122: America

Around the World in a Day (1985)
The United States of America. Everything is bigger there. The houses. The cars. The waistlines. Her geography encourages you to stretch your legs in the pursuit of happiness; to go forth and multiply from sea to shining sea. Not like here in cramped, post-imperial Little England where we can only build on top of ghosts and history. It stands to reason then that the extended mix of America is huge. 22 minutes huge. It should have been even longer but the tape ran out. Wendy revealed the song came about during a jam session where they were locked in a groove for five hours while Prince sung America the Beautiful over the top and you can see why they didn’t want to wrap it up. The extended mix (technically the original mix as the album version’s the edit) doesn’t wander far from base camp during it’s supersized duration but it’s impossible to tire of its spacious skies and purple mountain majesty. Out of all his releases only The War has a longer runtime. This NPG song from 1998 also mentions pledging allegiance and paints a similar picture of government but here there’s no patriotic veneer to sugar the pill. The War is America shorn of it’s manifest destiny mythology and is a much darker mountain to climb.