498: We March

The Gold Experience (1995)
Partyups grown up, holding down a job and now wants to fight for social justice instead of the right to party – and it starts superbly. Shimmering, celestial murmurs and a power chord beamed straight in from Saturn kick it off. Mayte quotes the 3 musketeers en Espanol and Prince punctuates with “We March” vocal stabs. But then the beat kicks in and it’s weaksauce. More Samantha Mumba than Selma. It would sound at home in any generic 90’s pop fluff and reminds me of the neutered Led Zeppelin break propping up Sophie B Hawkins’ Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover – the sound of John Bonham spinning in his stairwell. The overlaid screams and siren samples fail to mask the balsawood build and the marching samples seem out of place and out of step. An army that’s more Salvation than Seven Nation. He dabbled with this sound before – Frees intro begins with it but has the foresight to fade out before the song starts – yet I can’t help comparing it to other artists’ military backed rhythms. We March would rout at the threatening onslaught of Bjork’s Earth Intruders “grinding skeptics into the soil” or the steadily encroaching, off-stage tattoo of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting (Organon Mix). But this is a song about cohesion rather than threat. Prince may throw in the odd “watch your back” and “we’re kicking’ down the door” but more importantly “All is what we’re marching for”. It’s the sound of the world marching to the beat of just one drum. And in 1995 it is not an all-inclusive drumbeat if you can’t imagine it being used to soundtrack a macrobiotic yogurt advertisement. The man’s a genius.

499: Love Machine

Graffiti Bridge (1990)
A misleading pop ditty with lyrics of pure filth. Elisa Fiorillo fires off bubblegum higher/liar rhyming couplets while a lusty Morris Day swaggers around in the background talking about how he’ll “Drink. U. Til. Dawn.” The Highlight being the conversational Q&A style on the final verse, later used on Love 2 the 9s. Like most Time tracks, Prince’s usual tension between sex and spirituality isn’t at play here – it’s more of a tension between sex and cartoon sex. This machine would never pass the Turing test.

500: Venus de Milo

Parade (1986)
This list’s only purely instrumental track (apologies Madhouse fans) mostly makes the cut by being imbued by the aura of Parade. It’s the cooling zephyr at the end of side 1 after you’ve been pummelled by mind-altering, percussive bad-assery for 18 minutes. A decompression chamber filled with all the notes Miles didn’t play. A respite before you’re plunged straight back into the pulverising, new funk of Mountains on the reverse. It’s hard to keep in your mind – very much like the film it featured in – but when experienced in its album’s habitat it can feel like that scene in Trainspotting when Renton dives into the lavatorial, blue azure.