Parade (Prince album)

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Parade
A black a white photo of a man with a black tank top and his arms posed in a theatrical way with the words "PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION/ PARADE"
Studio album / soundtrack by Prince and The Revolution
Released March 31, 1986
Recorded April 1985–early 1986
Genre
Length 40:57
Label
Producer Prince
Prince chronology
Around the World in a Day
(1985)Around the World in a Day1985
Parade
(1986)
Sign o' the Times
(1987)Sign o' the Times 1987
Singles from Parade
  1. "Kiss"
    Released: February 5, 1986
  2. "Mountains"
    Released: May 7, 1986
  3. "Anotherloverholenyohead"
    Released: July 2, 1986
  4. "Girls & Boys"
    Released: August 4, 1986

Parade is the eighth studio album by American recording artist Prince, the final with The Revolution as his backing band. It also was the soundtrack album to the 1986 film Under the Cherry Moon. It was released on March 31, 1986 by Paisley Park Records and Warner Bros. Records.

After the critical disappointment of his 1985 album Around the World in a Day, Parade was released to acclaim from music critics and was named one of the best albums of 1986 by The Village Voice and NME magazine, who named it their album of the year. It also sold two million copies both in the United States and abroad, led by the number 1 single "Kiss".

Background[edit]

Parade was the follow-up to Around the World in a Day and the soundtrack to Prince's second film. The album sees Prince further diversifying musically, adding orchestrations to his music and presenting a very European feel. Prince also displayed a new image with Parade: his trademark ruffled shirts, wild curly hair, and purple outfits, which defined his look from 1981's Controversy to 1985's Around the World in a Day, were replaced by slicked-back hair and dress suits. The first single, "Kiss", was a number one hit, and the album as a whole was well received in the United States. Europe further embraced the album, and for the first time in Prince's career European album sales eclipsed those in the United States. While Parade was the last official release with The Revolution, a follow up called Dream Factory was recorded. Its release was canceled when Prince disbanded the group.

Music and lyrics[edit]

Parade eschews the guitar and rock elements of Prince's 1984 album Purple Rain in favor of the neo-psychedelic style he explored on Around the World in a Day (1985), austerely produced funk, and soundtrack compositions.[3] According to Blender magazine's Keith Harris, Parade "makes a pop cavalcade out of the same psychedelic affectations" of Around the World in a Day.[5] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice viewed it as a modern "fusion of Fresh's foundation and Sgt. Pepper's filigrees", with songs he described as baroque pop creations.[4] According to PopMatters editor Quentin B. Huff, "Parade doesn't sound like anything else in the Prince canon. The album is a blend of jazz, soul, and a certain French undercurrent, probably absorbed from the film being set in France."[2]

Parade is bookended by two songs—"Christopher Tracy's Parade" and "Sometimes It Snows in April"—that reference Christopher Tracy, the protagonist from Under the Cherry Moon. The latter song is an acoustic ballad with chromatic choruses and sentimental lyrics bidding farewell to Tracy.[6] Christgau wrote that the album's lyrics suggest that Prince sings as Tracy, although he cannot be certain.[4] Parade also features some French lyrics and chanson arrangements, which refer to the film's French setting.[6]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
Blender 4/5 stars[5]
Chicago Sun-Times 3/4 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly C−[9]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[10]
Hi-Fi News & Record Review A[11]
Pitchfork 9.1/10[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[13]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 7/10[14]
The Village Voice A−[4]

Parade was released on March 31, 1986 to acclaim from music critics, who viewed it as a creative comeback after the critical disappointment of Around the World in a Day.[15] In a contemporary review for The New York Times, John Rockwell said that the album succeeds in part because of the more aggressive songs, "in which Prince chooses to play up the black side of his multifaceted musical sensibility."[6] The Sunday Times found its musical scope "stunning", and the Detroit Free Press called the album "a confirmation of Prince's place as a superior melodist, arranger, and player, as well as a celebration of his creativity."[15] Hi-Fi News & Record Review called songs such as "New Position and "Girls and Boys" well-crafted funk and said that "when Prince opts to go completely daft, as he does on 'Do U Lie'... even then the result is somehow endearing and instantly likeable."[11]

Commercially, Parade charted at number 3 on the pop chart and at number 2 on the R&B chart, while selling 2 million copies in the United States, where Prince's sales had decreased. However it garnered him a new commercial audience in Europe and sold 2 million copies internationally.[16] The album finished 25th in the voting for The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll.[17] Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it as the 33rd best album of the year on his own list.[18] NME magazine named it their album of the year for 1986.[19]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine viewed Parade as a musically diverse near-masterpiece that is given depth by Prince's "weird religious and sexual metaphors".[7] Simon Price later wrote in The Guardian that it was "the sound of Prince at his most effortless and assured. Cohesive and ice cream-cool, nobody would guess it was a soundtrack for a (sub-par) film. And it has 'Kiss' on it."[10] In a less enthusiastic review for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne said the record's ornate ballads and inconsistent material made it more self-indulgent than Around the World in a Day.[9] According to Mosi Reeves of Rhapsody, Prince's die-hard fans viewed the album as a charming mix of funk, jazz, and pop rock styles, but some detractors felt that its music was overblown. Reeves himself said that "this stylistic departure is an anomaly".[20] In rapper Chuck D's opinion, Prince "turned off a lot of the black followers [with the album]. I couldn't understand that. People don't want artists to endlessly repeat themselves, yet they can't tolerate change either. Prince changes all the time, always working on the public's imagination, always trying to keep ahead of them."[21]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Prince, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Christopher Tracy's Parade" Prince, John L. Nelson 2:11
2. "New Position"   2:20
3. "I Wonder U"   1:39
4. "Under the Cherry Moon" Prince, John L. Nelson 2:57
5. "Girls & Boys"   5:29
6. "Life Can Be So Nice"   3:13
7. "Venus de Milo"   1:55
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
8. "Mountains" Prince, Wendy & Lisa 3:57
9. "Do U Lie?"   2:44
10. "Kiss" Prince, arranged by David Z 3:37
11. "Anotherloverholenyohead"   4:00
12. "Sometimes It Snows in April" Prince, Wendy & Lisa 6:48

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 8
Austrian Albums Chart[22] 7
Canadian Albums Chart[23] 11
Dutch Albums Chart[24] 1
German Albums Chart[24] 6
New Zealand Albums Chart[25] 7
Norwegian Albums Chart[26] 10
Swedish Albums Chart[27] 5
Swiss Albums Chart[28] 2
UK Albums Chart[29] 4
US Billboard 200[30] 3
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[30] 2
Chart (2016) Peak
position
US Billboard 200 50

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[31] Gold 35,000^
France (SNEP)[32] Platinum 300,000*
Germany (BVMI)[33] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ White, Timothy (May 1986). "Spin". Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Prince's Parade: It's Really All About the Music". Quentin B. Huff. 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2014-11-16. 
  3. ^ a b c Bream, Jon (March 30, 1986). "Prince // 'Parade' is marketing savvy test". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Christgau, Robert (April 29, 1986). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Harris, Keith (June–July 2001). "Prince – Every Original CD Reviewed: Parade". Blender. New York (1). Archived from the original on August 20, 2004. Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Rockwell, John (March 30, 1986). "Prince's 'Parade' Stakes A Claim To Popularity". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Parade – Prince and the Revolution". AllMusic. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ McLeese, Don (April 7, 1986). "Prince's lighter, brighter 'new funk' is on 'Parade'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 18, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ a b Browne, David (September 21, 1990). "Purple Products". Entertainment Weekly. New York (32). ISSN 1049-0434. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Price, Simon (April 22, 2016). "Prince: every album rated – and ranked". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Prince and the Revolution: Parade". Hi-Fi News & Record Review. London. July 1986. 
  12. ^ Wolk, Douglas (April 30, 2016). "Prince / The Revolution: Parade". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (2004). "Prince". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 654–57. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Prince". Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  15. ^ a b Draper, Jason (2011). Prince: Chaos, Disorder, and Revolution. Backbeat Books. ISBN 1-4584-2941-5. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  16. ^ Guilla, Bob (2008). Icons of R&B and Soul. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 493. ISBN 0-313-34046-3. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  17. ^ "The 1986 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. March 3, 1987. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 3, 1987). "Pazz & Jop 1986: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year for 1986". NME. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ Reeves, Mosi. "Parade (Soundtrack) by Prince". Rhapsody. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ Select. London (1). July 1990. 
  22. ^ "Prince & The Revolution – Parade". Austrian Album Charts (in German). Hung Medien. 
  23. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 44, No. 11, June 07 1986". 
  24. ^ a b "Prince & The Revolution – Parade". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. 
  25. ^ "Prince & The Revolution – Parade". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. 
  26. ^ "Prince & The Revolution – Parade". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. 
  27. ^ "Prince & The Revolution – Parade". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. 
  28. ^ "Prince & The Revolution – Parade". hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. 
  29. ^ "Prince". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b "Parade – Prince & the Revolution : Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1986 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  32. ^ "French album certifications – Prince – Parade" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Prince; 'Parade')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Prince – Parade". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Parade in the search field and then press Enter.
  35. ^ "American album certifications – Prince – Parade". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]