“The original recording subsequently became a demo when Prince, that very same night – all alone in Studio A, played all the instruments on an entire new version of the song. The next morning Joshua Welton and Kirk Johnson transferred Prince’s tracks in2 Studio B. and mixing began. As the song neared completion at Prince’s behest Eryn Allen Kane graciously flew in on a moment’s notice and graced the track with her angelic presence.”
I was ready to hate on this and I was ready to hate on this, Prince is such a little dick (always was) and this entire enterprise, the Prince Supports Baltimore vibe, stank of velvet rope charity. News he was in a deal with Tidal to release the song (turned out Tidal will be streaming tomorrow’s benefit instead) proved unfounded. Plus if life has taught me one thing it is doubt rock stars integrity when it comes to, well, nearly anything. And Prince more than most. Yet this song is the real deal.
When it finally came down, “Baltimore” was on soundcloud (stream it below) and yes the lyrics are meh but when I read the lyrics (here) I didn’t realize the guitar he referenced was going to be such a tuneful, austere, masterstroke. And when I sneered at the lyric I hadn’t figure out Prince had one of his best songs in, quite literally, years to go with it. “Baltimore” is so good it stops you short, it is like, how can he do a song worthy of, well, Parade at this stage of the game. And if he can, why all the crappola?
There is nothing I don’t like about this song. Eryn sounds great, Prince is spectacular, he plays everything here but it is voice that pulls you short, he doesn’t use his falsetto often, but “at least a little better” is so slight, but it is very lovely. This is an anthem without the browbeating, a catchy protest song that makes its position known in the best way possible: through the music. Well done, Prince, a good song does more for peace than words or gestures, or even money, ever will.
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