In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in honor of Prince’s pair of new albums, we’re picking our favorite songs from the Purple One.
My Prince pick is a predictable one, but that’s what happens with a song as widely enjoyed as “Kiss”—it becomes everyone’s favorite at one point or another. The 1986 single from Prince And The Revolution’s Parade first hit my ears in a memorable way when I was old enough to drive. For the first time ever I was able to be in the car alone, and that meant a specific sort of freedom for me: The destination didn’t matter, as long as the journey included what I will forever refer to as “car songs.” These are the types of songs that, for me, were lost somewhere between the ages of 10 and 16. They were the songs I briefly refrained from belting out, because I grew up and discovered what it meant to be embarrassed. When I was younger, favorites included The Monotones’ “Book Of Love,” The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” and some Ace Of Base and earlier Cher for good measure. By the time I was 16, the less epic song selections drifted off and were replaced with such gems as Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams,” Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby,” most of Queen’s catalog, and Prince’s “Kiss.”
The criteria seemed to be high energy, explosive songs that, if sung to perfection and to the very end, left you out of breath. “Kiss”—with its easy-to-bounce-to beat and some fun grunts and kissing noises—played into this idea well, especially when it was delivered as loud as possible on shitty car speakers. The best part of course being when I was able to unabashedly scream, “Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with” in the same almost indecipherable way Prince does on the back half of the single.