Do we all think Prince is crazy now? I think we do. But in the 1980s he was probably the main recipient of that too often used-designation: "Musical Genius." (Sidebar: Once I wrote of one of my characters, who had the ability to time-travel, sorta, this: "Despite popular opinion, Adverbio found much good in American music of the 1980s." I tend to agree with Adverbio, my ancient Eskimo friend/creation.) Of course, now when we think of the music from the 80s, most of us think of "hair metal." But there was so much more: great pop, and the new wave scene; the continuing legacies of men like Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen; super-creative rock'n'roll from U2, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, etc. And in the middle of it was Prince. The guy was an icon in so many ways: star of movies, radios, and porn mags (one of my first sexual memories was from the age of about 7, when my next-door neighbor showed me a dirty magazine with a spread of Prince and Wendy & Lisa lookalikes getting it on...Wendy & Lisa were in Prince's band, The Revolution). He put the Minneapolis music scene on the map, and continues to be it's best product (though we should probably give Mason Jennings a shot at that title...at least I would be so inclined.)
I love listening to Prince these days, too. He always gives me energy, a lift when my morning, day, or night is dragging, but his rock stylings never really get too manic, which I enjoy. He is both cerebral and energized, which I'd like to think is often my story, too. And he really is undervalued for the amazingly socially relevant lyrics he has always brought to the table--Prince is a teacher of several subjects, not just sex. There's nothing to dislike about Prince.
So in honor, here are my top ten Prince tracks, along with my favorite lyrics from each, for fun. Any dissent, or opinions out there?
1. When Doves Cry, Purple Rain
"Dream if you can, a courtyard / an ocean of violets in bloom / animals strike curious poses / they feel the heat / the heat between me and you."
2. Sign 'o the Times, Sign 'O' the Times
"Is it silly no / when a rocket ship explodes / and everybody still wants to fly? / Some say a man ain't happy unless a man / Truly dies /Oh why?"
3. Kiss, Parade - Under the Cherry Moon
"You don't have to watch Dynasty / to have an attitude!"
4. Raspberry Beret, Around the World in a Day
"I said now...overcast days never turned me on / but somethin bout the clouds and her mixed / she wasn't too bright / but I could tell by the way she kissed me / she knew how to give a kiss."
5. Pop Life, Around the World in a Day
"What you puttin' in your nose / Is that where all your money goes? / The river of addiction flows (You think it's hot) / But there won't be no water / When the fire blows."
6. Starfish and Coffee, Sign 'O' the Times
"Starfish and coffee / maple syrup and jam / butterscotch clouds, a tangerine / and a side order of ham / if you'd set your mind free baby / maybe you'd understand / Starfish and coffee / maple syrup and jam."
7. If I Was Your Girlfriend, Sign 'O' the Times
"If I was your girlfriend / would you remember to tell me all the things / you forgot when I was your man?"
8. Purple Rain, Purple Rain
"I never wanted to be your weekend lover / I only wanted to be some kind of friend / Baby I could never steal you from another / It's such a shame our friendship had to end."
9. Little Red Corvette, 1999
"Guess I should have closed my eyes / When you drove me to the place where your horses run free / Cause I felt a little ill, when I saw all the pictures / of the jockeys that were there before me."
10. Let's Go Crazy, Purple Rain
(Spoken intro): "Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life...electric word, life, it means forever and that's a mightly long time, but I'm here to tell you there's something else: The Afterworld. A world of never-ending happiness, you can always see the sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr. Everything'll Be Alright.... Instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby...cause in this life things are much harder than in the Afteworld. In this world you're on your own, baby....And if the elevator tries to bring you down. Go crazy punch a higher floor..."