52: 1+1+1 is 3

The Rainbow Children (2001)
If you’re wondering about the title, it describes the ‘theocratic order’ which means any relationship with Prince has to also include God. To recap: the Pharoah is implanting this equation in his lover’s mind during her post-coital snooze, shortly before the Banished Ones (introduced in track 3), surround the palace but get chased off by the Rainbow Children, setting up the destruction of the Digital Garden and allowing the ensuing marriage between the Pharoah and Muse that brings closer the arrival of the Everlasting Now. Are you keeping up? It’s slightly more complex than the last maths equation Prince used as a song title which was basically him tallying up his band members’ breasts. Like the rest of the album though, you don’t need to follow the narrative to enjoy the music and for me 1+1+1 is 3 is not only an album highlight but one of the last great funk tracks he released. It’s up there with that other 4-digit freak-out, 3121 – two songs with studio recordings that light weird fires in my soul, yet have live releases that leave me cold. The One Nite Alone version of 1+1+1 is 3 is missing all the off-kilter elements that make the track special: the sped-up guitar, the manic keys, the harmonica and most importantly the Camille voice. There was only a small amount of it but, like Samson’s hair, once cut all power is lost.