Prince Is Born Yet Again, as ‘One of Your Tears': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
“One of Your Tears” is the 10th track on Prince’s 21st album, The Truth. Unlike Prince’s later albums that were solely digital downloads via his NPG Music Club (and now Tidal), The Truth was officially released on CD; having been tucked into the larger Crystal Ball four- and five-disc sets.
While some critics and fans view the primarily acoustic album as “bonus material” akin to demos released in a standard album deluxe reissue, The Truth proved to one of Prince’s best albums of the decade. The sparseness of the recording, with most songs centered around Prince’s voice and an acoustic guitar, seems more honest, more raw and clearer than some of Prince’s lushly produced work in that era. Tracks like “One of Your Tears” also showcase the sense of humor that close friends knew well, but only surfaced on occasion in his work.
“One of Your Tears” tackles many of Prince’s favorite subjects – eternity, life after death, sex, and jealously – all with a playful wink. “Did you get the tape I sent you? / I thought it be better in a song / Better than the used condom you sent me / Baby that was wrong.” Matt Thorne, author of Prince: The Man and His Music, calls it “perhaps Prince’s all-time funniest song.”
As most of Prince’s love interests can attest, it was not easy to date him. Throughout most of his life, he kept more than one love interest going at the same time. In this song, Prince reveals that he can get jealous too, “All the things a brother had to picture / I see him doing things with you / I see his hand in the small of your back / I see his face in between the king and queen in fact.”
While many believers in reincarnation hope to come back as a higher being – either in human socio-economic status or perhaps a unicorn – Prince keeps his life after death wishes simple and intimate: “Sometimes I want to die and come back as one of your tears.”
Prince’s former art director, Steve Parke, laments that The Truth was not officially released as a standalone album. For a while, though, EMI considered it to be the follow-up album to Emancipation. The original photograph intended to be the album’s cover appears in Parke’s book, Picturing Prince. In Thorne’s book, Parke reveals, “I would have liked to have seen that as a full CD with artwork and everything. I liked that because it was a different tone.” Later in the interview he tells Thorne, “At The Truth photo shoot, he was playing all this great blues stuff and I told him, ‘you need to put out an album like that.’” Prince responded, “When I’m old.”
Thankfully, Prince released The Truth when he was still young. While some of the album’s tracks remained in his set lists well into the 2000’s, “One of Your Tears” was likely never played in concert.