“Adore” by Prince (1987)

This is the first 5-star song that’s given me anxiety when it comes to writing about it. Why? Because love’s too weak to define the way I feel about “Adore”. It’s my favorite Prince song ever, the song I want to have the first dance at my imaginary wedding that’ll never happen to, the song I want playing when I have the best sex of my life (and I’m banking on the hopes that the best sex of my life hasn’t happened yet.) It’s basically the most devotional gospel song by an unbridled hedonist ever. Susannah had Prince sprung as fuck.

Everything-EV-UH-REE-THANG about “Adore” is perfect. Prince’s creamy falsetto and the wordless coo he opens the song with, the cacophony of saxophones (sexophones?), “well, maybe not the ride”/”I ain’t fuckin’ just for kicks, no!”, the fact that he calls back “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, his first major hit single (”I wanna be…more than your mother…more than your brother.”) and of course “without you there is NO SEA! THERE IS NO SHORE! Love’s too weak to define how much I adore…you, child.” And the song’s not even over yet! Prince scales his entire range in one line (”Be with me darling till the end of all time”), A choir of angels ends “Adore” and sends it straight to heaven, where it belongs and will live forever.

If you’re unfamiliar with “Adore”, I am very proud to be the person who introduces this work of pure genius to you.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS (BUT WORTHY OF MENTION)

“About A Girl (Unplugged)” by Nirvana (1994): MTV Unplugged In New York is my favorite Nirvana album. Breaking Kurt’s songs down to their acoustic elements highlights what a masterful lyricist and melodist he was. “About A Girl” sets his cracked, frayed howl to a gentle strum that’s worthy of The Beatles.

“Across The Universe” by David Bowie (1974): Speaking of The Beatles, The Thin White Duke outdid the original with his slightly funked up take on “Across The Universe”. Coming from The Beatles, “Universe” sounds childlike. In Bowie’s hands, “Universe” sounds defiant, otherworldly, like a statement of purpose. That bass absolutely stomps! It’s worth mentioning, however, that “Across The Universe” appears to be one of those songs that’s virtually impossible to mess up. Rufus Wainwright (who I otherwise have no time for) and Fiona Apple (who I have all the time in the world for) have each made excellent versions.

 

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