276: If I Love You Tonight

Unreleased (1979/1987) / Contribution (1991) / Child of the Sun (1995)
Gayle Chapman, Mica Paris and Mayte have all fronted this song, yet once again it’s the Prince-sung demo that shines brightest. That’s not a slight on anybody’s performance, but the production on both the released Mica and Mayte recordings has dated poorly, while the Gayle-sung original, as with everything else Prince recorded as part of his new-wave Rebels project, is little more than a quirky curio. His 1987 remake sounds effortless though – a sign of the times of Prince at his peak – and is under-polished to perfection. I’m writing this on Midsummer’s Day, the hottest one in this country for 40 years, and the muggy weather fits this languid song perfectly. A cloud of still emotion is held aloft on gentle gusts of warm bass. The air-con is non-existent, the atmosphere is thick and oppressive, I’m a meat puddle in a heap of clothes, but with this on my headphones all is well with the universe. Never mind staying “’til the morning light” – I’m not leaving this room until the swelling Sun swallows the Earth or until the repeat button breaks. Whichever comes first.