09 April 2004

6. papa (from come lp, 1994)
"papa" is an oddity in prince's catalog, which is saying a lot because that catalog covers so much ground. it's short, mostly spoken, with a blues motif more akin to robert johnson than any of his electrified followers. prince utters the line, "don't abuse children, otherwise they turn out like me," which leads to a brief, but powerful full-out rock coda. the whole song is incredibly harrowing and suggests for the first time that prince may have been abused (after all, unlike a springsteen, a prince listener is familiar with their man singing in the first person.) i owned come on cassette, and i think it must function more effectively in that format, with both time and space between the two sides (how does "loose!" sound seguing into this?) "papa" itself functions more effectively in its singularity and in the disturbance created by its claim.

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