There’s not much adorning this big tall wall but its foundations are dug deep. Real deep. The music may consist of little more than a drumbeat and vocals; the lyrics, especially in their first draft, may be possessive, dark and even psychopathic. But once that hook is in your head it’s there for life. One of the reasons the song never saw the light of day was down to its personal and negative lyrics. They describe a polygamous Prince wanting to build a wall around then-girlfriend Susannah Melvoin so she can’t leave him. A rewrite the following year portrayed a slightly healthier relationship but there’s no altering the main premise of imprisonment – it’s baked in. Isaac Newton once wrote “we build too many walls, and not enough bridges”: a quote Prince may have had in mind when he originally planned for this song to start the Graffiti Bridge album, sitting next but one to the title track. Isolation to connection within the opening triplet. It would have done wonders for The Kid’s character arc but I guess the motivational, sloganeering Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got was more in keeping with the film’s final direction. You may prefer Prince’s high-energy cheerleading, but give me him on his mountaintop every time, banging his drum and plotting against the villagers down below like an angry witch.
190: Big Tall Wall