Empty Room

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Music
May 29th, 2003 • 8:45 pm

It’s hard to describe the greatness of a seemingly “simple” song such as “Empty Room” by Prince. First of all, the song is not readily available. The first studio version, recorded for the failed I’ll Do Anything movie project, is only available on bootleg releases. The second studio version (and accompanying video) was only played on a handful of occasions over the PA prior to some European shows on the 1995 tour. It is, of course, available in varying degrees of quality on bootleg releases. The video itself is circulating on video tape. But none of this was ever officially released. To my knowledge, the song was very rarely played live.

Then Prince released a new recording of it via his members-only NPG Music Club web site in early 2003, as an MP3 file. This is the one I am referring to here. It’s the only officially released version of the song, and it’s the one with the best sound quality. But it’s not a studio version. It appears to be a live version recorded during a soundcheck prior to a Canadian SHOW in 2002.

This makes it a very interesting recording: not really a studio version, but not really a live recording either (there is no crowd noise until the song is over). It’s unique. And it’s absolutely magnificient.

I am not sure what makes it so great. It’s based on a “simple” four-chord progression. The lyrics are straightforward. But there is such pathos, and yet such restraint. And oh, that electric guitar. The perfection of distorted lyricism. There is a particular moment, at 2:14, that I just cannot get out of my head. I don’t care if some people find it ostentatious or grandiloquent. It’s just pure pain in music.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.