“Forever In My Life” is one of the most nakedly emotional songs Prince ever wrote or performed. It’s an unabashed ode to commitment with Susannah Melvin, who was his fiancee at the time.
“I never ‘magined that love would rain on me/And make me wanna settle down”
It sure sounds like Prince was about to turn in his playa card. And while it’s not uncommon for a cad to pledge devotion while meaning something entirely different, “Forever In My Life” feels sincere. To my ears, it sounds like a hymn; more gospel than Sign ‘o the Times’ actual gospel song (“The Cross”). Prince’s own shadow vocals on this song (supporting his lead and allegedly the result of a fortuitous tape-delay accident), remind me of the rejoinders I heard at church services a few times growing up.
The nakedly emotional feel also applies to “Forever In My Life”‘s instrumentation-if you can call it that. Prince was certainly no stranger to bare-bones song craft. Remember, “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss” are famously missing bass parts. Most of “Forever” is Prince’s voice and a booming, almost distorted drum machine. At the very end of the song, Prince plays a simple acoustic guitar riff. That, to me, symbolizes a happy ending. A man announcing his devotion and walking down the aisle with his beloved. We all know that things didn’t end this way (I believe Susannah and Prince were finished as a couple before “Forever In My Life” was even released to the public). The fact that there was no happy ending gives a tinge of sadness to the song, in retrospect. Who knows what would’ve happened if Prince and Susannah had stayed in one another’s lives— forever?