It’s an anti-war song, with the answer being “love”, period.
“Live 4 Love” is on the one hand the apocalyptic culmination of Diamonds and Pearls’ excess; all of the narcissism and pleasure-seeking has lead to this, a warplane on its way down to a fiery crash. The music offers both a sense of urgency—what can we do to change the ending?—and the same over-layered feeling of At the same time, the song is one last attempt by Prince to turn the capitalistic, hedonistic feeling of the album into a message for society of love above all.
It’s an anti-war song, with the answer being “love”, period. It joins “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” as grounding the album in the Gulf War era. This song has a narrative, a fairly generic one: a young man is kicked out of the house, joins the military, finds himself in a war, recruited to drop bombs from a plane. When he’s in the air, he finds himself conflicted, with the old angel and devil combo on his shoulders, representing war and peace. Prince tries to put us in his shoes: “Boom / I take a deep breath / Is it boom—life? / Is it boom—death?”