#1068 – Prince and the Revolution – Kiss
(7-inch single, 1986) (Discogs tracklisting)
And so the randomiser deals me a classic: my favourite single of 1986 (I still have the piece of paper which tells me so), and a song which has never been far away since.
I haven’t played “Kiss” on 7-inch for a long time, and there’s a smidge of audible wear – but that’s to be expected, given the number of turntables which the record graced during my DJ years. For right through until 1989, when the regular DJ-ing tailed off, it was always a failsafe choice, guaranteed to sustain or revive any dancefloor. Even today, as the song entered its closing moments, I felt a small “get ready with the next track” twinge. I guess the format must have been the trigger.
Like many at the time, I’d been thrown by the psychedelic curveball of Around The World In A Day, Prince’s 1985 follow-up to his mega-successful Purple Rain soundtrack. It felt out of step with what was going on – which was ultimately to its credit, and the album has worn extremely well – but I didn’t pay it much attention, other than forming a vague hunch that Prince might be sliding towards irrelevance.
So when “Kiss” dropped, it dropped with a big, bracing SLAP, a shimmering, dazzling BANG and an almighty WALLOP, slicing straight through the over-processed cod-sophistication of 1986 pop and instantly taking ownership of the Here and the Now. Taut, lean and urgent, sexy, funny and fresh, it felt for its first few weeks like the only song that mattered. We heard it everywhere, and yet we never tired of it. Unlike so many instant-appeal, saturation-coverage hits, it never ended up feeling played-out.
(Meanwhile, on the flip side, “♥ or $” jammed around a simple chant, and faded while the band were still cooking up a storm. A well-chosen companion piece.)
Parade swiftly followed, and didn’t disappoint. The second imperial phase commenced, scaling further heights a year later. I doubt I ever DJ-ed a Prince-free set, and I doubt I’ve ever seen a “Kiss”-free Prince show since (and I’ve seen him many times). There’s never a time when it feels wrong to play “Kiss”. It sits above and beyond, teasing and twirling towards eternity in its own, unique space.