263: Do U Lie?

Parade (1986)
About 20 years ago I read a magazine article where musicians described their favourite Prince albums. I still remember this because the dumb shock of hearing Do U Lie? described as “throwaway” seared that remark into my memory. This was the first opinion I encountered of this Gallic singalong – a breezy mood lightener that wouldn’t sound out of place in a whimsical comedy set on a harbour (or evidently set in a nightclub on the French Riviera) – and I couldn’t understand how anybody could have anything other than unremitting love for it. To be fair the guy interviewed used the modifier “kinda throwaway” and only then as a counterpoint to how Parade was as close to a perfect Prince album you could get. But still the word resurfaces cloaked in disbelief whenever I hear the song. The track may be slight – all 2 minutes and 40 seconds of it – but it has an outsized impact on the atmosphere of Prince’s 8th studio album. It’s the only song fully in the French chanson style and how many times have you heard that genre thrown about when Parade‘s been mentioned? The interviewee did say he still enjoyed Do U Lie? and that it made him laugh, and with Prince’s over-the-top vocals you can see why, but the feeling that to at least one person it’s a distraction preventing Parade from attaining pure pop perfection makes me want to burn down the concept of subjectivity and install in its place a golden accordion. Besides Venus de Milo is much more expendable.