The soundtrack and score for the movie Under The Cherry Moon is actually an album called Parade by star of both the film and the soundtrack, Prince. This threw me when I was a kid. Soundtracks are title after the movie. But Prince got me thinking about how the soundtrack could really live on its own…that’s what he allowed with Cherry Moon, probably just as well given the film is universally mocked/remembered as a dud.
Prince had done the album/movie/soundtrack integration flawlessly with the whole Purple Rain thing; Parade/Cherry Moon was part of his exit-strategy from the impossible expectations of making a Purple Rain 2.
I first heard Parade as an album – but it wasn’t long after that I saw the film; so curious about its subtitle as a bonus soundtrack to a movie. Plus, I loved Prince. Loved Purple Rain. Cherry Moon is far from spectacular, but when you’re a fan you do crazy things like drop your standards – and I was so perplexed by the failure of Cherry Moon as to want to award it points for trying. Who else was making banger-hits, writing for others, recording under different personas, playing all the instruments and making films? No one ever. Not on that level. So allow him the follies and enjoy the best bits of the turkeys as served.
And if Cherry Moon only ever existed to give us the soundtrack then we’re pretty lucky. As a showcase for Prince’s pre-Sign O’ The Times range we get dramatic, cinematic pop (the title track), pop-funk bangers (Girls & Boys), giant hit singles (Kiss) and quirk galore (I Wonder U, Do U Lie?) as well as little hints and layovers and interconnections (Christopher Tracy’s Parade sounding more like The Family than ‘Prince’) plus there’s actual score too (Venus de Milo).
Anotherloverholenyohead is the secret (not so secret) Prince banger, pre-cursor to Anastasia as far as deep album-cut gem that allowed you to spot your true Prince friends. And Sometimes It Snows In April was such a perfect part of the film’s score, such an apt closer for the album and not that you could ever suggest he planned this but it really did become the ultimate eulogy song for the true fans wanting to reach out beyond the radio stations that played Purple Rain when he died.
I love Parade – to this day – as an album. I love the record that came before it too (Around The World In A Day). These were creative, playful, subversive records that still contained some of the best and most accessible pop hits of the era, but also stretched the canvas, went widescreen, got super strange and always pretty clever.
But Parade gets the edge, because it has this whole extra (nearly secret) life as a soundtrack album. It gets to play both sides of the field, it is quirky pop record and it has wonderful deep cuts for Prince fans (Mountains) as well as being a way of showing where he went when he went weird (the film) and when he went wide of just being a pop star (Life Can Be So Nice, New Position).
I love this album on its own. It’s one of my favourite Prince records – one that still feels like a tiny bit of a secret in the scheme of things, one you’ll always come back to every year or two with fresh ears. But it’s also a soundtrack album. To a film that isn’t really anything, but it is something most big Prince fans had to endure or pretended to enjoy because such is fandom.