Damn it. We’re in a serious rut here at Daily Prince. This idea of picking a random song every day seems good until you get a week where three of the songs are deep cuts from The Love Symbol and the best song picked is “Make Your Mama Happy.” I’m sorry to say our stretch of Prince songs that I usually skip continues today with “Tick, Tick, Bang.”
When my Ring doorbell alert popped up on my Apple Watch Friday morning telling me that there was motion at the front door I dropped what I was doing and sprinted out to the front porch. My VG+ copy of 1990’s Graffiti Bridge that I purchased last week from Discogs is finally here! Along with it, a copy of Terence Trent D’Arby’s unfairly maligned sophomore effort Neither Fish Nor Flesh, but that’s neither here nor there. The copy of Graffiti Bridge sounds amazing and I’m glad to finally have some of my sleeper favorites like “Elephants and Flowers,” “The Question of U,” and “Joy in Repetition” on vinyl. Unfortunately, the Daily Prince Song Randomizer doesn’t have a sense of humor – or maybe it just has a dark sense of humor – because the song I was given to write about today is one of my least favorite from Graffiti Bridge.
Prince experimented with a lot of sounds over his career, and this song is no exception. There are heavy hip hop drums and a lot of scratching. There’s occasional blaring electric guitar. There’s a keyboard melody that feels out of place. There’s a sample of of Prince yelling “BANG” that’s played throughout.
Then there are the vocals. Prince’s falsetto in three-part harmony, which is usually a good thing, but in this case he’s singing in a way that sounds like the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” However, he’s repeatedly singing about how he wants to “tick tick bang all over you.” Not very subtle. So, for the record we have a hip hop beat, electric guitar, loud “BANG” sample, and boogie woogie bugle boy vocals singing about wanting to tick tick bang all over a girl who’s described as a “big tease.” It’s a strange juxtaposition that just doesn’t work for me.
Prince’s fearlessness blending genres and turning them in to something unique to him was one of his great strengths as a musician and songwriter, but “Tick, Tick, Bang” backfired on him.