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Thread started 06/09/16 11:29am

BlackandRising

"Race" and other songs Prince wrote about race

When posts or a racial nature come up, I see many people reference the song "Race". It's a great message, but please remember that Prince wrote a number of songs discussing racial issues: We March, damn near half of The Rainbow Children, Black Muse, etc.

I'm thinking that this fact might possibly mean that his views, over time, may have changed somewhat? I mean, we all want to live in a perfect world, but...it just is not the utopia that we all would like it to be.

To wit, there is a poll that shows that only slighty 1/2 of Americans polled found D. Trump's attacks on Judge Curiel, where he essentially said that the man cannot perform his job due to his race/heritage/ethnicity, to be racist. If I were talking to a client, and stated that, hey, I don't think you're capable of doing this because you're (gay, straight, black, white, etc), I would be fired in the spot. That speaks volumes about how people think they think, vs. how they actually think on a sub-conscious level.

In other words, Prince's views on race were complicated to say the least.

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Reply #1 posted 06/09/16 12:12pm

2elijah

avatar

Well, I always believed if Prince didn't recognize that there was a race problem in America, there would have been no need for him to write a song about race. It definitely was an indication that he was aware/concerned about the racial prejudice that existed, and felt the need to express that through song, by raising awareness that the value of humans shouldn't be judged on one's race/skin color. If he was colorblind he probably would not have written the song, and other songs he wrote regarding race.

Sidenote:By the way, I hope everyone plays nice, and this thread doesn't get locked/deleted.
popcorn
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Reply #2 posted 06/09/16 12:23pm

loveandkindnes
s

Today and everyday I pray for us all to have and live ..love and kindness at the end of this rainbow all we really have is one another and God. Humans animals mother nature ..we are so blessed . Why is there hurt death killings babies teaching babies it starts with one today I offer love and kindness to you all...
Loveandkindness
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Reply #3 posted 06/09/16 1:08pm

Grog

I could chime in on this foever but for now I would like to pose a question about "Lavaux." Has anyone attempted to decipher the song's lyrics through a racial lense? I am thinking specifically about the lyrics below. Any thoughts?

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux



We could look at "Dreamer" as well. I hope this thread does not devolve into a bickering mess. There are some wonderful and insightful folks on this site, but it seems that the subject of race, even when it's well-intentioned like this thread, makes some of us lose our mind.

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Reply #4 posted 06/09/16 1:25pm

Grog

Here are the full lyrics to "Lavaux"

Take me to the vineyards of Lavaux
Wanna see the mountains where the waters flow
Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery
The cost of freedom is anything but free

I don't care if they are covered with snow
I don't care if the road is narrow, if it is I'll know
It was always meant to be, still in love I must believe
Whatever path I choose will lead me home
Lead me home, Lavaux

Take me to the streets of Portugal
That might be my destiny to see the waterfall
Tears or rain, they're all the same
The only way to win this game
To let everybody play and share the ball

There ain't nobody got no chains on me
I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea
A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery
You're gonna unlock the secrets if you please

Come take me to an assembly in New York
To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war
To win or lose is so absurd
And the only casualty is the word, the word

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux

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Reply #5 posted 06/09/16 1:32pm

BlackandRising

Grog said:

I could chime in on this foever but for now I would like to pose a question about "Lavaux." Has anyone attempted to decipher the song's lyrics through a racial lense? I am thinking specifically about the lyrics below. Any thoughts?

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux




We could look at "Dreamer" as well. I hope this thread does not devolve into a bickering mess. There are some wonderful and insightful folks on this site, but it seems that the subject of race, even when it's well-intentioned like this thread, makes some of us lose our mind.


Thanks and yes this thread was made with the best intentions. I've never really listened to "Lavaux" in this manner...care to hip me to what the lyrics in full mean to you?
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Reply #6 posted 06/09/16 1:44pm

Baduizm

avatar

I'm sorry, which album is "Lavaux" on? I'm not sure I know it.

I'm in the news again
For paying dues my friend
And not the type of ganda U prop up in my way
Don't Play me
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Reply #7 posted 06/09/16 1:47pm

BlackandRising

Baduizm said:

I'm sorry, which album is "Lavaux" on? I'm not sure I know it.


20Ten
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Reply #8 posted 06/09/16 2:15pm

mtlfan

Sacrifice of Victor is an earlier example, obviously.

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Reply #9 posted 06/09/16 3:24pm

Grog

BlackandRising said:

Grog said:

I could chime in on this foever but for now I would like to pose a question about "Lavaux." Has anyone attempted to decipher the song's lyrics through a racial lense? I am thinking specifically about the lyrics below. Any thoughts?

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux



We could look at "Dreamer" as well. I hope this thread does not devolve into a bickering mess. There are some wonderful and insightful folks on this site, but it seems that the subject of race, even when it's well-intentioned like this thread, makes some of us lose our mind.

Thanks and yes this thread was made with the best intentions. I've never really listened to "Lavaux" in this manner...care to hip me to what the lyrics in full mean to you?


Sure. If we look at the entire song through the lense of race, the song clearly communicates deep displeasure with the U.S. ("Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery") and a desire to escape to different parts of the world, namely Switzerland and Portugal, for peace and beauty ("waterfalls"), not to mention wine and chocolate ("vineyards of Lavaux" and "chocolate of Vevey"). However, even abroad, Prince contemplates the problems back home and concludes that "The only way to win this game" is "To let everybody play and share the ball." The "ball" could be interpreted as wealth or equality. In this contemplative state, Prince recognizes he is unbound and free ("There ain't nobody got no chains on me / I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea"), and while recognizing this fact, he concludes that his existence and experiences represent a "paradox" to the argument he is proposing about the lack of equality and opportunity in America ("A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery").

I am not sure what he means by the following lines: "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" but I find it interesting that he includes the word "everlasting" because it is reminiscent of "The Everlasting Now" from The Rainbow Children. In "The Everlasting Now" he sings about many things, including race, especially his personal connection to race. For example,

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

For some reason, I have always considered the last verse to be about Obama's election in 2008, although it could be solely about Prince ("Revolution time has come today / 'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay") and Prince's reaction to the ongoing/everlasting problem of race in America ("I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow"). Here's the last verse in full:

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux


"In the sun they'll melt away" is a reference to racists or those who don't want to "let everybody play and share the ball." In the end, Prince wants peace. In fact, he wants to escape the madness of race and remove himself to a mountaintop in order to literally rise above bigotry and hatred. Let's remember that in the opening verse he sang, ""Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery." Of course, one could also look at the lines, "I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow" and see a reference to heaven and the afterlife. I like to think that Prince is "up there" but instead of laughing, he is praying for our collective souls.

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Reply #10 posted 06/09/16 3:42pm

BlackandRising

Grog said:

BlackandRising said:

Grog said: Thanks and yes this thread was made with the best intentions. I've never really listened to "Lavaux" in this manner...care to hip me to what the lyrics in full mean to you?


Sure. If we look at the entire song through the lense of race, the song clearly communicates deep displeasure with the U.S. ("Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery") and a desire to escape to different parts of the world, namely Switzerland and Portugal, for peace and beauty ("waterfalls"), not to mention wine and chocolate ("vineyards of Lavaux" and "chocolate of Vevey"). However, even abroad, Prince contemplates the problems back home and concludes that "The only way to win this game" is "To let everybody play and share the ball." The "ball" could be interpreted as wealth or equality. In this contemplative state, Prince recognizes he is unbound and free ("There ain't nobody got no chains on me / I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea"), and while recognizing this fact, he concludes that his existence and experiences represent a "paradox" to the argument he is proposing about the lack of equality and opportunity in America ("A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery").

I am not sure what he means by the following lines: "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" but I find it interesting that he includes the word "everlasting" because it is reminiscent of "The Everlasting Now" from The Rainbow Children. In "The Everlasting Now" he sings about many things, including race, especially his personal connection to race. For example,

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

For some reason, I have always considered the last verse to be about Obama's election in 2008, although it could be solely about Prince ("Revolution time has come today / 'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay") and Prince's reaction to the ongoing/everlasting problem of race in America ("I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow"). Here's the last verse in full:

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux


"In the sun they'll melt away" is a reference to racists or those who don't want to "let everybody play and share the ball." In the end, Prince wants peace. In fact, he wants to escape the madness of race and remove himself to a mountaintop in order to literally rise above bigotry and hatred. Let's remember that in the opening verse he sang, ""Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery." Of course, one could also look at the lines, "I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow" and see a reference to heaven and the afterlife. I like to think that Prince is "up there" but instead of laughing, he is praying for our collective souls.

nice synopsis! when I read the lyrics as you posted them, this is pretty much what I came up with. Especially the references to Switzerland and Portugal, as they are both places where I felt like a huge race weight was lifted from my shoulders. The line "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" sounds like another reference to the UN, again, possibly the same type of reference he made regarding NATO. But like I couldn't figure out how that context fit in with the rest of the song.

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Reply #11 posted 06/10/16 4:15am

Grog

Has anyone ever identified the songs in Prince's catalog that address issues of race (not necessarily racism), starting with "Controversy" and ending with "Black Muse"? If not, that has to be the first step if we want to chronicle how the subject plays out in his songs and perhaps in his life. I can put more thought into this later and get back to you, but Controversy and Dirty Mind are good starting points. It's a constant theme in his music and it should be analyzed. Perhaps someone here has already addressed this issue.

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Reply #12 posted 06/10/16 4:25am

bobgeorge77

Grog said:

Has anyone ever identified the songs in Prince's catalog that address issues of race (not necessarily racism), starting with "Controversy" and ending with "Black Muse"? If not, that has to be the first step if we want to chronicle how the subject plays out in his songs and perhaps in his life. I can put more thought into this later and get back to you, but Controversy and Dirty Mind are good starting points. It's a constant theme in his music and it should be analyzed. Perhaps someone here has already addressed this issue.

Great ?... I always think of "What's My Name?" when he says "U could slap my face, but I got 2 say it....U never would have drank my coffee if I had never served U cream"... great line that works on so many levels!!

[Edited 6/10/16 4:26am]

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Reply #13 posted 06/10/16 5:57am

2elijah

avatar

Grog said:



BlackandRising said:


Grog said:

I could chime in on this foever but for now I would like to pose a question about "Lavaux." Has anyone attempted to decipher the song's lyrics through a racial lense? I am thinking specifically about the lyrics below. Any thoughts?

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux




We could look at "Dreamer" as well. I hope this thread does not devolve into a bickering mess. There are some wonderful and insightful folks on this site, but it seems that the subject of race, even when it's well-intentioned like this thread, makes some of us lose our mind.



Thanks and yes this thread was made with the best intentions. I've never really listened to "Lavaux" in this manner...care to hip me to what the lyrics in full mean to you?


Sure. If we look at the entire song through the lense of race, the song clearly communicates deep displeasure with the U.S. ("Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery") and a desire to escape to different parts of the world, namely Switzerland and Portugal, for peace and beauty ("waterfalls"), not to mention wine and chocolate ("vineyards of Lavaux" and "chocolate of Vevey"). However, even abroad, Prince contemplates the problems back home and concludes that "The only way to win this game" is "To let everybody play and share the ball." The "ball" could be interpreted as wealth or equality. In this contemplative state, Prince recognizes he is unbound and free ("There ain't nobody got no chains on me / I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea"), and while recognizing this fact, he concludes that his existence and experiences represent a "paradox" to the argument he is proposing about the lack of equality and opportunity in America ("A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery").

I am not sure what he means by the following lines: "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" but I find it interesting that he includes the word "everlasting" because it is reminiscent of "The Everlasting Now" from The Rainbow Children. In "The Everlasting Now" he sings about many things, including race, especially his personal connection to race. For example,

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

For some reason, I have always considered the last verse to be about Obama's election in 2008, although it could be solely about Prince ("Revolution time has come today / 'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay") and Prince's reaction to the ongoing/everlasting problem of race in America ("I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow"). Here's the last verse in full:

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux


"In the sun they'll melt away" is a reference to racists or those who don't want to "let everybody play and share the ball." In the end, Prince wants peace. In fact, he wants to escape the madness of race and remove himself to a mountaintop in order to literally rise above bigotry and hatred. Let's remember that in the opening verse he sang, ""Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery." Of course, one could also look at the lines, "I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow" and see a reference to heaven and the afterlife. I like to think that Prince is "up there" but instead of laughing, he is praying for our collective souls.



clapping That was an excellent breakdown of the lyrics in 'Lavaux'. I actually took that line referencing 'it took a Black face to see the same decay' for some reason, I thought 'MLK jr' was the reference, but since it was present day, you're right, he could have meant President Obama.
[Edited 6/10/16 6:00am]
popcorn
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Reply #14 posted 06/10/16 6:02am

2elijah

avatar

BlackandRising said:



Grog said:




BlackandRising said:


Grog said: Thanks and yes this thread was made with the best intentions. I've never really listened to "Lavaux" in this manner...care to hip me to what the lyrics in full mean to you?


Sure. If we look at the entire song through the lense of race, the song clearly communicates deep displeasure with the U.S. ("Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery") and a desire to escape to different parts of the world, namely Switzerland and Portugal, for peace and beauty ("waterfalls"), not to mention wine and chocolate ("vineyards of Lavaux" and "chocolate of Vevey"). However, even abroad, Prince contemplates the problems back home and concludes that "The only way to win this game" is "To let everybody play and share the ball." The "ball" could be interpreted as wealth or equality. In this contemplative state, Prince recognizes he is unbound and free ("There ain't nobody got no chains on me / I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea"), and while recognizing this fact, he concludes that his existence and experiences represent a "paradox" to the argument he is proposing about the lack of equality and opportunity in America ("A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery").

I am not sure what he means by the following lines: "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" but I find it interesting that he includes the word "everlasting" because it is reminiscent of "The Everlasting Now" from The Rainbow Children. In "The Everlasting Now" he sings about many things, including race, especially his personal connection to race. For example,

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

For some reason, I have always considered the last verse to be about Obama's election in 2008, although it could be solely about Prince ("Revolution time has come today / 'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay") and Prince's reaction to the ongoing/everlasting problem of race in America ("I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow"). Here's the last verse in full:

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux


"In the sun they'll melt away" is a reference to racists or those who don't want to "let everybody play and share the ball." In the end, Prince wants peace. In fact, he wants to escape the madness of race and remove himself to a mountaintop in order to literally rise above bigotry and hatred. Let's remember that in the opening verse he sang, ""Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery." Of course, one could also look at the lines, "I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow" and see a reference to heaven and the afterlife. I like to think that Prince is "up there" but instead of laughing, he is praying for our collective souls.



nice synopsis! when I read the lyrics as you posted them, this is pretty much what I came up with. Especially the references to Switzerland and Portugal, as they are both places where I felt like a huge race weight was lifted from my shoulders. The line "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" sounds like another reference to the UN, again, possibly the same type of reference he made regarding NATO. But like I couldn't figure out how that context fit in with the rest of the song.




Bolded part, good point! Very interesting thread.
popcorn
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Reply #15 posted 06/10/16 7:44am

mediumdry

Grog said:

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

The lyrics you quote are about Sly Stone though, who had an integrated band, male and female, black and white. (Prince modeled the Revolution on this)

The flag that is referred to is the cover of There's A Riot Going On, Sly's masterpiece. It was later released with a more "acceptable" cover.

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Reply #16 posted 06/10/16 7:53am

SPYZFAN1

I'm going to add "Black Muse"...my favorite most recent P song. The music is so upbeat and brilliant... and the lyrics are heavy but very uplifting.

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Reply #17 posted 06/10/16 8:31am

P2daP

Grog said:

BlackandRising said:

Grog said: Thanks and yes this thread was made with the best intentions. I've never really listened to "Lavaux" in this manner...care to hip me to what the lyrics in full mean to you?


Sure. If we look at the entire song through the lense of race, the song clearly communicates deep displeasure with the U.S. ("Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery") and a desire to escape to different parts of the world, namely Switzerland and Portugal, for peace and beauty ("waterfalls"), not to mention wine and chocolate ("vineyards of Lavaux" and "chocolate of Vevey"). However, even abroad, Prince contemplates the problems back home and concludes that "The only way to win this game" is "To let everybody play and share the ball." The "ball" could be interpreted as wealth or equality. In this contemplative state, Prince recognizes he is unbound and free ("There ain't nobody got no chains on me / I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea"), and while recognizing this fact, he concludes that his existence and experiences represent a "paradox" to the argument he is proposing about the lack of equality and opportunity in America ("A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery").

I am not sure what he means by the following lines: "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" but I find it interesting that he includes the word "everlasting" because it is reminiscent of "The Everlasting Now" from The Rainbow Children. In "The Everlasting Now" he sings about many things, including race, especially his personal connection to race. For example,

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

For some reason, I have always considered the last verse to be about Obama's election in 2008, although it could be solely about Prince ("Revolution time has come today / 'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay") and Prince's reaction to the ongoing/everlasting problem of race in America ("I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow"). Here's the last verse in full:

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux


"In the sun they'll melt away" is a reference to racists or those who don't want to "let everybody play and share the ball." In the end, Prince wants peace. In fact, he wants to escape the madness of race and remove himself to a mountaintop in order to literally rise above bigotry and hatred. Let's remember that in the opening verse he sang, ""Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery." Of course, one could also look at the lines, "I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow" and see a reference to heaven and the afterlife. I like to think that Prince is "up there" but instead of laughing, he is praying for our collective souls.

Hmm, very interesting. I think, as others mentioned, the "Assembly in New York" is the United Nation. I'm not sure what "The Everlasting Wonder War" is. But perhaps it's a war on God? The next lines are "To win or lose is so absurd. And the only causality is the word, the word." Which I think it's definitely a reference to the Bible. This verse made me recall an interview with Prince (I can't recall which one) in which he spoke about himself watching foreign nations speak at the United Nations and how they would constantly talk about the Bible.

That's what led me to believe perhaps the "the everlasting wonder war" is a war on God.

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Reply #18 posted 06/10/16 9:08am

BlackandRising

SPYZFAN1 said:

I'm going to add "Black Muse"...my favorite most recent P song. The music is so upbeat and brilliant... and the lyrics are heavy but very uplifting.

I haven't been able to really listen to lots of older Prince music, but I do listen to "Black Muse" on the daily. Like you said, the music is extremely upbeat and brilliant, but the subject matter in the beginning is quite heavy...almost a dichotomy. But I love how the lyrics gradually progress to the very uplifting words at the end. I personally think this is his most powerful song about race since "We March".

The line about flipping the hour glass, faces on the mountain and the dirty sea, and trillion dollar bill/no currency is my favorite verse in the song. I can only assume that the "trillion dollar bill and no currency" reference is directly related to Zimbabwe's hyperinflation and questioning what caused it.

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Reply #19 posted 06/10/16 9:12am

RiotPaisley

Prince also covered the plight of Native Americans in Right the Wrong- talk about genocide and getting a raw deal.

I think Prince was magical because he could say "everybody stop fighting", inside we are all the same, and still maintained who he was and where he came from.

I don't understand why people feel we can't all work together and be fair and equal while still maintaining pride in our roots. You can totally be pro-Black and still want ALL people to live and love together. You can be proud of your European heritage and still recognize that certain people in America have gotten a raw deal and work to level the playing field by building better schools for EVERYONE and creating public places to engage in community and recreation. You can enjoy the good stuff about your ancestors but you can't forget the bs they also imposed. I don't like being made to feel guilty about that stuff though. I don't condone it and I find it embarrassing and disgusting, but I didn't do it. That crap was not my fault and I hope that if I did live another life in that world that I was either one of the oppressed or a person who stood up to it. I do my best to call out racism when I see it and I don't allow other white people to lump me in when they go on rants about it. I try to educate folks as best as I can when I hear nonsense. Sometimes it's just likes talking to a brick.

I teach my daughter to be inclusive and fair. I've explained to her that there are people who just don't like other people because of outward appearances or lifestyles but that we are not like that and we love people for the content of their character and that diversity is a beautiful thing cuz damn the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. We all have something to contribute. All we can hope is the babies we raise don't continue to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. We have to be able to recognize what those mistakes were though and talk about them without reducing our selves to bickering that never accomplishes anything positive, just further divide and hurt feelings.

President Obama's election basically turned the lights out and brought all the racists out like cockroaches so now it's out in the open and it's up to us to exterminate. We have to because that's what will make this country great again- if we come together and demand the infrastructure be rebuilt, our schools updated, we need high speed rail, solar power, etc etc (things Prince was totally rallying for)- we need jobs for everyone so we can all have the dream. The 99% is only strong if we stop letting them divide us into smaller groups they can control and manipulate with hate and fear.
Surprise, surprise.
Another treat. Another trick.
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Reply #20 posted 06/10/16 9:43am

BlackandRising

RiotPaisley said:

Prince also covered the plight of Native Americans in Right the Wrong- talk about genocide and getting a raw deal. I think Prince was magical because he could say "everybody stop fighting", inside we are all the same, and still maintained who he was and where he came from. I don't understand why people feel we can't all work together and be fair and equal while still maintaining pride in our roots. You can totally be pro-Black and still want ALL people to live and love together. You can be proud of your European heritage and still recognize that certain people in America have gotten a raw deal and work to level the playing field by building better schools for EVERYONE and creating public places to engage in community and recreation. You can enjoy the good stuff about your ancestors but you can't forget the bs they also imposed. I don't like being made to feel guilty about that stuff though. I don't condone it and I find it embarrassing and disgusting, but I didn't do it. That crap was not my fault and I hope that if I did live another life in that world that I was either one of the oppressed or a person who stood up to it. I do my best to call out racism when I see it and I don't allow other white people to lump me in when they go on rants about it. I try to educate folks as best as I can when I hear nonsense. Sometimes it's just likes talking to a brick. I teach my daughter to be inclusive and fair. I've explained to her that there are people who just don't like other people because of outward appearances or lifestyles but that we are not like that and we love people for the content of their character and that diversity is a beautiful thing cuz damn the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. We all have something to contribute. All we can hope is the babies we raise don't continue to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. We have to be able to recognize what those mistakes were though and talk about them without reducing our selves to bickering that never accomplishes anything positive, just further divide and hurt feelings. President Obama's election basically turned the lights out and brought all the racists out like cockroaches so now it's out in the open and it's up to us to exterminate. We have to because that's what will make this country great again- if we come together and demand the infrastructure be rebuilt, our schools updated, we need high speed rail, solar power, etc etc (things Prince was totally rallying for)- we need jobs for everyone so we can all have the dream. The 99% is only strong if we stop letting them divide us into smaller groups they can control and manipulate with hate and fear.

"Right the Wrong". Actually one of my favorite tunes from C&D. And I love what you stated above in bold.

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Reply #21 posted 06/10/16 10:31am

langebleu

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moderator

BlackandRising said:

RiotPaisley said:

I don't understand why people feel we can't all work together and be fair and equal while still maintaining pride in our roots. You can totally be pro-Black and still want ALL people to live and love together. You can be proud of your European heritage and still recognize that certain people in America have gotten a raw deal and work to level the playing field by building better schools for EVERYONE and creating public places to engage in community and recreation. You can enjoy the good stuff about your ancestors but you can't forget the bs they also imposed.


And I love what you stated above in bold.


I agree

ALT+PLS+RTN: Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.
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Reply #22 posted 06/10/16 10:47am

BlackandRising

bobgeorge77 said:

Grog said:

Has anyone ever identified the songs in Prince's catalog that address issues of race (not necessarily racism), starting with "Controversy" and ending with "Black Muse"? If not, that has to be the first step if we want to chronicle how the subject plays out in his songs and perhaps in his life. I can put more thought into this later and get back to you, but Controversy and Dirty Mind are good starting points. It's a constant theme in his music and it should be analyzed. Perhaps someone here has already addressed this issue.

Great ?... I always think of "What's My Name?" when he says "U could slap my face, but I got 2 say it....U never would have drank my coffee if I had never served U cream"... great line that works on so many levels!!

[Edited 6/10/16 4:26am]

For me this is a direct response to the debates over what he did back in the day with the multi-racial groups, the multiracial description of his heritage during the Dirty Mind era, etc. Prince would not be the icon he is had he not "served cream with his coffee". He would have been relegated to R&B and not given the freedom to integrate music in the way that he did.

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Reply #23 posted 06/10/16 11:06am

jayspud

I must admit I always found "Black MF in the House' quite a powerful assault against lazy and unfounded prejudice. In fact, the whole album made some powerful statementa about race.

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Reply #24 posted 06/10/16 11:11am

RaspBerryGirlF
riend

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P2daP said:

Grog said:


Sure. If we look at the entire song through the lense of race, the song clearly communicates deep displeasure with the U.S. ("Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery") and a desire to escape to different parts of the world, namely Switzerland and Portugal, for peace and beauty ("waterfalls"), not to mention wine and chocolate ("vineyards of Lavaux" and "chocolate of Vevey"). However, even abroad, Prince contemplates the problems back home and concludes that "The only way to win this game" is "To let everybody play and share the ball." The "ball" could be interpreted as wealth or equality. In this contemplative state, Prince recognizes he is unbound and free ("There ain't nobody got no chains on me / I'm flying higher than any mountain, deeper than any sea"), and while recognizing this fact, he concludes that his existence and experiences represent a "paradox" to the argument he is proposing about the lack of equality and opportunity in America ("A paradox is box's key, I'm the why in mystery").

I am not sure what he means by the following lines: "Come take me to an assembly in New York / To speak of the brand new everlasting wonder war" but I find it interesting that he includes the word "everlasting" because it is reminiscent of "The Everlasting Now" from The Rainbow Children. In "The Everlasting Now" he sings about many things, including race, especially his personal connection to race. For example,

He taught an integrated world to sing
The color you are don't mean a thing
. . . . .


He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But you can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't no matter how much money you made
All the cars you got and all the women you laid
Mess with the flag and to them you're still a spade

So, if we connect the "everlasting" dots from one song to the next, Prince (the "spade" who "taught an integrated world to sing") is likely referring to race and/or religion when he sings, "the brand new everlasting wonder war" in "Lavaux."

For some reason, I have always considered the last verse to be about Obama's election in 2008, although it could be solely about Prince ("Revolution time has come today / 'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay") and Prince's reaction to the ongoing/everlasting problem of race in America ("I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow"). Here's the last verse in full:

Revolution time has come today
'Cause it took a black face to see the same decay
Like the chocolate of Vevey, in the sun they'll melt away
As for me, I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow
Back to the vineyards of Lavaux


"In the sun they'll melt away" is a reference to racists or those who don't want to "let everybody play and share the ball." In the end, Prince wants peace. In fact, he wants to escape the madness of race and remove himself to a mountaintop in order to literally rise above bigotry and hatred. Let's remember that in the opening verse he sang, ""Life back home depresses me, just another form of slavery." Of course, one could also look at the lines, "I'll laugh and go to the mountains where the waters flow" and see a reference to heaven and the afterlife. I like to think that Prince is "up there" but instead of laughing, he is praying for our collective souls.

Hmm, very interesting. I think, as others mentioned, the "Assembly in New York" is the United Nation. I'm not sure what "The Everlasting Wonder War" is. But perhaps it's a war on God? The next lines are "To win or lose is so absurd. And the only causality is the word, the word." Which I think it's definitely a reference to the Bible. This verse made me recall an interview with Prince (I can't recall which one) in which he spoke about himself watching foreign nations speak at the United Nations and how they would constantly talk about the Bible.

That's what led me to believe perhaps the "the everlasting wonder war" is a war on God.

Yeah you might be right there, I always read it as the headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses which are located in NY but on second thought the term "assembly" does seem to fit better with the UN.

Heavenly wine and roses seems to whisper to me when you smile...
Always cry for love, never cry for pain...
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Reply #25 posted 06/10/16 11:25am

BlackandRising

jayspud said:

I must admit I always found "Black MF in the House' quite a powerful assault against lazy and unfounded prejudice. In fact, the whole album made some powerful statementa about race.

damn this thread is going to make me pull out a box and grab some cd's. I haven't listened to "Black MF In the House" in a long time, and you're right, that entire album is a huge statement on race. in fact I'm going to dig out that box now!

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Reply #26 posted 06/10/16 11:30am

RiotPaisley

langebleu said:



BlackandRising said:




RiotPaisley said:


I don't understand why people feel we can't all work together and be fair and equal while still maintaining pride in our roots. You can totally be pro-Black and still want ALL people to live and love together. You can be proud of your European heritage and still recognize that certain people in America have gotten a raw deal and work to level the playing field by building better schools for EVERYONE and creating public places to engage in community and recreation. You can enjoy the good stuff about your ancestors but you can't forget the bs they also imposed.


And I love what you stated above in bold.





I agree



Thanks! I am also really appreciating how great this conversation is going! I completely believe we can talk about race without people getting upset. We have to listen to each other though and attempt to see things through other people's eyes. It's hard to do if you aren't listening.

Peace y'all and be wild. We can do this! wink
Surprise, surprise.
Another treat. Another trick.
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Reply #27 posted 06/10/16 11:35am

BlackandRising

RiotPaisley said:

langebleu said:



BlackandRising said:




RiotPaisley said:


I don't understand why people feel we can't all work together and be fair and equal while still maintaining pride in our roots. You can totally be pro-Black and still want ALL people to live and love together. You can be proud of your European heritage and still recognize that certain people in America have gotten a raw deal and work to level the playing field by building better schools for EVERYONE and creating public places to engage in community and recreation. You can enjoy the good stuff about your ancestors but you can't forget the bs they also imposed.


And I love what you stated above in bold.





I agree



Thanks! I am also really appreciating how great this conversation is going! I completely believe we can talk about race without people getting upset. We have to listen to each other though and attempt to see things through other people's eyes. It's hard to do if you aren't listening.

Peace y'all and be wild. We can do this! wink

Quote of the day right here!
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Reply #28 posted 06/10/16 11:43am

Bohemian67

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SPYZFAN1 said:

I'm going to add "Black Muse"...my favorite most recent P song. The music is so upbeat and brilliant... and the lyrics are heavy but very uplifting.

I can listen to Black Muse constantly, it''s such agem heart

"Free URself, B the best that U can B, 3rd Apartment from the Sun, nothing left to fear" Prince Rogers Nelson - Forever in my Life -
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Reply #29 posted 06/10/16 11:44am

Identity

A straightforward Prince song that speaks directly to the title.

"Color"
Performed by the Steeles (on the 1-800-new funk compliation)


Color me black if u color me just like u
Color me angry if u color me less than i do
(whoa, what's your color?)
Yeah, what's your color?
(whoa, what's your color?)
What's your color?

Color me happy if u teach me what i need 2 know
Color me gone if u don't, if u don't cuz every child needs 2 grow
This i know

(whoa, what's your color?)
Oh, what's your color, yeah?
I wanna know
(whoa, what's your color?)
Oh, what's your color?
Listen (listen)

Love is my color when i'm shown love in return
But when i am not, it's a bet u can guess what i have learned


What's my color?
Hey


Color me green (color me green) if i cannot have what u've got
Color me blue (blue) until i do cuz the fire will sho'nuff be hot
Yes it will


(whoa, what's your color?)
What's your color, yeah?
Hey yeah
(whoa, what's your color?)
What's your color, yeah?

Oh, make me a promise (make me a promise)
Oh, make me a promise (that whatever u color me) that whatever u color me
U will at least color me then i can color u 2
What's your color


What's your color?
Make it love
What's your color?
Mine is love

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