287: The Sun, the Moon and the Stars

Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999)
A cool, coastal breeze runs through The Sun, the Moon and the Stars, ruffling white-linen shirts and summer loins; the frisson of passion under a Mediterranean night-sky. It was written in Marbella while Prince was on vacation with Mayte, and the atmosphere, like Aphrodite, feels like it could have been created out of sea-foam. Under a veranda of Clare Fischer-composed strings, Prince – tipsy on rosé – goes the route of several hip-hop artists of the era and delivers a ragga-style rap of fake patois. I’m sure this verse will rile many but find me a person who doesn’t melt at his elongated “Montreaaaaaaaal” and I’ll show you a person who’s dead inside. Manuela Testolini excluded of course. The Toronto-born, soon-to-be second wife tried to convince Prince to remove this song from the album. Maybe she didn’t appreciate the cold winters of her birth-country being used as a counterpoint to warm declarations of eternal love. Maybe because it’s one of the album’s few non-breakup songs about his former wife. Maybe she thought the rap was wack. Maybe all three. There are several tracks in the Rave constellation that could have been sacrificed for the greater cause, but the removal of The Sun, the Moon and the Stars would be like Orion without his belt, the Costa Del Sol without the sun, or like a 90s hip-hop album without the obligatory faux-Jamaican rapper.