Some wondered why Prince returned so quickly with a studio follow up to Purple Rain. The answers were actually right there in the songs. Released just two weeks after the tour for its predecessor ended, Around the World in a Day included revealing meditations on the dangers of success, on fears and guilt, and the desire to escape.
“Everybody can’t be on top,” Prince said with bitter irony on the Top 10 hit “Pop Life,” then took a moment during “Condition of the Heart” to note “that sometimes money buys you everything, and nothing.” He was left to hope for a nirvana-like getaway to “Paisley Park” (“admission is easy,” Prince sings, “just say U believe.”), while wondering about the fate of a royal “who didn’t deserve 2 B” in “The Ladder.” Looking back, this was never going to be another Purple Rain. Mostly, because Prince didn’t want it to be. Instead, Around the World in Day arrived on April 22, 1985 as a kind of trippy antidote to his biggest success.
“More than anything else, I try not to repeat myself,” Prince told Rolling Stone in 1985. “I think that’s the problem with the music industry today. When a person does get a hit, they try to do it again the same way. … But I always try to do something different and conquer new ground.”
Prince completed Around the World in Day on Christmas Eve 1984, working through scattered sessions that actually began before Purple Rain’s release in June of the same year. “I didn’t wait to see what would happen with Purple Rain,” Prince added. “That’s why the two albums sound completely different.”
Label: Paisley Park – 7599-25286-1
Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Gatefold
US, 30 Sept. 2016
Rock, Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Pop Rock, Funk, Psychedelic, Psychedelic Rock