256: God is Alive

Unreleased (1988)
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche may have given us the phrase ‘God is dead’, coined in a parable about the drying up of spiritual meaning and designed to cause shockwaves to ripple through a sleeping populace bereft of guidance. But a century later Prince returns serve with a powerful volley of sample-heavy gospel pop, with a guitar line that rends the air like a peal from a bell tower, or a muezzin from a minaret, waking the town and telling us very much that God is Alive. Your move Freddy! And if you don’t believe an 80’s song can be as shocking as the suggestion of deicide in the 19th century, then watch Mavis Staples’ face on the BBC Omnibus documentary Prince of Paisley Park, when she relives the moment she heard the opening lyric was “God is coming like a dog in heat” (later changed to the infinitely less provocative “news is coming…”)