As Wayne Campbell from Aurora, Illinois, used to say, “It’s Friday, it’s 10:30, it’s time to party.” I just spent the past 150 minutes watching The Rachel Maddow Show followed by a wonderful two-hour documentary called The Way I See It about Pete Souza, the man who photographed Barack Obama throughout his Presidency. My wife and I also went to The Home Depot tonight to get supplies so we can paint our kitchen tomorrow. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. #thuglife
If you’ve been following the Daily Prince blog at all for the past month you’re well aware that the Prince Estate dropped the Super Deluxe Edition of 1987’s Sign O’ The Times (I’ll be referring to it as SOTT) on September 25. The box set includes 45 previously unreleased studio songs, which meant three weeks ago today I added 45 more songs to the Daily Prince Song Randomizer. Today I received the first of those 45 songs. Technically “Cosmic Day” has been available since August 6, 2020, when it was made available as a pre-release download on streaming services. We’ve had several more weeks to digest “Cosmic Day” than we have most of the other vault tracks that were released in September.
Prince recorded “Cosmic Day” in November of 1986 when he was deep into his Camille phase. I just covered this extensively yesterday, but Camille was the name Prince gave to his voice with an elevated pitch. The name Camille would lead me to believe he thought this pitch modification made his voice sound like a woman, but I’ve never heard a woman with a voice like that. On “Cosmic Day” the pitch is jacked up so high on his voice it sound like he was sucking on helium.
I heard “Cosmic Day” for the first time this summer as the SOTT vault material was slowly trickling out. I loved all of it. The original version of “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” was a revelation. “Witness 4 The Prosecution” is a banger. Then came “Cosmic Day.” It opens with a driving beat and electric guitars and I thought, “OK, I can get on board with this.” Then Prince’s voice came in and I was like, “What the hell is this?!?” I’m used to Camille, but this doesn’t even sound like Camille. You might as well go in to this song accepting the fact that it’s not Prince on vocals. I know that it is, but his voice is modified beyond recognition. It sounds cartoonish. The over-the-top vocals intentionally add to the trippy vibe of the song, but I don’t dig it. Prince is singing about a merman swimming in the sky, wishing every day could be a cosmic day. I know dude didn’t do drugs, but this has a real psychedelic fantasy vibe.
The liner notes about this song claim that of all the songs being officially released for the first time in the new SOTT collection, this one might be the holy grail. Really? That surprises me. First off, my understanding is that “Wally” is the holy grail. Prince’s recording engineer Susan Rogers tells a tale of a song called “Wally” that Prince recorded shortly after he split with then-fiancee Susannah Melvoin. She says it was the best thing she ever heard Prince record. The first time he really let his guard down in the studio and truly poured his heart into a song. After recording it he demanded that she erase all channels on the recording. She pleaded with him to reconsider but he wouldn’t listen. He recorded a new version a few days later that Rogers claims is far inferior to the original. That version is also included among the vault tracks released three weeks ago. Anyway, from everything I’ve heard, “Wally” is the holy grail. The other reason it surprises me that “Cosmic Day” is referred to as the holy grail is because I don’t like it nearly as much as some of the other vault material in this collection. It all depends on your personal taste, of course, but I wouldn’t even put it in the top half of the vault songs in the SOTT Super Deluxe Edition. It makes me wonder what it is about “Cosmic Day” that had Prince fans clamoring for it more than the other music in this collection.
I can tell you that the reason I put “Cosmic Day” far down the list of the songs released in September is that it’s just not funky. There are so many funky tracks scattered throughout the collection that I love. Psychedelic stuff has never been my thing. I’ve gravitated more toward songs like “Emotional Pump,” “Blanche,” and “It’s Be’s Like That Sometimes” to name a few. “Cosmic Day” is definitely worth a listen, but Prince sucking on a helium balloon and singing about mermen is not my thing. I look forward to tackling more of the new SOTT music, hopefully soon.