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dance / music / sex / romance is fast approaching its third year, so to celebrate, we’re going…backwards? That’s right, to mark the 40th anniversary of Prince’s debut album, I thought now was the perfect time to go ahead with an idea I’ve been toying with for a while: our own sub-series of review podcasts looking at each of Prince’s albums in isolation.
I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, it’s a way to bring those of you who have been listening to the podcasts but not reading the blog into the loop on my chronological Prince project–and also a way for me to work through some of these albums before I can get to it with my glacially paced writing schedule.
Second, I’ve known from the beginning of this project that if I really wanted to do Prince’s catalogue justice, I would need to incorporate more voices and perspectives than just my own. We all have our biases and blind spots, and as a Prince fan I am acutely aware that one person’s sentimental favorite can be another’s unlistenable mess (and vice versa). That’s why I asked my friends Harold and KaNisa, both of whose encyclopaedic knowledge of Prince’s career dwarfs my own, to join me. I think you’ll find that our tastes and opinions both intersect and diverge in a lot of interesting ways, which allowed us–and hopefully, will allow you–to take a different perspective on some of these songs and the context in which they were created.
I hope you enjoy this new approach to an album that remains underappreciated in Prince’s catalogue. If you do, I hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on your streaming app of choice (iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play), and if you’re so inclined, leave a review! No matter what, thanks for listening, and see you again soon.
00:00:00 “For You” (1976 Recording)
00:01:01 Harold’s Previous Appearance on d / m / s / r
00:01:10 The Prince Podcast
00:01:24 KaNisa’s Tumblr
00:04:50 Duane Tudahl on d / m / s / r
00:06:54 “Soft and Wet” (from For You, 1978)
00:09:10 Here’s Where to Read the Blog Entries on For You
00:09:19 The New Prince Issue of Wax Poetics
00:11:08 “I’m Under Your Spell” by Mind & Matter, written by and featuring the Artist Later Known as Jimmy Jam (1977 Recording, available on Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound)
00:14:35 “Everybody Dance” by Chic (from Chic, 1977)
00:14:46 “Shame” by Evelyn “Champagne” King (from Smooth Talk, 1977)
00:15:15 “Mary Jane” by Rick James and the Stone City Band (from Come Get It!, 1978)
00:18:35 “The Closer I Get to You” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (from Blue Lights in the Basement, 1977)
00:19:04 “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams (from You Light Up My Life, 1978)
00:21:06 “You and I” by Rick James and the Stone City Band (from Come Get It!)
00:22:54 Now This is More Like It
00:23:10 Getting There
00:24:37 Prince Meets His Public, 1978
00:29:58 “Well, I’m going to pick up a flute pretty soon.”
00:32:12 “Just as Long as We’re Together” (1977 Recording)
00:41:28 “Funkytown” by Lipps, Inc. (from Mouth to Mouth, 1979)
00:48:47 “For You” (from For You)
00:56:10 “For You” (1976 Recording)
01:01:08 “In Love” (from For You)
01:12:40 “Soft and Wet” (from For You)
01:16:08 “Soft and Wet” (1976 Recording)
01:19:22 The Futurama Fry Squint
01:20:58 The Bonobo Statue that Scarred Zach for Life
01:30:00 “Crazy You” (from For You)
01:32:40 Zach’s Original Post on “Crazy You”
01:38:55 “Just as Long as We’re Together” (from For You)
01:47:27 “Jelly Jam” (1977 Recording)
01:52:25 “Baby” (from For You)
01:56:49 “School of Life” by Tommy Tate (1972 Single)
02:01:29 “Eye Hate U” (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
02:05:27 “Baby” (1977 Recording)
02:08:00 “She’s Soft and Wet” by MC Hammer (from Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em, 1990)
02:09:32 “My Love is Forever” (from For You)
02:11:13 Zach’s Obviously Erroneous Rankings of Songs on For You
02:18:29 “As” by Stevie Wonder (from Songs in the Key of Life, 1976)
02:20:20 “So Blue” (from For You)
02:34:03 “I’m Yours” (from For You)
15 replies on “Podcast: 40 Years of For You”
Loved the idea of breaking down the lesser talked about albums in detail. Prince is fascinating and all of his work deserves to be talked about in detail. I love all eras of Prince. I look forward to hearing more podcasts like this. Thanks.
Awesome, glad you enjoyed it!
Are there many that listen to podcasts but don’t read blogposts? Different strokes I suppose, but podcasts make it difficult to get to the content. Thankfully this particular one has actual music, most are just constant talking, which is much faster to digest, not even taking into account accents etc..
As to your podcast review, it’s much appreciated. A few things I’d like to add. The Rick James – Come Get It album was a much more formed and confident product. It proudly says “Produced, arranged and composed by Rick James”. Even though Prince heavily pushed the one-man-band, the idea of the main person that does most everything (Rick James also being a multi-instrumentalist) was very much in the air.
The album itself is very much Prince presenting himself, to both the record company and the audience. Not just the opening “For You” for his audience (much like Work It Out was a message only to the record company), but also the workmanship. Songs like In Love are exercises in form, more than heartfelt songs he created to express his inner feelings. If you listen to the demos, you’ll hear his influences much more clearly (his lower register singing especially being Larry Graham rip-offish, for instance) and that was removed for the released album. Interesting bit of info there is that Parliament’s Flashlight was Bernie going Larry Graham on the synthesizer, Just As Long and especially Soft and Wet was Prince going Larry Graham. More of things being in the air and done across the industry.
I find myself reaching back to the album, although I mostly only go for For You, Soft & Wet, Crazy You (I love the Osunlade cover version of this, making it a bit more Brazil even, available on spotify) and Just As Long.
It is definitely part of the “soft Prince” era, as I like to think of the first two albums, or the “not yet broken out of the mold” era. He was very much perfecting things too much (which unfortunately he completely threw out the window for the throwaway “Prince” album, which just doesn’t have songs that are strong enough), but overall it’s a solid album that gets overlooked for some, to me, unknown reason. Maybe it is because it is an “industrial” album, in that it tries to show and follow industry best practice, which is what he almost completely stopped doing by the time Dirty Mind came around.
This is a great point–For You is definitely a “look what I did” type of album. He needed a little more life experience, I think, before he could write a song that really connected. I will say that I’m not normally much of an audiophile, but when I listened to this album with good headphones like KaNisa mentioned I liked it so much better–the overproduction really shines when you can hear every little detail, hahaha.
Did you all know that Chris Moon wrote the Lyrics to “My Love is Forever”?
Yes! I overlooked mentioning that this time, I think, but I talked about it a bit here: https://princesongs.org/2016/08/03/my-love-is-forever/
I think it’s interesting how Moon has said it was a really personal song to him, when I still think (even though Harold and KaNisa have softened me on it) that the lyrics sound written-to-order.
One thing I didn’t know until today is that the reason why “Make It Through the Storm” came out credited to Moon alone when Sue Ann Carwell recorded it is because he confronted Prince about “My Love is Forever” and Prince agreed to let him have full credit in return: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/8293357/prince-for-you-debut-album
Prince swapped credit for the music to “Make it Through the Storm” for lyrical credit on “my Love of Forever”
Oops, should have waited to comment–yeah, I didn’t find that out until I read the Billboard article today!
I never cared for “So Blue” until he passed. A few days after… I listened to it. I was crushed.
His passing made me do a 180 on a LOT of stuff–it’s crazy how much it changed things.
HI, just had to spit this out . Im only into Prince since his death ,its like mining diamonds in south Africa , so much and so many amazing examples of musicianship…For You when I first heard it hit me in the heart and I had a visceral reaction to it . I was amazed , surprised and moved that some young black man could deliver this sound as his hello to the world. I feel it was a magnificent statement of here I am get ready for the ride , bolded delicate ,sensitive and intelligent …..I LLLove this piece of music… Im not sure its a song
Yes to KaNisa listen to what such a young man achieved . Yes you can hear he is going with the music flow of the time but all the signposts are there as you so well point out . The crooning , the rocking .the pleading . the turning of guitar man on his head and making him vulnerable yet by doing so making guitar man so much more attractive an interesting.The use of voices as instruments and instruments as voices in such a unique way. Great discussion guys, you really made me think … I only listened to the album for the first time yesterday and listened to your podcast the day after …it is a great perspective as its so fresh to me to hear it for the first time at 57 …Its my 19th album working my way through ….and I feel your so right it is of its time and I was there but it has a lot of other flavours leaking through ,,not vanilla but tutti fruity
I have been listening to the podcast in celebration of Prince’s debut album “For You.” These days, in the land of contracts in the recording industry, the world will not get to hear the very early works of an artist. They will already be expected to have ironed out all the wrinkles, pounded out all the dents, and given the final sanding and finish. And though the public gets a very finished product, they aren’t there during the growth process. In the case of Prince, not only did he get the much-needed support of Warner Brothers, but the public was given the opportunity to experience the excitement of watching him grow as an artist and as a person. I love to collect stones and polish them. It is exciting to watch the beauty develop in the process. Prince was so gifted but he was still rough at the beginning of his career. We are fortunate to have the early record of his progress.
The thing that impressed me most about the song “For You” was not the forty-some voices, though creating a choir from just one person’s voice is amazing. But it is the sincerity of his message. Isn’t it so very stunning reading these words so many years later after all of the time that has passed since they were first conceived and penned? The warmth that comes from these words could melt you; so heartfelt and vulnerable. “For You” reads like a wedding vow. I wonder how many people in hearing that song really understood the seriousness of the person on the other end of those words. Is there any other artist that started out their career with such a definitive statement? This was the start of a relationship and what was on his first album and, I would say, on the ones to follow was his gift. And when you see it like that, it puts an additional perspective on his work. Yes, he was an artist subject to criticism of his work, but there was a lot of heart there from someone who really put himself out there in his music. It was his way of having a relationship in his personal and public life. He said it himself, if you wanted to know what he was about, it was all in his music.
Thanks for the space to share these, my thoughts, with you.
Thanks for sharing! I agree–For You isn’t my favorite Prince album, but I’m glad it exists and I think it’s a much more pleasing listen than it’s gotten credit for.
I 100% agree that “For You,” the song, has gained in poignancy as Prince’s career went on–and of course, since he died, has become almost eerily prophetic. What a beautiful way to begin a body of work; one of the most iconic “side one, track one, album one”s I can think of.
Reread this today! Love it!