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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 30 March 2002
In the mid- to late-eighties, Prince had the world at his feet. He had burst onto the musical scene at the end of the previous decade and rackee up a commercialy successful albums at the rate of one a year ever since his debut. His first film, Purple Rain, was also a major hit and he quickly followed it with Under the Cherry Moon. While the film struggled to make an impact, the OST was another successful evolution in Prince's musical career.
The film is a romantic tragedy and so many of the songs on the OST have a melancholic and/or romantic theme. After the psychedelia of the previous year's 'Around the World in a Day', Prince continued to experiment with the sound and production values on his recordings. Some of the tracks are accomapnied by the nicest strings on any Prince record so far and some are really stripped to the bones funk (New Position for example).
Although this record did not chart as highly as some of its predecessors, it is still a firm favourite in many a fan's collection. It contains aome of his most emotive writing. 'Sometimes it Snows in April', for example, is a really beautiful song about losing someone you love. 'Mountains' calls us all to believe there is something better waiting for everyone willing to try and get there. 'Do U Lie?' absent mindedly poses questions to a lover to the accompaniment of a French Riviera style accordion. The singles are pretty good too. 'Girls & Boys' was the first Prince video I ever saw and the saxophone on the bridge is still one of my favourite sounds. The original version of 'Kiss' is here too. Accept no substitutes. Even though I liked the production Art of Noise did, Prince is still the best man to sing this song.
One of the advantages of Prince's prolixity is that he could release albums so clearly different from each other and yet maintain a continuity in lyrical content and personality. 'Parade' is dissimilar to any other Prince album, yet it forms a clear link in the catalogue between 'Around the World in a Day' and the next release, 'Sign O' the Times'.
Its mix of the deeply personal ( Sometimes...), the (evocative (Kiss), and the uplifting (Mountains) makes it a classic Prince album.
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on 30 June 2002
1986.
Prince and the Revolution fans were slavering for the new album and film. I think we'll gently pass over "Under The Cherry Moon", which has luckily sunk without a trace since release.
But, awkward as the film was, I don't think anyone expected the gorgeous wall of sound and shock of "Parade". Exquisite, happy tunes thick with instrumentation allied with sparce, brilliant songs that really made the most of the new invention: the CD. In tracks like "Girls and Boys" or most famously, "Kiss", Prince really was pushing and stretching to see what he could make of this new scratch-free mode of delivery.
And how utterly different to the playful and wayward "Around the world In a Day"! It was almost as if the guys folded their arms and said, "Right - you want a hit album? We'll show you a hit album". Then delivered an extraordinary, no compromises slice of extraordinary talent.
Having just listened to the album again for the first time in about seven years or more (hence this review), the glorious fun of tracks like the album's introduction, "Christopher Tracy's Parade", alongside "Life Can Be So Nice" and "Mountains" make this one hell of an uplifting album and I well remember putting the 12" of "Mountains" on over and over again at home.
You just can't help grinning. It's so obvious they had great fun recording it. This is a great, great album. Buy it, you idiot!
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on 30 September 2003
1999 is often cited as the start of his artistic peak, Purple rain was the 'Big one' and Sign o' the times is the 'critics album'. This album seems to be slightly overlooked in Prince's catalog, by critics anyway and overlooked in popular music in general yet this for me is his true masterpiece.I have never heard anouther album quite like this, it rivals Tom Waits' 80's work in its originality and quirkyness.I wont spend time picking out induvidual moments or tracks, all ill say is this album is simply amazing, a joy from beginning to end. It is endlessly experimental and packed with ideas and has consistently great lyrics (unusual for some of his other work). Nobody ever talks about this album and it leaves me completely bewildered.I am into every genre of music you could name and yet this is one of maybe 4 albums out of my 500 plus CDs that I always come back too. If you like Prince - buy this, if you like truly original music -. Funky/Quirky/Sexy/Experimental/European/Smart/Beautiful/timeless
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Apparently Prince hated this album, saying the only song he was truly proud of was "Kiss" (which, incidentally, he gave to another band but snatched back when he heard the arrangement their producer had given it - the arrangement it has to this day). This may or may not be the truth, but for me "Parade" is Prince's finest album.

From the start it sounds fresh, bright and summery, conjuring images of a glorious day on the French riviera, its lush orchestration (courtesy of Clare Fischer) giving the album a wonderful edge. The opening salvo of tracks is just astonishing - "Christopher Tracy's Parade" becoming "New Position", then "I Wonder U" and finally "Under The Cherry Moon", effectively a medley, Prince playing the drums for all four tracks in one continuous take so the story goes. The vampy "Girls and Boys" comes next, followed by the riotous "Life Can Be So Nice" ("scrambled eggs are so boring" he wails, and we cannot disagree) before the gorgeous instrumental "Venus de Milo" brings the first half to a close.

The second half starts strongly with "Mountains", a song written with strong involvement from band members Wendy and Lisa, and this is probably the poppiest moment on the album. This is followed by "Do U Lie?", a very French-sounding track, heavy on accordions, before the unmistakable guitar introduction of "Kiss" bursts forth from the speakers. The penultimate track, and my personal favourite on the set, is "Anotherloverholenyohead", a gloriously soulful, funky chug of a track, an impassioned vocal rolling over the top. Finally, "Sometimes It Snows In April" is the emotional ballad to end it all, not in the same league as "Purple Rain" but excellent all the same, and a lump fills your throat as the final piano notes drift away.

Magnificent.
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on 8 July 2004
From 1984 to about 1990, I was one of Prince's biggest fans. I had all his albums and singles and went to see him in concert for the Parade tour.
This album and 'Around the world in a day' are the best albums that he made and are the ones that I go back to and listen to most often.
Just like the best football teams aren't made up of the best players but rather of players that fit well together, so this album isn't full of outstanding tracks but they fit so well together that they sound good when listened to as a whole.
Having said this, there are some outstanding tracks on the album. 'Kiss' obviously is one of Prince's best singles but other songs stand out. 'Sometimes it snows in April' is one of Prince's best ever songs that still manages to bring a tear to the eye.
'Mountains' although not one of the best songs has one of the best intros of any prince song.
'Girls and Boys' is a brilliant pop song with some fantastic horns in it.
Overall a great album to listen to.
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on 8 October 2009
As with all important, life changing events, I remember very clearly the moment I first heard "Kiss": I was in Holland at my cousin's place and this just happened to come on the radio. It sounded really futuristic and absolutely out of this world, y'know? An instant classic! Two decades on, the track hasn't really aged at all: in fact, it has taken almost that long for the rest of the music world to catch up!

Anyway, as great as "Kiss" is, it's parent album has a lot more to offer than just that one track, which is not really representative of the album itself (in fact Prince hadn't thought much of the song and had given a demo to producer David Z to work on for Paisley Park artist Mazarati - it was only when Prince came in and heard the finished track that he decided to nab it back for himself!).

"Kiss" aside, other classic tracks on this disc are "Girls & Boys" (you probably know this one already because it was top ten UK hit but you're not going to find it on any hits compilations because it wasn't released in the US as a single), "Mountains" (an ill-advised choice as second single but a truly brilliant, funky, driving track anyways - the 12" full length version is well worth tracking down too!), "Anotherloverholenyohead" (one of his funkiest ever cuts with a killer chorus - again, the 12" is worth seeking out) and "Sometimes It Snows In April" (one of his most beautiful ballads which for some reason I always find profoundly moving). I also really like "Do U Lie" because although it is a bit silly, it has a lot of charm!

I would describe the contents of the rest of the disc but to be honest, words really couldn't do it justice. Stylistically, it is absolutely unique both in Prince's discography and in the world of music generally. Special credit should go to Claire Fischer for the orchestral arrangements because the enhance the tracks no end but of course the original inspiration for all this was Prince and the Revolution, who are at their absolute creative peak here.

I feel this album often gets overlooked because the film it soundtracked "Under The Cherry Moon" (directed by and starring Prince) was such a critical and commercial flop. But "Parade" is a truly a thing of wonder and is definitely Prince's most beguiling and playful album. For me personally, on a balmy summer's day this just edges Sign 'O' the Times and Lovesexy for coveted title of "Personal Favourite Prince Album" and is definitely one of the best albums recorded by anyone, IMO - so add this to your basket and enjoy!
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on 7 August 2016
Listening to Parade now, 30 years after it's release, it's amazing how experimental, and left field it sounds for one of the major stars of the 80's. Prince never played it safe, and was constantly taking his music to whichever place he chose. His previous album Around The World In A Day had successfully got rid of the mainstream hangers-on after the massive success of Purple Rain, but Prince was still a huge star in 1986, and Parade was a ballsy release, mixing an eclectic mix of styles, with a French theme running through the album. Girls & Boys and of course Kiss are the big hitters here, but Mountains & Anotherloveholenyhead (also singles) easily match them as first class Prince songs. Parade actually absorbs the listener better through the weirder efforts such as the gloriously whimsical Do U Lie, or the bare funk of New Position. Closer Sometimes It Snows In April is one of Prince's most sincere songs, and the restrained backing by The Revolution makes it one of his finest efforts.
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on 3 February 2003
As someone who owns circa 15,000 records, this LP still stands up as one of the greatest works committed to vinyl (or CD). Today, I'm sure you cannot comprehend how radical this LP was when it was launched. With good hi fi (I'm talking LINN, Exposure etc...) this LP's production, placed instruments around the soundstage like no other. Just listen to "I wonder U", and feel the percussion in the room. Combined with Wendy and Lisa's sublime string and piano arrangements and you have orchestration that to this day, has not been surpassed (or if it has, it's not been as well recorded).
The man is a genius - no doubt, and as a fan, this and SOTT are his best works! Whatever Amazon charge - it's great value - buy it!
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on 5 April 2013
Prince - what can you say about the formerly Purple sex symbol?

Well, lets ignore the last 20 years and understand that this album really is one of the greats, from the short and sweet (Christopher Tracey's Parade) to the stone classics (Mountains) there's not a bad track on this. As an introduction to the man you might be better with 1999 or Purple Rain but as a creative peak you can't look much further than this...
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on 2 November 2012
Having had this album on cassette a long time ago I was thrilled to find this album on Amazon. Despite my fears that over time I may have improved this album in my head on my first play I was relieved to find it was as good as I had remembered! My favorite Prince album.
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