First, a note: I wish this could have been more comprehensive, but we’re still having WiFi issues; I hope this eclectic assemblage of images captures Prince’s range.
It sounds like rumors are flying about what caused sweet Prince’s final goodnight — a lot of news on this front happened while we were sleeping — but the why doesn’t really matter. It’s tragic and too soon by any stripe. Between him and Bowie, 2016 ripped away two people who boldly bent people’s perceptions of both art and the artist, and expanded our palate for what music could feel and taste like, or the way it could fill you up and burst out your limbs. (I am not a person who dances, but it’s nigh on impossible to sit still for a Prince song.) Oh, you sexy motherf*cker, how can you just leave us standing alone in a world that’s so cold?
Prince was also a brilliant instrumentalist and showman. In his music (I can’t speak to his personal beliefs) he was hugely sexual, fiercely political, and loudly spiritual, yet somehow never in a way that alienated people who prefer not to engage with any of those things. For all his considerable power on stage, he came across as gentle, almost frail, off of it. And he sure as hell knew his way around a turn of phrase. “Act your age, not your shoe size” in “Kiss” is a delicious burn. “I guess I should’ve known by the way you parked your car sideways that it wouldn’t last,” he observed memorably in “Little Red Corvette,” which is just a superb character note about a person. “I’m not a human, I am a dove, I’m your conscious, I am love. All I really need is to know that you believe,” he sang, and we did.
“But life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last,” he wrote in “1999,” adding, “We could all die any day, oh // But before I let that happen, I’ll dance my life away.” Whatever claimed him, I hope it took him painlessly as he danced fearlessly, joyfully, toward it. And he memorably opened “Let’s Go Crazy” thusly: “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” Now we have to forge on without him, but not really, never really, because he’ll always and forever provide our soundtrack.
Other Prince links from around the web:
– Vulture did a feature called Prince In Performance From The 80s To Now.
– Rolling Stone has complied a LOT of content, including a secret song he wrote for Kenny Rogers (!!).
– Spin republished its 1991 cover story on Prince, circa “Diamonds and Pearls,” which features this line: “There he is, dressed in red from neck to toe, a halter-type vest covering his surprisingly well-built upper body and skin-tight red pants over red shoes. He’s doing a handstand. Prince can walk on his hands.”
– Spin ALSO did a look back at Prince’s Super Bowl halftime show, a defense of his later work (“Prince Never Fell Off“), and an obituary of him that’s well done: “Nevertheless, let the epitaph read as he would want: His name was Prince, and he was funky.”
– Idolator revisited his nineteen Top 10 singles.
– Frank Ocean wrote a nice tribute on Tumblr.
– Fug Nation has already started sharing its favorite Prince songs in the comments of yesterday’s post.