The Master of Yearning

Holographic fabness on Prince’s “Planet Earth” CD cover.

Planet Earth was released this week in 2007. The album is notable for containing the greatest expression of digital-age yearning ever set to music.

Prince strikes me as unusually open and vulnerable on “Somewhere Here on Earth.” The song feels retro and jazzy and crackles with desire. It’s Prince’s antidote to the digital age. In 2007, Prince was 49 years old, and you can feel a confident maturity as he grapples with the fact that despite every type of modern technology available to him, what he truly longs for is real, human, face-to-face, skin-to-skin interaction.

And then there is the visually stunning video.

Prince is depicted as living in an ivory tower — or perhaps, behind the snow-white walls of Paisley Park. He’s all alone. I imagine him on the computer, as many of us are right now. He’s addressing a woman who materializes from the ether of the Internet, but who remains, tantalizing, at a distance.

The woman’s dress is made from the same fabric as Prince’s suit. She and Prince are cut from the same cloth.

Now I imagine Prince on a fan website, reading the woman’s declarations of love as she chats with other fans. He can see her photo. He knows she is beautiful. As she types, he can feel her hands on him, “and I like it,” he says, in coy Prince fashion. He longs for her touch. But, too shy to speak, Prince remains a silent watcher behind the veil of the Internet.

She knows he’s not involved with anyone romantically, so why doesn’t she reach out, he wonders? You can feel the devastating separation that fame creates for those we idolize. He has been placed in an ivory tower, up high, on a pedestal. Still, he sees her. He feels a kinship with her. He wants to touch her, too. He wants to love and be loved.

His divorce is behind him and he hasn’t been with anyone in forever. What is she waiting for?

And then Prince hits her with the devastating line, “Do you want to do this at yours, or my place?”

Lord have mercy.

The meeting never materializes. Where is the Prince of old, who would have had the woman in his bed by the end of the video? Instead, we see him accepting the reality that he has to be satisfied with the knowledge that she is out there, somewhere on Earth.

Prince shifts the tone in the final verse, in a way that gently suggests that he knows the hurt and bullying that the woman has suffered during her life. He witnessed it online. He read her words as she confessed about her life and received nothing but harsh words in return. “That’s okay. That’s okay,” he says.

You get the sense that he’s been there, too. He declares that there will be no more hurt. Now is the time for healing. It feels as if he could be speaking to himself, as the male reflection of her.

In the final, brilliant lyrical turn, Prince offers her the same comfort she has brought him. There will be no more hurt, he declares — at least, not as long as he resides on Planet Earth.

Over to you. How do you feel about “Somewhere Here on Earth”?

4 thoughts on “The Master of Yearning

  1. Olivia

    This was perfect! My thoughts are this woman was married. The woman mentions to Prince that she can look at his pictures a thousand times. The lucky lady is having problems in her marriage. The woman is not a model but has a pretty face. There is more to my thoughts….

  2. Judith D'Amato

    Im not a prostitute, but had many one nite stands, and had men fall in love with me and had a few that wanting me to live with them, but understand Love is forever in my life, after many years of playing, and one nite stands are ok but when children are involved and your parents adopted you and both have Masters in Education, there is a standard for their only daughter, yes I was down that road, but in the end, I had to set my own standards for my own daughter and son, sadly Ive run into the exs but they dont see me, but one day I will write a book, and yes I will work on my grammar, but my stories will the same as P, when you feel like your the “oddball” we are always going to be the indifferent in this society, but the indifferent is normal now, so how do we entertain the “normal” and the indifferent, which makes it challenging, challenges is my middle name, I will one day write a book, I thought about writing one called “ceilings” every morning after I was hung over after a one nite stand, I would look at the ceiling and know it was not home for me, and finally I was able to look at my own home ceiling and know Im home, what do think of concept crazy or good? Thanks again for you eyes and ears!!Love4oneAnother!!

  3. Judith D'Amato

    The S.H.O.E aspect of the song has to be the smartest move P made, when I told him about our conversation, now the song is referred as S.H.O.E…..If this was the real P, he wanted a partner to help him in his journey, and that is why he went for people on youtube or wherever, he wanted the new innovations, due to his age, or whatever anyone thought, he was a smart business man, as a woman, I lived his life, but without his music, and just worked, but I know, you move on, Thank you for you attention and patience…sorry for so many posts!

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