Thursday, 16 May 2019

Prince And The Revolution ‎– Parade (1986)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Paisley Park

Tracklist:
A1.   Christopher Tracy's Parade
A2.   New Position
A3.   I Wonder U
A4.   Under The Cherry Moon
A5.   Girls & Boys
A6.   Life Can Be So Nice
A7.   Venus De Milo
B1.   Mountains
B2.   Do U Lie?
B3.   Kiss
B4.   Anotherloverholenyohead
B5.   Sometimes It Snows In April

Credits: Backing Vocals – Susannah
Producer, Composed By, Arranged By, Performer – Prince And The Revolution


Whereas 1984’s Purple Rain had seen Prince merge the on-screen and on-record perfectly, remaining a classic to this day, Parade can’t quite claim to be as essential. Again a soundtrack to one of the Purple One’s excursions into cinema, it supports the movie Under the Cherry Moon – a flop which cleaned up at 1987’s Golden Raspberry Awards. The album, though, is significantly better than the messy flick, which featured Kristin Scott Thomas in one of her most forgettable roles. 
Peaking at four in the UK albums chart, Parade is Prince at the peak of his 80s pomp, with The Revolution layering on healthy amounts of funky synths, electric licks and honking horns. This was the last album Prince recorded with said backing group – the first to officially feature them was Purple Rain – but if there was any unrest in the ranks it doesn’t come through here. Many a listener will be familiar with the set’s lead single, Kiss – but the track almost missed the cut entirely, having originally been passed by Prince to The Revolution offshoot outfit Mazarati. Brown Mark and company reworked what was an acoustic demo into a minimalist funk masterpiece; and Prince, on hearing the results, couldn’t resist taking it back for himself. The rest is, so the saying goes, history: top 10s across the globe (and a rash of number ones), a Grammy in the bag and inclusion on every greatest-singles-ever list published since. 
Parade produced three further singles in 1986, although not one of them repeated the success of Kiss. Mountains broke the stateside top 30, wasting nary a second of its 10-minute 12" edit as trumpets romp across the mix (it accompanies the credits to Under the Cherry Moon); but the following Anotherloverholenyohead failed to impact upon any pop countdown, presumably because record store workers couldn’t find the absurd title on their stock list when it was asked for. Girls & Boys, a UK-only release, reached 11, but its pastiche-bordering funk stylings were rather more rudimentary compared to the stripped-back beauty of Kiss. 
Representing Prince’s first use of a full orchestra, and set to a narrative that makes for a very coherent listening experience, Parade does point the way towards the ambition of the man’s next long-play set, the peerless Sign o’ the Times. Here, though, it’s more often a case of nearly-but-not-quite than catalogue must-have. A forerunner to a masterpiece, then, and worthy of digging out. Just be sure to leave the film buried in the past.
Mike Diver / BBC Review

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