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35 Years Later and ‘Purple Rain’ Is Still Brilliant

Purple Rain was Prince’s sixth album. By its release, he’d already done a little of everything, including a few things no one had done. He’d filled up dance floors with tracks like “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” pushed every sexual boundary he could think of between Dirty Mind and Controversy, and expanded what was possible with a drum machine on 1999.

And he did all that before he turned 25.

30 years after the Purple Rain sound track was released, the most interesting thing to look back on is the album’s ambitious music. This wasn’t some dumbed down, condensed version of his previous groundbreaking work, pared down and streamlined for mass consumption. And it wasn’t nearly as vulgar and explicit as the shocking songs that made his early albums impossible to ignore (“Darling Nikki,” even with its opening stanza, is a hymn compared with “Sister”).

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