Purple Rain and Opinions on Mastodon

purplerain

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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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.

Purple Rain

Purple Rain (Deluxe)

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 BeatlesNorwegian 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.

Once More ‘Round the Sun 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.

Jim

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.

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