405: Goodbye

Crystal Ball (1998)
By coincidence or design there’s several titular pairings in Prince’s back catalogue. Come and Go. Time and Space. Now and The Future. The War and Peace. Solo and 2gether (or High if you’re going with the intended phonetic meaning). This Crystal Ball closing ballad follows 1985’s Hello but couldn’t sound more different. It’s an Emancipation off-cut, being replaced by The Holy River, and yet its luscious Fischer-arranged strings qualify it as one of the better tracks from that period. I guess the parting sentiment wasn’t in particular keeping with the newly-married, dewey-eyed vibe. Prince once described his song Vavoom as rock’n’roll dipped in cream and if that’s the case then Goodbye‘s vocals are cream dipped in cream. Compare them to his dry, throaty scream on the same disc’s Get Loose and I challenge you to find a sharper vocal contrast on any other release. It’s this contrast that elevates the song to classic ballad status whereas on Emancipation it would have blended far too easily into the background. A porcelain swan amongst plastic geese. The beat is minimal and basic, acting as mere scaffolding for the swooping strings and stirring vocals, with only the electronic finger snaps adding flavour. To reference another pairing, it’s neither music to Get On Up or Get Off to, but instead is a comforting salve when your heart’s been put through the wringer.