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Thread started 07/14/16 8:52am

thequeenofthek
ings

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Breakdown Lyrics (possibly foretelling an illness?)

So I've natually been listening to Prince nonstop lately and also have been re-examining lyrics. If you listen to the lyrics of "Breakdown" and think of it in the sense that he could have been talking about a "disease" breaking his body down, slowly but surely, the song takes on a whole new meaning. Really, there isn't much in the song that doesnt make sense if you look at it this way. Not saying he had a disease or even what the disease might have been, but to me, once I look at it this way, I can't hear it any other way. Yes, it could still be about a relationship, etc, but it makes more sense to me that he is talking about his body being broken down. Also there a so much emotion in his voice towards the end (although tht is not uncommon for Prince, so...)

Just humor me for a sec and read:

BREAKDOWN:

Listen to me closely as the story unfolds (the story has been unfolding as of late, and the disease may have been unfolding through the years)
This could be the saddest story even been told (and yes, it is the saddest story...maybe he's trying to tell us that) Saddest story that he's ever told because it's his life and a song about his life ending)
I used to want the house with the biggest pool
I've been missing out I just feel like a fool (he realizes that life is getting shorter and wishes he would have done more to live the life he wanted while he still could)

Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down (to me he is talking about the disease breaking him down...littery, like breaking down cells in his body or whatever)
Keep breaking me down, down, down

I used to throw the party every New Year's Eve
First one intoxicated, last one to leave
Waking up in places that you would never believe
Give me back the time, you can keep the memories (asking to give him back that time he wasted because maybe he knows time is what he needs most now)

Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down

Every book I've read said that I would meet somebody like you (i dont know if he's talking about medical books he's read or if he's talking about the bible? and maybe he is refering to meeting God? not positve on this one)
Whenever I was sorry, so sorry for the things I used to do (maybe confessing sins at the end of life and going with God?)
A journal full of numbers that I used to go through
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) all behind me now, all because of you (Could be just talking about how his life is shortened and all the chasing woman and superficial things are behind him and dont matter any more..as in use the time you have left for things that matter most) OR HE COULD BE TALKING ABOUT A JOURNAL OF NUMBERS (AS IN HIS SONGBOOKS) AND THAT HIS SONGS ARE NUMBERED NOW BECAUSE HIS LIFE IS ENDING) To me YOU refers to the disease or ailment.)

Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down

You keep breaking me, you keep breaking me down
I don't wanna walk out (dont wanna walk out of life? of this world yet?)
Don't wanna go down, down, down (as in being taken "down" by a disease)

See there's a door that you can walk through (door to the otherside, as in Heaven or the afterword)
Where there used to be a wall (there is a wall until you pass over)
I don't care, it's cool as long as you catch me baby
(Catch me when I fall) If there's ever a fall (asking God to catch him when he leaves the earth)
Closer to the breakdown, the closer we get (the closer we get to Heaven?)

So that is my interperation to that song. Who the hell knows if it's close or not. Just a very interested take on the song after his death. What do you guys think?

"Put on your boots Alfred...let's go!"
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Reply #1 posted 07/14/16 8:58am

thequeenofthek
ings

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Also, no video ever showed up....maybe that's because it was too real/close to him and how do you make a video that shows this without coming out and telling people what it's about. Just another thought.

"Put on your boots Alfred...let's go!"
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Reply #2 posted 07/14/16 9:15am

Friendlygal

On Arsenio in March 2014, Prince stated it was his favorite song that he had written.
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Reply #3 posted 07/14/16 9:18am

ashleypaisley

No, I think the song is about being afraid to get to close to someone yet its deemed inevitable and the reflection its taken to get there. During the Piano and Mic tour he did it in Sydney and after the "You keep breaking me down, down, down, down" lyrics he said "she really does"
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Reply #4 posted 07/14/16 9:34am

thequeenofthek
ings

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ashleypaisley said:

No, I think the song is about being afraid to get to close to someone yet its deemed inevitable and the reflection its taken to get there. During the Piano and Mic tour he did it in Sydney and after the "You keep breaking me down, down, down, down" lyrics he said "she really does"

hmmmm interesting. yeah, who knows. eyepop

"Put on your boots Alfred...let's go!"
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Reply #5 posted 07/14/16 9:34am

CalhounSq

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me thinks it's just a song... a beautiful song, but just another song about love...

heart prince I never met you, but I LOVE you & I will forever!! Thank you for being YOU - my little Princey, the best to EVER do it prince heart
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Reply #6 posted 07/14/16 9:35am

Transformed1

not "Missing out", "reminiscing now" = thinking back

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Reply #7 posted 07/14/16 10:01am

Xarina

I always thought this was about an illness, too.
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Reply #8 posted 07/14/16 10:07am

Bunsterdk

To me it's about the stressful times we're living in. Some regrets about past choices. Singing to God perhaps.

Or it's just another lovesong.

I like that it can be viewed in many ways and I think that was on purpose. Whatever makes us break down individually.
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Reply #9 posted 07/14/16 2:26pm

PeteSilas

that was my interpretation the last time i heard it. but, when i first heard it, I thought it was about having regrets about horrible things we do and not being able to do anything about it but feel bad. I could relate immediately. What Prince felt bad bout and what i felt bad about are likely vastly different but the guilt's the same. I think on the same album, which song was it? the line about being in a party "with drunken fools", he seems to regret socializing in meaningless settings.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #10 posted 07/14/16 2:27pm

PeteSilas

also, i recall how people snarkily responded on here to the line "the saddest story that's ever been told" we see it in a different light now.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #11 posted 07/14/16 2:32pm

avajane

thequeenofthekings said:

Also, no video ever showed up....maybe that's because it was too real/close to him and how do you make a video that shows this without coming out and telling people what it's about. Just another thought.


If you are talking about a music video for the song then there was one where there's the movie clip of Robert Deniro from Analyze This where he's crying in front of a television screen and the tv shows clips from the following films: Memoirs of a Geisha, The Notebook, and The Way We Were.
Love is God,
God is Love
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Reply #12 posted 07/14/16 2:57pm

morningsong

I avoided that song for the longest time, just behind the little guy laying down in a puddle of tears. When I finally listened I assumed it was a song to God, but the whole "I don't wanna go" part confused me, but I'm kind of used to parts in Prince's songs throwing me off so I ignored it until I got further information. But I sure wanted to know what the hell was breaking him down at this point in his life. I was feeling bad.

*sigh*
I've been avoiding that song since...especially after reading someone's hypothosis regarding the use of Edward G. Robinson in the live version of Black Sweat.

Personally, I've been a pendulum between whether there was something terminal versus something chronic, but I believe it was one of the two. I'll probably stay this way until something more official sounding comes forward.

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Reply #13 posted 07/14/16 6:30pm

luvsexy4all

God is breaking him down.....keeps showing him whats important

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Reply #14 posted 07/14/16 6:35pm

thequeenofthek
ings

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luvsexy4all said:

God is breaking him down.....keeps showing him whats important



I thought that as well when I for hear the song but now since his death I can also see if it was about an illness. Still doesn't explain if he said "yes she is" in Sydney that time. Unless he meant God is a woman. I still hear it as his body is breaking down. But who really knows. Wish we could ask him sad
"Put on your boots Alfred...let's go!"
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Reply #15 posted 07/14/16 6:41pm

anangellooksdo
wn

Friendlygal said:

On Arsenio in March 2014, Prince stated it was his favorite song that he had written.


i don't think he said it was his favorite; I think when asked that he didn't say he had one. Instead, he just mentioned that there's a song they're "working on now called the breakdown" that he likes. That could've been mostly to put a plug in for the new album, or it could've been one he was really digging at the time, or both.
It is a good song though, I agree.
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Reply #16 posted 07/14/16 6:50pm

donnyenglish

Thank you for this. I think you are right and the song now has new meaning to me. This could be Prince's version of "Mary Jane" but a lot sadder.
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Reply #17 posted 07/14/16 9:35pm

luv4u

Moderator

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CalhounSq said:

me thinks it's just a song... a beautiful song, but just another song about love...


yeahthat

Edmonton, AB - canada

Ohh purple joy oh purple bliss oh purple rapture!
REAL MUSIC by REAL MUSICIANS - Prince
"I kind of wish there was a reason for Prince to make the site crash more" ~~ Ben
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Reply #18 posted 07/14/16 10:05pm

friend2001

most of his songs are about him or narcissistic but these two lyrics make me think this is one song that isn't.

"I used to throw the party every New Year's Eve
First one intoxicated, last one to leave"

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Reply #19 posted 07/15/16 4:33am

1Sasha


I don't interpret it to be about an illness. To me, it seems he is talking about a woman - THE woman - who finally, at this stage in his life, is the love of his life.

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Reply #20 posted 07/15/16 7:30am

pnv

1Sasha said:[quote]


I don't interpret it to be about an illness. To me, it seems he is talking about a woman - THE woman - who finally, at this stage in his life, is the love of his life.

[/quote

Yes this song he is talking about his past ways some of the stuff he used to do that he didn't do any more. This reminds me of a sermon that was given by the late Denise Matthews she was saying if you are in the club looking for love you want find it. She also talked about getting rid of all the numbers(phone numbers). Prince was inspired by this sermon. He's giving credit to her.
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Reply #21 posted 07/15/16 8:01am

gandorb

I believe it is one of his most personal songs, yet true to form he is still ever the mystery. I have always viewed the song being about his addiction, or perhaps the enmeshment of his pain and addiction. The lyrics and his life situation certainly fit. There is something about the song that seems even deeper about himself than his heartache songs, not to say those aren't profound in their own way.
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Reply #22 posted 07/15/16 10:26am

ashleypaisley

1Sasha said:


I don't interpret it to be about an illness. To me, it seems he is talking about a woman - THE woman - who finally, at this stage in his life, is the love of his life.


Listen to the Sydneyapolis Piano and Mic show on the 20th. The sequence is Little Red Corvette/Dirty Mind then The Breakdown and in between he improvs like he is talking to someone, "Open Relationship are you crazy?! x2" "I think you are a queen, in fact, I know you are" "I. want. you." "That picture over there? Thats not you. That's you over there. I know its old, No I'm not throwing it away" (Denise got rid off all of her Vanity pictures).

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Reply #23 posted 07/15/16 10:55am

avajane

I love how every song he wrote goes back to Denise lol.
Love is God,
God is Love
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Reply #24 posted 07/15/16 11:22am

ashleypaisley

avajane said:

I love how every song he wrote goes back to Denise lol.


Well what do you think? Its nice to have a opinion and not just troll.

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Reply #25 posted 07/15/16 12:05pm

StephanieThePi
sces

I don't get from this song that it's about an illness at all, or about anything physical (like a body) literally breaking down.

-

To me I hear a song about a man looking back over his life and recognizing how he's evolved from point A to B, and how his attitudes and priorities have changed and grown as a result of various life experiences and relationships and etc 'breaking him down', which has resulted in the aforementioned evolving and maturing. And like most people, when he looks back at how he used to be and examines the things he did in his younger years, he feels regrets for certain things: for hurts he caused, for his actions at times, and for the squandering of precious time and relationships and opportunities while he was focused on stuff that he understands now was only trivial or superficial...all things, and TIME, that he can never get back ("Give me back the time, you can keep the memories"). I take from that that he laments the time wasted and doesn't care to remember the negative or 'bad' parts (memories) but wishes he could have the time back again to focus on what's truly important and meaningful in life vs getting caught up in the material and frivolous and selfish.

-

I do also agree, though, that this song is a love song as well, and he's trying to express to the woman that he sees the way he used to be, and an aspect of that is he didn't let himself be vulnerable or open, TRULY open, in love (which sabatoged or destroyed possibly wonderful relationships and he regrets that) but that now, with her, "his walls" are breaking down and that (paraphrased) 'there's now a door where there used to be a wall' and he glad for what's broken him down because now he has the chance for a mature, reciprocal love. He's laying it out that he's ready to be vulnerable and wiling to risk emotions that he used to protect (with "walls") in his younger years and that he's trusting her in a way he's not used to trusting (i.e. the lyric about as long as she catches him if he falls, if there is a fall).

-

I think the very last line is especially beautiful and revealing: "Closer to the breakdown, the closer we get". I take that as the more he allows himself to 'break down' and break free from the walls he's always surrounded himself and his heart with, the more able he and she are to get closer and have the kind of trusting, mature love relationship I think he's always yearned for.

-

I love this song. heart

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Reply #26 posted 07/15/16 12:14pm

thequeenofthek
ings

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StephanieThePisces said:

I don't get from this song that it's about an illness at all, or about anything physical (like a body) literally breaking down.


-


To me I hear a song about a man looking back over his life and recognizing how he's evolved from point A to B, and how his attitudes and priorities have changed and grown as a result of various life experiences and relationships and etc 'breaking him down', which has resulted in the aforementioned evolving and maturing. And like most people, when he looks back at how he used to be and examines the things he did in his younger years, he feels regrets for certain things: for hurts he caused, for his actions at times, and for the squandering of precious time and relationships and opportunities while he was focused on stuff that he understands now was only trivial or superficial...all things, and TIME, that he can never get back ("Give me back the time, you can keep the memories"). I take from that that he laments the time wasted and doesn't care to remember the negative or 'bad' parts (memories) but wishes he could have the time back again to focus on what's truly important and meaningful in life vs getting caught up in the material and frivolous and selfish.


-


I do also agree, though, that this song is a love song as well, and he's trying to express to the woman that he sees the way he used to be, and an aspect of that is he didn't let himself be vulnerable or open, TRULY open, in love (which sabatoged or destroyed possibly wonderful relationships and he regrets that) but that now, with her, "his walls" are breaking down and that (paraphrased) 'there's now a door where there used to be a wall' and he glad for what's broken him down because now he has the chance for a mature, reciprocal love. He's laying it out that he's ready to be vulnerable and wiling to risk emotions that he used to protect (with "walls") in his younger years and that he's trusting her in a way he's not used to trusting (i.e. the lyric about as long as she catches him if he falls, if there is a fall).


-


I think the very last line is especially beautiful and revealing: "Closer to the breakdown, the closer we get". I take that as the more he allows himself to 'break down' and break free from the walls he's always surrounded himself and his heart with, the more able he and she are to get closer and have the kind of trusting, mature love relationship I think he's always yearned for.


-


I love this song. heart





That makes sense. Yeah I was stumped on the part with him saying he didn't want to walk out or "I don't wanna go down, down, down". But maybe he just meant he doesn't want this relationship to go down like the others did.
"Put on your boots Alfred...let's go!"
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Reply #27 posted 07/15/16 12:40pm

RJOrion

thequeenofthekings said:

So I've natually been listening to Prince nonstop lately and also have been re-examining lyrics. If you listen to the lyrics of "Breakdown" and think of it in the sense that he could have been talking about a "disease" breaking his body down, slowly but surely, the song takes on a whole new meaning. Really, there isn't much in the song that doesnt make sense if you look at it this way. Not saying he had a disease or even what the disease might have been, but to me, once I look at it this way, I can't hear it any other way. Yes, it could still be about a relationship, etc, but it makes more sense to me that he is talking about his body being broken down. Also there a so much emotion in his voice towards the end (although tht is not uncommon for Prince, so...)



Just humor me for a sec and read:



BREAKDOWN:


Listen to me closely as the story unfolds (the story has been unfolding as of late, and the disease may have been unfolding through the years)
This could be the saddest story even been told (and yes, it is the saddest story...maybe he's trying to tell us that) Saddest story that he's ever told because it's his life and a song about his life ending)
I used to want the house with the biggest pool
I've been missing out I just feel like a fool (he realizes that life is getting shorter and wishes he would have done more to live the life he wanted while he still could)


Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down (to me he is talking about the disease breaking him down...littery, like breaking down cells in his body or whatever)
Keep breaking me down, down, down


I used to throw the party every New Year's Eve
First one intoxicated, last one to leave
Waking up in places that you would never believe
Give me back the time, you can keep the memories (asking to give him back that time he wasted because maybe he knows time is what he needs most now)


Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down


Every book I've read said that I would meet somebody like you (i dont know if he's talking about medical books he's read or if he's talking about the bible? and maybe he is refering to meeting God? not positve on this one)
Whenever I was sorry, so sorry for the things I used to do (maybe confessing sins at the end of life and going with God?)
A journal full of numbers that I used to go through
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) all behind me now, all because of you (Could be just talking about how his life is shortened and all the chasing woman and superficial things are behind him and dont matter any more..as in use the time you have left for things that matter most) OR HE COULD BE TALKING ABOUT A JOURNAL OF NUMBERS (AS IN HIS SONGBOOKS) AND THAT HIS SONGS ARE NUMBERED NOW BECAUSE HIS LIFE IS ENDING) To me YOU refers to the disease or ailment.)


Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down
Keep breaking me down, down, down


You keep breaking me, you keep breaking me down
I don't wanna walk out (dont wanna walk out of life? of this world yet?)
Don't wanna go down, down, down (as in being taken "down" by a disease)


See there's a door that you can walk through (door to the otherside, as in Heaven or the afterword)
Where there used to be a wall (there is a wall until you pass over)
I don't care, it's cool as long as you catch me baby
(Catch me when I fall) If there's ever a fall (asking God to catch him when he leaves the earth)
Closer to the breakdown, the closer we get (the closer we get to Heaven?)



So that is my interperation to that song. Who the hell knows if it's close or not. Just a very interested take on the song after his death. What do you guys think?




well presented... i had similar thoughts after hearing the song recently...
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Reply #28 posted 07/15/16 12:50pm

PeteSilas

luvsexy4all said:

God is breaking him down.....keeps showing him whats important

either that or his conscience, that was my interprtetation. I think projecting it on a muse makes the song work better but I think it's his own conscience. But that's just my interpretation, I'm old enough to have huge regrets so that's an influence in how I see it. But after he died, I could see the other interpretation too, like the "Listen to me closely" as if he knew his listeners wouldn't really pay attention otherwise and what he's about to say is serious. As a Mentioned above, people snarkily chided these very lyrics on here at the time, so, his request wasn't recieved.

david bowie once said the artists work is not done until people interpret it.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #29 posted 07/15/16 1:07pm

gandorb

StephanieThePisces said:

I don't get from this song that it's about an illness at all, or about anything physical (like a body) literally breaking down.


-


To me I hear a song about a man looking back over his life and recognizing how he's evolved from point A to B, and how his attitudes and priorities have changed and grown as a result of various life experiences and relationships and etc 'breaking him down', which has resulted in the aforementioned evolving and maturing. And like most people, when he looks back at how he used to be and examines the things he did in his younger years, he feels regrets for certain things: for hurts he caused, for his actions at times, and for the squandering of precious time and relationships and opportunities while he was focused on stuff that he understands now was only trivial or superficial...all things, and TIME, that he can never get back ("Give me back the time, you can keep the memories"). I take from that that he laments the time wasted and doesn't care to remember the negative or 'bad' parts (memories) but wishes he could have the time back again to focus on what's truly important and meaningful in life vs getting caught up in the material and frivolous and selfish.


-


I do also agree, though, that this song is a love song as well, and he's trying to express to the woman that he sees the way he used to be, and an aspect of that is he didn't let himself be vulnerable or open, TRULY open, in love (which sabatoged or destroyed possibly wonderful relationships and he regrets that) but that now, with her, "his walls" are breaking down and that (paraphrased) 'there's now a door where there used to be a wall' and he glad for what's broken him down because now he has the chance for a mature, reciprocal love. He's laying it out that he's ready to be vulnerable and wiling to risk emotions that he used to protect (with "walls") in his younger years and that he's trusting her in a way he's not used to trusting (i.e. the lyric about as long as she catches him if he falls, if there is a fall).


-


I think the very last line is especially beautiful and revealing: "Closer to the breakdown, the closer we get". I take that as the more he allows himself to 'break down' and break free from the walls he's always surrounded himself and his heart with, the more able he and she are to get closer and have the kind of trusting, mature love relationship I think he's always yearned for.


-


I love this song. heart

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