When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I was staying with my grandparents and watching MTV when I first encountered a song that stuck with me and confused me. It was probably 1982, and the song was still charting. “1999″ confounded me because I’d never seen a band as diverse; I’d never seen a band have 3 singers; and I’d never encountered such an eclectic image within a single unit.
I probably became a Prince fan that day, but it was a seed that took awhile to germinate. By the time Purple Rain dominated the airwaves, though, I was one of the faithful. I got the vinyl soundtrack album for either Christmas or my birthday. I got the vinyl of 1999 shortly thereafter. I bought the purple vinyl single of “Purple Rain” and encountered the first song I hid from my parents – the B-side to “Let’s Go Crazy,” the thoroughly decadent and scandalous “Erotic City.” I think I bought that record on a Sunday after church, so it was especially corrupt… though I had already encountered “Lady Cab Driver” and “Little Red Corvette.”
The library brought me Prince’s other albums, and though punk rock, metal, industrial, and the like distracted me during the late 80s and early 90s, I knew Prince was the epitome of what it meant to be a rock star. I knew he could shred. I knew he was a poet. I knew he was a musical genius who played all the instruments and instinctively found the groove and never looked back.
When David Bowie passed away earlier this year, I couldn’t truly relate to all the people who registered a sense of loss. I didn’t feel that way about Bowie – my own interest in his music wavering between absolute love for “Under Pressure” (mostly because of my appreciation for Queen from the time I could walk) to annoyance at some of the poppier moments of his 80′s ouvre, to a perplexed interest in the potential behind Tin Machine. I understood, though, that he meant something to many of my friends, and I sympathized with their mourning.
Last week, I understood what they felt.
Prince was Bowie to me. Prince was transgression made flesh. He was exactly NOT Catholic in 1983. His masculinity wasn’t aggro, wasn’t wholesome, wasn’t white, but was transgressive. Prince was funk when all I had had was Motown and AM radio. Prince was rock when all I had had was Doo-Wop and pop. Prince was sex when all I understood was that it was bad to do certain things, or even to talk about them. Prince redefined spirituality and faith, because he could be bad and sexy and transgressive and still sing about “the afterworld – a world of never-ending happiness” and write a song called “God.”
When I learned, later, that Prince wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “The Glamorous Life” and “When You Were Mine,” I started to really understand the scope of his songwriting genius. When I finally got to see him on the 2004ever tour, it was one of the most gratifying moments of my life, even in the nosebleed seats.
Prince’s untimely passing struck me in the gut. It took days of seeing posts and sharing links and videos on Facebook and watching tributes for it to start to sink in. Finally, two or three days later, I was able to cry. I was crying for me, really – Prince doesn’t need my tears.
“I guess he’s better off than he was before,
A whole lot better off than the fools he left here”
Just watched this documentary about the earliest days of The Descendents, their evolution into one of my favorite bands ever – ALL! – the return of Milo, the ever-changing line-up, and the life of Bill Stevenson (drummer for both bands and Black Flag, producer of albums by Rise Against and others).
Check out the site for the movie: Filmage
or watch it online:
FADER has an article on CL from 2NE1 and her move to crossover into American pop/hip-hop. She’s fortunate that she’s quadrilingual and that English is one of those languages. It doesn’t hurt to be friends with Skrillex, Diplo, and will.i.am, either.
Let’s hope she’s got something exciting with that challenging song that her production team hates…
This track seems to have been
dropped from Grimes’s new album. from the “lost album” Grimes was planning to release last September.
I dig it. I like the layered sounds, and there’s a lot of promise for what’s to come.
Rumors circulated after “Go” came out that Grimes may have scrapped an album she was working on due to bad fan reaction. She sets the record straight, though – it was just too depressing to tour with. Sadly, “RealiTi” was one of those “depressing” songs… but at least we got to hear/see it!
Chiho turned me on to 2NE1 (a K-Pop group) after we heard one of their songs in some movie back in October. I played this track at a Halloween Dance a week or three later. Very catchy track, kind of cool to see a live video of it. Lots of speculation if CL can make it solo in the USA… Not sure, but this track would be one I’d try to push.
Sad thing, “Gangnam Style” was a flash, a one-off kind of thing. Until you can strike with that kind of fire consistently, foreign acts are going to have to sing in English. We’re just not ready for more than one or two songs at a time to be in other languages on our radios. Call me a cynic.
So very sad that none of these places are close to where I live now:
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan… SIGH. Moved away from the midwest too soon.
Trying to think of reasons to head to the midwest, Canada, or back to NC. ‘Cause I’d do that. Not even concerned about not liking Lana Del Rey so much (in all honesty, I haven’t heard enough of her music to like or dislike her, really), but want want want to see Grimes live.
Slicing Up Eyeballs has been a feature here a few times, esp. their votes for “best album of…” in the 80s. The site is closing up shop, though the author will occasionally be posting to a Facebook page from this point forward.
Heck, I even sorta ripped off their logo for my header pic on Twitter.
Check the site out… it’s worth it.