95: Dark

Come (1994)
I am writing this four days before the winter solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year. It’s Monday, I have a head full of cold and I’m commuting into work. The conditions then are perfect to unleash Dark on my earphones. Yes, it’s another of Prince’s hurty slow jams and lyrically if I Hate U is the anger stage of grief then Dark is the depression, but the luscious backing vocals and full band performance are like hot lemon drink to my ears. Thematically it’s Ain’t No Sunshine and like the Bill Withers classic you can feel the pain and loneliness in the words but also the warmth in the music. In the interlude, where Prince sings about sunshine and dark clouds, the key change lifts the mood like shafts of sunlight piercing an overcast sky. We may be in the depths of Winter (and Dark was recorded on the second day of January) but there’s sunny days ahead. Unfortunately, I’m so enraptured I forget to stop the album before it progresses to the next track – the maudlin wallow-fest Solo. Spring has now never seemed further away.