251: Still Would Stand All Time

Graffiti Bridge (1990)
Debate rages on as to whether the unreleased The Grand Progression would have been a better inclusion on Graffiti Bridge. Personally, I don’t see the appeal of this outtake and keep expecting it to break out into The Monkee’s Early Morning Blues and Greens, although more than one person has told me that it’s their favourite Prince song. Still Would Stand All Time replaced The Grand Progression as the slow ballad in both the film and album, possibly because it made more narrative sense but to these ears it’s clearly the better song. The gospel touches (courtesy of the Steeles) are divine but the real power lies in the atmosphere. It feels like a frozen moment; a death-knell beat ringing out. Or possibly it mimics the slowed perception of time and prominent heartbeat of an adrenaline rush: the build-up to a high dive; the elongated pause before a winner’s announcement; an imminent marriage proposal. Then the Debussy flute samples flutter in and your heart swells with emotions you have no name for. I wasn’t always a fan. In my youth, I lumped it together with the title track as mawkish gospel schmaltz but the live aftershow version on the infamous Trojan Horse bootleg won me round – memorable for his admonishment “who’s the fool singing ‘will’? It’s ‘would’!” Now the album track soars in my estimation every time I hear it. By the time you read this, I’m probably wishing I put it amongst the double digits.