Full disclosure: I was busy all day on Saturday, then had an impromptu backyard gathering that went until past 1:00 AM. I had a few drinks while we were out there, so when I sat down at my computer at 1:19 AM to write about “Girls & Boys” I was in no condition to write. I decided to wait until Sunday to write Sunday’s post. The number of hits I get on a Saturday and Sunday plummet anyway, so I’ve been thinking of changing the Daily Prince to the Week-Daily Prince. Some of my favorite posts have dropped on Saturdays and Sundays and it’s kind of deflating to then look and see so few hits. This might be the final Sunday of Daily Prince. Apparently nobody reads on the weekend.
Here’s a dirty secret from this Prince fanatic: I’ve only seen his 1986 movie Under the Cherry Moon maybe 3-4 times and it’s been a minute. By a minute, I mean several years. I don’t watch it much because…don’t hate me…IT’S NOT GOOD. There’s good bad and there’s bad, and most of Cherry Moon is just bad. I think Prince flew a little too close to the sun on this project. The soundtrack, however, is fantastic. Has there ever been a greater disparity between the quality of a movie and the soundtrack?
One of many reasons Purple Rain was a hit movie was because the music fit the vibe of the movie and helped tell the story. One of the reasons Under the Cherry Moon doesn’t work for me is because it’s mid-1980’s Prince music supplementing a story taking place in…actually, when is this movie supposed to take place? The opening line of the movie is, “Once upon a time in France…” It’s shot in black & white. People drive classic cars. During the infamous Wrecka Stow scene Prince references Sam Cooke. I’m sure Prince was going for a Turner Classic Movies old Hollywood look, but still wanted the movie to seem modern in other ways. Regardless of when Cherry Moon was actually supposed to take place, the songs don’t fit the aesthetic.
There are two scenes when the music fits well. One is “Sometimes it Snows in April” simply because that song is just Prince and a piano. It’s timeless. The other is the “Girls & Boys” scene. Christopher Tracy (Prince) and his friend Tricky (Jerome Benton) have accompanied well-to-do young Mary Sharon (Kristin Scott Thomas) to some kind of stuffy, upper class dinner or restaurant. I really have no idea what’s happening for much of this movie. All I know is at one point Tracy and Tricky produce a boom box the size of a Mini Cooper and perform “Girls & Boys.” Some of the stiff old white people get up and party while others are terribly offended. The song still doesn’t seem to fit the time when this movie takes place, but it doesn’t matter. The music is good, the people are dancing and having fun, Prince is dancing on top of a piano, and for a minute or two all is right with Under the Cherry Moon.
“Girls & Boys” is a fun uptempo jam featuring the entire Revolution along with contributions from Sheila E., Susannah Melvoin, and the first or many appearances by saxophonist Eric Leeds on a Prince album. It was B-side of the underrated fourth single from Parade, “Anotherloverholenyohead.” “Girls & Boys” features an insanely catchy chorus that’s fun to sing along to until a line of French trips me up every time. I’m happily singing, “I love you baby, I love you so much. Maybe we can stay in touch. Meet me in another world, space, and joy…vous etes tres belle mama, girls and boys.” What? It catches me off guard every time.
“Girls & Boys” is not my favorite song, but it’s still fun. It’s easy to forget about on a soundtrack loaded with great music. This song gets an above-average score even if I can’t say the same about the movie that features it.