It took Michael Jackson five years to follow up Thriller. It took Bruce Springsteen three years to follow up Born In The U.S.A. It took Madonna two years to follow up Like a Virgin.
It took Prince ten months to follow up Purple Rain.
That said, after I heard the underwhelming (despite the pure pop glory of “Raspberry Beret”) Around The World in a Day, I started a pattern with Prince that I’ve kept up for three decades: I started dipping in and out of his discography.
Basically, if the critical & cultural buzz was that I needed to check a Prince album out, I did. If not, then I didn’t. After all, there was always a new one right around the corner. For 30 years!
The good and bad news is, of course, is that there are two major swaths of Prince’s career I’ve never (or barely) heard. The Black Album – Come. Emancipation – N.E.W.S. And while Musicology got me interested again, and I flat-out love Planet Earth I’ve still missed at least half of his output from the last decade.
What all of this means is that I pretty much ignored “Kiss” during its heyday. To be slightly fair to me, the spring of 1986 was a relatively chaotic time in my life, so I didn’t have as much time to devote to anything musically but my core 1980s people.
So I didn’t even really hear “Kiss” until I bought The Hits, the crazy-making singles compilation that shoots itself in the foot by not being in chronological order.
In any event, I’m not even sure I was ready for “Kiss” in 1986. With its spare structure, super-funky guitar and throw-back falsetto, I’m not sure my reference points were there yet.
All these years later, after a couple of decades of digging into the classic soul and funk songs that clearly inspired “Kiss,” I totally get how awesome it is.
Combining one of his most melodic choruses with a free-flowing, slightly off-beat beat and a — for Prince — love > sex lyric, “Kiss” is the primary reason that Parade was the first of the Prince albums that I bought to start filling in the gaps.
Official video for “Kiss”
“Kiss” Performed Live at Paisley Park, 1999
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