“Girls & Boys” by Prince & The Revolution (1986)

Under The Cherry Moon was Prince’s second film, and expectations were high after the surprising success of Purple Rain. I mean, I think they were?  I was 10, what the hell did i know about critical expectations?

I’m sure that there were many people who expected Cherry Moon to be a Purple Rain sequel of sorts. It turned out to be virtually the opposite of that;  a period piece, set in the South of France, shot in black and white. No electric club performance scenes, no scantily clad Apollonia, no Morris Day (although Jerome Benton did quite well as the film’s comic foil.) If you manage your expectations, though (and you should have managed expectations 33 years after the movie’s debut), Cherry Moon is actually an enjoyable little vanity project, light and humorous (until the end anyway…). I enjoyed it.

Parade-the album that housed the music featured in Cherry Moon– was similarly underrated by comparison to its predecessor, although-again-we are dealing with apples and oranges here. Purple Rain was almost designed to be a behemoth, a huge rock and roll album. Parade is a bit more niche and art house. It’s weirder and funkier. One of its key tracks (its second best track, IMHO) is “Girls & Boys”, a loose-limbed work out that garnered a bunch of urban radio play without being released as the “A” side of a single.

“Girls” has got a memorable, sing-song melody and playful lyrics. It’s immediately identifiable as a by-product of the Minneapolis sound, but also contains several elements that were (to that point) foreign to Prince songs, including Eric Leeds’ saxophone. There’s also a “rap” passage and a lengthy monologue in French. Prince (and the Revolution-this is a case in which Wendy & Lisa’s contributions can not be overlooked) was throwing lots of stuff into the mix, expanding his sound, and it all worked.

And while “Girls & Boys” worked fine as a short pop single, Prince also took the opportunity on tour to lengthen it into a nasty funk workout with the expanded Revolution (complete with full horn section). Prince was so enamored of the song that he played it regularly until his last shows. It lives on as a testament to an artist (and band) near the peak of his powers.

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