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Purple Rain: Rebirth of the Cool

May 6, 2016


Purple Rain was the coolest movie ever made. Many others can lay claim to this, and many others are great contenders to the title. But at the end of the day, no film can top Purple Rain in terms of the mood, the style, and most of all, the music.


That music was made by the coolest rock star that ever lived.


It's another big claim, and many will argue the point. After all wasn't Jim Morrison the coolest rock star of all time? Maybe Jimi Hendrix? Jimmy Page? The truth is it's hard to deny any of the three. But how could anyone ever deny Prince?


A lot of pop stars today try to be cool, but it's painfully obvious they're just clamoring for the spotlight.


In a world where celebrities beg for attention and attempt to outshine each other on the red carpet, Prince simply had to enter the room. All eyes were on him, and he was always confident in who he was.


Prince didn't follow trends, he created his own.


He was the epitome of class, and refused to lower himself to the standards set by his peers. Prince didn't get caught up in celebrity, because that's not what he cared about. He was an artist; his work was his focus.


Purple Rain was his masterpiece.


The film was more than just a concert movie, it was an experience. From the opening notes of Let's Go Crazy to the final return of The Kid on stage, moviegoers were treated to an urban symphony of love and heartache.


Prince's charisma was undeniable, even in silence. He didn't need to speak in every scene in order to be effective, he just had to be. 


Prince wasn't playing a character; he was playing himself with the volume turned up. This is why his performance connected him to fans, because he was real. This was not about a musician trying to become an actor; this was about an artist wanting to tell a story.


Thanks to Purple Rain's colorful cast of characters, Prince's story was told in grand fashion.


The Revolution was the perfect compliment to Prince. Wendy and Lisa provided the voice of cynicism, the back-up singers that wanted to make their own way but were prohibited from doing so. Brown Mark laid down the bass behind Prince's screaming guitar, while Bobby Z provided the backbeat on drums. "The Doctor" Matt Fink seemed out of place in his scrubs and dark glasses, but he managed to lighten the tone, and make The Revolution fun.


But the breakout stars were Morris Day and Jerome.


As Morris schemed to take Apollonia from The Kid, Jerome stroked his boss's ever expanding ego. Every time they were on camera, they stole the show. The two may have provided Purple Rain's comic relief, but they were anything but clowns; they were the most fun aspect of the film.


Of course the best part about the movie is the music. Purple Rain was not only the soundtrack for the film; it was the soundtrack for many people's lives. The energy, the soul, the life contained in those songs gave heart to an industry that never seems to have any.


But the music was a direct reflection of the man that made it. Purple Rain was epic because Prince was a master of his craft. He knew how the songs should fit together, and he knew that he could captivate an audience based on how those songs could tell a story on the big screen.


Birth of the Cool was a milestone for Miles Davis. But Purple Rain was Rebirth of the Cool, and Prince was the genius behind it.


Long live The Kid.

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