What a busy afterlife you must be having, Prince…

For those who don’t know, this is my attempt to paraphrase something from Sherlock Holmes… but it’s nonetheless relevant.

Feel free to call me crazy or dismiss this post or whatever you feel like doing, I’m just telling what’s been going on.
The last time I really did a lot with Prince, writing and such… it was writing about the second album. And I did it when I was very low on sleep and having trouble sleeping. And what came was pretty strong, but towards the end, it did get a bit tiring and I was losing my focus.
But lately, the thing seems to be that I will write when the spark is really hot and I follow something through until it’s fully realized or I get out everything I’d wanted to say.
It’s oddly been paralleling what I’d been reading about in the Purple Rain sessions. There’s been so much talk about Prince rushing to get out songs while they’re still very vivid in his mind. And I feel like I’m starting to have that going as well. Because what has been coming out has been very on point and well written. And the writing process almost feels like it’s coming from another place. Certain sparks are hitting me like lightning bolts and I have to scribble it down. I have this palm sized notebook I’d had with me at work in the morning just in case something hits and there’ve been a lot of instances of that.

On the other hand, and here’s the crazy talk part… I feel like Prince is spending me vibes to the point where we’re having these one sided conversations.
I’d said a few times on Twitter and Facebook how I only listen to him when I’m really getting a vibe about the direction I’m going in. Because if I choose a song at random, it doesn’t quite feel right.
And I’m using these vibes to pick out the albums I listen to as well.

So there have been three different instances that have happened over the past couple weeks and they are going into different projects. And I hope today to write some of them down on my laptop so I can further expand on them later. I would have earlier today, but the spark was hot about Taylor Swift’s new album and I’d been meaning to write about it for the past week.

The first one… a while back, I rearranged the 1999 album and added B-Sides and “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks into a playlist… oh and also Moonbeam Levels…
I’d been thinking about how this is working into a bit of a story that begins with one recently failed relationship and that train of thought ends with “Stand Back” where she kinda expresses her point of view on things.
Then the second half of it is going through previous relationships, concluding there must be “something in the water” but ultimately you should be “glad to be free”… of course it does end on the positive with party vibes and DMSR and 1999.

The other day I got hit hard with inspiration and started scribbling down a storyline. Where Prince has more or less become a cult music star in Uptown and he holds concerts every Saturday night (“I guess that makes it all right”) and people love him, but there’s more to him than he’s portraying.
Plus I was listening to some songs from Controversy that he’d do at the concert, but seeing a familiar face in a crowd prompts him to leave after a few songs to write Moonbeam Levels and work through some other songs that he realizes he’d written about her.
I got as far as “Stand Back” while playing the songs simultaneously with writing scribbles at work.
The only thing is he finds resolution with this lover with this song, which she brings to him and he records a keyboard part for it and offers to do it uncredited.
But yeah, for a while I was getting some stuff down, prefacing his character and talking about some things in the concert performances.
Maybe one day I’ll have it fully realized and share it here…

Another came from an interesting place and just went really far out… I did a tweet about it, but it didn’t get much comment.
But it all started when my fellow purple knight and a friend from work started talking about the Batman album… I have no idea if I’ve developed this negative attitude about the album from MC on the Peach & Black podcast, but there have been a lot of times lately where I hear about how people say it being great and, worse, being better than the LoveSexy album… I just lose it…
When I was going through the albums, it scored second to last with only For You below it… For You is last, not because it isn’t great, but because the songwriting isn’t there yet and the originality has yet to come.
But Batman… I dunno… aside from Electric Chair, there aren’t many songs off it that make me really want to come back to it. As good as Scandalous is, I really don’t like Prince’s vocal on it. It grates at some points like he has a sore throat or something. Or he was just way too emotionally invested and it didn’t come off. The quality isn’t there like it was when he did The Beautiful Ones.

So anyway, I started thinking about how I don’t want to listen to it… but my mind started reeling about the history of it, how Michael Jackson was originally the choice for it, and that Tim Burton wanted to clear 1999 and Baby I’m a star for the movie, and Prince said no and wound up writing an entire album.
Then I thought about how this album ruined what could have been an amazing spiritual album trifecta- LoveSexy, Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic and Graffiti Bridge.
Over my journey through Prince’s music, I fell pretty hard for LoveSexy and Graffiti Bridge to the point I wish that trifecta did happen. And I also considered what Prince’s career would have been like if he did jettison it for Batman.
Fact is that Batman was Prince’s first big successful album since Purple Rain. A commercial success… without that, who knows how much longer he’d stay relevant. I thought about if Prince had completed this trifecta, would he have crossed over to be a full on Christian artist? What the conflict that led to him changing his name have happened? It wasn’t just the record deal he wanted to get out of, but he also wanted to leave that old Prince behind… which he kinda did when he crossed the threshold to become a Jehovah’s Witness.

See, stuff like that… I just got all existential and crap about this πŸ˜› stuff that I could never put in The Word because who else but really crazy Prince fanboys and fangirls want to read about it?

Ultimately, though, because of the way Graffiti Bridge was billed as the sequel to Purple Rain (not to mention the cheesy title track and sub-par material from the other artists in the movie/soundtrack), it was doomed to fail because only a small amount of his fanbase would get it.
So if Batman never happened, his string of “not commercially viable” albums would have continued… I think D&P could have still saved it, but I don’t know if WB would have offered him that $100 million dollar 6 album deal without the success of the Batman album.

…so that’s another one…

recently… and by recently, I mean last Thursday…
And this is crazy town stuff… it was in the evening and I was going upstairs and I heard an inkling of a song from Musicology. I look up and I ask “really?”
it makes me think of how Mayte said in her book… how Prince would often say to her “you know what would be cool?…” before he has some sort of idea for a new project… or changing her name to Arabia πŸ˜› it feels like this, but Prince is sending me vibes from the other side about what I should be doing.

The 2000 stuff really hasn’t been on my radar lately. I’d been pretty much hanging in the 80’s ever since starting the Purple Rain sessions. Heck, I’d been putting Apollonia and Vanity 6 on my iPod so I am following the book a bit, but not literally to a tee like I had last year. Every now and then, I will play something from another era.
In the middle of the week, I was inclined to listen to D&P because both “Thunder” and “Money don’t matter 2night” were coming to mind. The latter was during the thunderstorm that took our power out for almost 24 hours.
And I was feeling at such unease about whether or not we’d get power back, I put the album in and kinda asked Prince to just be there as my friend and not as Prince. I tend to listen to his albums differently than other artists. Where I expect to be floored or expect really out there vibes and whatever else. And Prince was there as my friend. The songs were just helping me de-stress and get through the drive home. And heading home, I was feeling so positive and good about everything. It was like I knew our power had come back.

Meanwhile, come Thursday, he sends me Musicology vibes… and I decide the next day to listen to Musicology.
It was something I REALLY needed. And Prince was there as a friend again. At the same time, there were some things about this album that I didn’t even know were there and it’s the first album I bought.
The funny thing was that certain nuances were coming through that hadn’t been before. One was during ICPC and I said something in reaction to what was being said in the song and he freaking said it a second later. The same thing. I don’t know if it was something I forget and just remembered about or we reacted to the lyric the same way on a subconscious level or he put my reaction in my mouth purposely… it’s been happening so much lately, these mind link moments with Prince… it’s hard for me to believe he isn’t communicating with me in some way.
But it’s hard to fully believe in it because we’d never met when he was alive. Our only communication ever was him responding to a Twitter question I asked him and it was about Judith Hill… because I figured that to get some sort of reaction, I’d have to ask him about a project he was currently very excited about.

I’m now thinking about that “Greatest Romance” lyric about “your body was designed to respond to mine in spite of your desire to mold me”…
this school of thought is making me think about how I’d been drumming a lot with his music lately and how I am subconsciously nailing a lot of it, even when they’re songs I haven’t heard all that often. Either my instincts are getting sharp about rhythms, or I’d gotten sharper at this from all the time I’d been drumming through Depeche Mode songs… or he is doing something and communicating with me in this strange way.

And what I’ve kind of learned about Prince since he passed away… as much as I want to keep him around so he won’t go away, it has to be a certain way and it’s always his way. I shouldn’t push for certain albums to sound the same way twice. And I can’t just listen to an album because I feel like I should. I need to get some sort of inclination that it’s the right direction to go in.
And it does feel like Prince is showing me the right way to go about things. What the ultimate result of all this is- I don’t know. I don’t know if it’ll benefit The Word where I’m going through Prince’s music. Or it’ll earn me more Twitter followers. Or more people will comment on what I blog about.

Going back to Musicology, though… when I wrote about it for The Word, I talked about my first impression of it not being great… what I really should do is focus on Prince’s intention of the album. To bring back musicianship, promoting real music by real musicians and it was the first time in a while, supposedly, where he played all the instruments himself instead of enlisting members of his band. (Although there were quite a few songs on One Night Alone and The Rainbow Children that were one man band efforts… I think, I’ll have to double check).

I’d recently been getting very jaded about the songs on the radio. On my Taylor Swift post I just did, I wrote:
“Overrotation- where great songs go to die”

…it feels like it’s become that for me. Even the songs I really like on the radio, the fact the radio plays them 3+ times a day is killing them for me. I don’t like hearing the same songs all the time. And the radio station at work, as good as it is, it plays the same songs every day. Certain popular artists have their songs played throughout the day. The hot singles are played 3 times in that 8 hour period. And there are usually 1-3 Prince songs… always the same ones… 1999, Little Red Corvette, Kiss, When Doves Cry… occasionally there’ll be Raspberry Beret to break things up… but also haven’t heard Purple Rain in some time, which is GREAT… I don’t want to hear that song on the radio if they won’t bother to play the whole song.
But there are songs like Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” that I love to death… but them playing it all the time is ruining my adoration of it… I do put on my iPod when it comes on so I don’t have to hear it, but now I’m kinda flinching when it starts… I had hoped by buying the album, they’d stop playing it… so far, that hasn’t happened.

But music in general kinda feels like it’s gone off the deep end, oddly, since Prince’s death… now it’s all EDM or autotune and there’s no more superstars and there’s very few musicians in the industry anymore. All the popular songs is manufactured by record labels.
Truthfully, the only artists I really care about in music anymore are Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. I do like some of Charlie Puth’s new stuff to the point I might get his album. But I’d just reached my limit with the radio… and it’s sad cuz I listen to it a lot.

So Musicology made all of that fade away, just like it did when I was in college. I had a particularly bad afternoon where everyone on campus was playing hip-hop on their stereos and I didn’t like anything that was being played. I felt like I was losing my mind cuz it was all garbage. I shut myself in my on-campus apartment, took a shower, and then put on Musicology to remind myself what music is supposed to sound like. Real instruments instead of manufactured beats. And it made me feel so much better.
I really do hope that Prince’s message got through to some people and real musicianship will be coming back soon.

Ironically I also thought the other day how Prince may have ultimately been responsible for a lot of this terrible music. Because he brought the Linn-drum and Fairlight into popularity where he was using drum machines instead of actual drums. And he was taking bass lines out of song and getting the bass to come in the shape of reverb on drums and certain instruments… a lot of artists are doing that now, but the essence of music as an artform is getting lost.

Anyway… I’m kinda losing my train of thought, but that kinda explains my mindset pretty well. At least I hope so πŸ˜›

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[still] early thoughts on Taylor Swift’s “Reputation”

Yeah, I know Taylor’s album came out in November… roughly 6 months ago… I have a lot of stuff going on, cut me some slack πŸ˜›

To be true, I really haven’t been buying much new music lately. I’m at the point with the radio where I don’t care for much of it anymore… most of what I still enjoy isn’t recent, let’s put it that way. And the rest comes to Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. And occasionally Charlie Puth (really like some of his new stuff)…
And it’s not so much that Prince’s music, spending over a year with it nearly exclusively. It kinda seems like since his death, the quality of music on the radio took a nosedive and has yet to recover.

Moving on, though…

I’d heard this album only a handful of times since I got it.
I did the first listen on my old CD player on headphones before bed. That way, if it didn’t go entirely how I’d wanted it, the night would help me forget.
But I don’t think I’ve had a bad first listen to any of Taylor’s albums. Wow, I can’t believe it’s 6 now. Feels like just yesterday I heard “Teardrops on my guitar” for the first time. The fact she was singing about a guy named Drew pulled me in immediately cuz I had a crush on a guy with the same name in high school and he had had a girl friend at the time as well. (The fact he came out of the closet a year or so later doesn’t change any of that… the fact is that Taylor wrote songs I could personally relate to because I had been there… but I’d never been in a relationship whereas she’d been torn apart by haters and critics for getting into too many).

When I first heard about this album’s title and the first single and the cover was revealed… not only I was getting “Controversy” vibes (see the cover of Prince’s 4th album), but I was groaning cuz I was afraid the old Taylor was dead because all of the haters have gotten to her. And I don’t want her to feel like she has to spend her time always answering or apologizing for who she is. Millions of us Swifties love her music and so what the other thousands of people say shouldn’t be taken into account at all.
Overall, this is just one album about that. I just hope it won’t always be like this from this point.

I’m not a big country music fan, but Taylor is one of few country artists I do listen to. I have one Carrie Underwood album, I’m often contemplating getting one by Keith Urban (whether it’s the new one or a greatest hits, I’m not sure yet), and Cassadee Pope is my favorite Voice contestant ever (still waiting for her second album. hopefully it’ll be soon).
But when Taylor made the crossover to pop, I welcomed it.

As for her fringing on punk and hip-hop… it depends on the song, quite honestly.
My first impression was mostly positive, but as I said on Facebook, the hip-hop will take some getting used to. I blame that genre (and rap) for ruining mainstream radio for me in the early 2000’s and now, it’s getting into everything along with EDM music produced by Zedd or The Chainsmokers… in other words, moving away from actual singing (opposed to autotune and rapping) and using actual instruments… so for me, some of these songs on Reputation were coming a little too close to what I hate about radio today.
However, because it is Taylor, the lyrics and her unique take on things is what keeps me around.

Certain songs I really fell in love with and are why I love listening to Taylor as an artist. Others are growers and by this point… 7 or so listens later, I’m at the point where I know what my likes and dislikes are. And there are a couple of songs I wouldn’t mind taking off my iPod.

In my posts, I tend to focus on all the negativity first and leave with the positives… I think I’ll just go song by song and give some general thoughts.

One funny thing about the album I didn’t expect… there’s something about the anger and pushing back that’s kind of a therapeutic. I mean, in everyday life where I’m commuting to work and hanging at work for 8 hours a day, I tend to stress about all these little things.
I’ve put this album on in my car and it would happen to be on days where I want to de-stress or express anger or whatever it is… I will sing (not caring if I’m in key or not cuz I’m alone in my car) at the top of my lungs and bring all this attitude with me. And it channels my frustration into something constructive. If anything, all the things stressing me out are temporary and once I take care of them, there’s no longer an issue. But at the time they’re occurring, it’s very suffocating.

Also, I don’t really know a lot of the lyrics yet and despite that, I am stumbling through as if they’re going to come to me out of thin air. Prince’s 20TEN album has been like that. I’m too lazy to look up the lyrics, yet I am recalling some and others are taking a little while to stick πŸ˜›

…Ready for it? tells an interesting story how Taylor sees a bad boy, but she wants him to come along with whatever antics she’s getting into. The only reason I kinda know this one is cuz it’s a single, but I still need to get the timing of the verses just right.
“Baby let the games begin’… just imagine me going all out on those lyrics πŸ˜›
The video really makes no sense where there are two Taylors. One is dressed in black like a ninja and the other is in a case of glass and is an android and the android wins at the end? I’m not really sure… it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the actual song.

End Game, on the other hand, has a really great video. I love how it shows her all around the world and Ed Sheeran is chilling with her. At first, I was leery about the song cuz it had a rapper on it. As a general rule, I hate when rappers feature on songs because they often jabber about anything BUT what the song is actually about. But the fact The Future does stay within the confines of the song and doesn’t get too out there with the interpretation of having a big reputation and whatever else. Of course one attraction to this song is Ed Sheeran cuz he’s one of the few artists I really like right now. (the fact it took me 6 months to get his new album is beside the point… I’m just hoping they stop playing “Perfect” a million times a day on the radio soon… it literally is the best song, but I’m not going to like it for much longer if they keep overplaying it. I should totally TM this: “Overrotation- where great songs go to die”

But I really love the atmosphere of the song and how Taylor builds on the message of her previous song, but the guy she’s with isn’t a bad boy.
Also love that she has “A Team” as a lyric and Ed Sheeran gets to sing it… that was the first song I heard by him and I was instantly a fan from that point.

I did something Bad… oh man, do I let loose on this song or what? I chant the chorus so loud and I literally slap the side of my steering wheel on the beat…
I don’t remember if I saw her perform this or what… but when I hear it, I picture her in a dark room with one spotlight and she mimes playing a violin and on the lyric where she says “for every lie I tell them, they tell me 3” I see her holding up three fingers.
The one thing about this song that really detracted for me and it was when I was feeling a little uneasy on my first listen… after the chorus, there is this section of autotune voices and modulated voices that I only hear on hip-hop songs and I was like “oh crap, is Taylor becoming a hip-hop artist?”… but it’s only a small part of the song. And the rest of the song is great. I love the sass and, again, more attitude.
The fact she actually curses on this… yeah, just don’t make a habit of it, Taylor, ok? As much as her fanbase is growing with her, a lot of young girls do look up to her. (Before this album came out, I overheard someone at work saying how they were disappointed with her for going in this new direction for that reason… she’s still way better than a lot of other female artists out there… still has shades of being wholesome and not being overly explicit)

Don’t Blame Me… I’m half and half on this song, I think… I’m not sure if the lyric “my drug is my baby and I’ll be using for the rest of my life” fits her that well. It doesn’t send the best message, the drug metaphor. Not to mention a lot of people use it as well. However, there is no denying that the chorus is sticky and sticks in my head to the point where I will always sing along to it.

Delicate is the new single… the video is weird… time has stopped and people aren’t really seeing her and she just moves around like nobody is watching… and she does a lot of weird awkward dance moves and stuff… I know she’s not a great dancer, but I’m certainly not going to join the ranks of people who tear her apart for it… but I think the vibe of the video does translate well to the song and vice versa.
I’m still learning these lyrics- the verses in particular… but it is getting more solid in my head each time. The cool thing is that I’ll hear this on the radio on rainy days and it fits that vibe perfectly. Maybe cuz there is a scene in the video where she is dancing in the rain and it’s splashing all over.
There are several songs where she relies on a vocoder to modulate her voice. Again, I hope she doesn’t make a habit of it because that’s one of those criticisms I have for a lot of artists. While not excellent, she does have a good voice and I like to actually hear it naturally without any help.

Look what you made me do… this was the first single and it burned everything down… the video is absolutely nuts. It should have been released on Halloween because Taylor is practically playing dress up with all of her different clothes from different eras and videos. But it also kinda hurts to see her throw insults haters had hurled at her back at herself. About the “surprised face” and stuff like that. I really hope that it made some of the haters rethink what they’ve said to her over the years.
Of course it’s another song I really do get into… but at least I know 99% of the lyrics πŸ˜› so that makes it a lot more fun to just let loose on… my favorite part is where she inserts that soundbyte from Mean Girls where Regina George poses in the playboy bunny outfit for Halloween… cuz Katy Perry said something about her being “Regina George in sheep’s clothing”… supposedly their feud is over now and they made up… I wasn’t really losing sleep over that, honestly, but I have other reasons for not liking Katy Perry much anymore. I’m certainly not going to expand on my energy on that.
Anyway, it’s just a fun part of the song to sing. The rhythm is infectious!
And I really hope the old Taylor isn’t gone for good cuz that’s what made me a fan to begin with. Not so much the country, but her writing about love and not apologizing for any of it.

So it goes… it’s a tough go for any song after the big single… I think this song is slowly winning me over and now I do like it a lot. How there’s this “so it goes!” stab vocal on the chorus kinda grates, but I’m getting used to it.
I like how her vocals go up an octave when she hits this bridge part. Which brings another point… half of Reputation feels like a new Taylor with tinges of hip-hop and the other half is of songs that continue on the sounds she started using on 1989. Some could even have been left over from that period. Unless she comes out and says it, there’s no way to know for sure. I just wouldn’t be surprised (or mind) to find out that was the case.
The verses have an interesting set up where he’s a magician and she’s an illusionist and all eyes are on one of them each time. The opening chords of the song made me think of puppets on strings for some weird reason…

Gorgeous… oh man, I love this one… the music is very “1989”… it does kinda add to this unnerving trend where Taylor is writing songs about drinking or getting drunk… I can’t imagine Taylor doing that, honestly. She still seems like someone very in control of what she’s doing. So maybe it’s easy just to use them as a metaphor being in her 20’s. I just hope it’s not an indication of art imitating life.
This is a song I hope I will learn soon because the sarcasm in her voice is really fun to sing along to and I’d rather get the words right. She’s basically telling someone (male or female, I have no idea) that they look so good, but she can’t say it to their face. The verses talk about her getting drunk and making fun of how they talk or how they should take it as a compliment that she’s talking to everyone in the room but them. It’s a very roundabout way of her hitting back.
There’s a triangle at the end of the verse before the chorus that is so clearly a wink. And I love the humor in that.

Maybe one thing she does too much in this album… you have two verses and two choruses and then there’s this third part that comes in and it’s chanted later in the song. It’s just a songwriting device that maybe gets reused one too many times.
Ready For It has “let the games begin,” I did something bad has that line about burning all the witches, Look what you made me do has “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me” and this song has “you make me so happy it turns back into sad, there’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have”… I think the list goes on and maybe it’s too much.
It’s just something I couldn’t help but notice, that’s all…

“Runaway Car” is one of those songs that… phew… I think Taylor has one of these songs on every album. She has a song where I just get so twisted up and emotional about where it almost hurts.
I mean, her first album has some songs that kinda make me cry. Fearless has “White Horse” that is kinda tough, but it also has “The Best Day’ which is so sentimental it just gets me. But starting with Speak Now, “Enchanted” is so magical and the story just tears me apart πŸ˜› And “All too well” from Red… it’s my favorite off the album, but it’s an emotional venture cuz it’s an epic breakup song, talking about the good times and how things fell apart, really hitting the message home. It’s rare when I can get through it without cracking up. ‘out of the woods’ might be the one off 1989…

Runaway Car is a slow burn because it took a while for the message to really hit me. And once it hit me the first time (I remember it was the first time I listened to it at work, not the very first time, which was on my CD player headphones), it’s gotten me shaken up a little more each time.
Thinking now, it might continue on the storyline of the first song because she says he can join the heist. This is a Bonnie & Clyde situation where the two of them get together and have some adventures. But at the end, the music changes tone and she turns him in and says how us traitors never win. And then the chorus changes from “think about the place where you first met me” to “that was the last time you ever saw me”…
oh man, just thinking about it now, it’s making me tear up a bit.

King of my Heart brings back the vocoder and the 1989 vibes… but it was a song I really did need after the last one where I just plummet into a void of sadness. And this picks up the vibe. The chorus is a little simple, but it is effective. And within a few repetitions, I was singing along.
The title kinda makes me think of “King of anything” by Sara Bareielles for some reason πŸ˜› I don’t have that album or that song, but it’s been a while sine I’d heard of it.

Dancing with our hands tied (I though the name was “I had a bad feeling”)… the music fast tracks in the verses, but it slows down on the chorus… it’s a cross between the 1989 sound to current EDM… I take note of the fact that it’s track 11. And generally, the 11th track is a notable track on most albums I listen to.
But with this album, it’s kind of the last song I like for a while… it’s not perfect and there isn’t much to the chorus (which I don’t care much for), but I like the music for it as a whole. It could almost preface “I know places” from 1989 because she’s talking about a good relationship and she has a bad feeling that something will break it apart, which is people finding out about it.

Then there are two songs that I kinda want to take off my iPod, but might listen to when I have the CD in a player or in the car.

Dress… the way she sings also brings me back to 1989… but there are a few things I really don’t like about it.
I’ll go on record in saying I really don’t care about the status of Taylor’s virginity. To me, this song is one of those indications that she may have lost it recently. I really don’t care for the chorus: “say my name and everything just stops, I won’t want you like a best friend” and she says “carve your name into my bedpost” and repeats the “best friend” line… the gist of it is that she bought a dress (for some reason I’m picturing a little black dress) so he could take it off… but when she say off, the delivery is VERY suggestive. I’d listened to Prince enough times to know where she’s going with this.
The chorus doesn’t do much for me and it’s repetitive… but the panting delivery of “off”… I’m not saying that Taylor can’t express her sexuality in music, but not when it’s up front and obvious like that. Maybe I just want her to stay wholesome because a) it works for her and b) it sets her apart from other artists that are only getting their name out there because they’re writing sexually explicit lyrics.
I think I’d just prefer it staying subtle and that kinda isn’t.

And also, go figure that I remember lyrics I don’t like more than the ones from songs I do…

This is why we can’t have nice things… geesh, this brings me back to Blank Space and why I really didn’t like that song at first. In fact, Taylor was basically confessing to being a girl who goes out to break hearts and she’s keeping track of all of them. But she later confessed she wrote it to adopt the persona a lot of people imagine she has… making fun of that…
I really don’t know if this is a song where she’s being sarcastic or she’s being serious… and whatever case it is will pretty much determine if I like it or not.
To me, this is the misconception of Taylor that a lot of her haters have in their minds. Particularly the bridge at the end where she’s toasting everybody and then she ends with singing forgiveness is the right thing to do and later laughs it off “I can’t say that with a straight face”…depending on her motive behind this song, that move is either laughing off frustrating or it’s actually mean-spirited.
There are some good lyrics in it about there being a Gatsby party and she talks about people being backstabbers and defending herself and stuff… but the attitude in this song is a little too much at times.
Also- it’s another terrible chorus. I think it’s intended to sound this way, but I personally don’t care for it. It sounds very whiny and cheesy, not to mention it sounds very immature. She puts on this persona to go with the Gatsby theme, saying “honey” and “darling” in that old fashioned way.
It also brings back the triangle/wink thing from Gorgeous, which she probably should have kept to one song only.

Then the album ends on a good note with the last two songs, which are great vintage Taylor.

I saw her SNL performance of “Call it what you want” and it’s her on a stool with an acoustic guitar.
To me, it sounds like “You are in love” (one of two songs I skip from 1989 cuz I really don’t like those slow ballads0 but it’s a better realized song. It has a little more range and the story keeps me invested.
I love the idea of it- this guy being there for her in a time where she was closed off from other people because there’d been too much negativity and hate… and he was there to help her build herself back up again and he doesn’t care about her past and what other people say about her. Just that one person is a really reassuring thing. And it’s something I dream to have in a future relationship. I often feel like a mess and I hope to find that one person who can help keep me together.
Vintage Taylor through and through and it’s one of those points in the album that reassured me that it was going to be okay for the rest of it.

New Year’s Day is a little simple, just Taylor on piano. She tells a story about the end of a party, girls in the lobby carrying their shoes. Then she repeats a few messages throughout. There’s the main chorus, then she says “hold onto the memories, they will hold on to you” and also “please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I can recognize anywhere”… the second to last listen I’d had of the album, I was really latching onto it and I was feeling kinda sentimental and trying to not to cry.
And of course on this last new year’s day, some people couldn’t help but tweet about Taylor and how her song is talking about this particular day.
Great storytelling and repetition to drive the message home.

So yeah, overall… this is an album that I’m liking more each time I listen. It has a lot of different angles and sides to it. And I think it could be one I’ll still be listening to a lot in years to come.
Typically I will bring Taylor into the mix starting in the fall, and will bring her first three albums for September, October and November because they remind me of those months and they were also times I was listening to them a lot.
Red I like to do in winter… and even though I do skip a couple songs off it (and in general, I will only skip 2-3 songs on any Taylor Swift album, which is HUGE… I don’t always listen to albums all the way through and when I do, it’s an album where it’d feel incomplete if I skipped anything or it’s from an artist I really like and even their not so good stuff is good enough to have in the background)… yeah, Red is still my favorite Taylor Swift album and I think it will stay that way. I love the sound of it. Lots of great songs.
1989 of course is great and there isn’t much I can really take away from it except for a couple songs.
And Reputation I think will become another of those albums I’ll just play a lot.
If anything, my opinion about it is getting MORE positive with each go. Which is great.

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PR deluxe Disc 2- Computer Blue (Hallway Speech)

It’s hard to know how to start this post… other than restating, again for the record, that I’m doing one post for each of the newly released tracks on Purple Rain deluxe…

I remember my first reaction to Computer Blue vividly… it was watching the movie for the first time and I heard the music and I was thinking it was Darling Nikki and I was already shaking, not sure what to expect. (I’d heard of its notoriety, but didn’t know what to expect from Prince actually performing it)… but it was a different song, Computer Blue. And Darling Nikki followed.

Computer Blue was a performance I actually watched multiple times… even if it was technically an illegally posted video online because they didn’t have permission to use the footage… but I really liked the choreography and the whole look of that performance scene…

but it was a weird song for me because the meaning of the title didn’t come completely across… and I had to ask around .org (which I was an active member of at the time back in 2007) to see why… then I heard the history and how this song was cut down SEVERELY because of the later additions to the album.

I’ll state again how generous Prince fans can be… because when I was first starting out in my fandom, I was getting good advice about what albums to get and people also sent me bootlegs, despite my not asking for them, just so I get the full scope of Prince’s capabilities.
In my second set of bootlegs was some extra Purple Rain tracks… one was the full version of Computer Blue.
When I first heard it, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it… it fucking blew my mind… I almost had no words for it other than it was incredible… and ever since, the album version just wasn’t the same. I always felt it was a little incomplete and its message didn’t come completely across. But that became the truth even more so after hearing what could have been.

Now, if I hadn’t been connected to the Prince community as I was and I was hearing this version for the first time all those years later… I think my bedroom would have looked like a crime scene πŸ˜› I’d be laying on the ground and my brain would have pieces scattered all over the place cuz it would have blown my mind that much…
this was the one addition to the album I’d been really looking forward to hearing in its entirety and in supreme quality.

I have a couple different versions of the hallway speech version of this song. One didn’t have the best quality and another had some parts slightly better. The difference really came through in the later parts of the song. Where the back-up vocals start to come in from the other band members and Prince…
the la-la’s that come in when you hear that instrumental portion they play in the movie…
where Wendy & Lisa first come in, “poor lonely computer”- their voices are a lot clearer…
but especially later on- in another bootleg I have, I hear more of Prince’s vocals, but they’re not THIS clear on a portion where he says “father, the sun is gone!”… this has to really kill on headphones πŸ˜›

But yeah, I’d spent the last couple songs leaning over my stereo with my hands pressed against the dresser.
With this song, I just sat crossed legged in front of the stereo as the song played and closed my eyes.
From now on, I should probably do just that.

When I scored this song for my 2017 look through Prince’s works, I went by the album version only because the bootlegs aren’t official… and I tried to score only official material…
but at a future date when I consider this disc of material, then I will score this… and I’m sure that I will give this song very close to a perfect score…

Computer Blue, in its full capacity, is a phenomenon. Prince is on another plane of reality to begin with, but Computer Blue is one of those songs where he just surpasses that and only a handful of songs go beyond that.
It is fucking incredible… and I cannot wait to hear this version more and more πŸ˜‰ I’ll probably replay it crazy, more than any other song on this disc.

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PR deluxe Disc 2- Love & Sex

As I stated on my “Dance Electric” post, I’m gong through this Purple Rain deluxe tracks on disc 2 one song at a time… and am now officially doing one blog post per song… and any further thoughts on them, I’ll add on future listens.
It’s been a couple weeks since The Dance Electric and I’ve been primed for another song for a while… but between American Idol and a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions (inside and outside of Prince World), I hadn’t gotten to until now.

With the exception of what’s been on the radio at work and some 1999 era tracks, B-Sides and “Stand Back,” I hadn’t listened to Prince much the past week.

You ever have one of those moments where you haven’t listened to Prince for a while… and when you go back, you’re kinda thrown a bit because you forget what to expect?

Love & Sex was kinda like that…

again, SO many thoughts… although not as many as The Dance Electric. Not as many complex thoughts, anyway, because this song isn’t super complex. Not on the surface, at least.

It made me think about Prince rehearsing in that footage for the “Nothing Compares 2 U” release on the 21st… he’s just messing around, either in the studio or the warehouse (I’ll have to look up later which one it is- cuz while reading Duane Tudahl’s book, it could be one of three locations).
One of the first drawbacks about Prince for me at first was his vocals… I didn’t like “Baby I’m a Star,” which is among my first-ever Prince songs… in part because “I would die 4 U” knocked my socks off HARD and while it was nice to have musical reminders of it throughout the song, there were issues. One was the fake out endings and I thought the song ran for too long… little did I know his live shows would be like that, which is why I didn’t think I’d fully appreciate one when certain songs like D.M.S.R. or America could potentially go on for 10-20 minutes.
Anyway, moving on… the other issue was Prince screaming. I wasn’t accustomed to that at all and it kinda killed the song for me. Just a bit.
Several years later… that’s all changed, obviously…

But I will say it was a bit of a rude awakening coming into this song and Prince is screaming and scatting all the way through it. It was like a live show- which I can appreciate, but it also took away my ability to understand any lyrics. And me, I like to know what lyrics are. That’s the case with anybody.

HOWEVER… before this turns into the last post where I spent so much on the negative…

what I did kinda gather was that this song was a veiled way of Prince addressing sex and its connection to God. One lyric I did make was him asking if “did I just die and go to Heaven” or maybe it was “did we die and go to Heaven?”… and how things aren’t right without this girl in his arms.

Crazy thing is that this song was 5 minutes on the dot… and it passed by in the blink of an eye- because the beat is so damn infectious. There eventually came a point where I just disregarded what Prince was singing about and focused on that. But I also have become a little more beat oriented as of late. I can listen to a song and tap my fingers to it and even if I don’t remember the song all that well, I somehow am hitting a lot of the right spots.
With “Love & Sex,” the pattern didn’t vary much at all. It was that classic Prince combination of Linn-drum and live drumming. I had the beat down within seconds and kept it the whole time. Every now and then, I kept hearing guitar feedback. It’s only for 2-3 seconds, but it’s something Prince used a lot in this period. In small doses like this or to kick off/end a song… I’m positive it’s the sound I’ve heard in “Computer Blue” (which I believe is the next track). The beat itself reminded me of “Possessed” (I don’t know why the hell that came to mind… I bet I’m completely wrong) and “Stare” (which has been on my mind just a bit today… not entirely sure why).
Prince’s vocal style is James Brown, no doubt about it.
Also- there were a few cool synth moments where he was undoubtedly using synths to create his own horns section.

So overall… James Brown influence for sure… and lots of classic Prince elements (ha ha) thrust together into a song. In the vast scheme of the disc, it’ll probably get a little lost. It’s certainly not a monster sized track and there’s not a lot, in the scope of ALL of his music, that will stand out and make me want to play it a lot.
But for what it is, it’s nice to have.

Also gotta say that if it stretched on for another 3-5 minutes and the vocals got a little too out of hand with the ad-libbing, I’d have been a bit annoyed.

Geesh… I’m so harsh on Prince and his vocals on this disc and it’s only two songs in πŸ˜› but I know some of what’s coming up, so it shouldn’t be a pattern that continues for much longer.

And as another side note… the fact that another potential Prince album with post-WB material will be released through Tidal (and with plans later for a physical release, which is important to me cuz that’s how I get my music. I do not stream and refuse to subscribe to a streaming service. Cuz I’d be only using it for Prince music…)

anyway, that news is incredible. I thought and feared it’d be instead of the September release planned for this year and I’m like “There’s no way I am waiting longer for this album when it’s 4 months away from release”…
but then I read more and found it’s an additional album… to which I say…


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Prince Night on American Idol

Well, the night’s finally here… a night I’d been eagerly anticipating, but I think I’d been dreading it more than anything else. Dreading that the songs won’t be done right. That Prince won’t be respected in some fashion… that’s oddly become very important to me as of late.
Meanwhile I’d been keeping my mind off the negative feelings with anything else I could do… reading Duane Tudahl’s book on the Purple Rain sessions, listening to other albums, and writing thoughts on the second album.
I’m going into the show tonight on little sleep. I was up kinda late, but then I was tossing and turning from 4am onward and finally got up at 8pm. I tried to get more sleep later in the day, but just couldn’t manage.

So if I’m in an especially foul mood throughout this post, you know why…
to save myself some time, I’ll write down everyone’s names and the songs they’ll be doing. Then I just can add my comments as follows.

Also, found out that Sheila E. will be performing with the band. Which is awesome, but again I ask, why wasn’t she the guest mentor? She’s WAY more qualified than Nick Jonas when it comes to Prince music. Trust me, she had played most of these songs in concert at some point.

I wrote these in the order they appeared on Wikipedia and I’ll number them as we go along. And I’ll only cover their Prince covers… I may update later to say who went home, but it’s not my biggest priority. My priority… is Prince and his music.

Okay, update… Nick Jonas isn’t mentoring the Prince songs (thank God!!)… they’re mixing and matching performances between the two themes, so I’m getting suckered into staying around for the whole show.

They didn’t show footage of him actually performing on the show (not yet anyway), but to give them credit, they did interweave footage from 1999 and Little Red Corvette as well as footage from the “nothing compares 2 u” YouTube video. And they had Luke Bryan and Lionel Ritchie saying how great he was and how he will be around forever. I know Prince and Lionel Ritchie had hung out a couple times and Lionel was at the Purple Rain premiere. (I think I also read that Lionel Ritchie was recording at Sunset Sound around the same time Prince was during the Purple Rain sessions).
Very tasteful, and so far I’m very pleased.

There was also another cute moment where Ryan gave the judges bits of music from their influences: giving Luke Bryan a Merle Haggard cassette, Katy Perry an Alanis Morrissette album (which I have) and Lionel Ritchie a vinyl record of Marvin Gaye.
Wow- what a throwback moment that was πŸ˜› and I know what all of those things are, unlike probably most of these contestants. I had to just add that in.

1. Jurnee- Kiss- 1986 (from Parade- the soundtrack of “Under the Cherry Moon”)… she’s one of the more unique artists in this competition judging by the few bits I’ve seen of this season

She went first and really kicked off the show on a good note. She was dressed in leather and had killer purple boots that went up to her hips. It wasn’t entirely karaoke and she put her own diva runs on some of the notes, which was a nice touch. The way the band played, it felt like one of Prince’s Musicology shows, how the song sounded. And the turnaround reminded me of “Papa’s got a brand new bag” (I wonder if Prince ever realized that connection) and having Sheila E. on drums brought me back to “U Got the Look”

2. Michael J. Woodward- I Would Die 4 U- 1984 (from “Purple Rain”… also, it was the song that first caught my attention and was the first indication I would become a future Prince fan… so I am very nervous about how this song will go… hopefully it will be a good performance :fingers crossed:…)

Good feeling’s gone… that was terrible, I’m sorry… he completely screwed up the lyrics, mixing and matching them from different verses… completely off key… and the judges were acting like it was perfectly fine, but it wasn’t… I’m sorry, with one of my favorite Prince songs, that just was not okay.
The arrangement by the band reminded me a lot of the live performance on the Purple Rain DVD extras, mainly cuz Sheila E. was in that band as well. Maybe if he didn’t sing it straight up karaoke and got the words right, it might have been passable. But he just sung the lyrics (whatever lyrics he remembered) as if they meant nothing, just words on a page. He didn’t own the song, like he really should have.

3. Maddie Poppe- Nothing Compares 2 U- 1984 (released on the only album by Prince associated band The Family, made famous by Sinead O’Connor in 1990… and most recently was released by Prince’s Estate with rehearsal footage on YouTube)

I did a double-take when I realized she was at the piano doing this. It was just her with a string section and it was really nice. I just wish there was MORE. She just did the first verse, the chorus and the same verse again. She has kind of a jazzy voice and it sounded cool on this song. But another nit-pick, it’s 7 hours and 13 days, NOT 15… these people need to get the lyrics right.
(Ok, supposedly the Sinead O’Connor version is 15 days… but I still stand by what I said).
If she continued on the whole song just like that, it could have been very heartbreaking and so good and I’d be a wreck in the best possible way.
The night is good again… yikes, what a rollercoaster this has been already…

(also found out she plays guitar too on her second song… that’s kinda cool… yeah, I really hadn’t watched this season until tonight… I’m just hoping I’m not going to fall for any of these contestants and they wind up going home tonight)

4. Cade Foehner- Jungle Love- 1985- originally performed by Morris Day & The Time (featured in the film “Purple Rain”)… I know Cade has long hair and his voice reminds me a bit of Bryan Adams

ok, so everything was awesome except for his voice… it was kinda creepy how his voice sounded on this. But the band sounded great. Sheila E. got a solo and freaking killed it. And Cade did some killer guitar soloing- completely different from what Jesse Johnson does, but it worked really well.
But poor Jesse and Morris- they didn’t get credited in Ryan’s intro of this song. Prince did write it with them, but I know from reading the book that Jesse came up with the song, Morris did drums and Prince took care of the rest.
Meanwhile, Katy Perry is being way too obvious about how she’s into Cade. It’s borderline inappropriate.

So far… it’s 2 great performances in my view, one terrible, and one that’s right in the middle…

5. Gabby Barrett- How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore- 1983 (the B-Side of “1999” and famously covered by Alicia Keys in one of her first albums)… I’ve heard she’s the one being put in position to win the competition as “the next Carrie Underwood”

oh man… that was SO GOOD… but she ruined the ending… she had to end it with this big screaming note, in typical singing show fashion… and I thought that just completely ruined the song for me. It ruined the authenticity of it. So close… but just… no… find another way to end the song that makes more sense.
I was getting some seriously good vibes too- like Prince had blessed the stage and given her all the mojo she needed. And just kinda squandered it going across the finish line.

6. Catie Turner- Manic Monday- 1986 (famously covered by The Bangles, but Prince originally wrote it to be recorded for Vanity 6’s second album, later changed to Apollonia 6’s album)… she’s the contestant who’s from my hometown and goes to my old high school, but my sister still thinks she’s a joke contestant and not talented. I still don’t have an opinion on her myself- didn’t like her “Take me to Church” performance two weeks ago, but “Once upon a dream” sounded pretty good last week.

…kinda glad that wasn’t the last song of the night…
that background was so 80’s, all the bright colors. She completely forgot the words at the first line, but was able to get back. She did kinda get it back, but it kinda felt like a trainwreck.
at least this is a safe Prince song to screw up on… cuz it wouldn’t kill me if it wasn’t perfect.
Gotta give her kudos- she said how she thought about playing guitar, but decided not to because Prince can play guitar way better than she can. And she admits it wasn’t perfect, but the judges were encouraging her not to be completely down on herself about it.
But that was the first time tonight that a contestant actually acknowledged Prince… and that was something I felt like was sorely missing.

7. Caleb Lee Hutchinson- When Doves Cry- 1984 (from Purple Rain)… he’s got a really good country voice, so all bets are on him countrifying this Prince classic

I tried to log on to vote, but I found out my Facebook account was hacked and I had to change my password… then it said I had to hook up my Facebook account with a Disney account… I don’t think I have a Disney account and I wasn’t going to go through all that trouble for this…
so I was very frustrated and barely was watching that…

But Caleb did sound great on the song and really did make it his own… but it made me miss Prince, not really feeling any connection to him anymore.

I would have voted for Maddie, Jurnee, Caleb and Gabby if I could have voted… and I’d vote for Catie and Michael to go home.

Going through are…. Caleb, Maddie, Cade, Gabby, and… Michael…

dammit, that kills me that Michael went through when he ruined one of my favorite Prince songs… I’m sorry, that’s just unforgivable.

the Prince covers were good… most of them… there were some big lows, but there were some I was really happy with.

I just hope American Idol and the rest of these singing shows don’t make a habit about using Prince just for a theme… just because they can.
And as an added note, The Voice contestants at least acknowledged him after performing his music. They didn’t take for granted… and it kinda feels like most of these contestants did.

Yeah, I’m just gonna cry myself to sleep now… hopefully everything will be okay in the morning.

I miss you, Prince. I wish you were here.

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If I was in charge of American Idol’s Prince night…

Geesh… it has been a LONG week… and a lot of it has been stressing about American Idol doing Prince songs… and it’s still a couple days away…

I just want to state for anyone who’s seen these recent posts, clearing the air a bit…

I am not one of those Prince fans who are super fanatical, i.e. the reason why Prince hated the word “fan” (and I never used it when he was alive because I know how much he hated that word… and I’d been using more freely since his passing because it’s just easier to do so)…
I’m not one of those fans that doesn’t believe any tribute isn’t good enough, that constantly stresses about every decision made by his family, estate or former associates now writing books about him… and about whether or not he’d have wanted his music released from his vaults.

I am fairly reasonable by comparison. I learned early on that in addition to being knowledge about a lot of things with him and his music, that it’s important to stay positive and also my opinion in the end is what matters most. (Of course that doesn’t meant that I don’t take others opinions into account).
As long as it’s handled with care and respect, I would love for more music to be released. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me personally if I never saw another album. (For the moment, though, there is a strong indication that we will get one of those later in the year. Fingers crossed as always).

However, I do realize that I’ve gotten very picky and overly opinionated about how he’s being remembered.

So needless to say, this American Idol this has been a rollercoaster of sorts…
I’d been stressing about the songs that will be done and who the guest mentor will be.

I was delighted to find about the songs being selected.
Only “Kiss” and “When Doves Cry” were among the songs that I really did not want covered at all. But the people on the show singing them might be suited to them rather well.
“Nothing compares 2 u” has been done a couple of times since his passing and with the new release of his version with The Revolution (or, from what my fellow purple knight tells me, Susannah Melvoin), it wasn’t surprising it’d also be listed. And hopefully it will push the Sinead O’Connor version far from everyone’s minds… certain fans have been complaining for years that people think it’s her song when it’s really not. (I actually screamed at “Deadpool” the last time I saw it because he namedropped her and the song title… yeah, I have my moments, I guess).
“Jungle Love” and “Manic Monday”- some great choices because they are good songs in their own right and they were done by other artists (Morris Day and The Time and The Bangles… who really were the latest of acts Prince propositioned “Manic Monday” too… I believe it was originally meant for Vanity or Apollonia 6). And the people getting them are the right people for them of the ones left.
“I would die 4 u” is the one I’m super nervous about because I consider that the song that made me fall in love with Prince. I think I heard 1999 first and had seen the video- but I first heard this song without a visual and it stuck with me ever since those first couple seconds)
Then there’s “how come u don’t call me anymore”… which Peach & Black complained how a lot of people were thinking it was an Alicia Keys song when he had given her permission to record it for an album. (But with Alicia, I always will remember how Prince said she was one of the few artists really putting it out there- the artistry and the musicianship- and this was going back to 2004… where we with that now? With very few exceptions, it’s all electromagnetic pop– quoting another of his songs).

I did realize hours later that all of these songs were from the token era… 1983-1986 when the majority of people think was the only time Prince was relevant. At least that’s what the radio will have you believe. (Other than that time period, I’d only heard “I wanna be your lover” and “the most beautiful girl in the world” on the radio, but they were very specific radio stations for those decades).

So there are pros and cons as there often is… it’s a lot better than I expected, but I’m still nervous about how it’ll all turn out.
(I also think that these songs were the only ones they had time to clear… because they had been previously cleared The Voice… which had done “Nothing compares” and “how come u don’t call me anymore” and American Idol had “kiss” once years ago).

Then this morning I literally had a rude awakening… I go on Facebook and find out that Nick Jonas is the guest mentor.

I went BALLASTIC… but just managed to restrain myself when commenting on it on social media.

I just knew that American Idol was going to screw that up… I knew they weren’t going to get anyone personally associated with Prince, who had worked with him as part of one of his bands because they quote-unquote “weren’t famous enough.”
With guest mentors, it’s either about who they can afford, who happens to have an album to promote (and I’m betting Nick Jonas has new music coming out soon and that’s why he’s here)… junk like that…
I also remembered that The Revolution are actively touring. I think the NPG is overseas and The Time is probably doing their own thing somewhere as well. Heck, they’ve had Stevie Nicks on before and I know she had worked with Prince a couple of times, but I think Fleetwood Mac is touring now as well.

So I’m halfway between “everyone WORTH having already has a commitment” and screaming Gordon Ramsey style “WHERE ARE THE STANDARDS?!”

For starters, Nick Jonas is younger than me and doesn’t have nearly enough experience in the music industry for him to be any sort of mentor for any theme thing.
Second, and most importantly, the only thing that qualifies him was the fact he worked with former NPG members in his first solo album. I forgot why I was up watching late night years ago, but I remember seeing him on the show and the band members looked familiar and I really liked the song. I found out they were actually the NPG- Michael Bland, Sonny Thompson- Tommy Barbarella was the one who stuck out the most to me, I think.
Third… he never worked with Prince personally and was someone inspired by him. It isn’t as if he spent years of his life rehearsing all of these songs that these contestants are about to cover.

I dunno… in my mind, covering Prince is like walking on holy ground. It’s like playing Mozart at Carnegie Hall.
He needs to be treated with the utmost respect because he is just so much more than so many people in the music industry, past and present.
And considering how losing him so recently is still fresh on a lot of our minds, for the sake of all us fans, I want this to go over well. But I also don’t want American Idol or The Voice to make a huge habit of it… I don’t want every Prince song to become like the millionth cover of “Hallelujah”… these shows have it at least once a season and I never liked that song. I’d hate for people to get sick of Prince just because he’s covered all the time. Not to mention it’s the same songs always being covered.

So I had some thoughts today… and I actually went through his albums and the songs off the top of my head to figure out what songs would be good to be covered.

I also thought about the guest mentors…
there is the issue of payment, of course… although I’m sure a lot of these band members would do it for free…

But if I were doing this, I’d like for multiple guest mentors… depending on the songs that these contestants are covering, they need to bring people who worked with Prince on those songs or played them with him in concert, so they really know what they’re doing.
For the 80’s- Wendy & Lisa
For the 90’s- Michael Bland & Morris Hayes (to cover both halves of the decade… and Michael Bland has perfect pitch so that’d be helpful)
For the 00’s… whoa, no idea, lol… I’m not that knowledgeable about his bands in that time
And beyond… Ida Neilsen from 3rd Eye Girl

I’m really hoping that when they introduce the Prince theme, that they don’t show a lot of footage of April 2016 with the mourners outside Paisley Park (or God forbid!! any crime scene footage… CBS actually showed it, that’s what I heard)… and just show a bunch of footage of him and talk about all the Grammys and awards he’s won and records sold… focus on his life and achievements, not his death. PLEASE.

As for the songs… I went through the songs in my head and had a couple things in mind.

First, they had to be songs that could suit any other artist. They weren’t songs that are so specific to Prince (like Purple Rain and The Beautiful Ones) that anyone trying to cover them would be a gross injustice.
Second, they need to have some dynamics… it’s not just singing one note the entire song and there’s a range of emotions.
Third, they need to have something personal that the contestants can latch onto and make their own.

And for the most part, I stayed away from the singles. The songs that are on the radio all the time.
Also… I stayed away from songs that were too explicit. No Darling Nikki, Jack U Off, Irresistible Bitch, Come or Horny Toad.

Going through all the albums, there were some that I did not include.
For You, The Black Album, the last two HitNRun albums, The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sales, Chaos & Disorder, Crystal Ball… Controversy also- those songs are a little too closely associated with Prince and wouldn’t work for anyone who could sing them.

I counted 39 songs.

Still Waiting- from his 2nd album… it’s about waiting for love and it could work really well for a country artist.

I Feel For You- 2nd album- it worked well for Chaka Khan (who had a huge hit with it) and has many possibilities

Cinnamon Girl- Musicology- supposedly ABC is very liberal, so this song they could use to promote some sort of agenda… although there isn’t much of a chorus for the contestants to do much with.

If I Love U 2Night- covered by Mica Paris and Mayte- it’s a really tender desperate song about wanting someone to keep you company through the night… it was made into something romantic, but supposedly it was originally written as a lover’s plea to be talked out of suicide

When You were Mine- Dirty Mind and covered famously by Cyndi Lauper- it’s a good storytelling song and these singing shows love song that are good for telling stories… it has a little more vocal range and means of interpretation than Raspberry Beret, I think

Something in the water (does not compute)- 1999- certain lyrics might be a little tricky, but they can be worked around… the message is “there must something in the water they drink- it’s been the same with every girl I’ve had”… pretty much saying that’s why every relationship hasn’t worked. The version on the album is a little unhinged at points, but I’d heard another version that’s a little more subdued. So there is range to work within.

Moonbeam Levels- it was released as part of the posthumous 4ever compilation… it’s a very deep song about reconsidering your place in the world… just google the lyrics, do yourself a favor. It could be a good emotional moment for somebody else. Especially if they play piano and have no other accompaniment

Free- 1999- it’s a ballad about being down, but being grateful for what you have

Take me with u- if “Idol” was doing duets, this would be a good one. It’d be a nice upbeat song (and also the only song from Purple Rain I’d put for this list… the others are too damn iconic or require instrumentation one person cannot do)

17 Days- B-Side of When Doves Cry- it’s another song about lost love… maybe not great vocal range, but it’s a good storytelling song

Mountains- Parade- it’s an upbeat song with a great message about staying positive and not letting things in life get you down. It would go over really well live.

Anotherloverholenyohead- Parade- “you need another lover like you need a hole in your head”… although with the vocal arrangement in the second verse, it might be tricky for a single person to pull off.

Sign o’ the times- I’m just sick of Harry Styles’s song with the same name (totally different song) getting covered all the time and nobody knows about this one… while the lyrics are a little out of date and the vocal doesn’t have a lot of range to it, if the right person takes on this song, it could become an anthem

If I was your girlfriend- sign o’ the times- If BeyoncΓ© can sing “If I were a boy”… this song should be fair game… and gender fluidity being “in” right now, it could work for someone’s favor… heck, Ada Vox, being a drag queen, could have done this and pulled it off REALLY well. Although Ada Vox had a theatrical vocal and really needed a song with more range.

Strange Relationship- sign o’ the times- it’s very upbeat despite the subject matter where he’s saying how he can’t stand to see her happy, but also hates to see her sad.

I could never take the place of your man- sign o’ the times- the subject matter might be a tad mature for some of these contestants (there’s a lyric where he says “left her with a baby and another one on the way”)… but the premise could work for anybody.

Arms of Orion- Batman soundtrack- another good one for a duet… although it’s very cheesy by movie soundtrack standards

We are the New Power Generation- Graffiti Bridge- another good upbeat anthem with a bit of a rebellious streak

Thieves in the Temple- Graffiti Bridge- it’s kinda like When Doves Cry… but it’s about someone stealing his girl. the possibilities for interpretation are endless

Diamonds & Pearls- another good one for a duet

The Morning Papers and Damn U from the Symbol album… the first is a nice little ballad about finding new love and the other is about being in love and would be great for someone who’s an amazing vocalist… the only downside is both of these songs have drawbacks.
The Morning Papers has a lyric “every school boy’s fantasy she was- that’s why he had to wait”… doesn’t quite work for the age group on these shows.
And Damn U… “Damn” is considered an expletive so it might not be clear to use on network TV and there’s no way you can change the title to make it more TVPG without ruining it.

Dark- Come- what a great vocal performance this could be for somebody… it’s about being abandoned by a lover, very emotional and full of heartbreak.

The most beautiful girl in the world- The Gold Experience- kind of a mushy love ballad, but it was Prince’s last commercial hit. Good pop song.

Dolphin- The Gold Experience- a lot of possibilities in this song for someone who’s maybe from an alternative rock background. It’s full of angst, rising above the past when you were being used by those around you.

Eye Hate U- The Gold Experience- another good one for a vocal showcase. Very emotional. American Idol and these shows really do prefer songs that have a big ending… this could be that song

Somebody’s Somebody- Emancipation- it’s about pining for love, finding that special someone. A good tender moment that’ll get a love of votes- especially if it’s performed by a cute guy

Don’t Play Me- The Truth… I honestly don’t know why I picked this one… none of these contestants are over 30

So Far, so pleased- Rave Un2 the joy fantastic- it’s a fun upbeat song about a new love affair

U’re gonna c me- One night alone/MPLSound- another ballad, it’s about trying to rekindle love. It has a lot of possibilities, but could be a good vocal or emotional performance

Last December- The Rainbow Children- it’s a tad on the gospel side, but anyone can relate to the lyrics. it’s about not taking for granted what you have and coming together as one… get a choir in the background and it could be something epic

A Million Days- Musicology- it tells a story and could be an emotional performance- it’s about a love walking out the door and thinking about chasing after her to win her back

Call my name- Musicology- some lyrics might be a little out of place in the 2nd verse… but it’s a ballad that would be good as a wedding song and as a song dedicated to a special loved one

Love- 3121- “love is whatever you want it to be”- Prince recorded an electric pop version as well as an acoustic version. So there are possibilities for interpretation

Somewhere here on Earth- Planet Earth- another great ballad and really good for a vocal showcase

WHITECAPS- Plectrum Electrum- it’s about overcoming loss… I dunno, I just really like this song πŸ˜›

Breakdown- Art Official Age- a really good emotional ballad… but it has to be for a really passionate, strong vocalist. He’s singing about someone that is breaking down the walls he’s put around himself and he wants to commit to them.

1000 x’s and o’s- HitNRun Phase 1 (oops… forgot about this one)… an R&B ballad that could get a cute guy a lot of votes

a couple hours of typing later… yeah, that’s a good selection of songs.

I think I got out everything I wanted to say on this… hopefully I don’t read something else that triggers another blog post like this πŸ˜›

I just have to close in saying that I’m surprised it took me this long to come up with this post… considering how I’d written about him so many times and had wanted American Idol to cover him for ages (now somewhat regretting that…)

Oh… one last thing… American Idol should also plug all of the tours that The Revolution and all of Prince’s other bands are currently doing, saying to find about them on their website… it’s only fair.

But of course they’re not going to take any of these suggestions… they’ll do whatever they do… and I’ll just have to live with the results/consequences.

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American Idol’s Top 7 will be doing Prince…

…and I am honestly terrified about it.

I figured I couldn’t just do a comment. This had to be a whole blog post and it had to be before a single note was sung.

I had been clamoring for this for a LONG time… pretty much every season since Prince made that surprise appearance on the Season 5 finale (the only thing that could soften the blow of Chris Daughtry being voted home in 4th place… one of the best from the show ever)…

And now that it’s actually going to happen, I have feelings about it so mixed that I cannot even begin to explain.

First off… the ONLY reason this is actually, FINALLY, happening is that he isn’t here to say no. So right away, I can’t help but feel this is disrespectful to him and his legacy.

The occasional performance on The Voice is fine, but there will come a point where I’m going to be annoyed more than applauding. Chris Blue & Alicia Keys dueted with “Diamonds & Pearls” on the finale week where he won and Adam and Jesse Larson did a kick-ass version of “Let’s go Crazy” with killer guitar solos… but then there were performances like Lucas from last season doing “The Beautiful Ones” as karaoke as you can possibly get and I thought it was in poor taste. And Terrence from this season, my favorite to win this season actually, did “How Come u don’t call me anymore” and I didn’t like his singing on it. He did the song in complete falsetto, so to me, it had no range of notes or emotion and it’s a song that needs to come off more natural than when he did it. (He went home that week… still thought his blind audition was genius and he was sent home WAY too soon).

However, American Idol is mostly full of amateur singers.
Because of how the series kinda broke me over the last couple seasons, where singers like Jessica Meuse, Alex Preston, Jax, and Dalton Rappatoni that I really felt connected to, didn’t win… and Katy Perry being a judge… I had boycotted this season more or less until a couple weeks ago. When there was nothing on TV, so we had the show going on, the first hour of it. And I’d heard some performances. I’ve also been keeping up with some of it through Lyndsey Parker’s blog posts and her podcasts with Jeffery Austin. Just to see if anything was worth tuning in for.
One of those reasons went home this week. From what I’ve heard/read, Ada Vox has been dropping mics all season and doing “Circle of Life” better than the original was another and should not have gone home this early. Would have been very interested to hear the choice of Prince song that’d be chosen- from the same person who also did “The Show Must Go On” the other week. But I guess drag queens still aren’t quite in to get all of America behind them. But seriously, one of the best voices I’d heard on the history of the show and I was an avid fan that saw every episode (except for season 12… I got into it in the top 7 and I liked the person who won… too bad Candace Glover’s career never went anywhere- huge waste of talent)…

Anyway… this is about Prince, not American Idol.

I really want his music to be covered more, but not to the point where it’s being done ALL THE DAMN TIME…
because it’d make him no better than anyone else who’d been over covered on these shows. He deserves better and only to be done by the best.
But I can’t help but wonder if they wanted a top 7 specifically for this theme because Prince used the #7 a lot in his lyrics.

And I’m terrified because I’m afraid some singers who aren’t completely in key all the time will ruin his songs. Or they’ll try to “make them their own” and completely ruin them by taking away all the things that made them special to begin with.

And worst… I’m afraid it’s just going to be the same “lame” song choices… only big singles that were on the radio.
And I swear, if the song list is Raspberry Beret, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, 1999, Little Red Corvette and Kiss… I will be bitchin’ mad. Prince has over 400 songs from albums alone and it’s always the same songs covered.
Granted, we get the occasional Diamonds & Pearls… but doing any song that is a true Prince original- that it wouldn’t be as special as it is without him will not be okay.
And it’s pretty much guaranteed that “nothing compares 2 u” will be one of them because it’s just been recently released.
I’m also afraid that Katy Perry will perform one of his songs… I’m still mad at her over the Taylor Swift thing and the few antics I’ve seen of her on the show have been absolutely classless.

As much as I want Prince’s music to be carried forward and remembered, I’ve been finding that I’m very picky about how he is being remembered. And that isn’t to say nothing is good enough.
Nothing will ever replace him or take his place. I saw a tweet The Voice retweeted saying “we may have lost Prince but at least we have Janelle Monae”- who performed on tonight’s results show. I didn’t see it because I have a million other things to watch… no matter who that was about, whether it was Gaga or Taylor or someone else in music I cared about, I’d find it disrespectful. To me, it’s a middle finger to all the people still mourning Prince and consider him their favorite artist. It’s making it like he’s being pushed aside, that he doesn’t matter anymore.
To me, he is the best ever and the fact that we still have a number of other legends does not make up for the fact he isn’t.
I could go on about all the less deserving artists (particularly those with checkered histories that’ve had a million second chances) and how I hate that they’re still here and Prince isn’t… but I don’t want to. My time is better spent than that.

What songs would be good… I honestly don’t know… I’d have to spent a lot of time figuring that out. But they have to be songs that are tasteful and they could work in the hands of another artist. Like I said, not true Prince originals.
Purple Rain CANNOT be done on this show because no matter who it is, they’ll never do a guitar solo with it and it needs a guitar solo.

Anyway… all I can really ask of all the Idol contestants is for them to treat these songs with respect, to keep Prince in their thoughts when they perform these songs he wrote, and for one moment, don’t make this about you wanting to win the show… make this about the music.

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PR deluxe Disc 2- The Dance Electric

Deep down, I think I’ve been fighting this for a while. Listening to the deluxe Purple Rain album. One part because I’m afraid the album will make me appreciate the original version less. And second… going through this would be like closure or saying goodbye. And I never want to say goodbye to Prince. Ever.

But I’d been meaning to start listening to this disc in particular after April 21st, but I’d been nervous about it.
However, now that I hear a new album is coming (fingers crossed it’s actually gonna happen… the last time an album was coming about, the Deliverance EP, it was pulled and never released- but tons of people have boolegged version of it)… and at the current moment, I am alone at home… it’s a good time to listen.

And I decided maybe doing one track at a time… and I’ll do it when I feel like the time is right… so I don’t rush through this. Because some of these tracks (the Computer Blue hallway speech for one) are really important and I’d been waiting for them a long time.

Now onto this song…
The Dance Electric.
I know the story of how Prince wrote this song and gave it to Andre Cymone as a supposed peace offering- although hearing a podcast with Andre talking about why he left the band, it doesn’t sound like there was that big of a falling out as it was shown to be. Like with Tony and Gayle Chapman, he left because he wanted to pursue his own dreams in music.
And I recently heard in the vocal version of “God” where Prince said the title of this song and “there’s not much time”…

I don’t know what tipped me or if I had read something, but I started to get the feeling after a point that this song was going to be LONG.
Most people love Prince’s long jams, but I am very hot and cold on them. If I’m really feeling the song and enough is happening to keep my interest, length is no issue. But in my view, for every “Come” (album title track) and “Computer Blue,” for me, there is an “America” and “I would die 4 u” where a song almost feels done to death and I lose interest within 7-10 minutes.
And yes, I am fully aware that Prince writes all these songs (not just these, but possibly every song he ever did) really lengthy, going on for 20-30 minutes and he cuts it down to 3-5 minutes to get the album versions.
I feel bad saying this, but sometimes my attention span is not long enough for Prince’s long jams.

However, The Dance Electric is different from some of those other long jams…
I think this is one of those songs where certain nuances will take longer to get used to than others.
But it’s one of those moments where even I have to sigh and ask “Prince, why did you have to make it weird?”
Maybe 5-6 minutes in, he started doing all these weird vocal things like he was possessed by a demon. I know he was doing what the song asked him to, listening to the rhythm of his soul… for me, it just got a little too much and I was half thinking- he should have ended the song before it got to this point because for those first 30 seconds or so I’m thinking that he kinda ruined it.

But it did get better when I was getting used to that and all kinds of other stuff started happening. There was this synth flourish he added a couple times through the song… he used it in an Emancipation track- I think it was near the end of “White Mansion”… and also I remember hearing something similar in “Automatic” right before the “fasten your seatbelts” part. So it was a cool thing to find.

For some good things, the chorus is really cool… and it stuck with me after maybe 2 listens and it was going through my head every time it was doing.
“Dance the dance electric- listen to the rhythm of your soul. Dance the dance electric- better love each other, it’s almost time to go”

That’s a really cool message and a very “Prince” message.
The main groove made me think a lot of “Obsession” by Animotion- but without those specific nuances- that specific Linn-drum setting and bass plucks.
This was propelled by Linn-drum (almost like a train) and a deep growly bass line. And Wendy & Lisa are on backing vocals.

As the track went on, though, once the weird factor started to become less of an issue for me… Prince was like a freaking syths wizard… he was adding more and more flourishes and it was really building…

I realized within maybe the last couple minutes that I really wasn’t breathing- and if I was, I wasn’t aware of it… but I didn’t think I was.
Because I started to anticipate it coming to an end as it was ending and I just took in this huge breath and I turned off my stereo like I was afraid the next song was going to start immediately.

I think this is a post I’m going to publish… but the next time I listen, I might update it and send the link again through social media for anyone interested.

But I think I just needed to get my thoughts- however informed or misinformed they may be- down somewhere so I at least have a record of it. In case anyone asks πŸ˜›

I’m still very positive about this song. It’s a really cool groove I could listen to forever. Some parts just might take a little more getting used to. And with Prince, I’ve had a bunch of those “gotta get used to this” moments in the past.
Heck, I didn’t like Prince’s screaming in “Baby I’m a star” when I first heard it… or the lip-smacking in “Come”… I either revel in these things now or I just know what to expect and just hang in there until it’s over.
So there is hope that I will get over my ish for weird stuff Prince does πŸ˜› but I’ll try not to make my further talks about this song about just that because there’s plenty of awesomeness to address.

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“Time” to regroup after April 21st…

Yeah, I could not resist a very obvious pun…
I don’t know how long this post is gonna be, but I’m just gonna do my usual stream of consciousness babble and reach my point rather quickly.

I tweeted today how I was kinda sleepwalking through today, not really feeling passionate or excited about much of anything. I have been starting to read the new Purple Rain sessions book, so that’s my daily dose of Prince, but otherwise, I haven’t been listening to him much. Mainly because I don’t know what to listen to.
I’ve been finding that unless I’m in the mood for a certain album or a certain song is coming to mind, I really don’t want to force anything with Prince. Especially because I don’t want to waste my time listening to him if I’m not going to be completely feeling it and enjoying it.
And adding to that, as great as the podcasts have been with The Revolution members picking their top 10 essential Prince songs, they’ve made it difficult for me to choose an album to listen to. Most of their choices are from the 80’s, so I don’t want to mix other decades in with that. But I also don’t want to put on an 80’s album and run the risk of having to hear the same song twice in the same day. I know it’s Prince, but with the past several months at working at the same place and the radio pretty much having the same playlist and certain songs I hear every day and others I hear 3+ times a day… therefore I’m not really wanting to listen to anyone multiple times a day if it’s the same song. It’s very complicated…

The book has been pretty good so far. Although I’m not really liking how antagonistic it is painting Prince when it comes to The Time. They’re interviewing some of the members and they’re saying how he was very strict about what they could and couldn’t do in concert and it made him sound like a tyrant. I’m sure he was the drill sergeant (as Brown Mark put it in the last podcast I listened to) much for the time, but he couldn’t be that mean all the time… I just read some stuff about Vanity 6 and the members and how the group kinda came together. Very interesting stuff. And Susan Moonsie sounds like such a sweetheart. Even though she was with Prince when Vanity came along, according to Susan Rogers, she realized she couldn’t have Prince all to herself at this point in his career so she was gracious and still stuck with the group despite how the dynamic changed. Also interesting how Brenda was the one in charge, but Vanity was the technical leader of the group.

But it also talked about Prince and Morris in the studio and how Morris did the drums and Prince did bass and everything else… I never even though that Morris played the drums on any of those albums because I thought they were all Prince’s doing and Morris just followed a vocal track.

So getting to my point… I don’t know what made me decide this, but I realized that maybe I should bring this album with me. Maybe because reading about them the other day made me wish I had it with me and that was just doing this a day later. Kinda like when “Beginning Endlessly” came back around and I listened to 20TEN a day later and it was just as good as it always was.

Today I did listen to “What time is it?”… I still believe it is the best Time album by far. The following album would have been a lot better if Jungle Love was the live version from the movie instead of a studio version (bleck!! what a disappointment that was)… and “If the kid can’t make you come” was replaced with something else. We already had a dialogue track with a beat in the background (Chili Sauce)- we didn’t need two. And considering those two songs were from Purple Rain, the album becomes very fragmented as a result.

I remember getting “What time is it?” at Circuit City (the time I think I set foot inside one of those stores before they went away) the night I was going to a midnight showing of “Twilight” when it premiered… what an adventure.
I got the idea because I heard “Gigalos get lonely too” on EmancipationRadio (“this is what freedom sounds like”) and I really liked that song.
Practically from start to finish, it was the best I could have expected from The Time and more.
I never imagined Morris Day doing any ballads and the fact this album had two that kinda showed a sensitive side of his character… that was one of the best surprises on any Prince associated album.

Here’s a funny thing that’s been going on lately…
I think I picked this up since I’d been doing with this with Depeche Mode. This week I finally took all of their songs off my iPod because I was just listening to them too damn much. They’re almost background music at this point. And at work I do a lot of number crunching with my right hand, so my left hand doesn’t get to do much. So I listen to music and my left hand is keeping the beat.

I don’t think it’s the first time this has happened, but it was hard not to take notice… the album started and the first two fingers on my right hand were drumming away on my steering wheel like they were drums. They kept the beat for the whole song and even without my mind telling them to do so, they did some things in perfect time with the song. I don’t have all of Prince’s beats memorized even though I have listened to him a lot, but I think I’m getting more invested in the beats of his music. But it’s so crazy to me how I’m just hitting some of these patterns without even remembering that they existed. It’s not 100% accurate, of course, but it’s happened enough times where I gotta take notice and think something else is up.

And considering that maybe Morris did play the drums on all the tracks of the album (excluding the Linn-drum parts, I highly doubt he touched the Linn), it gave it a little more energy for me. And I can marvel at more things.
The drumming on 777-9311 is RIDICULOUS… it’s practically acrobatics with, I think, the high-hat… Toejam would know… and Jesse blistering away on that guitar solo… just sick…

The Walk was cool personified 😎 I was really digging the vibe and feeling very mellow.
Then I get to the final two ballads and it’s practically heaven. The synth and piano work Prince did is so pretty. “Gigalos get lonely too”… I mean, it’s a dodgy subject matter if you’re not talking about Morris Day… but I just love that song so much. I like the sensitivity and the vocal. The synths are so dreamy, I drift away every time I listen to it.
“I don’t wanna leave you”… a bit out of character for Morris, it doesn’t quite make sense, but I like having that other side of the character on display. The interesting thing about the music… it sounds like it’s Linn and real drums, but it reminds me a bit of the sounds from the 1999 album. And Prince comes in with this piano solo. It’s pretty and melodic, but it almost feels like he added it as an additional rhythm section. Seriously, just listen to it… it makes the whole beat of the song bigger and fuller.

OH man, what an album… I wish there was more to it, but at the same time, that might have also killed the album for me, lol. Only 6 songs, but a lot is done with the 30+ minutes that transpire with them. Every now and then, I just like to take it out and listen to it.

One thing I’ve kinda noticed with Prince and this has happened a few times since 2009…
when I’m not feeling 100% on the same page with him, I listen to his protΓ©gΓ©s or associated artists. Not to get away from him necessarily (although that first time in early 2009, for a week) it was, but just to regain perspective and just to feel good about something.
I think this is another of those times. I listened to Vanity 6 the other day for the same reason.
I think without him here, I’m just trying to figure out what he wants me to do, what I should be doing. I don’t feel like I’m entirely ready to stop listening to him altogether, so there has to be some sort of compromise.

I have one more podcast with Lisa tomorrow and I think I might go into some of the other songs from Purple Rain tomorrow afternoon… those songs won’t be mentioned on the podcast as essential listening… and there really isn’t much to lose when I don’t really know what to expect. But having no expectations when it comes to Prince can sometimes be good. Having expectations too high could lead to disappointment, but if there’s low or none at all, sometimes it works out better.

I will say, though, that Brown Mark’s podcast and choices were so good… what a fun podcast…
Of all the people in the band, he’s the one I knew the least about and he sounds like a really cool guy.
Also, the fact he took lead on the first couple of songs at the concert I went to was a good first step for me to really get to know him. Before that, I just knew when he joined the band, that the Rolling Stones show (and that did get discussed) was his first concert, he had a band called Mazarati and he hated “Kiss”. And also he was a chef at a restaurant and Prince’s girlfriend asked him to make pancakes for him and years later he’d tell him about it.

Now I have a bit more. Hearing about him as a bass player was really informative. He said how he stayed in the pocket and Prince liked that and he also gave him freedom after some time to make pieces more his own.
And also one big thing… Prince saw on rehearsal tape how Brown Mark would dance while he was performing and he later enlisted him to do choreography… so all that choreography from the Revolution shows, that was from him. WOW! I mean, what a difference that made in the whole presentation of Prince and the band back then. And they’re still doing that now, which is awesome.
I was really impressed with the song choices. Of course he likes a good bassline, so a lot of the songs had that. Obviously there was one exception… but it annoys me that it never gets played all the way through. And they did the long version of another song… 20+ minutes… and they couldn’t play that other song for 6?! BS!!
There was one song from For You and he said how he’d talk to Prince about that album and how he liked it… Prince was like “nah, really?” like he didn’t quite believe it and really didn’t like the album. Brown Mark said how he must hear all the imperfections in it. I think he also had PTSD from spending all that time working on it. But I really liked the song he picked from it.
And two Parade era tracks… and one blew me away because it was a B-side and it’s one I just ADORE. You have no idea! And there was something from SotT as well.

I get to the end of these posts where I’m just going off on tangents like this and often wonder if I have everything down that I wanted to say… this is another of those times. But I think you get the general idea πŸ˜›

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Lady Gaga’s “Joanne”

I’m finally getting around to writing something on Gaga’s latest album.

First off, I was excited to hear news about it initially and I knew from the title alone is was going to be something kinda personal. (I know for a fact that Joanne was Gaga’s aunt and she died young, quite a while before Gaga was even born, but she does a prayer circle for Joanne before every concert).
But it also took me ages to even buy it… and it had everything to do with the 2016 election.

Gaga was one of those, or still is, one of those celebrities that campaigned HEAVILY for Hillary Clinton and hated Donald Trump. As much as I love Gaga and a lot of things she stands for (anti-bullying, supporting the LGBT community), it really got under my skin her opinions on the election.
At least after Donald Trump was elected, I believe she said that all the young people protesting the results should be careful or shouldn’t do anything violent or something… she didn’t say not to protest, but she said there were some instances that came up where there is a better way to go about things.

I’m not vocal on Twitter anymore about my political views because there are some people following me I really like and admire and I don’t want them to unfollow because I disagree with them. But I will go as far to say that I did vote for Donald Trump… and I don’t regret doing so.
And every now and then, Gaga will tweet at Trump, attacking him for something he said or did. Not often, but when she does, it doesn’t sit well with me.
The guy isn’t perfect and I know that’s a gross understatement… but other than people I really admire, I’d unfollowed everyone that spends all their Twitter time complaining about him… Twitter is my happy place and my safe place and I don’t want to get wrapped up in politics. I have to bite my tongue just to not respond to tweets I completely disagree with… even when it’s people I really like.

So anyway… I didn’t get the album for at least 6 months (pretty much after most of the celebrities calmed down from the election results)…
and I think I’d heard it maybe 5 times now.

For the most part, it is a mixed record. There are a couple of highlights I REALLY like, but there are some that I’m on the fence about or just am not feeling. And it’s for a number of different reasons.

On pretty much every song, I really liked the music. It was very different from her usual stuff. It’s a borderline country album, but there are pop elements, of course.

Getting the politics out of the way, there are a couple of songs that bring 2016 back to mind among other things.

Angel Down was supposedly written for Travyon Martin and it is a really good piece. It’s almost completely stripped back. However, putting an acoustic track of the same song at the very end of the album, I didn’t like that much. Especially since there are 14 tracks and it’s track 11.
But for me, it brings to mind all of those shootings and EVERY single time, the ultra-left clamors for banning all guns. I didn’t like Prince’s song “Baltimore”- not just cuz he put Michael Brown and Freddie Gray in the same breath (I don’t believe Michael Brown was innocent), but he said “take all the guns” as part of the chorus. While some gun control is needed (like we don’t really need assault rifles for personal use), taking all of them away would turn us into Panem. And if there are public protests, the Peacekeepers can just come in and mow everyone down cuz they’re the only ones who are armed. (Hunger Games reference in case you didn’t get it).
So those kinds of thoughts come to mind… but I also don’t want to listen to music from an artist I really like and they’re having a soapbox moment. There are a bunch of Prince songs I don’t like because they’re too political, at least too specific… not that I hate them, I just will only listen to them as part of the album most of the time.

And the song “Come to Mama”… I know Gaga is Mother Monster, but that’s just a really weird phrase to sing along to. And then she talks about brokering peace amongst everyone… I have a hard time buying into that when she’s gone after Donald Trump on Twitter. I mean, it happens once in a blue moon, but you can’t broker for peace if you’re still attacking someone.
It’s kind of a shame too because the music is really cool- it’s a throwback to maybe the 50’s with saxophones and everything.

Last thing I will say on this… so many people go after Donald Trump for being a bully… how many of those same people who decry his rhetoric troll Taylor Swift? You can’t hate a bully while you’re being one- that makes you a hypocrite.
(and I’m sure I may have contradicted myself a few times through the course of the time I’d had this blog… I guess we’re all hypocrites one way or another… that’s just been under my skin for ages. Taylor is a great person and an attack on her always feels like an attack on me, just because if I had some writing ability, I’d write songs just like hers- although mostly from her first 5 albums… Reputation, I’m still figuring out, it just sucks that she felt she had to write an album just to shut out the haters. I hope that new sound isn’t a permanent change cuz I really liked the old stuff- maybe not country, but the love songs and love stories)…

ok, I’m done venting. Now onto the good stuff…

One big issue I had with this album were Gaga’s vocals. First off, she is difficult to sing along with. I can profess this cuz I did a cover of “You & I” for YouTube once. I think I’d gotten used to most of the vocals on this album, but there are times where they sound way too strained or too theatrical or something else. It’s a little grating in songs like “Perfect Illusion” and “John Wayne”
And the other issue… some lyrics just rubbed me the wrong way.

Perfect Illusion- again- the chorus is “it wasn’t love, it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion. Mistaken for love, it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion”…
adding “mistaken for love” feels like a really rough transition to me. I don’t know if it’s the vocal’s sound or that it felt unnecessary to add cuz we kinda know what’s what.
I do like when she adds “somewhere in all of the confusion” later in the song.
I think this was a song wrote and recorded as an emotional release. But her vocals being full tilt on it are too much at times.
The beat is really catchy and invigorating, but everything else doesn’t quite work for me.

John Wayne… first off, that monologue opening scared the crap out of me when she screams “can this horse go any FASTER?”… now I know to expect. It’s a cool song that makes me think about old Westerns (I guess she nailed it).
The lyric “I’m so sick of their city games”… eh… I don’t like it… the bridge to the chorus has a cool sound to it, but the choice of lyrics doesn’t quite work for me. And the fact she distorted her vocals and proceeds to scream “John Wayne!”… :shudder: I don’t like it… it’s a really hard song to fully get into for that alone.

Dancing in Circles… I think the credits say she collaborated on this song with Beck… I know that guy is another musical genius, but not much more about him. Or what his contributions to this were.
The lyrics go back and forth for me. Some parts I really like. But it became fairly obvious (and Wikipedia does confirm this) that in this song, she’s talking about touching herself and “rubbing the pain out”… it’s about that subject matter… I’m not decrying that in general… I don’t really want to hear a whole song about it, especially if it’s painfully obvious. I’m not the prude when I started listening to Prince, but I take this issue with him and a couple other artists. When they talk about sex, either with one’s self or with someone else, and it’s extremely obvious what is happening. With this song, I just don’t feel comfortable with it. And I like to sing along with Gaga’s music… the only part I sing along to is her outcry in the bridge to the chorus, just cuz it sounds cool.
And throughout, there is this high distorted “uh” that is constantly repeated… it’s annoying… I don’t know if that’s Beck or what, but I don’t want that here.
Oh well, I’m probably going to take a couple of these songs off my iPod so I won’t have to deal with them anymore.

Then on a lesser note… the last transgression I have…
I had to look up the chorus for “A-Yo” cuz it almost sounded like she was saying “my body’s got you peein'”…
the lyric is “PLEADIN'”… thankfully… cuz I was gonna say “ew, gross! why is this in a song?!”
It’s a nice fun country honkytonk bar type of song and now I can rest easier knowing what that lyric really is.

…I think that’s all my complaints. I am SO SORRY how negative this post has been to this point. But considering the last 4 albums Gaga has put out (I do count The Fame and The Fame Monster as two separate albums cuz I got them separately), where there is only 1-2 songs per album I don’t like… and on this album, there are 14 songs and there are 3 of them I don’t like. Reputation has been kinda like that as well with Taylor… with her albums, there are maybe 2-3 songs per album I will skip cuz I don’t like them… I’m still unsure about half of Reputation. But that’s another day.

Diamond Heart came to mind earlier this morning and that’s why I ultimately put it in my car today.
The vocals just grate a bit, but now I’d gotten used to them. It’s a very catchy bridge and chorus. It kicks the album off to a really good start.

Joanne is a really nice dedication to her late aunt. (I found out later on that she died from complications of Lupus when she was 19 and the stress from being raped while she was at college contributed to that… which is why Gaga became involved in the movement to stop sex assaults at colleges… if not for her song “‘Till it happens to you” I wouldn’t have watched the “The Hunting Ground” documentary– I typically don’t watch that stuff, but I thought maybe her song would have more involvement in it… it didn’t… but it was really difficult to watch, especially when Jameis Winston came up. I’m still pissed at the fact he’s in the NFL and was never implicated. And someone actually attacked me on Twitter, saying while most survivors are telling the truth and should be heard, this one was a liar… see, I don’t get involved on politics on Twitter of a reason. I don’t have time to defend my views and I don’t want to deal with people who are unreasonable. By the end of the documentary, I was crying, I was so pissed about that one story).

But yeah, Joanne is a nice acoustic song. I don’t know if Gaga plays guitar (I certainly know she plays keys like nobody’s business), but I picture her dressed as she is on the album cover and strumming away singing it.

A Million Reasons is easily one of the standouts for me… she played this A LOT when she was promoting the album and it was the one song that made her SuperBowl playlist (it was EPIC… the best HalfTime show since Prince, who will stand as the best ever).
It’s a very emotional song. I almost always get choked up towards the end. I think I could cover this one in the future and I’d be able to find my own voice in it instead of following hers.
Don’t know why, but I thought about Prince while singing to it today. There have been millions of reasons to walk away from him early on… and sometimes I think I do need a break, but it’s hard to just leave. Especially now since I keep his memory alive by listening to him nearly every day.
To be honest, I had felt out of touch with him since April 21st… maybe I’m just not sure how to read the signals I’m getting and decide what of his music I want to listen to.

I guess since I’m on Prince, I’ll go to another song.

Hey Girl is a duet with Florence (of Florence & The Machine… geesh, where’ve they been? I haven’t heard from them since “Shake it off”… love that song).
These dreamy synths open this song and continue throughout, getting dreamier as the song progresses.
Instantly, my jaw just dropped and I thought of Prince… these are his synths from way back in the 80’s, the MPLS sound of the 1999 and Purple Rain albums… I think Mark Ronson is one of the song’s producers and since he’s behind “Uptown Funk,” no doubt, this is paying homage to Prince in some way.
And the song is about girl friends supporting one another when times are rough. But musically, it’s such a relaxing listen. It does make me miss him, but it makes me happy that his influence will live on.

And there is also female camaraderie in “Grigio Girls”… I think this was done with Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum, but not as strong a role as Florence Welch had on the other song.
But I love this song so much because of the theme, but Pinot Grigio is one of my favorite types of wine to drink. There’s also a really fun lyric where she says “we’ll dye Ashley’s hair red and then we’ll have our 6th Spice Girl in this bitch”… not just the reference, but the exclamation point at the end of that lyric… like, hell yeah!

Going back to the country theme, there’s this song “Sinner’s Prayer”… I’m on the fence about it. I kinda like it, but I’m also not head over heels. The title was either “Sinner’s Prayer” or “Good as Gold”… it’s the former. She’s with this guy and she’s saying that she’s not apologizing for being who she is and she wouldn’t want her heart broken by any other man but him.

Another reason why I didn’t care for tacking Angel Down at the end of the album, aside from it not being far from where the song was earlier in the album… it ends the album SUCH A DOWNER… ugh! I hate that!

Meanwhile “Just another day”… this always makes me smile. It’s such a fun song. I think it’s about how she’s not perfect in the relationship she’s in and there’s a learning process to it… but it’s so retro and current at the same time with the music. And it feels like a live setting cuz she introduces a couple members of the band- Mark Ronson and Brian Newman…
what a fun way to end the album… should’ve stayed that way…

Is it that obvious that I’d put off doing this post for a while? πŸ˜›
I knew all of my opinions were going to come out and it was going to be ugly. I tried to keep it as minimal as I could, but I am pretty passionate and I can’t help myself sometimes.
Right now I’m just hoping I don’t get unfollowed because of this post. It’s not as if I spend all my waking hours getting into Twitter feuds with people over who’s president of our country right now.

And I still love Gaga… but I still kinda prefer the old stuff cuz it’s very upbeat and poppy.
At the same time, I also think it’s a crime that her old stuff is the only stuff played on the radio anymore. Occasionally I will hear “Edge of Glory” and “You & I”…but never anything from Artpop and not even this album anymore. They used to play “A Million reasons” a lot.
The same thing’s going with Reputation… every now and then, “Endgame” will get some airplay, but not terribly often. Meanwhile, the DJs are playing every other song to death πŸ™„ like that Ed Sheeran song I love so much. “Perfect” is literally a perfect song and playing it a million times a day is gonna kill it.

Yeah, I have way too many opinions… I’m gonna just stop talking πŸ˜›

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