I do a lot of talking about the funk in the Daily Prince space. While I don’t completely agree with Morris Day’s assessment that it gets no play if it ain’t funky, it’s typically a good rule. Today’s song, “She Loves Me 4 Me” from 2001’s underrated The Rainbow Children, is an exception. There’s little funk on this brief, lovely track.
The song – and the entire album – was a big hit of the reset button for Prince. It was his first album released after he officially changed his name back to Prince. After O(+> tried unsuccessfully to mold his sound to fit the current pop landscape in 1999 with Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic he did a fantastic 180 on The Rainbow Children and placed an emphasis on musicianship. Most of the album is just Prince – which is an amazing feat when you consider the music on this album – but he made a point of touring with talented jazz musicians on his tour so he could put an emphasis on improvisation. The results are beautiful. “She Loves Me 4 Me” wouldn’t have fit on Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic because it’s just better than any of the music you’ll hear on that album. A laid back, feel good love song that’s not trying too hard. Prince’s voice is barely louder than a whisper as he sings about how he can be who he wants to be and his love interest will love him anyway. The song is not funky or remotely hard. It’s just a sweet, enjoyable ride.
I can’t talk about this song without giving a shout out and heartfelt RIP to drummer John Blackwell. A drummer so good he’s credited in The Rainbow Children liner notes as John Blackwell, The Magnificent. He’s the only person you hear on “She Loves Me 4 Me” other than Prince and he turns in a perfectly understated performance on drums, working the rimshots and hi-hat with precision. If you’re looking for something more uptempo and funkier from Blackwell check out his work on “Family Name.” The Rainbow Children was Blackwell’s first album with Prince and performed on and off with him for years. He toured with Justin Timberlake on his FutureSex/LoveSounds tour and D’Angelo and the Vanguard on his Second Coming Tour in 2015. The guy lived my dream. Toured with Prince, D’Angelo, and Timberlake?!? You know the guy had chops if he got the stamp of approval from those three…especially Prince. Sadly, brain cancer took John Blackwell’s life in 2017 at age 43. What an amazing 43 years.
“She Loves Me 4 Me” is just the kind of song I need more of right now. It’s like a cool breeze. Like a summer evening drive with the top down. A breath of fresh air. 2:45 of this song and your stress and worries are gone. I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it, especially if you aren’t in to Prince’s nastiness and prefer something more laid back.