolution members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman about their relationship with Prince and the making of the album. Wendy & Lisa are now a musical duo, and also score music for TV shows like Heroes and Nurse Jackie, which won them an Emmy Award in 2010. But back in 1984, they were part of Prince's first major recording and performing team — Wendy on guitar and Lisa on keyboards. As Jim and Greg explain, it was unique for Prince to be collaborate on this level. The auteur even shared songwriting credits with The Revolution. Jim and Greg also credit Wendy and Lisa with opening Prince up to new music and new sounds.

To cap off their dissection, Jim and Greg talk about two specific songs from Purple Rain. Jim plays "Darling Nikki," one of the only songs on the album written solely by Prince. It was targeted by Tipper Gore and the PMRC for its suggestive lyrics, but Jim sees it as a love/lust story similar to The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." Greg choses "When Doves Cry." With no bass line, multiple guitar parts and a multi-tracked voice, it's a perfect example of Prince's modern and avant-garde side.

reviewOnce More 'Round the SunOnce More 'Round the Sun available on iTunes

Mastodon Once More 'Round the Sun

At the peak of its popularity, the Atlanta metal band Mastodon has just released its sixth album Once More 'Round the Sun. The band is favored by hardcore and mainstream fans alike, with its melding of influences including progressive rock, classic rock and classic metal. Jim thinks the success streak continues with Once More 'Round the Sun because the hooks and riffs are prominent and irresistible. He gives the album a Buy It rating. While still a Mastodon fan, Greg, wonders if the band has watered down its approach in order to read a mass audience. He likes the Once More, but misses the inventiveness and cohesiveness of the previous 5 albums. Greg says Try It.



“Her Head's Revolving”The Three O'Clock

During his most recent adventure on the desert island, Jim took comfort in a Paisley Underground classic called "Her Head's Revolving" by a band that truly exemplifies the genre. The Three O'Clock* came up in Los Angeles at the start of the 1980's alongside similar sounding groups such as The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red and The Bangles. The band's mix of 1960's psychedelic harmonies and 1980's pop flavor produced a new distinct twist on a classic sound. Lead vocalist Michael Quercio dubbed it“Paisley Underground,”a tribute to the“far out”decade. And none other than Prince took notice.

Featured Songs

  1. Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street, Across 110th Street, Charly Records, 1972
  2. Bobby Womack, Love is Gonna Lift You Up, Love is Gonna Lift You Up, XL, 2012
  3. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  4. Prince and the Revolution, Let's Go Crazy, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  5. Prince and the Revolution, Take Me With U, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  6. Prince, Head, Dirty Mind, Warner Bros., 1980
  7. Prince, Controversy, Controversy, Warner Bros., 1981
  8. Prince, Soft and Wet, For You, Rhino/Warner Bros., 1978
  9. Prince and the Revolution, The Beautiful Ones, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  10. Prince and the Revolution, I Would Die 4 U, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  11. Prince and the Revolution, Darling Nikki, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  12. Prince and the Revolution,“Let's Go Crazy (Live at First Avenue),”Unreleased, Warner Bros. 1983
  13. Prince and the Revolution, Computer Blue, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  14. Prince and the Revolution, Baby I'm a Star, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  15. Prince and the Revolution, Darling Nikki, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  16. Prince and the Revolution, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  17. Mastodon, Once More 'Round the Sun, Once More 'Round the Sun, Reprise/Warner Bros., 2014
  18. Mastodon, Tread Lightly, Once More 'Round the Sun, Reprise/Warner Bros., 2014
  19. The Three O'Clock, Her Head's Revolving, Arrive Without Traveling, I.R.S. Records, 1985
  20. Tyrone Tyree, Ring-A-Ding, Ring-A-Ding, Tyree Ti, 2007
  21. Lana Del Ray, Shades of Cool, Ultraviolence, Interscope, 2014
  22. Bobby Bare Jr., Don't Wanna Know, Undefeated, Bloodshot, 2014
  23. Stephanie Loveless, Blessing & A Curse, Steffie Sings for Her Sex Change, Stephanie Loveless, 2006
  24. St. Vincent, Prince Johnny, Prince Johnny, LomaVista Recordings/Universal, 2014


telegraph.co.uk Dolly at Glastonbury ap.org Phil Collins remembers The Alamo bbc.com Greg Kot remembers Bobby Womack nme.com Damon Albarn remembers Bobby Womack prince.org Prince wikipedia.org The Revolution wendyandlisa.com Wendy & Lisa vulture.com Parents Music Resource Center mastodonrocks.com Mastodon chicagotribune.com Greg's Mastodon Review allmusic.com The Three O'Clock youtube.com Her Head's Revolving soundopinions.org Steve Wynn on Sound Opinions