Prince Album #4: Controversy

Some early comments…
I try not to go into doing these entries until I’d listened to the album at least twice.
I listened to it once so far and it was Friday (it’s currently Sunday).
And maybe it’s because I hadn’t listened to Prince at all for about a week and this blizzard we had messed with all our heads and schedules a bit…

What I’m getting at is that listening to “Controversy” felt like a [pardon the language] mindfuck… like he was really messing with my head and I didn’t mind it.
People who’d worked with Prince in the past have said that he creates this whole world around him and sometimes you need to come up for air.

Pretty much my mindset was: with this album, had it been a success, Prince could have become an amazing cult artist or the leader of some weird cult.
Songs like “Controversy,” “Sexuality” and “Annie Christian” in particular… and maybe “Ronnie talk to Russia” to another extent.
They don’t feel like songs written by the Prince who’ve gotten to know over the first three albums. It’s like after the fallout or reaction (however you want to look at it) of “Dirty Mind,” he decided to transform himself into an artist people have no choice but to talk about.

I mean, I could go on about how authentic this album is to him as a person… but at the end of the day, I don’t mind getting lost in the fantasy or whatever you call it that the album presents.

Going through my records, I hadn’t blogged about it since 2011. So I really hadn’t listened to much of it in a REALLY long time. Which would kinda explain why it hit me so hard that it blew my head out of my skull and warped my mind a bit. It’s also best to wait for another listen before I actually do the track by track discussion.

My usual comments before the actual discussion…

Matt Thorne’s book didn’t have a lot about this album as far as revelations, but he did say that while it’s an important album and notable one in his career, it’s not exactly memorable. Which I can understand with some of the tracks. They’re timely, but in the whole “Prince canon” (as some guys at Peach & Black like to say sometimes), most get forgotten about.
That’s certainly not as blasphemous as saying Purple Rain is an overrated album… anyone who says that is crazy (I mean, I don’t want to full out say it’s his best album because it’s what everyone who doesn’t know Prince all that well automatically recalls).
And he also says “Private Joy” strikes him as creepy… which I guess you could pick up from the lyrics… for me, it feels a bit reaching. As does him saying the lyrics “do you want to play” (in “Controversy”) and “Let’s Work” contradict each other… I never thought of “Let’s work” being about “work” as we all assume.

As for the live performances… I know “Controversy” got a lot of play over the years. “Sexuality” did for a time (ok, not as much as I thought) and later got changed to “Spirituality”… meh… he should have just retired the song because the alternative just doesn’t make sense.

“Private Joy” was the last recorded for the album and the first at Sunset Sound- that’s pretty notable.
“Do me baby” was recorded at the home studio (although it says it’s unverified it was there or in California or both… but it definitely sounds like home studio quality with the piano… love that piano). Oh wow… he performed it at one of his last concerts… probably not much of it, but that’s pretty special. Every time I find out he performed certain songs at his last concerts… I have to stop and take pause and take that in for a bit. That got lots of play, this song.
Because Andre Cymone’s name is attached to it, I do wonder how much of the song is his and how much is Prince’s. I’m sure the spoken dialogue is all Prince’s doing- something he did to make the song his own- and it really started a trend with his ballads.

My gut says… most of these other songs (other than “Let’s Work”) didn’t get a lot of play outside of this part of the 80’s.
“Ronnie talk to Russia”- never… “Annie Christian”- a couple times in that part of the 80’s. “Jack U Off” was supposedly part of that set where Prince and his band was booed off the stage when they opened for the Rolling Stones, but oddly was played at this tour and Lovesexy… say what….
“let’s work”- definitely got plenty of play live…

Man, I looked so forward to listening to it again… and I wasn’t disappointed at all… it was just too damn short. So I put the longer version on my iPod to listen to another time.

***4 days later

Some more thoughts before the track by track…
What I didn’t quite get to say previously- even after going through his first three albums, going into “Controversy”- I kinda felt like I didn’t know Prince at all. It was like starting over again at his first album, that mysterious prodigy persona where you couldn’t really see much beyond the surface. Except this was the start of a brand new direction for him.
There are similarities to Dirty Mind in some aspects- mainly both albums being 8 tracks, and the 2nd half has the tracks segue into each other to give a sense of unity to the record.
But as far as the overall sound goes… I mean, this was mixed between the home studio and California this time around… it’s like the Dirty Mind sound got made over and was given a Linn-drum machine. [Although it may have been present in Dirty Mind somewhere, I’m sure someone will correct me on that].

This time around…
I wasn’t quite as invested and my mind didn’t get screwed around with. But there was one moment that was kinda crazy.
You have the first two songs where he’s kinda messing with us a bit, playing up the persona and putting on the mystery. Not sure what to make of him.

Then “Do me, baby” comes on… I didn’t fall head over heels like the last time, but it was a very slow burn. I don’t know the exact moment, but I slowly became spellbound and he had me for the rest of the song.
There’s debate about whether Prince wrote the song or adapted a song Andre Cymone wrote… but the overall performance on its own helps make my point that this is the first time Prince really comes into the brand he made for himself, which is fusing sex with music and lyrics and taking it places nobody had before. Not just explicitly, but the whole vibe and performance of it. You feel like you’re at the receiving end of his affections (at least if your sexuality- gay male or straight female- frees you up to experience that).

And now I’m remembering how inexperienced I was in this subject matter before getting to know Prince… physically, I still have zero experience, but mentally, between his music, reading 50 shades of grey and seeing various R-rated movies that happened to contain sex… I have more of an understanding of it than I did.
And still, nobody can do *that* the way Prince does.

The Weeknd comes closer than anyone I’d heard, but I also hadn’t been looking. With certain songs, I feel like he’s got Michael Jackson’s voice, but he has Prince’s sex appeal. Like his voice oozes sex and I hadn’t felt anything like that since Prince. Which is kinda nuts to think about.

Anyway, moving on…
Before I do any more random comments on the songs, I’ll do the track by track…

CONTROVERSY
What a great jam to start an album with… title tracks tend to set the tone for the overall album and impress on the listener what to expect with the overall sound and theme. But unlike Dirty Mind, the meaning the title track has on the rest of the album is not as in your face or obvious.
Although he does touch on some controversial subjects throughout the tracks.

First off- the sound of this song is amazing. It’s a pretty long jam, possibly the longest song on the album. It’s odd that I don’t get sick of this groove. Enough happens that I don’t get bored and I like just being strung along.
But something about it is so familiar- it reminds of another song- the sound of Prince’s vocals on the verses (everywhere but the lyric “controversy” which is sung in a higher register). The sad part is I don’t know what the song is called or know any lyrics I can use to Google it. But it’s like a song I’d hear around Halloween- it’s spooky and unnerving. A bunch of vocals singing together at once.
The lyrics- they’re an enigma the way Prince is. They’re so great.
Love the different sections in the song.
The one thing I don’t like so much… the back-up vocals (ok, they’re more like grunts) on the beat during the main riff. I find it distracting and kinda annoying.
So many great nuggets in this song. I’ll just stop talking and move onto the next.

Also- that was his first major scream on record.

Then “Sexuality” has his first characteristic scream he’ll forever be known for.
Love the guitar work and the opening instrumental part of this song.
Love how the music builds up in the chorus- or whatever you want to call the part that ends with “sexuality is all we ever need.”
Overall, the song really screws with my head… part of that cult culture I was referring to. Like he sees the world in this weird unorthodox fashion and wants to educate and/or brainwash us to believe as he does.
I mean, you could write a term paper interpreting it and explaining what he means by all this… but I don’t have that kind of time. And I don’t like the song THAT much.
It’s going to be one of the great technical tracks, but the components score will be average.

“Do Me Baby” is going to score very highly on my personal scale.
I love the piano, the use of synths to create atmosphere. The vocal performance… phew… I mean, damn… his best vocal to this point without question.
I have to crank this up to maybe 36 in my car to hear it properly, but the production is very clean on the vocals. The rawness of the piano, the ad-libs and such. That’s part of its charm for me. Everything in this song works together so well.
Sex on a stick.

Then the album just crashes… and takes a while to really come back.

maybe it’s because I was nervous about whether I’d be able to finish the album before I got home (I was running up the hill to my house by the time “Jack U Off” was wrapping up)… but “Private Joy” just didn’t get me revved up or anything.

The music is so different- nothing Prince has done before or since sounds like it. Despite it being the last song recorded for the album, it sounds dated and the production sounds raw the way “Do Me, Baby” does.
The lyrics are kinda meh… the only exciting part for me is the “violent” portion where he strangles Valentino.
Nice to hear the Linn-drum on full display also- that’s another thing that keeps my attention.

“Ronnie talk to Russia”… considering everything going on right now, plus my affinity for someone from Russia… I’m a little conflicted on the lyrics.
I want us to have a good relationship with Russia.
The lyrics here are very dated.
It’s kinda interesting how this and “Jack U Off” both have that rockabilly edge to them. Prince never showed interest in that sub-genre before or after this album.
The guitar solo in the middle kinda reminds me of something out of a Beatles song, but I couldn’t tell you which one.

“Let’s Work” doesn’t have a lot to it. It has one more verse than “Sex Dancer,” which I tore apart for lack of lyrics.
The song’s just too damn short πŸ˜› so I really should listen to the long version before I do Peach and Black tomorrow.
The groove is amazing- all kinds of great instrumentals. Bass line. That synth line that cuts in and out, that’s really cool.
I have a feeling this is one of those songs I didn’t really like at first and suddenly now I do… it’s hard to explain.

“Annie Christian”… uh… what do I do with this one?
It’s completely different from anything else Prince ever did.
The music is the main highlight. The production is interesting- like he was doing this live at a rally or protest or something. It’s back to what I said about “Sexuality”- that mentality about trying to educate or brainwash the listener to see his point of view.
This is another dated track as well with the references to Reagan and John Lennon.
What else can I say- technically brilliant, but it gives me the creeps and I never go out of my way to listen to it.

“Uptown” and “Partyup” really hurt my rating of the Dirty Mind album. I see the same thing happening thanks to the two dated tracks on Controversy… should be interesting to see where they both end up. Probably very close.

“Jack U Off”… yeah, this song’s kinda awkward. Unless you’re personally inclined that way, you really can’t sing it aloud without feeling self-conscious. And it’s so sing-along-y… it’s hard not singing along to it when it so clearly wants you to.
It’s the first band performance to end up on an album. I remember Bobby Z played the Linn-drum… one bit of trivia I picked up somewhere and just found out later on it was a band effort.
Maybe that’s why it comes off so well.
Definitely a controversial track, although not that insane degree of “Sister” or “Head.”
It feels like a jam session, lots of great instrumentals doing solos in the 2nd half of the song.

Seriously, if Controversy winds up scoring higher than Dirty Mind, yeah, that’d be freaking insane.
Because in my head, Dirty Mind is the better album.
I guess it just comes down to the scores of the other tracks I like better than the two I singled out… well, Private Joy also is a so-so track.

Anyway- Peach and Black next… then I’ll start working on my ratings.

Yet another great podcast.
Again, a lot of love for this album. Overall, the scores ran from 8 to 9.
Someone held back on the rating because they wanted to reserve the higher ratings for other albums.
Me, I’m maybe holding back on some songs, but I’m going through the albums chronologically, so I’m just giving the ratings as I go.
And I’m not tweaking that again.
But based on the quality of the material, I’m confident that I’m going to give a higher rating to Purple Rain, 1999, The Gold Experience and Parade than some of these earlier albums. Especially since my components score will give those songs more bonus points.

So yeah… I guess it’s time for me to talk about Captain again πŸ˜›
I still find him the most entertaining of the four guys to listen to, though they all have their moments.
Yet I seem to be the most conflicted with his particular tastes in Prince music.
He called “Do Me, Baby” one of the most skippable tracks on the album and “Ronnie talk to Russia” his favorite. I’m like “WHAT?” I mean, as much as I wanna say I wanna kill him, he does good points.
At least about “Do me, Baby.” That has to be an awkward track for a guy to listen to. At least for that second half of it where it’s basically sex after the foreplay. I get that. But skippable is a bit much for me. This album is so short and so solid, I wouldn’t skip any track. That’s just my opinion.
As for “Ronnie talk to Russia”… well, this is the same weirdo who liked “Wedding Feast” on The Rainbow Children. To a degree, I should’ve seen that coming.

It was so funny to hear him debating the lyrics with the guys. I know he’s right that he’s saying “left-wing gorillas”… yet MC is like “I thought he was saying realists”…
Even more hilarious when you consider Captain doesn’t listen to lyrics.
Yet this is one of his first albums and he’s played it loads of times. The lyrics gotta penetrate after a point, right?
Then there was redemption when he didn’t get “Annie Christian” and put it up there with “most skippable.” I mean, he’s nuts, but he’s not that nuts.

But in the Prince community, weirdness could only be a good thing. And I usually conflict the most with Captain’s opinions on Prince music. But I can accept his explanations for why he doesn’t like certain songs.
For oddball songs he likes… it’s hit and miss for me. Sometimes I don’t get it. Sometimes I do (“Man in a Uniform” is one of those exceptions).

MC really threw me for a loop when he said “Annie Christian” affected him a lot. That song is just so weird and unusual, I didn’t think anyone could feel so strongly about it. But that’s the power of Prince music. It’s powerful stuff and everyone can take from it whatever they want.

On another note, Captain and my fellow purple knight were exchanging some tweets and I got in on the action and we had some interesting conversations. Let’s just say Prince fans have been kinda negative lately about some things and we’d come to agree about certain things.
It’s pretty cool feeling to get likes from fellow Prince fans because they agree with my thoughts. We need that camaraderie to offset the negativity.

It started off on a pretty great note.
A whole lot of talk before the album even started going.
Then Controversy ate up at least 15-20 minutes of the review by itself… and like the song, I didn’t mind it going on so long. I just marveled at the fact they kept having things to say.
Even though Captain went first and said almost everything (so funny the guys were moaning and Captain’s like “you asked me to go first…”), they had a lot to say.
I think Toejam said “if anyone says they don’t like this song, they’re off the show”
I mean, I didn’t believe anyone was going to not like the song, but you never know with the Peach and Black podcast.

Yeah, I love those moments where MC uses “Peach and Black podcast” in a sentence as if breaking the 4th wall πŸ˜› in this case, they were talking about Anna Fantastic covering one of the songs (Ronnie talk to Russia) under a different name and it was done in the late 80’s. Captain mentioned it and MC at the end says “always learning something new on the Peach and Black podcast”

I string this podcast along over the last three days of the workweek to make it go by faster… but at this point I’m not remembering as much I’d like to.
I think I nailed much of the points.
“Jack U Off” brought some interesting commentary and conversations and obviously innuendos could not be avoided and the guys were laughing uncontrollably. Someone said it was the “happy ending” of the track and they all just lost it. I never even realized that πŸ˜›

I got away from this post a bit to brush my teeth and suddenly a lot of stuff came back to me. Funny how the mind clears when there are less distractions.

Toejam said twice “if there is any evidence that Prince lives in ‘Prince world’ this is it”… he said that about “Sexuality” and “Annie Christian.”
I’m not going to argue that. I mean, I started this post saying he could have let a crazy cult or a punk rock revolution or something if this album hit Purple Rain level success.
And this album had some strange lyrics.

Also remembered that despite Captain acknowledging how “Let’s Work” is a good song and it’s loved by many fans, doesn’t mean he has to like it.
Another I can’t really dispute.
I am one of those weirdos or idiots that doesn’t like “Sexy Dancer.”
Heck, I’ll say I don’t like “Erotic City” because of the lyrics and people will think I’m crazy because it’s one of those most beloved B-sides Prince ever produced.

Speaking of B-sides, Player made that comment in “Ronnie talk to Russia” where he’d prefer the song as a B-side because “I don’t know what it’s doing here.”
I mean, the lyrics and the genre are oddly random. But I get that it goes with the “controversial” them of the album.

The consensus was that this album was the origin of Prince’s sound. The sound everyone got to know and love from him in the 80’s over his next two albums.

So here comes my rating… should be interesting… not sure what to expect.
I’m not even looking over my old blog posts or even posts I wrote for the book I was writing about Prince’s music, talking about origins and my interpretations and so on. I’m just going from what I remember and what I currently feel about the songs.

Again, the technical gives a point for good songwriting, vocals, music, lyrics and overall effect- whether or not it’s something special on Prince can accomplish.
Components score is my personal take on it.
1- I absolutely don’t like it
2- I’m not crazy about it, but I won’t skip it either
3- average, could take or leave
4- like it a lot
5- LOVE

CONTROVERSY
…well, of course the song is brilliant.
Technical score- 5 (even though I’m kinda meh about the grunts on the back-up vocals on the main riff- I can’t fault it. It’s so damn good)
Components score- 4
It’s a great title track, way to start the album. I really get it into and don’t get bored of it no matter how long it goes on for. It’s not up there with my personal favorites, but giving it this score is still a pretty big compliment.
9

SEXUALITY
Technical score- 4.5
The lyrics are the only thing I can really take points off for… they’re just weird at some points, the spoken word section (and someone in the podcast said he did an Elvis reference in the vocals… I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but regardless, not going to hear that part the same ever again, lol).
Components score- 3.5
This song’s a little better than average. I like it, but I’m not super crazy about it.
8

DO ME, BABY
…omg…
whether or not Prince wrote any of it or all of it is debatable. Peach and Black teased about asking Andre Cymone about it, but nothing materialized. I wonder if it will now, all things considered.
I’m sorry, I can’t find any fault with it.
It’s such a great ballad. The vocals are SUBLIME- it might be a bit much to say it’s his best vocal performance EVER (MC pretty much said that), but one of his best in his career. Maybe he didn’t write all of the song (Peach and Black mentioned how Pepe Willie testified to hearing Andre playing it and I read that story in the book I have… but they said they didn’t really take his word for anything… makes me kinda wonder what he did to deserve that kind of shade. Not that I know much about the guy to begin with).

Anyway- Do Me, Baby… it’s a 10.
I have to play the song when I’m alone cuz it’s too embarrassing to share it out loud with anyone. And I admit in the car I had it cranked up and I was singing at the top of my lungs to it. I hadn’t heard it in years, but I don’t think I ever got that opportunity before. It was pretty amazing.

PRIVATE JOY
…I actually turned on the album halfway through my trip while listening to Peach and Black and I pushed their “Jack U Off” review until afterwards. I was feeling out of step with the first three songs (even my perfect 10) cuz of it being my 3rd listen in the last week (as in last 7 days). That freed my mind to enjoy this song again. Granted, it isn’t great
Technical score- 4
it’s a nice little song, the music is really different for Prince- unusual, lyrics are simple and to a point- plus that Valentino part was great (Captain liked the song overall but I wanted to high-five him when he said that was his favorite part). The point off is because it’s not super special in Prince’s catalogue. Not to say it’s forgettable or skippable. It’s just not as good as so many other songs he’s done.
Components score- 3.5
7.5

RONNIE TALK TO RUSSIA
…:sigh: now it gets tough… this was the period in Dirty Mind when the album went downhill and it was hard for things to fully recover.
Technical score… GREAT music, weird lyrics, nice structure, the vocals are okay, overall not too special (Captain said in his review that Toejam was probably going to say Prince is being naΓ―ve with this one and of course he nailed it… I think this was also the track where MC said that it sounded like Prince had been listening to Frank Zappa. I kinda forgot he was a big fan of his )
So technically, I’d give it… 3
Components score… if I hadn’t gotten so wrapped up in the Sochi Olympics, I’d have given this a three. But because I’ve gotten to like some Russian figure skaters and I think it’s ridiculous that they’re being blamed for the election results, I’d have to give it 2.5
5.5 overall.
Yeah… that’s just my personal opinion.
A lot’s changed in the 5-6 years since I last heard this album and that’s one of them I really didn’t see coming. I just thought the song was average, but I didn’t hate it before. Now, I’m kinda uncomfortable about it.
Prince would for sure bring this song back if he was still alive- the title could easily be changed to fit the situation. [The other day, I mourned the fact he wouldn’t be alive to cover “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. I swear, that vocal style is right up his alley and he would have been SO amazing].

Anyway, moving on.

LET’S WORK
I really like this one. I have a feeling I didn’t when I first heard it. Going back to it is great, but I wish it was longer and the extended dance mix version helped satisfy that. I almost wish a 30-minute version of that existed instead of 30 minutes of “I would die 4 U” where nothing interesting really happens in 25 of those minutes.
Technical score- 4.5
Components score- 4.5
(yeah, if it was longer, I’d give it higher… wish I could, but just can’t).
9

ANNIE CHRISTIAN
…ok, here we go… the album could be made or broken at this point
For technical, the vocal is very striking as is the music. More weird lyrics. The songwriting overall… a bit odd.
Technical score- 3
Components score- 2 (when I came up with my system for components, I did so knowing I’d give this song a two- that contributed to my overall thought process)
5

JACK U OFF
It’s a final track that does leave an impression for sure. And it’s a good one. The subject matter is so off and weird, but Partyup on the previous album, I just found a little off-putting and repetitive. This one is done really well overall.
Technical score- 4.5
yeah, again, the one thing off with this song is the lyrics. It’s so damn catchy and fun to listen to… but it’s impossible to sing along with it. It just sounds and feels so wrong πŸ˜›
Components score- 3.5
yeah, I like this song quite a bit, but I don’t go out of my way to listen to it either.
8 (omg- can’t believe that got an 8)

Okay, going through with the math and ranking the tracks top to bottom…
I’m going to lose my mind if this scores 8 out of 10 πŸ˜›

Do me, baby- 10
Controversy- 9
Let’s Work- 9
Jack U Off- 8
Sexuality- 8
Private Joy- 7.5
Ronnie talk to Russia- 5.5
Annie Christian- 5

62/80
7.75, which rounds up to 7.8

so…. let’s see where that stands with the other albums. Still haven’t gotten my first 8 yet…
For You was 6.2
Prince was 7.6
Dirty Mind was 7.4

Well, it’s not an 8… but Controversy is my highest ranking album so far… that’s kinda minding blowing. Not to mention it scored 2.5 points higher than Dirty Mind.

Let me do a side by side to see what “went wrong”… if anything really did…

Dirty Mind- 8.5/Controversy- 9
When you were mine- 10/Sexuality- 8
Do it all night- 6/Do me, baby- 10
Gotta Broken Heart Again- 7/Private Joy- 7.5
Uptown- 7.5/Ronnie talk to Russia- 5.5
Head- 8/Let’s Work- 9
Sister- 7/Annie Christian- 5
Partyup- 5.5/Jack U Off- 8

I think the difference between the two comes down to production. And maybe that’s the difference with all the albums. The vocals are easier to pick out of this album than previously.

Yeah, that’s pretty nuts. I like Controversy more than Dirty Mind. Even with having two songs I gave pretty harsh scores to, the strength of the other material is so up there.

And of these songs… my top three:
Do me, baby
Controversy
Let’s Work

no real surprise there…

most likely I won’t get to 1999 for a while.
I’m going to try aiming for April 21st to watch Purple Rain and to go through the album and such… so I’m really going to going a while with 1999 and the two protΓ©gΓ© albums of this period- What Time is it? and the one album put out by Vanity 6

But both come with a Peach & Black review and one is brand new… the Vanity 6 one came out earlier this year and I’m finally going to listen to it.
Plus, I can’t wait to have their music back on my iPod. I sometimes liked to kill time with it and that’s going to be fun to have them back.

And I’m just finishing this at almost 1am in the morning? What the hell?!

I hope it all went all right. I spent all this time on it and I don’t know if I really said anything good πŸ˜›

today I also designed what may become my new avatar for my DreamyPopRoyalty social media platforming.
As much as I love Sesshomaru, I can’t use him forever. And I want something that’s a little closer to Prince- who is the reason I started this blog nearly 10 years ago.
When I get to that date of the 10th anniversary, I’ll try to get a review posted then and maybe my new logo as well will be at the tail end of my post.

Next, I’ll most likely be posting about the final figure skating competition of the season.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Prince Album #3- Dirty Mind

[Going by this blog’s records, my last entry on this album was in 2012… if that’s the case, it’s been five years since I’ve heard this album… to quote Prince, that’s “A BLOODY LONG TIME”…
I blogged about Prince somewhat regularly this entire time, but as a whole, I didn’t listen to him as much between 2012 and 2014, then the two albums came out, then it waned, and earlier in 2016 I started up again…
I promise it’s not because of this album- what’s the metaphor I want to use… for the moment, I’ll say if Prince albums were cookies, my favorites would be Oreos and various varieties… Dirty Mind would be a chewy chips ahoy- I love those cookies, can binge on them really easy, but not as much as Oreos. They’re on that other level. Plus, I go through Chewies faster than Oreos because there’re less in the package- kinda like the way Dirty Mind is a short album]

Matt Thorne infuriated me within the first couple pages of the Uptown chapter of the book. Implying Prince changed keyboard players because Lisa was a “new younger model.”
But there were some anecdotes and factoids I really liked reading about.
One was talking about their set-up for “Head” live and how Lisa was just as punk as the rest of the band. Another was about a fight she and Prince had and he played a song she’s positive he wrote specifically for her and said he was sorry. The fact he wanted her as part of the band that much- that’s something special, I think.
Wendy & Lisa go hand in hand in more ways than one- can’t really talk about one without the other, but it’s nice hearing more about Prince and Lisa’s relationship.

Looking into the songs that were played live, I’m sure most of them were. “Head” especially. That was a fan crowd favorite until he stopped performing it… for obvious reason ( ..:cough: Jehovah’s Witness :cough:.. )
Dirty Mind got a lot of play- including his last ever concert… I need a minute…

When You were mine- frequent play, which is hard to argue with πŸ˜‰ one of the best on this album- maybe the best in my view… more on that later…
Do It All Night- only during this tour (maybe that explains why I had zero recollection of the music up until seconds of it starting)
Gotta Broken Heart Again- got some extra play in the 2000’s, but very little after 1981
Uptown- this has to be a regularly played one… not as often as I thought, but a good number of times
Head- okay, that’s gotta be a live concert staple… in the early 80’s, absolutely, but then he started to tease and not commit to the song… reading on princevault about it, I found about its muse. That’s always an interesting experience, finding who inspired these songs.
Sister… I wanna say… never?… it never made it out of the 80’s- last performance was in Osaka Japan… kinda crazy considering the subject matter- Dirty Mind and Lovesexy tours saw it regularly
Partyup got a number of showcases, including SNL

Which brings me to one final comment on the book I’m reading in this posting… Matt Thorne has this subtle snark I find abrasive- but that goes for anyone who makes it sound like Prince isn’t so great in general. It’s even worse coming from someone who went out of their way to do research… yet SOMEHOW he made a mistake in saying “Uptown” was performed on Saturday Night Live… “Partyup” was on SNL- I know that for sure because I saw it recently when SNL did their tribute show to him (yeah, thanks to this election and beyond, I don’t like it anymore… the last time I watched was for Ed Sheeran and the rest of the show was tough to get through before that… funny how the Grammys were the same way, but I was waiting up for the Prince tribute).

Yeah, he did his research, but not only did he not follow some leads to fruition (Gayle Chapman’s “real” reason for leaving the band was alluded to but the record wasn’t set straight)… but this is a blantant factual error that any die-hard Prince fan would be quick to reprimand him for.


Okay, for real this time…

My copies of Dirty Mind and Controversy were gifts from a prince.org user. She burnt the CD’s for me along with Disc 2 of the Ultimate set.
I heard about how this was the start of his signature sound and the two albums go together, so I expressed interest in checking them out in a random thread. She replied to me and within a couple of weeks, they were in my mailbox. [I swear, Prince has some super generous fans- I don’t directly ask for anything, but I say I’m interested in an era or whatever and they send me stuff]
Because I’m a sucker for cover art, liner notes and I wanna be legit in general- the next time I see these albums in person, I’ll buy them.
Plus, it’d be cool to one day hear the 2nd half of the album in a nice smooth loop- there’s a great transition between these tracks, but thanks to the recording being 2nd hand, a few seconds separate the tracks and breaks the flow.

I remember when I saw Prince at Paisley Park- a documentary that covered his career up until footage of the Lovesexy tour and Diamonds & Pearls. And the first footage they showed in sequence (excluding the opening with the Sign o’ the times footage) was for the Dirty Mind video.
Prince looked so weird in those days πŸ˜› I know he didn’t look back, but I wonder if he questioned his fashion choices years after that fact. But I never forgot that keyboard line.

I listened through the album and liked so much of it- easily one of the best “first listen” experiences I’ve had with any album by any artist. Lots of pleasant surprises scattered throughout.
It was so good that Controversy (with an exception or two) really dulled in comparison. Which is strange because the music is much tighter in Controversy. As if it was take 2 of Dirty Mind, but like it’s politically charged cousin.
I still don’t feel Controversy rose to that bar… but we’ll see what happens in the next week or so when I get there.

[edited out of a paragraph of me saying I might not have time to write all this in the same day– but the rest of this just flowed out of me that I had it written from stream of consciousness in 30-45 minutes]

Dirty Mind- I love the keyboard riff Dr. Fink came up with as much as the fact Prince worked an entire song around it. I could almost listen to this song with just the music on a loop and I’d love it just as much.
Love the playful delivery of the lyrics, which are straight-forward and push the envelope just enough to get your attention. The perfect song to base an album idea around. Love the raw sound of the instruments.
Supposedly this whole album was recorded at the home studio, overdubbed and adjusted in LA. Prince used to go crazy with the layered vocals and such, but on this album, he held back, only bringing out the layers for emphasis.
Here, it came in the final chorus.
Just too many great details in this one song to list them all.

When You Were Mine- ah, “New Girl” gave me some nice new memories to recall with this song. It played during Jess’s obligatory “getting dressed in Prince’s closet while he approves/disapproves outfits” scene.
It was the first pleasant surprise on this album. Never expected something so catchy and bouncy and made me smile so much. But looking at it closer, you see that it’s “Why you wanna treat me so bad” part 2… this album has a bunch of counterparts to songs from the previous album. It’s sad- the lyrics and how they are compared to the music (which is super upbeat). That conflict is confusing, but Prince’s style has plenty of that. The confusion and the conflict.
One time I went through Prince’s guitar tracks, one per album, for one day- don’t know if it was his birthday or something else, but this was my selection from this album.
This is one of those songs that was released as a single, but NEVER GETS RADIO PLAY ANYMORE. It’s one of those forgotten singles I’m sure casual music fans would love.

Do it all night- funny story: I had ZERO recollection of this song except the chorus up until seconds before the song started.
I guess the songs being in this set sequence just brought it back.
I recall it being one of my least favorites on the album- not because it’s terrible, but it’s just so ordinary compared to some of the others (never mind the first two that preceded it). The lyrics are so simplistic, not much to them. The song could be forgettable… hell, I just admitted I forgot what it sounded like.
but listening to the music exclusively- it’s kind of an important song because to me, it’s a precursor to Prince’s future sound. The bass in the main riff, it reminds me of “I could never take the place of your man.” The keyboards at the very end of the song- that invokes flashes of the 1999/Purple Rain sound and the sound he’d bring to his music throughout the 80’s.
Considering Dr. Fink did keyboards on Dirty Mind and Head, I wonder if this was Prince’s way of trying to show his “superiority”… it’s not too far-fetched. I mean, when he was at the same venue as The Time, he dreaded following them and then would blow the roof off the place.
So it sets the template for future music from him, but otherwise, it’s ordinary.

Gotta Broken Heart Again- the younger inexperienced sister of “Still waiting”- when I first heard that song, I immediately thought of this one.
Another pleasant surprise on the album- it’s so different from everything around it. It’s simplistic, but the vibe of it is unique. The performance vocally has a lot of vulnerability. The layers that come in emphasize the emotion and there’s a lot of it.
Again, I question the authenticity of it, if it came from personal experience or not. [Kinda weird how I question this and some songs from the last album, but So Blue I never did- I just don’t get into the song a lot personally because it’s repetitive in the lyrics]
but the part that always gets me… whatever drops down the staircase at the end of the song. I don’t know what made that sound effect and I almost don’t want to know- I enjoy the mystery of it.
But with that extra nuance… this song might be true to form on that emotional level.

Uptown- based around an Andre Cymone bassline, supposedly. I also heard sources say it was a song Andre wrote in full and Prince blatantly stole it. I really don’t know.
That said, the bassline is great. It paints an interesting scene. A girl shows up in Uptown, Prince approaches her, she doesn’t understand the atmosphere and the groove eventually gets her.
At times, the lyrics get hard to cipher, especially later on. The music has lots of great moments. It is FUNKY as hell. The longest song on the album, but it might run too long. For me, anyway. Once the lyrics go away, the music doesn’t do nearly enough to keep my interest, yet I never skip any song on this album.
It’s just good enough- but another song with the same concept goes out and does it so much better. This doesn’t shine quite as much.

Head- this is a confusing one for me. Sometimes when I listen to it, I’m sure if I like it or not. The main hook with the bass and the keyboards- that’s something different and interesting to listen to. I guess for me I want to say it invokes an odd vibe. Almost as if Head actually happened at the studio while this was being recorded. The sex, you can almost feel it ooze through the stereo.
The storyline is scandalous, of course. Seducing a bride on her wedding day and she married Prince instead. Darlene was the name of the girlfriend this was supposedly inspired by.
His falsetto improved a bit between the albums, but again, it’s a little too soft to hear at times.
The instrumentals in the second half are brilliant.

Sister- I can’t call this a pleasant surprise, but it was a welcome one. Head has this reputation I’d heard whispers about, but nobody mentioned this one. And it just came out of nowhere- the storyline and the cursing… I think I said “whoa!” out loud when I got to the latter.
It does so much in so little time… it’s mind-blowing.
I almost wish it was longer, but I’m glad it isn’t.
The music- I don’t know what makes all those sounds, but there’s never a dull moment.

Partyup- the SNL performance was better… I mean, it’s a good song (either stolen from Morris Day, written by Morris Day, traded to Prince in exchange for a record deal… one of those things)… but I just don’t get into it all that much.
Maybe I just don’t like Prince getting political because it’s off the beaten path. It’s not his specialty by any means.
The music is funky as anything by The Time- more like it’s a precursor to that whole sound and vibe.
The lyrics, I tend to sleep on…

Speaking of sleep… got all this down [the actual album discussion part] within 45 minutes… I’m dying. I gotta get to bed.

Nothing like a good stream of consciousness to discuss Prince.
I’ll add my peach and black commentary (on their commentary) tomorrow.

***
I see a pattern developing- I do some opening comments, I go mental on the book I’m reading about Prince, then my album review, the Peach & Black section and where I make my rating.

Peach & Black did another great podcast of this one- lots of fun moments.
And one moment where the guys were having a little too much fun and laughing way too hard. You know things are bad when Captain is the only sane one in the room trying to get things back on track. In general, he’s the type of guy who doesn’t sugarcoat anything. If he loves something, he will have a full-on fanboy moment. If he hates something, you can hear it coming almost a mile away sometimes. But it’s always entertaining.
Basically, we got towards the end of the track by track- between Head or Sister, I think, and too many innuendos came about and MC started laughing and the others slowly joined him. The dynamic in the room changed so quickly I had to rewind 30 seconds.

Captain never had a full-out “I just don’t like it that much” type of moment… the closest he got to that was calling track 4 “meh.”
I figured it was only a matter of time, though. We’re on the same page for a bit and that all changes πŸ˜›
He had a full-out fanboy moment over “when you were mine”… and I can’t blame him. I have a feeling I’m going to give that track a 10 because I’ve always loved it. He started in saying how people who’ve listened know he loves pop (according to the reoccurring sample of the Peach & Black introduction- “I love 80’s rubbish pop”- which he said during the Planet Earth review… go figure, right?).
But he said it was the perfect pop song, so good he couldn’t detract from it in any way.
He also said at a point “where’s THAT guy?”- talking about how he doesn’t go great bass lines anymore. MC tried to rein him in, adding Prince hadn’t done an album in 4 years… this was early in 2014.

Some other interesting comments…
Toejam is always the musical theory guy. He knows the different chords and notes and such and has played them live. Here, it seemed like everyone but MC knows something about the various notes and such- or he’s just not the one to volunteer that information. His pocket is the overview of the song, advocating for songs the others don’t quite get, and even offering possible insight (still thinking about the last album review where he said certain songs had to have come from a personal place).
For me, at the opening of this podcast, Player emerged as the musical historian of the group. He was talking about how 1980 saw the fall of disco and how everyone turned against it as a whole and how Prince’s career would be so different if his sound didn’t change. He also namedropped bands like Blondie where you hear the similarity in sound. He might have been the one that said the New Romantic era was on the rise. Anyway, I was really impressed- I didn’t know all that about that particular time.

The reviews for nearly all the songs were very positive, which is a sign of a great album. They all fangasmed over Dr. Fink’s synth solo in “Head”- they just couldn’t get enough of it. Yeah, listening to it again, it is completely mental.

I forget which song, but there was one that made things kinda interesting… history has shown me that when a track divides the panel, it’s either Captain vs. everyone else, MC vs. everyone else, or Captain/Player vs. MC/Toejam.
One track had MC/Player vs. Captain/Toejam… it was kinda nuts… Gotta Broken Heart Again, I think that was it.
They talked about how Prince still spelled “you” properly in “When you were mine”- and then by track 4, “there goes the spelling”… immediately after that, I thought about the “Guitar” lyric “I’ll write a letter when I learn how to spell”

when they finally got around to it (once they calmed down), “Sister” was an interesting conversation.
they said how shocking it was, maybe it was done for shock value… but brought up an interesting point- what if it was released today? It wouldn’t go over well- especially now when there are more support groups for victims of incest.
you can’t help but wonder if it’s autobiographical, although “Papa” was the same type of deal.
But what springs to mind for me, and I could be off in the timeline… but it made me think of the time where Prince was staying with his dad, but he got kicked out of the house because he kept having girls over. and he was on a payphone begging his sister to help get him back in the house, she said to talk to their dad, and even after that, he wasn’t allowed to return home. [This is directly from his interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1985- but off the top of my head, I don’t know how old he was at the time, but this album came out way after that].

They kinda joked that “Partyup” was like an anti-war anthem too little too late- cuz it sounds like a protest against Vietnam.

So I get to the end and they start going into shout-outs… I’m like “wait a minute, what about the score?”… I wait through all of them… one I follow on Twitter- NightEtheral- saying how he’s such a fan of their stuff where he’s laughing out loud in public and people look at him weird.
I tweeted about listening to this podcast and we had a short conversation about it- we both laughed about our experiences.
Seriously, I have to cover my mouth sometimes to stop from bursting out laughing at work listening to them.
Lately, I’ve been listening to some of them at the end of work and taking them with me on the ride home. It’s especially good for those real laugh out loud moments.

Anyway- long story short- they never did the scoring… I was so disappointed πŸ˜›
I just look forward to it a lot, seeing where everyone falls on the albums, but they often come to consensus.
I don’t know what happened- whether laughing at the innuendos distracted them and they completely forgot… or if this was just an album too good to give a score… perfectly possible… but still disappointed.

I swear there was one more comment I wanted to make… and I can’t remember what it was πŸ˜› there’s so much in this album…
oh yeah, it was talking about the vocals in “Dirty Mind”- how they start so soft and he comes out guns blazing at the end- and how that might be intentional.
They mentioned the lyrics at the end of “when you were mine” and saying how Prince kinda turns into a stalker- I actually had that same thought when I listened to this album on Monday πŸ˜› it’s a bit of a twist, isn’t it?

Toejam also made a comment worth going into- he said how he likes when albums are very cohesive, where it’s the same set-up of instruments on every song.
I don’t know if I prefer that type or the various eclectic ones. It depends on the actual album.
I think I might be in the same boat with him because with these types of albums, you can just float and chill with them.

Okay, now for that hard part…
doing the math πŸ˜›
I have a gut feeling this is going to be a high scoring album.

Dirty Mind-
technical merit- 4.5 [great song overall- love the music, simple but effective lyrics, good structure, take half a point off for the vocals]
components- 4 [it’s not one of my top favorites, but it’s certainly higher than average]
8.5

When You Were Mine- yeah, Captain said it, it’s the perfect pop song.
I listened to the album today- the third time this week… and this was one of the few songs I fully engaged in… I love it more each time I listen to it, but I also don’t want to overdo it.
So… technical merit is 5 because it’s a perfectly structured song- also love how he says the titular lyric differently every time. It makes things less predictable and keeps you on your toes.
And yeah, it’s the song I look forward to most on this album, so… yeah- perfect 10.

Do it all night- MC made a comment how this song is kinda underrated… it might be… but considering my personal experience…
let’s see- the music is great, the lyrics are so-so, the vocals are kinda low, it’s structured well… hmm… taking all this into account, it’s a 3 technically- I gotta give it a little extra for it being a precursor to Prince’s future sound.
Components score- another 3- I’m not over the moon for it, but it has some good moments in it.
6

Gotta Broken Heart Again-
I mean, this song isn’t fantastic “blow-your-head-off” amazing… but I still enjoy it a lot.
Technically- I’ll give it 3.5 (one or two vocals are hard to hear… I think Player lodged a couple complaints that the vocals were kinda low in the mix throughout the album).
Components- 3.5- it’s slightly better than average
7

Uptown-
It’s technically brilliant- I had to google the lyrics, though (and Drake’s lyrics come out first for uptown… which is a huge disappointment- not just cuz it’s Prince, but dammit- he came first and this is one of his anthems)… my point is that the lyrics are hard to hear at times, I still don’t know what most of them are. But the message still comes through, so that should count for something- 4.5
components… yeah, I’m not personally crazy about this song. It’s good- I never skip it or anything on this album because its overall structure is so strong… 3
7.5

Head-
again, the vocals… that’s the one thing bringing it down.. 4.5… another technically brilliant track and it’s extremely unique to Prince.
Components- I don’t personally get super into it… but I do like it. 3.5
8

Sister-
WHOA… again, the vocals are so low sometimes that I don’t pick out the lyrics… reading them out now, they really are nasty… the first verse about her not wearing underwear and the reason why… again, whoa…
then later it sounds like their relationship has some S&M connotations. There was something about a whip and he dropped two quick MF bombs.
Structurally sound, insane lyrics, great music… I’ll give a technical score of 4.
Components… uhh… it’s an awkward song to review. I like it a lot, but it’s not great to sing to or really share with people. It’ll give 3
7

Partyup-
I thought listening to it- the lyric “Revolutionary Rock-n-roll”… I wonder if that’s how Prince came up with the band’s name- The Revolution… hmm…
technically- the music is its stand-out feature. It runs a little long towards the end. And the lyrics are… I guess, meh. It starts out really good, but the second half…
This is going to be hard to score… one point for music, half point for lyrics, decent vocal- half point, half point for the overall structure… 3
Components- uh… 2.5
total of 5.5

yeah, this album kinda went downhill, didn’t it? Okay, time for the math.

When you were mine- 10
Dirty Mind- 8.5
Head- 8
Uptown- 7.5
Gotta Broken Heart again- 7
Sister- 7
Do it all night- 6
Partyup- 5.5

59.5/ points possible, which is 80- 74.4- out of 10, it’s 7.4

Ok, that’s kinda disappointing… it starts out great, kinda tapers off, builds and falls off at the end.

On another note, I listened to The Time’s album… or started to… right after this album ended today and it’s a smooth transition. The only thing kinda is the emphasis on the synths. That wasn’t there before. At least not that present.

So, so far, the albums rank as follows:

Prince- 7.6
Dirty Mind- 7.4
For You- 6.2

As for my favorite songs that I’ll take with me to my top 100 or so Prince songs-

When You Were Mine
Dirty Mind
Head

man, I wonder if I’ll ever give out a score higher than a 7… I really hope so :/ that’d be awkward.
It’d be crazier if Controversy scored higher, but I don’t see that happening- considering some of the tracks for consideration. It’s another album I find stronger in the first half than the second.

But I’ll get there sometime next week… hopefully.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Prince album #2: Prince (1979) “I wanna be your [DreamyPop]Lover”

[Did a lot of editing to get to the point faster- it’s been a stressful week with peaks of euphoria at the end]

As for the title… I kinda added that because I felt like making a pun with my Twitter handle [which is DreamyPopLover because DreamyPopRoyalty was a couple characters too many]
I’ll start out by saying this is one of my favorite Prince albums.
I’m tempted to call it my “friends with benefits” Prince album. I said in my previous entry about it that driving with it in my car was like being with a friend… kinda my twist on a Luna Lovegood quote from “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

But there’s a lot going on in this album where it isn’t just being with a friend. There’s more going on.
I don’t know if it’s the quality of the music or the sound in general, but “For You” paints such a mysterious picture of Prince. You don’t quite know what to think of him other than him being a prodigy and a genius.

With this album, he reveals a bit more about himself and seems more approachable. At least he seems that way to me. Hence the whole “friend” thing.
But considering what he’s asking for in songs like “I wanna be your lover” and “With You” and “It’s Gonna be Lonely” and “I feel for you”… yeah, the list just goes on, doesn’t it?
And in my mind (and heart) he seals the deal with “When we’re dancing close and slow”

OMG- even on the worst day, that song brings out the best. Granted I need to crank the volume up in my car to hear him.

Just to keep a little continuity going on- so far, most of the songs were played live regularly. That last one, though… only twice… which is sad cuz it’s a great song, but I guess a live setting isn’t the best place for it. [Don’t quite get how it’s a B-side of “Dirty Mind”…maybe when I listen to that album next week, we’ll see… MC mentioned that he saw it performed live and for that, he is lucky].

“With you” has an interesting [blech, I’m already overusing that word] history. It was recorded the day several songs were recorded for Tony Silvester, a session led by Pepe. I remember reading about this in the book I’m going through.
It also said Jill Jones recorded it for her album.
Maybe it would benefit with a re-production and different singer. [But I also prefer the rawer original “G-Spot” to her version, so who’s to say?].

*** [yeah, here comes another mini-rant]
I came across another part of that book that really bothered me… The author was talking about “Bambi” and said [paraphrasing here] how the delivery of the vocal should not correlated with the mindset writing the lyrics.
This is the 2nd time this guy has said not to take Prince’s lyrics as fact or believe he’s really believing in what he’s singing. It almost feels like he wrote this book for his wife or girlfriend, who is in love with Prince and trying his damnedest to convince her he’s not so great.
He also talked about the Dick Clark American Bandstand appearance and theories about why the interview portion was so awkward. And then talked about why Gayle Chapman left the band… or really, why she didn’t leave… the story is that she felt conflict with the lyrics and the acts portrayed on stage. She’s quoted saying that isn’t true… but the real reason isn’t given. [Not the first time that’s happened either- if you’re going to make a point, make it- don’t just allude to it]

I mean, the book has lots of great facts. But the interpretation of some circumstances, opinions, how some quotes are used… it really bothers me. Makes me feel like this guy is untrustworthy.

I can understand with “Baby” why he might not want us to take the lyric seriously or as fact.
But if, not just Prince, but any artist, doesn’t believe what they’re singing about and putting all those feelings into the vocal, what is the whole point being a musician at all? To me, it makes it sound like it’s all an act. And in my heart I know he has to be wrong.

I swear- Matt Thorne and my issues with his writing about Prince- that’s not going to pollute every album post I write.
It just really gets under my skin when some journalist/writer dude thinks he knows Prince better than his own fans. No wonder Prince spent pretty much his whole life not giving a damn about what they think of him.
***end of mini-rant

“Bambi” I know was re-recorded during the Undertaker sessions in 1993- that was the first time I heard it and I didn’t like this version for a while.
But once I get back to that era, who knows?
But as a B-side to “Still Waiting”… no freaking way! That makes no sense at all. [Ok, “Still Waiting” is the B-side of “Bambi”… umm… maybe… I dont even know anymore to be honest]. On tour, it never made it out of the 80’s, which is also kinda sad.
I have a feeling “It’s gonna be lonely” was never done live… it doesn’t seem like the type of song that gets played live.

“I feel for you” got a lot of play live. I remember watching the 80’s block on VH1 Classic and seeing the Chaka Khan video a bunch of times. There was something very catchy about it. I don’t know if I made the connection or I found it out later that it was a Prince song she remade. Either way… I guess I’ll quote Toejam from Peach & Black here “either version, I love both versions”… also, it’d be so crazy insane if he said that about this song.. I think I heard the Peach & Black show on this album already years ago cuz I vaguely remember them saying how the album cover looked like a prison photo.
I’ll listen tomorrow and find out.
[Nope- they did not say that- it had to have been another podcast because for sure I wouldn’t make that up- or anything that would reflect Prince in a negative light]

this was a song that was in Prince’s final concert
I also read about it- how he played it during those Pepe Willie sessions on piano and Andre Cymone played “Do me baby”… the first time those songs made an appearance.

hashtag #NAILEDIT- yeah, “It’s gonna be lonely”- never played live… yeah, that makes me sad.

Lots of great songs on this album for sure. Some that would otherwise get overlooked if Prince hadn’t been the one who wrote them or sung them.

I had a few thought processes about where to got with this- once I finished my long-winded introduction and pre-album notes.
I was mentally thinking [haha- redundant, much?] about my ratings system and how certain songs might fall.
For my own recollection, I’ll copy and paste some of my process.

I’m looking at technical merit, how impressive the arrangement and overall sound is and how well-written the lyrics are. Then I look at the feeling I get from the song- the level of Prince’s performance of it, how I feel about it personally and how often I will play it.

Technical merit will be a rating up to 5.
Components score has a maximum value of 3.

Then I add the values together and divide by 10 to get the rating

…but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
I came up with my last rating after listening to the Peach & Black podcast on the previous album so I’ll wait until after listening to give my rating.
I said the last one was a 6 until I did the numbers and after rounding up, I got 5.

My first instinct is that this second album is a 7/10, but I’ll see after I do the math how it shakes out.

I also thought while listening to the album how some songs reminded me of others on the previous album. Or that they sounded like they could be part of the same storyline- supposing I put a playlist together, which I most likely won’t.

It’s also interesting to think about how quickly he wrote this album (7 weeks apparently- Princevault says late April to June 13th), considering how long he spent with the other one.
Maybe the PTSD he had with that first album is the reason why he recorded the rest of his albums so quickly. Or at least was putting out an album a year.

The sound here is more commercial and accessible. I’m not sure if it’s Prince trying to convince WB he was a wise investment- although the previous album sold well and charted well, he did blow the whole allowance for three albums on the first one. Or something else entirely.
But in my mind, it still feels like a more honest effort. More true to himself- because he wasn’t recording with a WB executive constantly looking over his shoulder [metaphorically speaking, of course].

So I’ve listened to the album three times this week. And each time had its ups and downs. I think because I’d heard it so recently.
I’ve tried not to listen to the same music all the time because even my favorite songs can lose their oomph.
But I’ll do this post the best I can with the proper edits and hopefully come to a good conclusion.

My mindset right now is that two of the first three songs have a very retro feel to them and I’m not a big fan of that disco sound that showed up in some of Prince’s early music. It makes the songs sound dated and indicative of the time period they’re from.

“I wanna be your lover”- my feelings about this song have changed a lot over time. I started out not liking it (because going into “The Very Best of…” with it at the start, not quite what I expected), to liking it (after hearing the long version on CD) to now… which is kinda meh.
Interesting lyrics- Prince presents himself as poor and kinda shy, but she brings out something in him. And he wants to be everything to her. [I read up the lyrics- which I didn’t really do until this point- and interestingly it sounds like she plays the field and the guys let her down typically- kinda adds to the conext of the story of the song and maybe the album itself]
But I don’t get particularly excited about listening to it until the long instrumental portion. It’s not as well-developed as “Just as long as we’re together”- the evolution of the sound is lacking. Not enough happens in it to keep my attention in the same way.
I love the back and forth with the keyboards.
But on the surface, it’s kinda bland compared to all that follows.
Whether I prefer it to “Soft & Wet”… now I’m not so sure. I was pretty harsh on that song.
The coaches of The Voice did a medley of Prince songs a few years ago and they did a decent job. It’s hard to do amazing justice to him, of course, but they did well all things considered. Adam Levine did this song and it kinda blew me away because not everyone remembers that song and he had the perfect falsetto voice to sing it.

[it was the original four coaches- Adam, Christina, Cee-Lo and Blake- started with 1999, Little Red Corvette- which Cee-Lo did lead, Adam did this song, and Blake did a country version of “Kiss”… yeah, it started great cuz 1999 has such amazing music, but then it kinda went downhill… Prince was way better than Adam even though I’m not crazy about this song]

it was also the first ever video Prince did and it was so glammed up and bright… not sure if it was a stylistic choice or that was the limits of the technology at the time

“Why you wanna treat me so bad?”
I remember the first time I heard it- it was actually watching an old video of it. I liked the main hook a lot. And it’s hard to forget that guitar solo. [No surprise- both of these videos are “missing” from YouTube, but that’s ok]
Other than “So Blue,’ it’s the first time Prince touched on the “girl who did me wrong” theme.
While listening, I was thinking how the music is so upbeat and happy through much of the song that it doesn’t match up with lyrics at all. [The first time he did this, I think, and it wouldn’t be the last]
Prince plays coy and asks innocently the titular question.
Then the guitar comes roaring in and shows how he really feels. How it revs into the fade-out, a metaphor for his inner turmoil and frustration.
It’s kinda brilliant when you think about it. I also love how dynamic and active the chorus is musically. The keyboards that come in after the first line of the 2nd verse.
So many little things.
[if you add in the context of the first song, maybe this girl is bad news or learned some bad habits from the boys she was hangin’ round]

“Sexy dancer”… :sigh:
I feel about this song the way I used to feel about “Just as long as we’re together”… it runs long and it’s repetitive and after a while I just don’t care anymore.
There’s only one verse, a chorus or two and mostly instrumental. [Very few lyrics- but should be noted one was “got me just a-creamin'”… first time he mentioned “Cream” in his lyrics]
The only “exciting” part is the bridge where Prince just does a series of pants.
It’s oddly stimulating (don’t read it into that too much)- I could listen to it for longer than the song allows.
I also have a long version having around, but I don’t know how much of the original song is part of it.
There’s a part where a dozen Prince voices sing at once- it reminds me so much of something I’ve heard on another disco song from that era. But I don’t know where.

Listening to the long version [the historical first-ever long version of a song Prince ever recorded]…
I like it a lot more. There’s much more instrumentation involved. Like there’s more rhythm guitar and “hand claps and fingers snaps” and some extra keyboard riffs.
Maybe I should put it on my iPod and listen to more.
The thing with Prince long versions and instrumentals- stuff needs to happen every now and then to keep me interested or I just get bored. I feel bad saying that but it’s still kinda true for me. And may be the reason I was never meant to see Prince in concert- he riffs long instrumentals for some songs and the marveling I do with him might wear off.
Close to the four minute mark, there’s a cool riff between the keyboard riff and the bass. The bass isn’t present in his early work and he’s a really funky bass player.
Everything sounds identical to the original version, but with more added parts. If this was the original version he recorded and edited down over time… brilliant.
loving all of these funky keyboard parts.

“When we’re dancing close and slow”… I was so surprised by this song. By the title, I should have figured out it was a lovemaking ballad. I just didn’t expect to find such a gem.
The reason why I call this a “friends with benefit” album- but it has that potential to go beyond friendship.
“Crazy You” was a “relaxing on a spring/summer day in a hammock” type song. This is like that, but laying in bed. Not sleeping, but just being in a state of calm in a safe place.
Matt Thorne wrote about this song and said his vocal was more or less lukewarm in what he was trying to accomplish.

Seriously, a woman needs to write a book about Prince… cuz guys certainly don’t get him.
Alan Light did a great job with “Let’s go crazy”- he wasn’t nearly as judgemental.
Okay, rant over…

I also love the piano playing in this. There’s not a lot to it. And it also doesn’t feel planned out. It feels spontaneous, which is a really nice touch. Nice guitar strumming too.
If I didn’t have to crank the volume up to hear his vocals, it’d be perfect in my book. The whirlwind and whooshing effects also are a little much at times. Not entirely necessarily.

I have a strong feeling that Captain is going to give this album a poor score based on the fact it has two ballads back to back in the middle of the album like this.
I love this one… but “With You”… it’s complicated…

It’s like “I wanna be your lover” where it’s the story of two halves.
And the second half is better than the first.

It’s like Prince started a little timid going into it, but he gained confidence as it progresses. The strength of his falsetto is proof of that.
It feels like it’s cut from the same cloth as “It’s gonna be lonely”… Prince is kinda clingy in the relationship he’s in.
But vocally, it feels like it takes over where “Baby” finished off. They end on roughly the same plane, but this one takes it further with the vocal acrobatics.
The simple lyrics and extra soft vocals take away from it. Plus the previous ballad was so strong for me that anything was going to pale next to it.

[Looking for Jill Jones’ version, I literally tripped over the song she said she was writing in tribute to Prince. The official video- she still looks amazing- and the song isn’t as heartwrenching as “Girl Meets Boy” by Sheila E.- maybe why I haven’t listened to it since I got the free download she offered to the fans… but really well done as well.
Musically, her version is stronger and the vocal is cleaner. But the comments echo one thing I kinda feel- the emotion isn’t there with her as much with Prince’s version, especially in the later parts of it]

“Bambi”… I’m going to spoil right now… it’s going to get a perfect score.
It has so many dimensions and dynamics to it. The guitar work is fan-freaking-tastic! I cannot begin to even explain this. The storyline is a bit of a shocker. Revealing he was with a girl who turned out to be a lesbian and he’s trying to convert her.
It’s playful. There’s so many different feelings and textures to it.
And unlike “Why you wanna treat me so bad?”- the music matches the frustration of the lyrics.
I also get off on every time I hear the lyric “I’m gonna show you what it’s like to be loved by a man!”
I always sing that part at the top of my lungs πŸ˜› I have way too much fun on the road with this song.

The fact that I kept wanting to hear this song whenever I’d get around to “I’m Yours” on the other album… yeah, I missed this song a lot- even though it was only a few months ago.

“Still Waiting”… I think it could be a grower [I hear this in my head with an Aussie accent- I’m sure one of the Peach & Black guys said that exact phrase at one point]
the more I was listening to it today, the more I was falling in love with it.
There’s a track coming up on the next album that this reminds me so much of [I only say this cuz I’d heard the “Dirty Mind” track a bunch of times before].
I always picture this at an old honkytonk bar πŸ˜› Prince singing the blues.
Now this sounds like it takes over from where “So Blue” left off- especially since he talks in one verse about how he spends his nights crying.
Talking about how all his friends have girlfriends and he’s left by himself and he wants what they have.
However much of this is based on real experience or feelings he’d personally had, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. It doesn’t feel like something he’d personally experienced, but I wasn’t exactly there, was I?
Wasn’t even born yet (when this album came out, 7 years before I came about, my parents were engaged but not yet married).

“I feel for you” is one of those tracks I always look forward to. I have so much fun with it. It is so darn catchy- the lyrics come to mind so easy.
It’s also one of two instances where I heard something that reminded me of “I wanna be your lover”
the bridge leading to the chorus is almost identical- starts the same way, but it takes a different turn melodically. [the other was “Sexy Dancer”- one of the keyboard sections in the instrumental break sounds like the keyboard solo that happens throughout the instrumental section of that song]
I also love the keyboard solo that plays the song out… I wish the song went on for longer afterwards.

A bunch of these songs are too short πŸ˜›

“It’s gonna be lonely” might be on a little too long towards the end.
If anything, that makes me want the album not to end. I’m scared of him leaving when it’s all over. Prolonging the good feeling of listening to Prince as much as a possible.

I also had a thought earlier about whether my brain chemistry is different while listening to Prince. Compared to other music or just in general. How it would look on a brain scan. I really do feel like there is a difference when he comes on the radio- something that doesn’t happen with other people.

I love all the little ad-libs on this song and how he sings the chorus different every time.
The music feels like something that’d be good on a rainy day. I’m not sure if it’s because I’d listened to it on a rainy day. Love the vocals. The chorus is great- the music reminds me of “In this Bed I scream”- especially when we get to the three minute mark and more instruments come in.
It may possibly be the longest song on the album. But as long as it is, as it nears the end, I don’t want it to πŸ˜›

Ok, after listening to the Peach & Black podcast and several distractions later…
The 3-way consensus is a rating of 7.5/10. (missing out on MC, of course- he and Captain got into it about why he doesn’t do the rating. Again bringing up the infamous Batman rating. Captain’s saying how it’s all for fun and his imitation of people saying “how could you give it that?”- so hilarious. But MC has a valid point- the ratings don’t really mean anything.)

To my surprise, Captain liked this album more than my guess. I know how much he hates ballads and doesn’t often listen to lyrics.
There was a hilarious bit that was another moment I almost lost it at work and had a bunch of people giving me weird looks around the room.
There was a lyric he misheard and had sung this way for 10 years before he found what they really were.
I don’t know the lyrics to this album that well. And when I found that part in the lyric booklet (and heard it earlier that day, I just lost it).
“Why you wanna treat me so bad?”
the lyric is “sometimes you play the part/sometimes you’re so full of pride”
Captain’s lyric- “sometimes you’re so full of crap”
…I heard this and I’m thinking “what, where the hell was that in the song?” πŸ˜› borderline losing my mind. Then I found the lyric and I’m like “ooh, okay…”

A few times, the guys mentioned something about the difference between this album and the last one.
They mentioned something about some risquΓ© lyrics so it isn’t as if Dirty Mind was as huge a leap as people think- but they didn’t really address it. The very least- they didn’t mention Bambi really having the nasty lyrics. Too busy fangasming over the guitar solo.

I think Captain went on about how Prince studied songwriting or what it takes to make a hit because that’s how some of these songs were so good.
He also couldn’t believe (same here) that “I feel for you” wasn’t a single.
It was such a hit with Chaka Khan that it won a freaking Grammy… I mean, it’s part of Prince’s 7-count of Grammys. Yeah, mind-blowing.
Going back to a point I was going to make about Captain’s comments- he said how “With You” is the 2nd most skippable song on the album and I was waiting for the one he’d give the top spot too. I thought for sure “Still Waiting” or “It’s Gonna be Lonely”… in the end, he didn’t pick one.

I’m pretty sure the guys are giving these early albums a pass because they’re so early in Prince’s career or nostalgia purposes. They rate it even when saying “how can I rate this?”

Let’s see- MC was oddly sentimental this time around. Not to say that he doesn’t have that in him, but the comments surprised me- I mean, these guys are pretty objective with their reviews and try not to read into Prince’s personal life (the way I kinda like to- figuring how some songs got inspired and so on).
About “Still Waiting” and one other song [“It’s Gonna be Lonely”]- he was saying how they show something personal about Prince and he wasn’t so revealing in his music for much of his career.
I didn’t think “Still Waiting” had anything really personal to it- but just maybe there is. Who knows? He also was the only one to stand up for the song. The other guys weren’t feeling it for the most part- not with the same love anyways.
Then MC also called “With You” the most skippable on the album and I couldn’t help but agree. Not that I want to skip it. I just want to leave it in there and let the album run its course. Actually, with most Prince albums, I listen all the way through.

[looking ahead a bit- I was seeing when the first album by The Time was released so I know where to put it in the order of this discography… it came out on my birthday! well, 5 years earlier, but on the same day- that’s kinda cool… but yeah, it’s the bridge between Dirty Mind and Controversy. I thought for sure it was between this album and Dirty Mind, but anyway… moving on]

They were loving “Bambi” with the guitar solo and everything else- wondering if it was based on real experiences and of course Captain chimes in and says “you can’t get that aggression from fiction.” Yeah, it’s kinda hard to argue with that πŸ˜›
They also mentioned the woodblock- the precursor to EndorphinMachine- the way I was grooving to this song the last time was reminiscent of that… yeah, pretty mind-blowing.

Now that they mention it, the focus moving from chord progressions to songwriting… that kinda explains the difference I felt between the two.

Final Captain moment- he was laughing about Prince saying how he’s got no money and now he sings about how great he is πŸ˜› he makes a valid point.
And the “monkey calls his flying cloud”/monkey magic bit… it scrambled my mind because I didn’t know WTF it meant… Captain was talking about the whooshing sounds in “When we’re dancing close and slow”- and it was a precursor to what he did with The Truth- doing acoustic and putting lots of sound effects on top of it- oddly, it was the bit he liked about this song when he wasn’t a huge fan of it overall.
Player liked the vibe of “It’s Gonna be Lonely”- which I totally agree with.
Toejam said “I feel for you” was his favorite on the album and one of his favorite all-time Prince tracks. I can’t help but agree with that.

I guess now it’s time to figure out my rating.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover”
technically, it’s very hard to argue with- it is solid and sound.
Great music, love the instrumental section in the second half. Lyrics push the envelope while painting an interesting picture.
but on the components side, it doesn’t have that spark for me personally and the vocal performance isn’t particularly a stand-out.
5

“Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?”
one of my favorites on the album
right away, I’ll give it 2 points on the components side because a) I always look forward listening to it and b) it’s a personal favorite
technically- the guitar and instrumentals are amazing.
the lyrics are really well done.
it sounds like a hit song.
5+2= 7

“Sexy Dancer”
it’s a hard one to grade because there just aren’t enough lyrics or differentiation for me to say how awesome it is.
Technically, it’s strong, but it doesn’t offer anything emotional for me to grab onto.
4+1 (I’ll give one for the panting section- and take away a point because it lacks structure for me)= 5

“When We’re dancing Close and Slow”
another favorite, love, love, love… it should also be noted as the first of Prince’s many great slow jams, but his songwriting and vocal ability got so much better over time.
The only negative about it for me is Prince’s vocal being so low :/ I hate to say it
5+2= 7

“With You”
oh man… this is going to be hard…
the low vocal is a negative point, plus it being the second ballad in a row and not nearly as well done.
although the vocal acrobatics at the end of the song redeem it a bit
lyrically- very cheesy
musically- it creates a nice vibe, but it feels like the spark of something he’d perfect overtime.
I don’t know how to rate this cuz it’s gonna be harsh.
3+1= 4 (the vocal acrobatics is the 1 point on the components side)

“Bambi”
yeah- I’m sticking with my word.
Great songwriting and lyrics. AMAZING guitar work.
Great vocal. I always look forward to this one and it is such an unbelievable high.
5+3= 8

“Still Waiting”
yeah, I didn’t think too much of this song at first. Not that it was bad, but it was kinda forgettable. But it is a grower.
Love the overall sound of it. The honkytonk piano (omg, I said that it had that honkytonk bar vibe to it and one of the Aussies said honkytonk and my jaw dropped- I don’t even really know what that is. I just know honkytonk from the setting on my keyboard and the fact Prince covered “Honkytonk Woman” by the Rolling Stones in the Undertaker sessions).
It paints an interesting story that keeps your interest. The vocal draws you in and does so many little things- I love every bit of it.
4+2= 6

“I feel for you”
okay, Toejam didn’t say “either version- I love both versions” about this song… my luck, he’ll say it about “The Dance”… I really don’t know…
anyways- I listened to the Chaka Khan version again- and I was really grooving to it and enjoying it. I’m not big on rap, but I loved the rap and how it just fit in so well with the beat.
Prince’s version- I don’t generally think this, but it feels more like he’s singing it to me more than anything. I just fall into the pocket of the song and love the overall sound of it. And we’re just two people chilling with it.
It just has “hit single” written all over it and if anything, I can only take a point off because he could have pushed it a little more musically to reach the height of the Chaka Khan version. But everything else- brilliant
4+3= 7

“It’s Gonna be Lonely”
the only two negatives about this song- it can run a little long sometimes and the vocal is sometimes hard to make out. the second verse in particular.
the music is great, creates a cool vibe, and as much as I hate it running long occasionally, I will flip after a while and say “I don’t want you to leave”.
4+2= 6

So where does that leave me… I have a feeling this will garner a higher rating.
My gut before doing any of this was I’d have 7 out of 10.

So the ratings are as follows:
Bambi- 8
Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad- 7
I feel for you- 7
When we’re dancing close and slow- 7
It’s gonna be lonely- 6
Still Waiting- 6
I wanna be your lover- 5
Sexy Dancer- 5
With You- 4

The combined total is 55
55/10= 5.5… rounded up will make it 6 out of 10.

Okay, that’s lower than I expected… which makes me worry about my system overall.
I mean, I really should try to scrounge out 10 points as the maximum per track.
But I gotta find some way to have that work on the components side

especially since the state of my system as it is now… it’s impossible to get a perfect 10. The perfect would be 8 points per track and dividing it by 10 to get 8.
And it’s impossible to give every track on an album a perfect score… Purple Rain is debatable… I mean, there may be a track there that I won’t give a perfect 8 points to. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, of course.
My mindset is strictly on the album I’m on and I’m trying to keep all the futures Prince went through in his career and life out of my head.
Thinking too much beyond where I’m at will just make my brain hurt.

I suppose I could make the components score about the subjective. How I personally feel about any given Prince song.

Technical is up to five. Giving a point for a well executed element.
1- great instrumentals
2- great lyrics
3- great vocal
4- great songwriting structure overall
5- that certain something extra- whether it’s something only Prince can accomplish or sets it apart from the rest of his material.

Components- how I feel about the elements.
1- not impressed
2- not a skipper but I don’t particularly look forward to it
3- don’t like it/don’t hate it
4- I really like it, but I have an issue or two with it
5- hell yeah!

I wanted to avoid this method of thinking because I kinda don’t want to be indifferent to a Prince song.
I suppose I still could use the old system to rank the songs on the album.

If I’m taking songs with me to make a top 100 or just favorite Prince songs of all time list, let’s see…

my top songs from this album are:
Bambi
Why you wanna treat me so bad?
When we’re dancing close and slow
I feel for you

now if I go back and try the new system…

I wanna be your lover.. I didn’t mention this yet- I love how it’s the longest song on the album and it’s the first one πŸ˜› I thought it’d be Sexy Dancer cuz “Just as long as we’re together” is so great and a long jam like it.
Anyway-
technical, I’d give 3/components score- I feel like a 2.5- the instrumental section saves it for me
5.5

Why you wanna treat me so bad?
4 (for some indistinct vocals)+ 4.5 (so close to perfect, but it’s that peak Bambi is)
9.5

Sexy Dancer
:sigh:
love how the Peach & Black talked about the vocals and I’m like “what vocals?” and someone said how they liked the pause between the inhale and exhale
bleck- the new system will kill it.
I’d give the long version a 3 on components, but the album version doesn’t do it for me.
Technical- it strikes out on a couple things because they’re barely there.
2.5 (I’ll give it extra for the panting section and in virtue of the long version)+ 2= 4

oh yeah, there’s gonna be a witch hunt for me on that one.

When we’re dancing close and slow
4 (soft vocals) + 5= 9

With You
oh man, another abysmal rating… this album is still going to get a 6 no matter what I do, isn’t it?
the vocal acrobatics redeem it a bit, but the lyrics are too simple. the instrumentals aren’t anything special, although they are well done.
My feeling changes on this song a lot. Sometimes I’m in, sometimes not. A perfect candidate for that 3* components score.
2+3= 5

Bambi
haha… 10

Still Waiting
4.5+4= 8.5

I feel for you
…yeah, this is a hard one… especially with the Chaka Khan version blasting in my head from earlier…
musically it isn’t as full as it could be, but I just enjoy it so much when I get around to it.
4.5+4.5= 9

It’s gonna be lonely
I’ll give half a point for the vocal (some indistinct vocals) and half for lyrics.
4+4= 8

okay, new rating…
1- Bambi- 10
2- Why you wanna treat me so bad- 9.5
3- I feel for you- 9
4- When we’re dancing close and slow- 9
5- Still Waiting- 8.5
6- It’s gonna be lonely- 8
7- I wanna be your lover- 5.5
8- With You- 5
9- Sexy Dancer- 4

68.5/100

…okay, that’s a bit more like it. Divide by 10 like my old system dictates and I get 6.85. And rounded up that’s a 7.

Now I have to go back, do the new math on “For You” and see if that changes anything.

My top four tracks also haven’t changed from this new system, which is great.
But it makes the other half kinda interesting- Still Waiting got ahead and Sexy Dancer fell behind “With you”…

Okay, done… and the rating’s changed a little bit.
Breaking down the technical part (which I kept the same for the most part) and adding a bit more to the subject altered things.
I’ll see what happens, but I just hope I don’t do any more major tweaking on the judging system.

Much the way I don’t want to keep bringing up my grievances with the book I’m reading about Prince either…
Overall, I hope this blog post goes over well with people.
I’ll post it after hearing Peach & Black again- in case there are any comments I don’t want to miss putting down.

Oh yeah, “why you wanna treat me so bad”- I think I’ve said on a previous post how the bridge sounds like a precursor to the bridge in “Uptown” which is on the next album.

I’d been working on this post for way too long and I should just post it.
I hope I didn’t overdo it, kinda the way Prince did with his first album.
I tried to listen to everything (including the podcast) a couple times so I made all the points I wanted to.
Big shout-out to the guys of Peach & Black- you guys always make the albums more fun and open my ears and mind to new possibilities I wouldn’t have reached on my own.
That’s why I like being around other people in the know about Prince- whether it’s online on Twitter, a messageboard, Facebook group or just podcasts. It makes for a fuller experience. Nothing against my own friends- I love them and consider myself lucky to have them- but I can’t talk with Prince with them the same way. They entertain the idea of him because he makes me happy, but I don’t think they “get” him the way I do.

For those reasons, not only do I want to do that ranking of my favorite Prince songs- I want to come up with a playlist or just plain old list of Prince songs that normal people can listen to- where they can enjoy the music without being offended or uncomfortable by/with explicit lyrics or content. That they can like the music as they do every day pop music- you don’t need to think too much about it, you can just take it at face value and enjoy it.

Ok, post done. If you made it to the end, congratulations.
Hopefully with the next album especially I can rein things in a bit. To sorta echo the sparse approach to it.

***
one last change and it’s the final change to my scoring system.

I realized that dividing the combined total points added from all the tracks, giving each one a score out of 10 (5 for technical, 5 for components- or my personal reaction as it were)… it’s not fair to the shorter albums to divide them by 100.
I’ve been out of school for too long, apparently (graduated college in 2009).
I have to divide my combined total by the total possible points.
In this case, the max total I can get is 90.
So divide 68.5/90 and I get 76.1- take it down a decimal place so it’s a score between 1 and 10.

Prince’s 2nd album, I give 7.6 out of 10.
Which is a pretty darn good score.
I’m writing this as I’m about to rate Dirty Mind so it’ll be interesting to see how these albums all place in my system.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Quad Revolution at 2017 Four Continents Championship

I was just thinking the other day about how much blogging I’d been doing this week. Granted, most of them were previously planned and were necessary. But there was a long period of time where I wrote every day and wondered if I needed to. Prince, I think wrote a song every day, but who’s to know if every single one of them were good… even for a genius like him.

Anyways… this is a competition that’s typically forgotten or just plain forgettable. I mean, the European Championships, of course, are a pretty big deal. When you have heavy hitters like Javier Fernandez. Or years before when Plushenko competed and was practically a headliner.

However, this time around… I kinda hope this competition isn’t as forgettable… because we have all the key names in the Quad Revolution taking part. For the first time, Nathan Chen, Yuzuru Hanyu, Boyang Jin and Shoma Uno are all competing at top form with at least 4 quads each.
And I think Patrick Chan may be there with only two different kinds of quads… but these days, the minimum I do ask for is two different quads. So many guys are doing quad salchows, they seem even more commonplace than the quadruple toe loop that had been Plushenko’s signature jump for years. (I say this because for the longest time, he was the only one doing it with any measure of consistency).

But enough about him… I already devoted two blog posts to him this week. πŸ˜›

I’m starting with Yuzuru… mainly because his video was in the “recommended videos” section on my YouTube page.
Interestingly, in his thumbnail, Shoma is wearing purple also. And then Nathan Chen will break that color scheme wearing black… oh well, can’t win ’em all.

British commentary πŸ˜› yeah!
but the video’s audio had to be edited to avoid copyright infringement. Even then, though, Prince’s energy still penetrates and I felt it strongly in Yuzuru’s performance.
PERFECT quad loop for 14 points. But then he popped his quad salchow into a double, but managed a triple toe loop at the end of it. Everything else was brilliant.
And it sounds like he’s chasing Nathan’s score… which is amazing news πŸ˜€
97.04 points even with the mistake.
Looking at the comments (which I know I shouldn’t do)- someone said something about inflating scores.
50/46… I mean, his skating skills and choreography and all that… that’s brilliant. Technically, he was overscored a bit, I think. 14 points for a solo quad, at least 10-11 for a solid triple axel out of footwork. A good quad salchow combination, I think would be worth at least 16 points (by itself, its worth 13, I think). And his spins are always brilliant.

So yeah… Yuzuru can definitely still win this, I think. But it’d be something if Nathan Chen beat him at the quad game. Hard to believe he’s never won this competition. But he had also been out of the last few with injuries.

Shoma is up next. Just because he’s up next on my YouTube suggestions.

it’s night and day with these two guys from Japan, it’s crazy…
I’d compare it to watching Evgenia Medvedeva and Elena Radionova. They both have the same technical levels, but Evgenia’s programs have flawless lines and connection between the jumps and the footwork. It just runs smooth.
Shoma had his hiccups with some jumps, holding onto the lands of a couple quads, but his triple axel was brilliant. Also had a stumble somewhat in the footwork.
But for me, Yuzuru kinda set the standard for what a perfect program should look like (except for that combination jump of course)
Whoa, Shoma’s ahead of Yuzuru… 56/44… his first quad had a turnaround on the landing, but he had a quad combination that was pretty solid. Artistically, I don’t agree, but it’s kinda hard to agree with quad combinations done right. Total: 100.28 (currently in 2nd)

Sounds like Nathan Chen has 103… but I’ll watch him now to really see how good he was.
I saw some weird tweets about it- I think John Coughlin said it’ll be tough for him to get to the free skate with that performance. And Nathan answered back “that was the plan”… I didn’t realize that was sarcasm… we really need italics on social media to emphasize that.

Yikes… I mean, I’m gonna call Nathan Chen the type of skater where you just say “shut up!” whenever he lands a quad and that makes it look flawless. He had a quad lutz-triple toe loop combination to start and it was perfect! Almost got 20 points in that first jumping pass alone.
Then a great quad flip and a “triple axel out of nowhere” as the commentators said… they were totally fangasming. They couldn’t put words together at some points.
Only mistake was him stumbling when he was setting up his final pose πŸ˜›
ok, 103.12- 59.58 technically/ 43.54 for components… yeah, his components score needs a lot of work.

But it’s so hard to argue with Yuzuru when he makes his performances look like a work of art when it’s done perfectly.
Like when he did “Seimei” at the NHK Trophy in 2015. It was just… wow…

anyway, I saw Misha listed, so I gotta do him next. I hadn’t seen him skate in some time. Mostly because he isn’t considered in that same category as the quad revolution guys (and Patrick Chan and Javier Fernandez). I remember seeing him at Sochi and how he was the last one to good in the 1st or 2nd group of skaters. The best of the non-quad skaters. But he looks much more seasoned artistically than all the guys below him.

Beautiful skate… immaculate… but without a quad. I mean, he’s the same type of skater as Jason Brown, but I am so hard on Jason because he doesn’t have the quad. Yet I give Misha a free pass πŸ˜› I don’t know why. Jason’s from my country πŸ˜›
The jumps aren’t at the same level of difficulty, but artistically as brilliant as Yuzuru and he choreographs HIMSELF- that’s brilliant in of itself.
81.85- 42/40… artistically, I’d give him at least 45. He’s brilliant, like I said
too bad, he looks so disappointed with himself.

apparently, Boyang Jin is last in this πŸ˜› that’s interesting… just the way the videos are ordered in the suggested column of my YouTube page.

It doesn’t sound like Jason scored well- he got pushed down to 8th place as of Misha’s performance.
I think it has more to do with that stress fracture in his leg than him lacking the jumps.

Wow, it’s great to see Boyang Jin back in good form.
I mean, his quad lutz- toe loop combination wasn’t perfect by any means. He put a hand down on the first jump and stumbled on the 2nd. Perfect triple axel and a toe loop quadruple jump- the latter in the 2nd half.
His performance is getting so good. But the choreography needs some work. A little too much running from one element to the next. Like running across the ice- he did that at least three times and it kinda breaks the flaw of the choreography.
He got a bunch of Spiderman plushies because of his music πŸ˜› he might be the hometown favorite. not quite sure where it’s being held.
he’s in 4th… and it sounds like Patrick Chan is 5th… but I’ve seen him come from behind to win. But he needs all the quad revolution guys to make mistakes in their free skates and he needs to be absolutely perfect.
[So happy for Boyang getting these high marks- 91.33- 51/40- I think even Misha got higher components than he did and he should have gotten higher than just 40… anyway, excited to see what he’ll for the free. Hopefully he’ll do much better]

Jason Brown is listed next, so I’ll watch him. See how bad the damage is.
[oh geesh… the commentators had to make a pun with the name of his music- “The writing’s on the wall. I’m afraid the scores will be on the board”]
I can see the amazing skating skill and spins. A flawless presentation, flow from one element to the next.
Other than lack of quad- the main issue was falling on the triple axel and not getting the full rotation before hitting the ground.
The commentators are kinda harsh, but they haven’t said anything I haven’t already touched on. “Not even one quad is sufficient”… not in this crowd, it’s not.
80.77- 38/43… his components score is definitely where I expect it to be. Too bad about the jumps, though.

I’m kinda curious about Kevin Reynolds. I hope he at least had a clean program. he’s worked so hard to come back from injury and has otherwise been overshadowed by Patrick Chan.

Whoa, Kevin’s only 26? I thought he was much older- which explains the injuries and such.
Two brilliant quads… fell on the triple axel, but got full rotation before going down.
It looked like all his jumps were in the first half of the program, so no 10% bonus.
It sounded like he had Irish music and he was really performing to it and having fun with it. Which was nice.
76.36- 39/37… He had two solid quads. I would have given him more points for that alone. The components score, meanwhile looks about right. Jason kinda sets the benchmark for that.

But then there’s also Patrick Chan who gets outrageous components scores. Maybe since I saved him for last I’ll able to look at things objectively…

there were crowd signs that sound “Chan-tastic”… well, that’s one way of looking at it…
the video had no sound, for whatever reason… I really didn’t see smooth transitions or flow between elements. And he doesn’t really perform to the crowd. So I don’t have a lot to really grasp from him here.
As for his jumps… he fell on his opening quad and I think he was short of four rotations. Just short. A solid triple axel (which was his nemesis for the longest time). Then a combination jump where he stumbled out of the second jump…
let’s see… I’d give this… most likely, he’ll get a score in the 90’s… I’d only give it at most, 87…
wow, I was actually in the ball park… that never happens… 88.46 43/45… now that makes a lot more sense. I’ve seen him have some bad jumps and get 48 for components scores for no apparent reason.
This time in particular, he just seemed lacking in energy. Like he just wanted to get to the end of the program and worked on landing the jumps he had left. The spins are the only really good thing I can say about this particular performance.

Yikes… and I still have the girls to watch.

Considering he’s behind Nathan (who is capable of five quads), Yuzuru (four), Shoma (three or four) and Boyang (four)… he needs all four to mess up badly to win… and I don’t see that happening.

I don’t know which girls there are to really see beside Ashley… the Russians have been such a highlight in the field…

okay, that’s weird… I guess Ashley opted out to focus on worlds. But there are no videos of the women’s competition at all and they competed a couple days ago.
The top three are Gabrielle Daleman, Kaetlyn Osmond, and Elizabet Tursynbaeva… not surprisingly… but at the same time, Mirai Nagasu is 5th, Mariah Bell is 7th and Karen Chen, defending US Champion is all the way down in 12th… what the hell happened?
and Rika Hongo is 9th…
really, not a lot of big names in this, but still… most of these videos are on YouTube within a day.
It’s just very strange.
But with this crowd, I don’t mind too much. I’m not super attracted to any of these skaters.

I believe the free skates for the ladies (however inconsequential it may seem to me now) is tomorrow around 2 and the guys are around 11pm.

I’m hoping that it’ll be Yuzuru and Nathan Chen dueling for the gold medal… just as long as they don’t injure themselves in order to do so… they’re my two favorites for the world title.

So for now I’ll end the post…

FREE SKATES

I don’t feel up to turning my laptop on today so I’m just writing this on my phone and pasting it into the post later.

The women’s competition wasn’t too bad but it was hard seeing Karen Chen and Mariah Bell being so inconsistent. Kaetlyn started strong but just fell apart. It was hard to watch. Mirai Nagasu was amazing. She really fought for her program although in Johnny’s view she sacrificed artistry to do so but she was so determined- it was great for her to come out with a medal. They said Ashley opted out- I assume to focus on worlds but a great break for Mirai. Mai Mihara doesn’t have that maturity yet in the artistry but so strong throughout. She could take over for Mao Asada in the future. Elizabet from Kazakhstan was in 3rd going in but threw the program away- trying to do all her jumps with both hands over her head. It’s so stupid to start doing that so late in the season when you’re not practiced enough yet. Because it’s a dangerous gamble. Gabrielle Daleman from Canada started in the lead but let some mistakes get away from her.

They showed some ice dance and the Shib sibs lost to Virtue and Moir- I did not agree. The Canadian pair does too many tricks just for the sake of them. And their expressions were too much of an act- they didn’t feel authentic like it does with Maia and Alex.

There’s a fan girl for Misha in the crowd so I hope they show him. Of course they gotta show the American guys. Even when they’re so far back.

Keiji Taneka is first. And it was tough to watch. He popped his first jump from a quad to a triple and the rest unraveled. It took a while to see one solid triple. Lots of doubles. It’s times like these that make me appreciate just how hard some of these jumps are.

And apparently this is live. So we’re looking at tomorrow morning already… so much for not wanting to catch spoilers on the internet. [But if those spoilers were that Yuzuru won- I wouldn’t have minded at all… there’s nothing worse than finding out Patrick Chan or someone you don’t personally follow or invest in won and you spend the competition hoping that the article you read wasn’t rael]

Kevin Reynolds- he’s in 12th place at the moment. And this performance might not help his standing. He had two bad jumps to start but even though he made up some jumps later on- including a quad toe and salchow- it won’t be enough. He has an interesting artistry but it also looks like he was thinking through it making sure not to repeat jumps from popping quads into triples. I give him kudos for fighting for them though. He knows what’s important.

Brendan Kerry from Australia skating to pirates of the Caribbean. All dressed for it. His jumps are amazing when he nails them. At least two quads but he flipped out of landing a couple jumps as well. I’m impressed enough to keep a look for him but it’s not good enough at this competition. He skated well to the music but improvement is needed in places. Plus confidence.

The lead score people are following is 92.57- have no idea who that is with all the big names yet to go.

Jason Brown is up next. Now we’re starting to get to the really well known skaters. Some small mistakes but a beautiful performance. Mesmerizing but clearly not the same level technically and it sucks. I really enjoyed that.

Misha!! it’s so strange how I have zero recollection of what he specifically did at Sochi to win me over- there was just something so engaging about his skating. And that came about here. Such a quiet confidence in huge contrast to the skaters to go before him. Nailed all these jumps and it took me by surprise when he just let loss with the footwork after all the jumps. I hate for him to be behind Jason but artistically it wasn’t as solid.. I guess. He was kinda reserved making sure the jumps were clean.

Grant Hochstein skating to Caruso and falling on his first few jumps here. There were some good jumps but it was tough to watch most of it.

I think we might be getting to the top 6 skaters now… they say it just as I type. I think they’ll probably do the warm-up first. Supposedly Nathan Chen is next but who knows… I kinda wished they went from last to first but I also don’t know if it’s better to see my favorites first or Patrick Chan and worrying about him dethroning all the quad kings out there.

Oh man can’t wait for the next Olympics… and they’re going to be here where they are currently competing.

Han Yan is in this group in 6th- I hadn’t seen him much this season but he’s had consistency issues.
It’s so cute that they say Yuzuru has swagger and is like the rock star of the men’s event. Not quite the rock star type. But yeah I am nervous for him and pretty much everyone at this point. Shoma had an issue with a jump in warmup. I was too busy typing to see what happened.

It’s anyone’s game at this point- for better or worse.

Boyang Jin is first. I think they counted 5 quads including a loop- it started amazing with a lutz toe loop combination but most of his other quads were lacking in not being clean landings. Love how he keeps adding to the components score and according to the commentators he’s studying other skaters and working to improve what he doesn’t do well. That’s impressive.

Andrea Joyce and John Coughlin aren’t Johnny & Tara by any means- but they did a decent job. I wish they would call out some of the jumps so I know what happened (I’m still not an expert at counting rotations or even naming some jumps).

Now to start actually writing scores. 267.51- over 100 in technical- 77 components. And Patrick Chan is next so that’ll either end the misery or prolong it through the rest of the quad jumpers.

Admittedly they both had issues with their jumps. Patrick had three quads- one amazing toe loop with a bad one later. And his quad salchow looked very under rotated. And some small mistakes on jumps- easy jumps- just added up. The artistry is there for sure but I feel like his facial expressions or lack thereof kinda keep me from connecting.

Ok- the score… 267.98

88 technical and 90 something for components. Considering how far ahead the others are.. no chance for gold.

Han Yan is skating to Romeo and Juliet I think. Another rough skate for him. It’s sad. So much potential and so much missed opportunity. They talked about how he had anxiety leading to Sochi and is hindered by that. That explains a lot- also makes me want more for him to find that calm and just skate better than he has.

I saw Shoma behind him pacing with his headphones- way to get in the zone. Or at least I hope it does. Sometimes I don’t know what to expect from him. It could be amazing or disastrous.

Han Yan- 235.45. Ouch he’s in 7tn after that.

Go Shoma- cmon!

Wow.. no idea how many quads that was. I think at least four. Started out so strong but had some mistakes. Two falls. Then he had some landings he had to fight for. Loved how he committed to the character of the music. That’s what really sets him apart at this point. It should be interesting to see how he will stack up with the others. What color medal he’ll get.

288.05- 98/91

Wow! Awesome job.

Now Yuzuru… wow… I wonder how this will go. I have no idea what to expect. Just hope it’s good.

Oh man- I am trying to not cry right now because I want so badly for him to win. I know it’s bad that I’m more invested in him than Nathan Chen but at the moment he’s my favorite. He had a bad quad salchow and some scratchy landings but the artistry and presentation was very present. So beautiful with this music… I just love him with it so much.

Has to be a good component score for sure. At least he can beat Shoma with that.

303.71- 112/94

Wow… maybe a little over scored technically but wow…

good luck Nathan- you’re going to need the best skate of your life right now.

I don’t know if he can beat Yuzuru with the components score because there were one or two bobbles in footwork and he fought for a couple landings.

Phew… anything can happen. I just want him to relax after this so he doesn’t risk his health before worlds.

Could he break 300 too?…

115/88

307.46

Omg!!! He won!

Yuzuru popping those quad salchows really hurt him in this case. If not for that he’d have won hands down.

But this is hard to argue with… particularly the 5 quads. Like what?!

Now I have to sleep after that… geesh… I hope the members of the quad revolution bring this A-game to worlds because it’s going to take the sport to a place there’s no coming back from.

And it was kinda cool of Patrick in the waiting room shaking hands with Shoma and Yuzuru before leaving. He’d been so hard on the quad revolution or just the whole need to push for the jumps.
I half wondered if he was thinking “ok, I give up”…
I also wonder if the rest of the world took notice of this. If it’s giving them more drive to be better.
Is Javi intimidated?

Had Plushenko seen any of this yet?
There’s some debate among Yuzuru’s fan base whether or not he still should have won.
I’m unsettled about that because I love both of these skaters a lot. It’s not even about national pride at this point. I see one extra quad and I see two programs of a quad salchow that didn’t get a full four rotations.
Nathan just scrapped up a win on that alone.
Yuzuru is unbeatable when he skates clean with 4 perfect quads and triple axels. I thought Plushenko had a great triple axel (up until the Sochi Olympics on February 13th of course), but I think my most exciting jump for Yuzuru is the triple axel, either in combination or not because he either does it out of a spread eagle or it just comes out of nowhere and your jaw drops.

Both skaters had me dropping my jaw all night… and that’s what I want this sport to be. I don’t want to stop being wowed by anyone. And I also don’t want the results to be controversial where feelings get hurt.
This isn’t the Vancouver Olympics- everyone is doing quads and doing them amazingly.

Deep down I wonder and kinda dread Plushenko’s thought process on this- He hasn’t expressed any opinion on Nathan Chen yet and as an American, I secretly hope he’s impressed with our one skater with brilliant quads. But if he were to say Nathan isn’t a great artist, that’s okay too. He’s getting better at that, but his artistry isn’t Yuzuru level.
In fact, I’m still waiting for Yuzuru to break that final barrier of figure skating- a 100-point components score. If he doesn’t break it first, something’s wrong πŸ˜›

Final comment: if Plushenko saw any of this, I wonder if he thought “I can’t compete with that. I should stay in retirement from the sport”… he hurt his back attempting to add the quad lutz and salchow. Not to mention his salchow and loop jumps were his weak point. At Sochi in the free skate of the team event, he doubled the loop and salchow- his only two mistakes. I don’t see him attempting a quad flip or loop or getting enough height for the lutz.
It just might be safest for him to not attempt that 5th Olympics- whether or not the Russia skating federation will let him is beside the point. I want him to return to competition, but not like this. This environment has become too dangerous for him to attempt at 34 years of age.

However I can be grateful for one other thing about the Sochi Olympics… if my waiting four years for the next winter Olympics wasn’t about Plushenko’s return to the sport, it’s about a meeting of the minds. Following his vision of the sport and enjoying the result of that.
None of the major figures in the sport (judges, heads of skating federations, etc.) won’t say it, but he’s the reason for the Quad Revolution.
He is why people like Yuzuru, Shoma, Boyang and Nathan are pushing for quads and mastering new ones.

There are rumblings of a quad axel… but I hope that day never comes. You know my reason why.

Final note: This WILL be a Four Continents Championship I’ll never forget.
It’s just too bad it was on so late that probably not a lot of people got to see it.
Worlds is over a month away and I just hope and pray everyone stays injury-free until then.
Because this rematch will be insanely EPIC.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Love Me like You Do- a new Plushenko montage

Might as well do what I have been doing and write a quick blog post about my latest YouTube montage.

This one will be short because it’s been a long exhausting day. Work, mostly. But hammering out the final details of this montage, getting the timing just right… I have a headache.

First, some background…

I won’t get into why I read “50 Shades of Grey” and why I wanted to see the movie (recently, I saw the sequel and liked it a lot more than the original, which I liked, but still had issues with… it’s a tricky subject matter).

But if I got one big thing from that movie, it was this song. The moment “Love Me like You Do” started to play, I knew that it was a song I was going to love. I actually teared up in the theater because it was such a beautiful song. And also- I didn’t want the honeymoon period of the movie to end (we were about to reach some pretty intense subject matter) but it was unavoidable.

There are times where I will imagine Plushenko skating while listening to certain music. And I kept coming back to this one for some strange reason. It finally got to the point where I had to give in and give it a chance.

Let’s be clear: Plushenko is incredibly handsome and when he performs in programs like “Tango Amore,” he can be very sexy. But I don’t want to think of him too much in that way. [That’s the main reason why “Sex Bomb” is an exhibition from him that I hadn’t really wanted to watch].

I wrote in the description of my video: “This beautiful song may be from “50 Shades of Grey,” but my feelings for the video’s subject are nothing more than pure admiration.”
***

I just wanted to make a few notes about the making of the video.
This was probably the easiest time I’d had making a montage. Mainly because I paced myself. But I also came in being the most unsure about what footage I wanted to use. I only had a few small ideas.

“What are you waiting for?” had to be a standstill or coming to a standstill.
“Head spinning around”- I had to had spins.

The clearest idea I had was the first major chorus where he’s dashing back and forth in front of the crowd.
And the fist pump from “Maybe I Maybe you”- that was the trickiest one to time perfectly with the music. And somehow, it came together during my last editing process. Completely by accident.

My favorite moment was the first “my head’s spinning around, I can’t see clear no more”- there’s a shattered glass effect in the music and I had the perfect transition setting for it. I played around with that spin from his 2005 Cup of Russia exhibition (“The Town Which Does Not Exist”)… it was pure luck, I swear. It just got timed perfectly when I split the clip at that point.

What else can I say?

I want to do another montage- I have some songs in mind, but I don’t know which one to work with first. But I need another break. Most likely, I will start in April, a few weeks before it’s time for me to stop.

But I also hadn’t watched too much of Plushenko’s skating this winter- not the way I had these past couple years.
I’ve had a lot of other things going on. And it feels good getting a little separation from him. I certainly spent a lot of time with him over the course of the surgeries and the recovery afterwards.
But he seems to be in good health now, so I don’t need to worry as much.

There’s always the question of the next Olympics, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Maybe for my next montage- I want to narrow my focus a bit. I always use a dozen different videos. It’d be nice to do one with just three or four.

At least with this one, I had a bit of a balance between the three aspects of his skating.
I LOVE step sequences and how he moves across the ice. That’s something nobody can touch. Yuzuru, Javier Fernandez and others can do the jumps and spins (some even better than him), but nobody has that electric magical energy.
This time around, I think I used more jumps than I ever had. Which is nice.
The jumps don’t often fit in with the music I use, but this time, I made exceptions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Final “For You” Comments and Peach & Black ratings

Yeah, I am not quite done with this album yet… but I think I will be ready to move onto the next one.

But my last blog post was so long that I couldn’t just take this on.
Plus, I’m trying to keep this one short and a bit more concise.

This blog post will be going a little bit into the Peach & Black podcast and various comments they made.
Outside of MC (who had retired from ratings), everyone gave this album 5 out of 10.
personally, I think I’d give it a 6, but I also need to figure out my own system.

It wasn’t one of those podcasts with a lot of great one-liners, but of course it was entertaining. It always is with these guys.
MC might have ruined the “I’m Yours” guitar solo for me πŸ˜› at least for a while. He said it reminded him of something from a 70’s cop show. I listened through the album again today and couldn’t get that out of my head. He was one of two dissenting voices. Once again, I think MC and Toejam took one side and Captain and Player took the other. And MC more or less told the other guys to calm down because he was convinced that they were so caught up in his first epic guitar solo to notice that the song isn’t all great.

Loved hearing Toejam play some of the notes and chords. As well as the keys the songs end in and how they interconnect really nice. I’m not quite that musically inclined, so it’s a good way to add perspective.
I also loved the moment where he asked “who’s with me?” asking if anyone else thought “just as long as we’re together” is the best song on the album… and there were crickets.

I think Captain was waiting for “I’m Yours”… I don’t know what the heck happened with everyone else… they certainly didn’t volunteer what their favorite song was.
But based on the comments, it was probably “Soft & Wet.”

I think it was Player that said during “Baby’ that it sounded like “I hate you” at points and I cheered πŸ˜› I just noticed that myself last week.

Yeah, much of the podcast with me nodding and agreeing with what was said. Of course there were exceptions- there always are. They said that “In Love” and “My Love is Forever” were forgettable. Don’t know how that’s possible with “In love” when it was the first real song on this album (the title track doesn’t really count in my book).
“My Love is Forever”- it has its flaws, but I never forgot about it.

So now I gotta attempt to rate this thing.
I’m trying to go through all these albums without comparing them to the others- not right away, at least.
Maybe as I go through, I’ll compare them to the albums that came before them. Soon or later, though, old habits will come back πŸ˜›

If I really wanted to get elaborate with this, I’d be giving out scoring like you see in figure skating.
The technical score and the components score.
But I think I might settle for scores out of 5 for each track.

For You- 1.5- nothing against all the effort Prince put into this song. But it’s just too dang short to consider a song. I can’t even use one of Captain’s top phrases “It’s just a song” to describe this.

I think what I’m going for with my system… I’m looking at technical merit, how impressive the arrangement and overall sound is and how well-written the lyrics are (on this album, it’s kinda hard because the lyrics are mostly pedestrian compared to what follows). Then I look at the feeling I get from the song- the level of Prince’s performance of it, how I feel about it personally and how often I will play it.

Heck, I’ll give my figure skating system a try.

Technical merit will be a rating up to 5.
Components score has a maximum value of 3.

For You- technical- 4/components- 1 = 5

In Love- it was because of this song I had to run through the album again today- it’s been a great companion on the drive home from work. The lyrics were starting to come to mind early in the day, so I thought “why not listen again to see how much I remember”- the answer was a lot.

Technical- 4 (thinking of MC, I wonder if the quality of it would sound better on vinyl… never mind “once you go vinyl, you never go back”- his catch phrase should be “once you hear vinyl, you’ll never want to settle for less again”… but you can’t always find Prince on vinyl… the quality of the music sounds a little muddled, which is part of its charm, but also detracts from it somewhat)/ components score- 2 (I enjoy this one, but Prince’s vocals are too low in the mix sometimes so it’s not the strongest performance)= 6

Soft & Wet… I don’t know why I’m buffing against this song so much… musically, it’s brilliant. I just don’t like the lyrics that much.

Technical- 3/components- 1= 4

Crazy You… This was my favorite song on the album, but I think I might have a new favorite.
Anyway, it’s too dang short, but one of the most solid tracks on the album.

Technical- 4/components- 3 (great performance, I enjoy it a lot and I’ll gladly listen to it a bunch of times)= 7

[it’s kinda ironic- I’m working on this system and the highest mark a song can get isn’t 7, but 8]

Just as Long as We’re Together… yeah, this is getting a perfect score from me. Technically, it’s brilliant. The lyrics are simple, but they work so well in this context. Great performance all around, and the replayability of this keeps on growing.
5+3= 8

Baby… yeah, the Peach & Blacks guys were hard on this one, saying the lyrics are way too sugary sweet. I think I thought something similar at first as well. But it has its strong points as well. Namely, the performance and storytelling ability.

Technical- 3/components- 1= 4
(dang, “For You” scored higher than this… I hope I don’t need to tweak my system)
Well conceptualized, but the lyrics maybe drag it down a tad. It’s also not quite as memorable and I don’t see myself thinking “I’d like to listen to this one again” by itself.

My Love is Forever… this is a tricky one to rate… it’s more of a feeling than a real song… and sadly, that kinda applies to the rest of the album…
I enjoy this one a lot and maybe pick it at random to listen to on its own. But it falls short on some other things.

Technical- 3/components- 2 = 5

So Blue… Peach & Black more or less agreed that this song isn’t so great.
I found more to appreciate about it over the past week, but beyond that, it’s still one of the weaker tracks

Technical- 2/components- 1.5 (I occasionally get an emotional response from it)= 3.5

I’m Yours… after the two minute mark, it’s nothing more than a one-man band jam session.
His vocals aren’t strong or at least they weren’t recorded very well.
Great musical finesse, but sometimes it runs long. Today, I don’t think I even listened to the solos. I just got to a point where it ended and I thought “that was quick…”

Technical- 3/components- 2= 5

So by that logic… the ranking is as follows:

1- Just as long as we’re together- 8
2- Crazy You- 7
3- In love- 6
4- My Love is Forever- 5
5- I’m Yours- 5
6- For You- 5
7- Baby- 4
8- Soft & Wet- 4
9- So Blue- 3.5

The combined total is 47.5.
To make everything even with all the albums, I’ll divide my totals by 10 so I’ll have a ranking out of 10.
And unless I’m breaking ties, I’ll be rounding up to the nearest whole number.

I’ll hold onto the 4.75, but for now… yeah, my ranking of “For You” is 5 out of 10. Just like all the Peach & Black guys said… well, everyone except MC.

That sounds about right.

And using this system, I think I’ll also determine which songs I want to take with me to compile my list of favorite Prince songs.
I’ll take the top 3. I can always tweak that system later.

Songs from “For You” for the consideration of DreamyPopRoyalty’s 100 favorite Prince songs:
Just as Long as We’re Together
Crazy You
In Love

I can see that maybe “In Love” will get left behind in the mix as I go forward… but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

***

updating with some edits to my rating system… I’ll keep the technical score the same whenever possible- just to be fair.

For You

3 (good vocal, great lyrics, and something special only Prince could do, but not much structure to it)+ 2= 5

In Love

great music, songwriting structure, lyrics, but vocals are indistinct at times. personally, it’s very memorable

3.5+4= 7.5

4+4= 8

Soft & Wet

don’t like the lyrics, great music, good structure overall

3+2= 5

Crazy You

4+ 4= 8

Just as long as we’re together

5 (technically, very strong)+ 4= 9

Baby

3+2= 5

My Love is Forever

3+3 (I generally like this one, but it’s not close to perfect either)= 6

So Blue

2+2= 4

I’m Yours

3+3= 6

Just as long as we’re together- 9
Crazy You- 8
In love- 7.5
My Love is Forever- 6
I’m Yours- 6
Baby- 5
Soft & Wet- 5
For You- 5
So Blue- 4

Doing the math… 55.5/100- making it 5.55/10- rounded up: 6

yeah, I kinda wished I was still in alignment with Peach & Black with my rating… but then, if I have a few ties to break further down the road, I could always take the extra decimal points into account.

And this might also help the overall scope of my rankings of the songs themselves.


final change to the scoring, I swear… I must have been out of school longer than I realized (graduated college in 2009)… if the scoring is going to be fair to all of the albums, the total points I add up for the tracks should be divided by the total points possible.
Otherwise, albums like this with only 9 songs- the top score it can get is 9/10, seeing as I give each track a score out of 10 (5 for technical, 5 for components- or rather my personal reaction to it)

That being said, the total points of this album are 55.5. Divide that by points possible (90) and I get 61.6, which I’ll divide by 10 (as I will for all totals to get a score from 1-10)…
For You, I give a 6.2/10

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My Third Sochi-versary of being a Plushenko Fan

Yeah, I think I’m going to continue doing this every year…
but I’ll try to keep it a little different each year.

I’m going to go further beyond Plushenko this year. Adding some extra details about either the music he’s performing to, other people at the event, and also where my life has gotten to since 2014.
It sounds silly and crazy, but the time I spent getting to know him after he had that career-ending injury, it was ultimately life changing for me.
I’d been so hard on myself and down on myself about my life going nowhere and having the ability to focus on someone else just to be sure they were okay- that was something that helped me in the long run.

I still am very critical and hard on myself. I don’t think I’m going to let that go. But I can at least let it go every once in a while and trust things to fate or God. Everything seems to turn out ok in the end.

With the exception, maybe, of Plushenko’s competitive career. But more on that.

First- Feb 6th- which I will henceforth refer to as my “Moulin Rouge” day.
Because Plushenko skated to “Tango Roxanne” for his short program at Sochi, I take the day to listen to that soundtrack. And I end the day with the performance.
This year, I found a video of the team event short program for multiple people. Jeremy Abbott was one of them. (It’s hard to forget what happened to him at the individual event because it was shortly after the withdrawal).
I also see Yuzuru and Patrick Chan listed, so I’ll probably watch them as well.

Yeah, this was the skate where Plushenko said “and I beat Patrick Chan who is a great skater”
…not as great as Yuzuru, though. By this point, I’m sure he’d agree. Since he and Yuzuru are close friends and Patrick Chan needs more than one quad to satisfy this new system.

But I also have to watch Ashley Wagner’s 2016 Worlds performance where she got silver last year. The best performance of her “Moulin Rouge” program ever.
It’s a medley of the “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” Indian remix, “One day I’ll fly away,” and “The Show Must go on.”
Just wish my soundtrack had “the show must go on”- that’s the one song I really want that’s missing.

I tweeted what skating programs I’d use to celebrate my “Moulin Rouge” day- and Ashley liked it πŸ˜›
OMG!

Ok, as I was…
Plushenko today tweeted an instagam video someone recorded of his “victory lap” after his Tango Roxanne performance. thanking his fans for making it unforgettable.

Still can’t believe that I missed seeing him by 10 minutes… but then I wouldn’t trade all the feelings I had going into the free skate… looking for him after all these years of not liking what he said about Evan Lysachek at Vancouver… wanting to see what I think of his skating, especially since this is his home country.

Anyway- I’ll do his qualifying run for Euros 2012 because I already saw the free skate recently.

It’d be easy to say he did the bare minimum to qualify for this, but knowing he was booked for another left knee surgery shortly after this competition… man, it just shows how human he is. He makes mistakes like everyone else. But somehow, he managed to keep it together for the big event. That mental toughness as the American commentators said about him (I didn’t want to listen again to them say his choreography isn’t brilliant… I just got so lost in it, I didn’t care).

But I’d need Ashley to come in between the two performances. even though hers is the most recent chronologically, I can’t just overdo it with Plushenko. I won’t be able to stop once I get started even though I have this all planned out.

It was so worth watching Ashley skate this performance again- it was so close to perfect at the Worlds in Boston. I was so happy for her and just getting emotional again when she finds out she won silver.
That was the best feeling in the world last year.
Especially after Yuzuru failed to win- giving it away in his free skate.
I found most of my favorite skaters at Sochi and Ashley will always be near the top. I think she was even better than she was at Sochi- not just with the technique, but more sass and confidence. She believes she can do it, so I believe even more that she can.

Ok… now to revisit Tango Roxanne one final time. Not even going to read the comment section because I’m sure there’ll be plenty of negativity. Focused more on Medvedeva, probably.

WOW!!

I mean, I saw this every time I watch this… but again, WOW!!
The last time I saw professional footage of this performance was in 2014- when NBC sports was showing the encore of the figure skating performances, so I saw this and his free skate a couple of times that year beyond YouTube.

I always go in with the mindset that this is the first time I’m seeing him. And I don’t know what to expect, but with his representation, I expect to be impressed.
Had I seen this first, I would have run to YouTube and binge-watched him until he performed next. That was just so exciting to watch. There was nothing in the world for those 3 minutes except for me watching him.
The triple axel was the only tricky spot- and it reminded me of how he landed it at Vancouver. It wasn’t a clean landing, but he held onto it.
And the one thing I can nitpick is that he did all of his jumps in the first 30 seconds. Which is something he always did. But with the new system with the 10% bonus to jumps in the 2nd half of the program, everyone would take advantage of that and he didn’t.
It’s hard to remember he’s human here because he was so damn good. I can’t say it enough.

I don’t think I want to watch anyone after that honestly πŸ˜›
and sadly I really don’t have the time to do it. Even though these are short programs, if I want to watch Jeremy Abbott, Patrick Chan and Yuzuru, that’ll take up 12 minutes. And I need to get up early in the morning.

And I don’t want my parents to get on my case about being on my laptop past 11pm πŸ˜›

I just feel bad that I can only watch this once a year πŸ˜› if I watch it too much, I’m afraid the magic’s going to disappear. And with Plushenko I want to hold onto that as much as I can.

Now we’re at February 9th.
Now I have some free time to watch those short programs from the team event I said I was going to.
Plus, it snowed. I scheduled a day off today when I came in yesterday because there was no way I was driving in this. Done shoveling and I just want to chill.

Joshua Farris tweeted out yesterday that he was making a comeback. Which is great because he did so great with “Give Me Love” for his short program a couple years ago. He lost a whole season after getting a concussion in practice a year ago.
I dreamt that Jeremy Abbott tweeted something similar, that he’d be coming back as well.
Considering how the Sochi games went for him, I would love for him to have a second chance as well.

But anyway, there’s my Segway [I don’t care if that’s the wrong version of that word, lol]
to those three skaters I wanted to see.
And yeah, I think I’ll revisit Tango Roxanne… again… I almost said Tango Amore, lol
So amazing to hear the crowd so excited to see him.

Won’t go on too much cuz I say the same stuff about him all the time.
But I will say I didn’t get totally invested until halfway through when the showmanship started coming out. The jumps were impressive the first time, but the 2nd time seeing them this week… they’re not as impressive just because a lot of people can jump like that now. It’s the showmanship that makes him special. What made me feel in love in the first place.

Now to Jeremy Abbott… I felt so bad that he had to follow Plushenko twice… he’s so good in this atmostphere that NOBODY can directly follow that. It’s just impossible.
I vaguely remember he fell in the exact same spot both times, but the 2nd was more dramatic with everything that was going on that day.

Yeah, he fell same exact spot. He then had a lutz, toe loop combination that looked a tad off and an axel he doubled. He looked like he was working hard to sell the program, but it was clear he was a little off with the mistakes. What I’ve seen of Jeremy in his career- he’s very inconsistent with his jumps where I can constantly holding my breath about whether he’d land on them well. His artistry is his strongest asset, but he has to be invested for it to work. I didn’t quite feel it. But with what he was up against, who can blame him?
ouch, the disappointment was hard to watch him in the kiss & cry when the scores came up. Great artistry mark of 39 but 27 for technical isn’t going to cut it.

okay now for Patrick Chan
seriously, I did like him at Sochi and wanted him to medal because Canadian men never have that ability to win gold (Elvis Stojko, I’m still disappointed he didn’t win but with the injury and such, he was lucky to medal at all). But I liked Yuzuru so damn much, I mentally jinxed Javier Fernandez because I could see him as someone who could overtake people to get a medal in the end. He finished 4th. I distinctly remember that.

His one mistake was falling out of an axel jump. A very smooth program. The transitions were better. Stronger more diverse spins for sure. (Plushenko does a lot of the same spins, so that doesn’t set him apart for me from other skaters… that’s probably the only negative I can take away from his style besides the jumps not being balanced throughout the program). But the style doesn’t grab me or leave an impression.

hmm… 48/43 vs. 44/45… Patrick Chan beat him on the components score. Which I can see… but if you were to break that down further, Plushenko has to have the edge on performance and interpretation. No doubt in my mind.
Even in Russia, he still beat Patrick Chan by only 2 points and it came down to landing his jumps much stronger.
If this was in Canada, the scoring would be a lot different. They were pretty hard on Plushenko in the Vancouver Olympics even when he was one of the few did quads.

Okay, now for Yuzuru… this gonna be good.
He was the reason I kept a close eye on the Japanese team. Although none were nearly as good as him.
Ah, I saw Yana in the audience πŸ˜› strange they didn’t focus on her at all when Plushenko skated, before or after he performed.

They showed Plushenko before her. And he looked like he was questioning something and someone behind him gave him a congratulatory shake. I think he asked if he actually beat Patrick Chan. Which goes back to the comment I referenced earlier. Yana looked kinda of emotional… I wonder why.

Ok, NOW for Yuzuru
he made that look so effortless. His program was the smartest for sure. He planned two jumps (including the combination) for the 2nd half so he took advantage of the system better than anyone. Most of us were seeing him for the first time ever, so of course we were very impressed with him and knew he’d be one to watch. I just had no idea he’d be the one to set the new world record for men’s skating… twice within a couple weeks!
That’s pretty amazing…
he beat Plushenko on that alone… his technical score beat him by roughly 4 points. And that was the difference that put him in the lead.
but it was his individual short program that’d be the first of his record setting performances. First to break 100 in the short program.

maybe I should watch Yulia Lipnitskaya really quick because she was also the talk of the Sochi Olympics. And sadly it was talk that wound up bringing her down to a point where she may never recover. Plus it’s too damn competitive in Russian women’s skating.

of the men’s free skates, I only want to see Kevin Reynolds and Jason Brown in addition to Plushenko…

but first, Yulia.
and then later, maybe Ashley Wagner and Adelina Sotnikova

oh, Ashley was in the short program… (oh wow, I didn’t know Kaetlyn Osmond was at Sochi… but then I was so focused on certain skaters πŸ˜› I don’t have room in my mind for everyone)
Mao Asada I remember her having a tough time at Sochi.
I think this video has Canadian commentators. I know Kurt Browning is the guy.

Ashley comes up first. first time I saw her ever.
I don’t know if it was her being the underdog in all this, but there was something about her I really liked. I remember this music- “Shine on you crazy diamond” by Pink Floyd. It worked so well with her costume.
I remember her having issues with under rotations way back when. Now, it’s not as often she has that problem.

also kinda great to see Ashley and Yuzuru hadn’t changed their coaches in these years because whatever they’re doing, it’s working well.

Yulia, for sure, is up next now.
wow- she was unbelievably good back then. The commentators said she had issues with a concussion and the fact she grew. But she proved doubters wrong with this. I hope she’ll be able to do that again, but first she needs to heal from the latest injury she had.

next Mao Asada
she’s one of the last of the old class of women’s skating. traditional classical music and subtle beauty, but no major spark like what Ashley has brought into the sport.
she got her feet tangled on her triple axel, but the rest of the program was so great. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes by her over the years, but when she’s on, she’s amazing to watch.

really hate the comments are saying how the Russians cheated at Sochi… even worse how people can’t let it go that Adelina beat Yuna-Kim to the point they’re investigating her.

seriously, in skating, cheating may help you make the higher bigger jumps but they don’t guarantee you won’t fall. true or not, it shouldn’t make a difference in the end result.

but then if it wasn’t for Plushenko and the fact these games were in his home country, I wouldn’t be so mad about all the criticism.
I pray to God that Russia won’t be banned for the next Olympics. the athletes train their whole lives for this where if they can’t get there, it’s a death of sorts. Most of them have nothing but this.

I’ll take a break and then I’ll revisit the free skates later in the day.

Just saying good thing he’ll be last of the guys I’m watching because nobody will be able to follow him.
Phew… can’t wait to revisit this. It was the very first time I saw him skate (that I could remember… I knew he was at Vancouver by this point in time but my memory of his actual performance there was completely gone… heck, I didn’t even remember Evan Lysachek’s performance. Just who won first and second that day) and it was something I’ll never forget.
Even if I wasn’t reviewing it every year since the Sochi games ended. Must say it’s been fun watching skating while there’s all this snow on the ground. I think it snowed a bit in 2014 around this time, so it was a good way to keep my mind off the snow. Or just the way I felt at the time, which was not good about myself.

according to the Internet, we had a high of 21Β° on February 9th and it was sunny at the ending I was watching this unfold live. and February 13th, that fateful day, it was snowing.
wow- there’s one forecast I found that said we got 19.6 inches of snow.
I definitely don’t remember shoveling that day… if I did, I was in a complete daze through it with what had just happened.

But now I need to go back to February 9th. The 13th can wait. [it’s kinda messed up how hung up I am on that day when something bad happened and a lot worse could have and luckily didn’t]

there’s a “fluff” piece about Plushenko but with it being in Russian, who knows how much I’ll be able to piece together… I luck out sometimes when I read Russian, but my listening ability is hit and mostly miss.
the commentator was talking over him the whole time so I had no idea what was said. Maybe if I could hear him I’d be able to pick out more words. His voice being so familiar, I mean.
But it was just him dressed in black at center ice, doing various movements including a straight spin with ice everywhere. They made him look like such a rock star. And in Russia, he’s the closest thing to a rock star they have, I think. A National Treasure! And that’s where a lot of that perception I had of him early on comes from. I mean, the impression he left me with was him being upset at getting silver at the last Olympics. As if he thought he was the best in the world and to lose was impossible. Not to mention he put so much emphasis on the quad when I really didn’t understand why that was a big deal. Now because of him, that is something that sets a standard for men’s skating. A benchmark. I’m more likely to take someone seriously if they have a quad and even more when they have that and are great at performing.

I can’t help but think “what was he thinking” while he was doing the warm-up. Knowing what I know now. Was he in pain at all yet? Was he nervous about helping his team get the win?
Does Evgeni Plushenko ever get nervous? He seems like someone with ice in their veins when they compete.

Anyway, now to the other skaters.
Starting with Jason Brown and his trademark Riverdance routine that went viral. That even Plushenko was impressed with. I wonder what he thinks of Jason now- when he’s trying to add the quad, but not quite getting it. Does he still think Patrick Chan is a great skater? Or does he prefer Yuzuru and Shoma?
I still am hoping to hear him say someday soon that he’s impressed with Nathan Chen with the number of quads he has.

wow- I mean, not as perfect as his US Nationals performance, but it was pretty amazing to watch that Riverdance program again. I wish Jason brought back another exciting program like this. Most of his work since has been pretty emotional and artistic. I want something dynamic again.
And I heard the crowd cheering afterwards. Not sure how much of it was beyond just team USA, though.
Russia gets a lot of criticism of only supporting their own skaters. Plushenko proves that’s not true. He’s expressed how he’s liked some skaters from Japan, Javier Fernandez and Jason Brown.
He only had one fall and it was on a three jump combination that ends with a triple salchow.

Kevin Reynolds- my mom called him Peter Pan because of his red hair. But there was something about him that stood out. I hope with this latest comeback from injury he can make a good impact. Canada can’t be supported by Patrick Chan forever (overscoring or not). Just like Plushenko can’t support Russian men’s skating forever- although that moment came sooner than a lot of us would have hoped.
He had a mistake on one jump where it looked like he turned out of it on the ground. But great all around. I think 2 quads based on the commentary. The crowd just started cheering- but I think because Plushenko is following him, lol.
Great extensions, his choreography is more expressive. Patrick Chan has just had the fortune that he hasn’t suffered as many injuries. Otherwise Kevin Reynolds would be Canada’s top male skater.

omg- I figured I’d click on the solo video of Plushenko’s free skate to see if maybe it had Johnny and Tara’s commentary… I think it’s the British commentary one I’d already seen a bunch of times. So I will go back to the main video.
It’s kinda annoying that most of the comments are “Yuri on Ice” fans… but then I started seeing comments of people saying how impressed they were and that they were curious about who inspired Viktor. Hey, anything that gets people excited about him, I’ll take it.
Then there’s the one person who says he’s overscored and there’s no program. But then the American commentators said the same about his “Godfather” program… he has a special style and none of those guys seem to get that… really annoys me. Especially when others have substance but lack style but get scores just as high.

I’m not great with scoring free programs. With short programs, I’m knowledgeable enough to know when a program is an 80 or 90 point program. But free skates have more variables. 8 jumping passes, 3 spins and two sets of footwork. And I don’t know what a good free skate score is because I’m so busy looking at what the total score is. I’ve never looked at the free skate score on its own.
But to give myself some perspective- Kevin Reynolds turned out of a jump and had some quads. His score was almost 168.

Although now that I think about it… I’ve seen Plushenko get free skate scores of 80/80. So the baseline of a good free skate is 160 points. But considering Yuzuru has broken 300 with a short program over 100… I think his world record was 323 when his short program was 110. Which means he had a free skate of more than 210 points.
The difference is mind-blowing.
But then Plushenko spent much of his career only landing one quad per program. Back in 2002-2003, he had two quads in his programs. I guess that’s when the groin injury happened and when the knee injuries started stacking up.

I think first… again, delaying this because… well, nobody can follow him. He’s gotta be the last person I see skate tonight.
So I’m going to watch Yulia Lipnitskaya at the very least.
I remember liking Valentina from Italy so I might watch her too. And I guess Gracie Gold- even though she doesn’t grab me artistically.

…I’m so glad I watched that. That was so beautiful. Her skating fit with the timing of the music so well and the music was a great fit. I hated “Firebird” on her (I think I just hate the piece in general because I don’t like anyone when they skate to it). I’ve wanted to see her do sass like Ashley is so good at. But she needs something like what Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” did for her. Oddly enough, I made that comment early about not liking old traditional music and prefer something fresh.
This almost seemed like an old piece but she made it look refreshing.
Maybe it’s just the atmosphere- her and Ashley being on the same team opposed to competing. That was typically when I get on her case and judge her more harshly. Or just say again “I don’t get it.”
But at least I can bring myself to enjoy her every once in a while. Patrick Chan- I doubt I’ll be able to because I’d developed a bond with nearly every other skater on the men’s side.

Okay, Valentina Marchei.
oh whoa, I saw Putin in the audience… but then I knew he was super invested in this particular competition.

Sultry confidence. There was just this spark about her energy I loved. Too bad she’s since retired.

Lastly, Yulia in her iconic “Schindler’s List” program.
and I saw Plushenko sitting in the team Russia box. I didn’t see much of him there the days when he was competing.
He was congratulating her afterwards.

Yeah, the audience response to her was a huge difference from all of the other skaters. But seriously, one of the best skating performances in history of anything. I could nitpick technically (it wasn’t as obscenely perfect as I thought it was), but stylistically and emotionally… phew…
I mean when I saw her at Sochi, I thought she was too perfect and with how things went so badly for her after that… I am mortified that I might have jinxed her by wishing she wasn’t so perfect that it’s something she might never get back.
I keep hoping that she will, but each time I see her, it seems less likely. Not with all the mistakes she makes and how the rest of the competition stacks up.

Okay, enough dawdling. Plushenko’s free skate for the team event. This time with Russian commentary. I’m kinda sick of the British commentary because I saw it a few times before. I need different commentary sometimes just to shake things especially.
Especially then it was this monumental. The performance that made me a Plushenko fangirl forever… and so much more.
He just edged out Kevin Reynolds thanks to his components score. Kevin had 89 for technical and Plushenko had 81. Meanwhile, Plushenko got 86 for components score and Kevin got 78.
He definitely got a buff from interpretation of his music- which is hard not to considering it’s all the music he’s skate to over the years. At the time, I had no idea or thought about what it meant that his music was “The best of Plushenko”- I didn’t see any of his programs before this so I had no reference point.

I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore… I think my mind got scrambled a bit because I had to watch Tango Roxanne again. When I saw this free program the first time, it was the first time for me seeing him. My expectations were high because of his reputation. But I had no idea the kind of performer he was. How he likes to play for the crowd. I’d never seen that before with really anyone. But then I hadn’t watched much of skating before Sochi. I’d watch it occasionally, but I was never serious about it. Not like I am now and have been for 3 years.

Anyway, this was like watching another Plushenko performance. Knowing what to expect. I see certain shots of it and go back to my montage and all the scenes I used. I used more than I realized.
The music, each piece I recognized from all the times I’d watched him… I got excited for each time. Then there were points where I was starting to lose it a bit and reeled myself back in because there was still more to watch.
No more words…

so, it’s the long wait until the 13th. I remember how I waited all week for the possibility of him competing again. Back then it was uncertain. And I was ready for anything- whether he’d show up or not.
Happy that he did… but then… things happened.
Now I have the video to rewatch how NBC handle it. Sadly, it has the fluff piece, which means it’s the evening edition of the individual short program- which does not Johnny and Tara’s commentary. And considering how I saw it early in the day, I found it a little insensitive that they’d known about this for hours, but they put this little piece about him in anyway, only to disappoint everyone who hadn’t seen it yet with the fact he wouldn’t be able to compete at all. Despite how much he wanted to, his body was beyond the ability to do so. And he wisely chose to withdraw before any more damage could be done.


okay, it’s finally February 13th… I feel bad that I make a note of this day every year because of this… not to mention the 13th day of every month, I almost always listen to that one Depeche Mode song from my first montage.
I don’t think Plushenko even looks back on this particular date and regrets how everything happened. He keeps too busy for that, but clearly I don’t…
although today, while I did listen to a lot of the songs I listen to when I want to daydream about him skating, some of it was spent on a podcast about Prince’s first album, which I just posted a discussion of the other day.

But it’s back to business.

I said to myself I’d try to have a playlist ready of all the songs that kinda remind me of Plushenko, but I have a lot of songs and it’s hard to decide what order to put them in because I really want to use it to tell the story of how I became a fan and how it felt watching him skate the first time and also what today 3 years ago felt like. I was thinking about it all day because I wrote a Facebook status about it. And then I dreamt about him a couple days later because I just couldn’t get him out of my head. I had to follow his news handle on Twitter so I could keep up and see how he was feeling.
He’s the reason I’m as active on Twitter as I am. Although I have been less active lately.

I guess I’ll start with a video I’d been saving to watch for this day.
It’s a fluff piece that NBC did of him in their primetime coverage- which I found to be in poor taste because they knew for hours now that he wasn’t going to compete… way to break my heart all over again.
Then after will be the usual interviews- but I think I’ll watch Jeremy Abbott and Yuzuru and how they did that day. There were a lot of ups and downs. I think Yuzuru was one of the few completely clean performances. As if Plushenko’s ghost was haunting the arena and causing all the other skaters to make mistakes. It was kinda scary, actually. (All the cynics would say it’s because the Russians fled the arena because their one guy on the Olympic team couldn’t compete so why stick around… enough of the crowd was left behind, certainly, because they cheered Jeremy back onto his feet after he took a bad spill on the ice only minutes after Plushenko withdrew).

omg- I’m so nervous to watch this… I think I barely watched it the first time cuz I was kinda of a wreck. Not crying my eyes out or anything, but my heart felt pangs of pain.
[Had to pause for a while because a few distractions came up…]. I got through parts where he was saying how it’s a different atmosphere and there’s more pressure this time around. Then there’s all the talk of it being his last Olympics and how he defied the odds with how well he competed in the team event.
Wow… I take that for granted a lot… although this time of year, I always find room to remember.

I had to watch the video from the very beginning to the end to really bring myself back.
And it broke my heart all over again. I know the results of this, but still wanted so badly to see him skate again after only seeing him the one time. But seeing the pain he was going through… I just felt so bad for him. I know how badly he wanted this. Almost started crying.

I think I need to remind myself of this every year. Remind me that he is human and to not take for granted his talent but also why it was so important for me to try to reach out of him on Twitter and YouTube and show my support for whatever happens in his life and his career.
Visiting all of his performances and just picturing him skate while listening to music. I forget that this is a real person sometimes- a person who lives his own life and I don’t personally know him. But going through so much with him these past three years, I do feel a familiarity with him. He feels like a good friend and someone I just look up to as a person.

Part of my feelings are selfish, though. Wanting to see him skate despite the injuries. But back then, I didn’t know the extent of injuries and surgeries he’s had.
Anyway… off to the interviews. CNN and NBC.
I remember being so awed about how good he was speaking English. And that still wows me to hear him speak so well. But I’m as amazed with myself when I can understand him speaking Russian… I had subtitles in part of that “fluff” piece I watched and I understood what I was hearing.

I don’t think there is a video of Jeremy Abbott’s short program. Apparently his fall was a popular search, which is kinda unfortunate. I type in Plushenko and “withdrawal” doesn’t come up right away in the search results. I guess because he has so many more highlights at Sochi.

Anyway… I guess I’ll watch Yuzuru and move onto the NBC interview and my montage.
lol- the Yuri on Ice comments are on this video too πŸ˜›
they’re everywhere!

I remember being so miserable about Plushenko throughout the day- I don’t know if I recovered until Yuzuru skated. He was someone I was looking the most forward to seeing again. And he made it look so easy that I was able to forget my grief for a little while.
The crowd reception was huge for him, after he skated and when his score came out. Hard to believe he broke that record for the short program at least 2 times since then.
He’s competing at Four Continents this week and best of luck to him for sure.

Okay, now the NBC interview… this was a really good one because I really got to hear from him about the actual injury. It wasn’t really addressed with CNN- they were a little too busy promoting their own agendas- asking about Putin and also trying to recruit him to promote gay rights in Russia.
He’s found plenty of other great things to use his image and profile to promote. Things that are less controversial. And that will include, now, opening his school of figure skating. He talked about it in an exit interview with NBC (it was all with a translator) and it took three years to happen, but good for him. I hope it is a big success and remains open for many years.

I don’t know if he’s read any of my tweets, but I feel like I always send the same boring tweet to him every year on this day. Saying I hope he is well and stays healthy and is happy. It’s all I really can ask for.

Also want to mention: this is the first time in a while I’m writing exclusively about Plushenko. And it’s the first time since one of the people who worked for his Twitter news handles passed away. Cekoni was her personal Twitter handle and her real name was Svetlana. I got the news about her on Thanksgiving and it made the day kinda sad. She’s one of Plushenko’s biggest fans and supporters and he gave such a touching tweet about her in response to the news. She helped me feel welcome in his fan community when I was brand new to it and replied to my questions and retweeted me a few times. That meant a lot. Like I was part of something important- especially when that something was supporting Plushenko when he wasn’t well and helped him get better.

After watching my “Precious” montage (I think I’m up to 420 views… 418… I was at 417 for a long time… I’m amazed “Magic” hasn’t caught up yet. The subject matter is a lot more pleasant to deal with. Less tragic. But it was also out longer. And maybe my editing job was just better the first time)… after watching, I’ll write down my playlist and try to get them in a good order.

Wow… yeah, I had a really good storyline in that. It’s heart-breaking, but I get to see him heal before my eyes too. Along with footage from other Olympics and old step sequences and such- the chorus had the milestones. The injury, the first skate after surgery, the first exhibition after surgery, ending with the first triple toe loop, first jump after surgery.
I had no jumps after the triple axel where he stepped out and the screw broke in his back.

So… I guess here’s the playlist…

1. People are People- Depeche Mode- (my wondering about why he was unhappy with silver at Vancouver)
2. Walking in my Shoes- Depeche Mode- (him saying that you need to look at his perspective to understand… not just Vancouver, but also things that happened in Sochi)
3. Chemicals React- Aly & AJ (my reaction as he’s skating… being in awe of him)
4. Something More- Aly & AJ (my reaction to him after seeing him skate for the first time- Sochi team event free program- little did I know what this would turn into)
5. Hymn for the Weekend- Coldplay (the Seeb remix version… there was an exhilaration of being entertained by him)
6. Precious- Depeche Mode (reacting to his injury and withdrawal)
7. Masterpiece- Madonna (someone did a montage with this- never heard this song before, but two lyrics fit him so well- “from the moment I first saw you, all the darkness turned to light” and “honestly it can’t be fun to always be the chosen one”
8. Never Far Behind- Aly & AJ (wanting to be there to support him- I also recorded a YouTube video wishing him luck with his surgery, fitting the lyric “I am sending you a message”- still don’t know if he personally saw the video, but I felt like I had to say something)
9. Always In My Head- Coldplay (how he was on my mind a lot after the events of February 13th)
10. Crazy- Seal (he performed this at an exhibition Plushenko skated at)
11. I get Weak- Belinda Carlisle (the chorus is full of lyrics that fit how I feel when I watch him skate)
12. Sky Full of Stars- Coldplay (I was thinking of doing a montage with this as well and I still might- I want to make it more energetic than “Magic”- which was full of subtle, beautiful moments)
13. Β It was always you- Maroon 5 (the pacing of the music fit his skating so well- I might use it for a future montage… also some other Coldplay songs… I’m working on one now, but I’m still not ready to post it. Not confident enough yet)
14. Magic- Coldplay (my 2nd montage- I felt like I had this later in the playlist cuz of the lyric- “after all that we’ve been through, do you believe in magic, yes I do, yes I do”)
15. Shine- Aly & AJ
16. I love you always forever- Donna Lewis

I may add changes later on, but this is basically it in a nutshell.
Some of these I play so regularly on my iPod, I should probably put them on a playlist so I have them all in one place.

I’ll send out my tweet and call it a day.

Whether or not Plushenko will compete at next year’s Olympics… it seems VERY unlikely… it doesn’t sound like he is being considered by Russia for the team. He’s been busy with his skating shows (Snow King and Nutcracker) and working on opening his school… plus, so many skaters are surpassing him with the amount of quads when he is barely able to do one anymore. It’s led to injuries.

Shortly after my last Sochi-versary post, he announced that he needed another surgery. And it was a harsh reality. I had to start to accept maybe my dream to see him compete again may not come true. I put a lot of energy into hoping he could do this next Olympics because that’s what he wanted.
But I don’t want him to risk his health anymore. And I don’t want to pressure him to do it if he has a new dream now.
Everyone is free to change their mind. Especially Evgeni Plushenko.

With or without him, this time next year, I will be talking about the upcoming Olympics. Sochi is a tough competition to live up to.
At this point, with all the cheating accusations, I just pray so badly that Russia won’t be banned from competing entirely. Forget the summer Olympics, the winter Olympics is everything to them.

As for me… yeah, shortly after Sochi, my own life finally had a break through after a long time of no successes. I got a job after three hard years of interviews.
And it was a temporary job that became a full-time job last summer. Other than the days I have to be driving through snow, it’s been great.
And that’s the same job I need to get some sleep to be awake for now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Prince album #1: For You (1978)/ 2017 Grammys Prince Tribute

[A few comments before I actually start on this… it’s been an interesting couple of days. I have another post being written at the same time, but it’ll be done on February 13th… anyone who’s followed this blog since 2014 knows the significance of that.
Other than letting the radio run its course as I usually let it, I hadn’t listened to any other music this week beside what keeps me in the mindset of what I want to write about.
With Prince in particular, I want to approach the next several months as follows: I want to try to keep everything I see and hear about him in the time period I’m exploring. Listening to all the music I have from Prince of those particular time periods. Some of which includes bootlegs I received from fans my first few months at prince.org. They said something like “you need to be educated.” And apparently I can’t get the full Prince experience with albums alone. I’m also simultaneously reading “Prince: The Man and the Music” by Matt Throne- my Christmas present this year and reading it up through the album/time period I’m at. Not going beyond until I’m ready to go to the next album. And right now, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go right onto the next album next week.]

Okay, I’ve listened through the album at least 3 times in the past week. I’m going for my 4th time just before doing my track by track discussion.
“For You” is Prince’s debut album. But for some odd reason, I’ve never seen a physical copy of it in person. I’ve seen his 2nd album [self-titled] plenty, but never “For You.” I remember Prince being on Ellen in 2004 when he was promoting “Musicology” [I do not remember if I saw this appearance before or after I made my fandom official. I’m willing to assume after because I remember trying to Google the lyrics for “Nothing Compares 2 U” afterwards. And she showed him that she had a copy of the LP and he said “she’s from the old school, she knows what’s up”

From what I’ve read, it did moderately well in sales, but by no means spectacular. And supposedly Prince worked on it for so long that he didn’t just overproduce it [you know, just a tad] and blow almost all of his allotted budget meant for three albums on one… it sounds like it gave him a case of PTSD. Working on it (at times while being observed by an executive from WB) was so stressful that he never brought any of the songs on the road after his first promotional tour. I think “Soft & Wet” was the one exception, but even that wasn’t heard too often.
[Going through princevault.com, “For You” was referenced once, “In Love”- never- which is a tragedy, “Soft & Wet was the most frequently done, “Crazy You”- twice- once in 1981 and once in 2002- another tragedy, “Just as long as we’re together”- done frequently 1979-1980, “Baby”- once- and it was January 21st 2016 (just wow… he waited until one of his last concerts to perform it live), “My love is forever”- never- (awww!!), “So Blue”- once in 1979 (not a big deal in my book, and “I’m Yours”- Matt Thorne writes that he might have played it during his first tour but only one recording of that tour exists, and he’d brought it back to the Conga Room in 2009. Princevault.com says also at Paisley Park in 2014).

I think “Soft & Wet” and “Just as long as we’re together” made a greatest hits list or two. But the others were never really heard from again.

Okay, now I’m done getting sidetracked and doing the actual discussion πŸ˜›

I believe I first heard some tracks from “For You” on EmancipationRadio in 2008- because that was the 30th anniversary of the album. And mentioned on prince.org that I was actually getting interested in it. Before that point, I wanted nothing to do with Prince’s 70’s output because whatever little I heard of it, I wasn’t a fan enough of it to go forward.
“I wanna be your lover”- compared to lots of songs that would follow- to me, it was just blah. So I bypassed [self-titled]. That was the opening track on “The Very Best Of…” which was the 2nd album I got my hands on March 2007.
In the first couple sets of bootlegs I was gifted, I had some early tracks that never made albums. And several I deleted because I didn’t like them enough to hold onto them- they included two 94 East tracks (a band Prince recorded with, which included Pepe Willie- Pepe was dating Prince’s cousin and was one of the earliest people aware of his immense talents, as well as “Make it through the Storm” and “Wouldn’t you love to love me”- these two were discussed in the book. I found the latter kinda repetitive. The former, I have no recollection of.

But anyway… someone on prince.org gifted me with the mp3’s of “For You.”
And honestly, I think I’d only listened to them maybe 7 times since I got them. Once as soon as I got them.
Then there was a gap in time.

Speaking of PTSD- I had a severe case regarding “In Love.” I love the song… but when I was giving the album the time of day, it was a weekend my parents were away for a wedding and my sister and I were at the house with the dog.
It was 10pm on a Friday night and our fire alarm went off for no reason. Not wanting to leave the dog alone in the house, we walked him to a neighbor’s house and he came back with us to help us figure out how to disable it.
There was a sleep button we had to push and that more or less worked.
However, it happened a couple more times during the weekend. Eventually, it got to the point later on that we just took the battery out of the one faulty smoke detector and never replaced it. [And before anyone gets on my case about it, we have at least 12 smoke detectors in the house. Two or three functioning ones on the 2nd floor. We can afford to be short one… we also learned within the next few weeks that we should get in the habit of changing the batteries every year].

The point of the story… because of this, whenever I heard the opening bars of “In Love”… it has a very unpleasant side-effect. I cringe- just recollecting how painful the smoke detector was to listen to and the panic of that night not knowing how to shut it off and the worry about not knowing when/if it’ll start up again.

Listening to this album again and putting myself in different places while doing so, I think I’ve started to cure myself of that. But I have to be ready to hear the song.

Done with the rants and onto the actual album [I am so sorry for anyone coming here for the first time… I try to write my posts through flow of consciousness and go off-topic a lot more than I should]…

Here’s what I will say for any given Prince album… never said this before, but I should make it a thing.
There’s a saying that [I googled this so I get it right]- “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.”
How I’ll adapt this for Prince- when you have a brand new Prince album, you can’t really get to know it well unless you spend a week with it.

I’d done this a couple of times with Prince albums. I’d spend a week with them exclusively to really get to know them. With varying results.
To avoid the situation of getting sick of “For You,” I only listened when I was really in the mood for it. If I didn’t want to squeeze it in one day or feel like putting the effort in, I just gave myself a day off. With the other blog post I’m writing at the same time, compartmentalizing was a lot easier.

We’re allowed to listen to our iPods at work, so I did it once at work. I also listened on two commutes on the way home. [I have my earbuds in the whole time and only have to turn it on and press play, which I can manage without taking my eyes off the road… I also only listen to my iPod at points where the road is clear in front of me and I know my commute so well that I know precisely when I can do it].
Considering its his debut, it should be considered a ‘spring album’ because that’s the time of year of new beginnings. But with the snow on the sides of the road and the days kinda cloudy… dare I say it… “something about the clouds and [it] mixed”… to put a spin a “Raspberry Beret” lyric.

I’d discussed the album only a couple times before. Not a huge amount of praise. Mainly, I’ve fallen into the trap of echoing what other people, more experienced fans, have said. I don’t like to go with the crowd when it comes to Prince music, even within his in-crowd.
But to go over it briefly… it’s not a long album. I can be 20 minutes into my trip (which is between 45-60 minutes depending on my speed and traffic, lots of highways so speeds vary between 65-75 mph) and finish it as I roll into my driveway.
The Oberheim synthesizer is Prince’s go-to instrument that lays the foundation and main groove/melody to the songs. His electric guitar makes two appearances- one particularly dominating one. Two tracks are mainly acoustic guitar grooves that would be at home on his acoustic guitar album “The Truth” from 1997. There are two songs released as singles that fit right into the disco era that was the 70’s with a lot of keyboard wizardry and finesse. Vocally, Prince was VERY dependent on his falsetto early in his career. So with some exceptions, it was his go-to vocal style that he used for nearly every song until “Controversy.” The opening track of the album, he used his normal register, which helps signify a change in direction.

While on the falsetto… one point I thought of the 2nd day of listening… Prince often said how comfortable he was with his falsetto. Yet with all the time he had in the studio, I can’t help but wonder if he was so concerned with making this album perfect that he overdid it with the overdubs. Or maybe he wasn’t as confident about it as I thought he was.
Certain vocals are really spectacular. “Baby” is very heartfelt and beautiful at points. “So Blue” was my least favorite track (maybe even less so than the accapella opening tile track), but hearing it a few more times… the lyrics are repetitive and don’t really go anywhere. But his voice breaks later on and in turn, I can feel my heart break listening to it. That’s pretty powerful.

Here’s the key thing to consider, though… before the track by track, which I will finally get to…
supposing this was my first ever introduction to Prince, would I be impressed enough with it to follow through to the next album? Would this convince me to buy more albums from him?
There are flashes of brilliance, of course. I’ll go into some of those in a bit. But when compared with a lot of artists in the same category: black funk, disco and R&B… would it stand up enough against the competition for Prince not to get lost in the shuffle? The only thing, in general, that sets him apart is the fact he plays, performs, composes and produces everything himself. The prestige of him being a prodigy. Not much else sets him apart at this point.
Except maybe his bad-ass keyboarding skills. His guitar playing is ambitious, but it isn’t at the level to set him apart yet. He wouldn’t reach that point until the Purple Rain album.

For You- the track- it’s very short. Only 1:06. It’s acapella as I said before. At least a dozen Princes singing at once. Three lines of lyrics. Then lots of ad-libbing and one note held at the end as the song fades out.

It’s worth pasting them here just because there’re so few lyrics.

All of this and more
Is for U
With love, sincerity and deepest care
My life with U I share

[courtesy of http://www.princelyrics.co.uk/album/foryou/%5D

Vocally, it is kind of impressive. Not much to really say about it as a whole. It’s a bold move- your first album, the first time a lot of people will be hearing you, and you go from vocals alone. Especially when you consider yourself more of a musician by trade. [I’m sure Prince thinks more of himself as an instrumentalist than a vocalist… I read in the book also that Chris Moon had to teach Prince how to sing into the mic in the studio so his vocals will be able to be picked up. I think the story goes is that he had Prince lay down on the studio floor and put the microphone in his mouth. His vocals would soon enough catch up with his instrumentals. He’s a very underrated guitar player, but I don’t think his vocals are given much credit either. He’s not often in the same breath as Smokey Robinson, considered one of the best falsetto vocalists ever].

I can’t help but wonder listening to it, though. Was it a gimmick to introduce the album? Did he not know a better way to do it? Were the lyrics really genuine and he wanted to share his heart with his listeners through his music? And did he have any idea years from then that his career would become so impressive and as such an introverted person in his personal life, that he’d make himself slightly vulnerable by sharing his thoughts with those who listen to him?

There isn’t much to this track, so this is the only other way I can go with the discussion. Going into the what ifs and guesswork of it all.

Enjoying the book so far, but there are a couple of things I do take issue with. Small things, but to me, they kinda feel like big things.
One passage, I think, read something like this: “The feeling of writing the songs and the feeling of listening to them are two different things”… and that bothers me. It’s like saying Prince didn’t have the same feelings when he wrote the songs as I get when I listen to them. I listen to them to get a read on him, what he thinks or feels about certain situations. If the songs aren’t derived from what’s inside the musician, what are they?
After tripping on that line, I spent the next 10 pages getting lots of insight, but also distrusting the person writing the material. Feeling that they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s the same feeling I got when people on prince.org said I didn’t know what I was talking about because I was a newbie- as if that makes my opinion on Prince’s music any less important? I attained/obtained (not sure what the right word is in this case) so much information about him in such a short time. But I wasn’t taken seriously because I liked some songs that others said were terrible. This happened even before Planet Earth came out… an album 99% of fans deemed terrible and I was in the minority of loving it.

But another thing that bugged me… I mean, Matt Thorne had good sources and all that for people who worked with Prince and that he quoted about him… but I read passages about Chris Moon and about how he wanted to take Prince in the direction of sexual innuendo to market him and endear him to teenage girls.
That’s the biggest part of Prince’s overall persona- what made him stand apart from all the other artists. “Soft & Wet” is one thing. But it almost sounded like he was taking credit for Prince’s reputation as an R-rated musician.
And it also made me worry about all the filthy songs he’d written over the years… how much of that persona was really him? And how much was marketing strategy?
“Darling Nikki” had to be genuine. With those vocals and the rawness about it and the fact he owned it as “…the coldest thing [he]… wrote”… that had to be real.
I’ve read how in interviews he doesn’t always give genuine answers. The media has turned him so badly over the years, taking things out of context and writing their own story about him regardless of what he actually said. I can understand that to a point. There was an interview from 1981 that had to have some truth to it. How people lose their cool behind sex- so why not write about it?

There’s a story from his teenage years… I think that Neal Karlan from Rolling Stone wrote for his “Prince Talks” interview in 1985… how Prince got kicked out of his father’s house because he kept bringing girls over and having sex with them and how he begged him (and his sister) over a payphone to let him come back.
It may be a tad exaggerated- Prince being a sexual deviant when he was a teenager. But he was experienced enough that it couldn’t not fuel his creativity and lyrics.

I’m sorry if that’s just another rant and tangent that got away from me.
It’s just that I’ve spent 10 years building up in my head how I view Prince and his music- and anything threatening to derail that perception scares the hell out of me.
I went through that a bit after Prince died and it came out that it was a drug overdose. I worked it out in my head long enough where I can understand his perspective and why it came to that. But I don’t view him as a drug addict the way all the tabloids and CNN (according to their latest documentary) have. Ironically, he died the way I had a feeling he would… he died for his art and the love of the performance and that self-medication was the only way to prolong that.
Then again, Robert Downey Jr. is a former drug addict (one of Hollywood’s most notorious) and I don’t choose to focus on that because he got better and he found success like he hadn’t before.
I think it’s because of him that I was able to take the positive perspective with Prince and what happened to him.

Seriously, back on topic…

“In Love”
[from this point on, I think I just might have the lyrics in front of me while I listen]
yeah… if I’m prepared to go into the song, it’s all good. Definitely one of my favorites on the album.
Listening to it again with just the lyrics in front of me and no other distractions.
The lyrics are really simple and there’s no much to them. It’s the classic tale of unrequited love. In the book, the lyrics were referenced and they mentioned something about chains and saying how their usage was more innocent than what would follow in tracks from “1999” and beyond. I didn’t remember those lyrics at all so I had to Google it on my iPhone.
I went into that whole rant about sexual innuendo to prepare for this one. Although it was not the first song he wrote about sexual innuendo (“Soft & Wet” preceded it in the recording process) but it was the first metaphor most fans heard.
“I really want to play in your river.”
I actually spent most of the listen marveling at the music. I love that synth hook at the beginning and when it recurs halfway through. It’s very synth heavy. I thought early last week about how Prince didn’t have a lot of bass in this album until later on. This was basically a duet of synths and bass with vocals kinda intruding. Musically, it’s a very complex track. Some flourishes here and there were probably unnecessary and Prince just added them later in the production to be a perfectionist. Personally, I felt one or two back-up vocals were unnecessary. The delivery was strong enough on its own in most cases that it wasn’t needed.
The lyrics also run a little fast that it’s hard to catch what they aren’t without them written in front of you.
Another highlight for me- I like the breakdown that takes up the last minute of the song. The chorus has its variances where it doesn’t get boring. One lyric- he goes through the chorus and ends “I just don’t know what to say”… because that’s a lyric he used one other time, but I can’t recall which track at the moment. I also love right after that lyric- he just says “oooo” with a couple vocal tracks firing at once. That melody is beautiful!

“Soft & Wet”… this is where it starts to get interesting…
whoa, I’m looking at the lyrics…
first line- “Hey, lover, I got a sugarcane. That I wanna lose in you, Baby can you stand the pain”…
that is FILTHY… and he makes it sound so innocent.
In the book, Chris Moon is quoted that he wrote this song originally after a drunken stupor where he took some girls to the studio at night and the next morning woke up hungover and with lyrics in his head that included “it’s a soft wet love you have for me”
I think I also read somewhere soon after that Prince rewrote some lyrics. Because there are two versions of lyrics. I have three bootlegs of this song- and I think two of them are identical to the album release.

…I’ll take that back… The first one I received, it’s one of the first versions recorded. It’s much funkier. A little more emphasis on the wonky bass. (That’s what it sounds like me- “wonk wonk wonk”). Another version is in a bootleg set called “The Work.” I just listened to it and it had that “soft wet love” lyric- but several of the other lyrics are identical to the album version. As is the instrumental break halfway through and the key of the ending.
Then there’s one titled “Soft & Wet (disco)” that might as well be the final cut because it has that “sugarcane lyric” and that disco instrumental break.

So strange- but the production on The Work version is more slick than the album cut.

I knew there was a reason I saved all three of these versions.

I always end up breathing or having to breath on that “leave me without breath” lyric. πŸ˜›

It’s a tough call which is my favorite version. I almost want to steal aspects from all three and combine them into one.
I love the instrumental break down on the “wonky bass” verson. But I also love how the original ends.

Even without knowing that innuendo, I just thought the opening lyric was clumsy. But the very first line in the original cut wasn’t all that great either.

Sorry if I’m spending too much time on this…
even with the three versions, I didn’t think much of “Soft & Wet” the first time. It may have been Prince’s first single and had the first innuendo people heard from him on the radio. But to me, there’s nothing spectacular about it.
I had fun listening to it this week. I’m not gonna lie. But in the scheme of all his music, it doesn’t hold up.
I’m not sure how much the lyrics were Prince’s contribution, but I could certainly argue that the song isn’t strong in my view because Prince didn’t fully write it himself.

That’s a big part of why I wanted to focus specifically on this album. As if I’m hearing Prince for the first time ever- trying not to think “he’s done so much better than this”

But there were comparisons to his later work that I couldn’t help but make.
Thinking “I’ve heard this sound somewhere else before.”

I said to myself that I’d try to come up with a list of my top Prince songs out of all his music by the end of the year. So with each album blog I write, I’m going to put aside a couple songs to consideration. Considering where I’m going to rank them in a list of (hopefully) 100.

“Crazy You” is one of the first songs I’m going to take with me.
It’s a great acoustic song. A very chill, laying in a hammock in your backyard type track about being in love with a girl who does all these crazy things… things he never really elaborates on.
The song is tragically too short. Only 2:17. I want to hear the story more fleshed out, but at the same time, it is great just the way it is.

“Just as long as we’re together”
I’m pretty sure that the album version is the same as the bootleg I have. The instrumentals vary a little bit, but otherwise stay the same course all the way through.

I read some interesting stuff about it that made me appreciate it a bit more.
Plus, when I first got to know Prince’s music, I wasn’t a fan of the long instrumental solos because they just ran long. And I didn’t have the longest attention span for them.
Over time, though, I got to appreciate a good instrumental solo. Especially when it’s Prince doing it.
Matt Thorne wrote that this was the song that earned Prince his record deal because he actually demoed it live for CBS and WB. Showing them he could play all the instruments and produce himself.
Not many people are brave enough to do that… especially at the age of 17… I think he was 17 at the time.

The lyrics are simplistic, again, but its the music and production that really shine.
The music compliments the lyrics and maintain the melody for the first half. Then when it has free reign, all kinds of things happen. The drums keep the beat. Then we have the occasional keyboard riffs to make their presence known.

Funny enough- I thought this was overlong the first time I heard it. And I said maybe this album was overproduced at points.
This song feels like it was done just right. It’s fully fleshed out. It’s funky. It sounds fresh…. I think this song’s really grown on me A LOT over the past week.

But a connection to later material I wanted to make… the ad-libs, the last vocals you hear on the song… Prince put very similar ones on “Get It Up” by The Time. And one of the instrumental breakdowns reminds me of “777-9311.” That song runs a bit long, doing a few verses and choruses and goes to instrumentals for the rest. Something about this one reminds me of that.

I also thought about one lyric- “I’ll get the music, baby, you bring the wine”… was the drinking age 18 back then? I know it rhymed with the previous lyric, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the lyric was age appropriate. Not that it matters either way.

“Baby” had a lot of moments that made me stop and pause to reflect.
For starters, I got confirmation that the song isn’t autobiographical, but it is biographical. Based on things Prince’s friends were going through.
I remember the first time hearing it how the message of the song snuck up on me. And I went “whoa!”… it was kinda racy. Talking about an unplanned pregnancy and how to deal with that particular situation. The lyrics are really well-written and a shining example on this album.
The vocals have a lot of vulnerability to them. Early flashes of falsetto brilliance.
But one moment I noticed the first time this week and went “whoa”… there’s a musical breakdown halfway through that sounded VERY familiar… Prince used something similar in “Eye Hate U”. Just check out the opening of that song. It blew my mind.

“My love is forever” is a song I think I’ll have to listen to a lot more to pick up every little detail. I pick up so much every time I listen to it.
From the onset, it reminds me of “The Hustle.” Then little nuances and flourishes kept coming in to change that.
At the end of the first instrumental line, three notes are played and they’re a great trio of notes that are heard throughout the song. Once with Prince singing back-up vocals alongside. One thing I picked up later- the three notes return later on, but they’re either in a different key or in a different order. Either way, it’s a nice touch.
One day, I hope to learn the lyrics because this is a song that’s so much fun to sing along to.
The first time I heard it and that guitar solo came out of nowhere- it made me smile so much. It was Prince’s first ever album guitar solo. It comes in a couple times in the song, but doesn’t do a whole lot. Nothing particularly focused, anyway.
But I love at the end where he adds a keyboard riff in there to give it more rhythm and just lights it up. Hate for it to end.
Interestingly, Chris Moon wrote the original lyrics and Prince changed them. How much he changed them… I don’t know if we’ll ever know. I kinda don’t care. I like the lyrics on the album as they are. As simple as they may be. [And he repeated the “river” metaphor… but he also mentioned sunshine in two songs as well, so I’m not going to nitpick, it’s pointless].

“So Blue” is about the loss of a relationship. Another acoustic track with some horns that sound like they’re from a synth- I’m not sure if they sound like a French horn or something else. I’m not good with brass instruments. But he hadn’t done anything like this since.
I said earlier and I’ll say it again. Not one of my favorite songs on the album, but the vocal delivery is definitely something I can appreciate. That vulnerability of it- he was 17 at the time and showed so much maturity.

“I’m Yours” was his first guitar-heavy track

lol- I’d been in this head space for so long… and the Grammys Prince tribute is gonna mess with that πŸ˜›

It was like every cell in my body exploded by the end of that… WOW!

First of all, Morris Day & The Time (I believe the whole line-up was there, including Jerome, but I didn’t get a good look at anyone but the two of them).
I don’t know how many people in the crowd knew who they were or really cared about them. They did their good ol’ stand-bys, “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.”
But it was a great moment when a couple of dudes in the front row were all doing the “Jungle Love” choreography at the same time and laughing at each other for doing it. Like they couldn’t help themselves. They know what they’re talking about πŸ˜‰

Then they did the first moments of “Let’s Go Crazy.” And Prince’s voice boomed within the building. I was ready to completely lose it and cry because I’m still expecting him to walk out and perform.

But Bruno Mars helped me feel not so bad about it. He and his crew were all dressed as Prince had dressed. Bruno Mars almost was dressed exactly as Prince was in Purple Rain. Maybe a different color of purple. But he was playing a white cloud guitar. Almost identical to the one he played in the movie.
Bruno had that energy up the entire time and DUDE, I did not know he could play guitar like that. He played the melody from the song. But then he ripped this epic solo at the end… it just blew my mind and entire body to pieces in the best possible way.

I tuned into the Grammys just for that- and waited until 10:48pm to see this. I could care less about who won album of the year.

Anyway, back to “I’m Yours.”
I think the song is about losing his virginity, but who knows how much of it is based on truth? With Prince, there’s no way of knowing.
But then the highlight of the song is the instrumentals and the guitar work and stuff. Each guitar solo is different, but they’re haphazard and kinda all over the place. They all tend to run long.
If anything, he put this song on the album to show off. It’s not his best guitar work when you take his whole career into account, but for a first attempt on an album, it’s pretty impressive.

[Right now, I actually hear the guitar from “Bambi” echoing in my head, so I think it’s about time to call this a post].

also, my mind is fried over that tribute… almost too awesome for words

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prince’s SuperBowl HalfTime… 10 years later

Wow… I’m just looking at that title and taking it all in.
I think what I’ll do is start with some early thoughts and then work my way into actually watching the video and making comments about it afterwards.
Again, I feel kinda bad that I didn’t start this blog until April 2007. 2 months after this historical event (hey, it’s historical to me, stop laughing and eye-rolling!), after getting four albums under my belt, one month after seeing “Purple Rain.” But I didn’t realize immediately after the SuperBowl how monumentous [I don’t even care if that’s a real word or not, I’m rolling with it!] this was going to be for me personally.

And quite honestly, I was set the day after this to just go about my life the way I often had with Prince. He showed up in my life 6 times before.
* seeing the 1999 video in 1999 (or was it the year before… I don’t remember)
* hearing “I would die 4 U” and “Baby I’m a star” for the first time
* catching the last half hour of Purple Rain and seeing those songs actually performed
* Prince’s surprise “American Idol” appearance
* Prince’s “Good Morning America” appearance- that I think I heard about shortly after “American Idol” happened
* VH1 counting down their top 100 songs of the 80’s (and I remember them mentioning how “Little Red Corvette” was NOT about a car and “When Doves Cry” being #5)

Although to get super technical, maybe it was the 8th time that was the charm… dammit… It would have been so cool if it was 7… I don’t remember the 5th that well, but I remember seeing a website link maybe off Yahoo! (because after my email and Facebook, that was the 3rd site I visited everyday) of a website full of Prince videos. I picked out “Little Red Corvette” and the ball just started rolling, gained momentum and I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to. And I certainly didn’t want to.
Heck, I’ll still say 7th time is the charm because the 7th encounter with him directly led to what happened the next day. I wouldn’t have found that website link on Yahoo! if he hadn’t done the Halftime show. And I also saw a tease of the SuperBowl HalfTime show on a commercial. Prince was in a boardroom full of executives planning out what he should do. He just rolled his eyes, not saying a word, and went on to do his own thing. Just like he always had done. That is also interrelated with this.
Although I could try to keep going and maybe get up to 11. I consider that MY lucky number because the 11th track on a soundtrack album was a game-changer back in 1999 (completely unrelated to any of this).

But I’m getting ahead of myself…
funny how on this blog I’ve had this history of delaying the inevitable topic, only to make my point halfway through. At least this entry is all about Prince… although it was funny seeing on “On This Day” on Facebook and today was also the day I saw “Less Than Zero” for the first time- that was in 2011.
There’s just something magic about February. A lot of things got started here- or at the very least they set the tone for the rest of the year.

So…
the day of the actual SuperBowl, I woke up from a dream that morning and it was an interesting one.
I was on the street, it was night time and I was in line waiting to get tickets to a Prince concert.
I like to think that my dreams can predict the future sometimes… sadly, that is one feature I never got to live out. Although there is still a chance that The Revolution will tour and I’ll be in line to see them. Maybe not to get tickets (because the box offices are mostly online now).
But I think that was telling me that quite possibly this was going to be a huge event for me personally.

I remember being extra excited to see what Prince would do. I had never looked forward to the HalfTime show before. It just took away from the football and made the break between halves way too long. But because of what he did, I watched every HalfTime show since… only to say nearly every time (Madonna and Bruno Mars were the exceptions) that it was nowhere near as good as what Prince did. (Bruce Springsteen was also good, but I can’t get as excited because I’m not a personal fan of his voice).

I was also excited for Peyton Manning to finally get to the Super Bowl. It’s a silly stupid reason, but he’d been my favorite player since I heard Jesse McCartney played a young version of him in a commercial.
But anyway, I hated how Tom Brady got all the attention and Peyton Manning wasn’t praised at that same level. (Of course I hate the fact Tom Brady is playing in his 7th SuperBowl this weekend… seems like his only kryptonite in the SuperBowl was the Giants. There’s just something about those Manning brothers. And after he started playing, Eli Manning became my favorite player. He’s not always perfect, but I love the clutch plays he did. The hail mary throws in the playoffs and superbowls that were literal game-changers).

I remember being at the clubhouse on the dorms side of my college campus (funny enough, every year they had a SuperBowl party, the venue was on the other side of campus from where I lived that year). It was a pretty full house. I remember there being a raffle at the end and people won stuff. It was first win-first serve so by the time my name was drawn, I missed out on the “Devil Wears Prada” DVD and got stuck with a CD by The Killers. I listened to it once and HATED it. So the next chance I got, I sold it at FYE and I think I got some good albums with the money afterwards.

We had the game on a big screen, but I think the picture quality wasn’t the best. But then it was also raining that day too.
I kinda forgot a bit about the Halftime show until it finally came (the Colts were doing amazing and by the second half the Bears faded away into non-existence… Rex Grossman had an epic meltdown, one too many sacks and fumbles… but beyond that and Peyton Manning and the Colts shining so much, I didn’t remember much about the actual game after HalfTime).

Right now, I’ll do the play-by-play of what I remember. Then I’ll watch the video and comment more afterwards.
I didn’t care for the rag Prince wore on his head, but he later took it off and didn’t care.
I remember the band all lit up and playing a short rendition of “1999.” “Baby I’m a Star,” I recalled the moment he started singing it and he ad-libbed talking about the rain.
Then it started to simmer down a bit and my mind wondered a bit. I didn’t realize then that he was doing covers (I HATE!!! when he does covers… with the exception of a couple songs on Emancipation, it never personally works for me). “all along the watchtower” I think I tried to google later, but didn’t succeed (or so I thought).
“The Best of You” had a killer guitar solo, but I didn’t like the screaming… I wouldn’t be a fan of his screaming for quite a while.

Then “Purple Rain” was hard to mistake… I didn’t think I’d see him actually do it. And I didn’t even make the connection (I don’t know how- he did say it was raining in an earlier song) that he played Purple Rain IN THE RAIN. I remember the purple symbol guitar (not sure what to think of it because I never saw it before).
The most epic moment was when the sheet came up and there was this massive silhouette (one day, I WILL spell that word without spell-check) of him during the guitar solo… never heard anything like it before in my life (and I can say that about so many of his guitar solos- nobody did guitar solos like him and never will again. Seriously, nobody in the music industry wants to do guitar solos anymore. It’s bad enough that the radio refuses to play all of “Purple Rain” but they will play all of “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Layla” (but even then, they don’t always play all of “Layla”- they sometimes cut out before my favorite note, which is the bird call at the very end… shivers every time).

But the greatest part that I look forward to the most… after the sheet came down (still pissed at all the people that wrote about the sheet guitar solo and said he did innuendo with his guitar… it shouldn’t take away from the epicness of it)…
yeah, after that, I remember him continuing to play guitar and the whole crowd did the sing-along chorus with him and he spurred them on and he just kept playing until it was all over.

I don’t remember what anyone at the SuperBowl party said about it and I don’t care if I don’t. That was just…

NOBODY WILL EVER DO A HALFTIME SHOW LIKE HIM EVER AGAIN!! It will never be as EPIC or AMAZING.

I hope that Lady Gaga (who I have wanted to see do this for a long time- I actually said on Facebook in on this day in 2013 that I hope she does it next… she had to wait behind Bruno Mars and Coldplay)
I hope she will do a good job. Something epic in the vein only she can bring it.
And I hope she doesn’t do anything that is anti-Trump. She can do something that is pro-immigrant or about harmony among all of us… but it needs to be subtle. If it’s too in your face, it’ll turn half of America off.
I actually muted her tweets for a while because it was too many anti-Trump tweets and pro-Hillary tweets. The day after the election, I turned them back on because she was pleading that we take care of each other and urged people to be safe.

Anyway, back to revisiting… I think I said everything that I can say about it, but with Prince, I’ve plenty of evidence on this blog alone that I never run out of things to say about him. Even if I’m danger of repeating myself, I really couldn’t care less. He’s worth celebrating. Now more than ever. (Still wish more people celebrated him when he was still alive…)

The commercial is pretty awesome… a bit of a stupid spoof where people are making these weirdy cheesy suggestions, a little red corvette, releasing 1999 doves, wearing a space suit. then he just runs out of there (with his “Gett Off” opening scream) and we hear the last seconds of “Let’s go crazy” as he walks through the gates to the stadium with his guitar and there’s an epic voiceover dude covering it

I’ll just share the damn thing. It’s pretty cool to see it again now that I recognize all the references and sound bites.

Now for the show itself…

omg, I’m a mess. [ok, now, just the first 10 seconds afterwards]
I forgot so many little things. Like how they started with “We will rock you”… then the stage was his symbol all lit up. Then he comes out…
omg- at that point, it felt like someone took two defibrillator paddles to my chest and shocked me- as if my heart had been dormant this past month without listening to any of his music at all (well, except what was on the radio of course).
they had doves on strings flying around.
forgot he did Proud Mary for a second there… yeah, I hate how everytime someone covers that song, it’s ALWAYS the Tina Turner version where it starts slow and then accelerates out of control. He never let it get to that point. Which was refreshing.
The covers were pretty good, actually. And the scream wasn’t as bad as I remembered- I got a taste for a good Prince scream.
The picture was pretty blurry, but the rain contributes to that a lot.

When he did Purple Rain… the first notes, I was already getting teary-eyed and I’m thinking “keep it together.” he tossed the rag off his head at that point and just went with it.
Then when the solo just continued on and it built up… then the ending… at that very end when the final note came out, I was shuddering, I had tears streaming down my face… complete mess.
It was a relief that nobody came in the room at that point because that would’ve been… well, they would’ve understood but it would have been kinda embarrassing.

I was a wreck the first time I heard the whole song in the movie so that was a similar feeling.
Except there was me thinking “Oh no, it’s all over”… after a while, I just blacked out and was in it for the long haul. Prince always seems to have that effect on me and I’m glad to see that hasn’t changed.

I swear, his music gets me on a different level than anyone else. I have fun with Gaga’s music and Taylor Swift, I relate to the lyrics so strongly and live within them.
But this is music at its finest because it goes on different levels. There’re sounds, there’s lyrics, there’s emotion, and all kinds of other stuff I can’t begin to describe.

So anyway, that’s it

I’ll share the link in case anyone’s interested.

Peach & Black had a podcast where they went into the beginning of their fandoms and so on. I think I should go through that questionnaire. Heck, maybe even listen to the podcast again (because I can) and answer the questions for myself.
I’ll list them below with my answers. But first I gotta watch a video shared by Princevault on Facebook. I figured I’d do that after the HalfTime show so I can take all of it in as it was happening and seeing it first fresh for the first time since 2007 (I think I saw it twice- live and online a few months or even a few years later, but it was still a long time ago).

Oh also, I’ll never forget that it was in Dolphins stadium in Miami… because he wore their clothes that night.
Yeah, the video quality was so much better on this NFL channel video talking about how this could have been a disaster with the weather and he rolled with it like he asked God to make it rain that day.
One of the interviewees was Alan Light, who wrote the book “Let’s go crazy” about making Purple Rain the movie and the album.
And they showed a lot of performance footage again so I skipped to all the points where they talked about him.
Yeah, he wasn’t there to promote anything (which was cool- everyone else had an album to promote- he didn’t even announce Planet Earth until a few months before it came out).
Can’t believe it was raining so hard they thought maybe someone would slip on the stage because the tiles that make up the stage could have gotten so slippery with the rain. And seeing some of the footage again, it was like a monsoon almost, so much wind and rain, but he just made it look good.

Ok, here are those questions:
[also- I missed these guys so much. First time this year I’m listening to them again]. Kinda hate that I’ll be listening to only one podcast a week, when I got so used to doing 4 a week (it helps the rest of my day at work go by so much faster… love my job, but it gets repetitive and drags at the end of the day sometimes)

First time you heard a Prince song: my dad had this mix CD of “go-go bar hits”- he frequented those when he was in his 20’s in New Jersey- the final 2 songs were “I would die 4 U” and “Baby I’m a star”… I LOVED “I would die 4 U” the first moment I heard. I swear, the linn-drum and the synths sounded like fireworks! They still do πŸ˜› I liked the contradictions in the first line- that set the tone. Great lyrics, I’m a sucker for a good lyric, but the music set my mind on fire.
Hated to hear it end and “baby I’m a star” kinda picked up where that left off. But it wasn’t as exciting. And the end took too long to come. Hated all the fake-outs πŸ˜› after seeing the movie, it all makes sense
That’s also the song that made me a fan… that takes care of another question… although I wasn’t officially a fan of his music and him until 10 years ago tomorrow [February 5th]

First impressions: I can’t even describe my first impression because it was so long ago. And there’s just so much. Yeah, I thought he was weird. Something was off about him, like he was different from everyone else. Then as I sat through that footage of Purple Rain, however long it was (probably the 2nd half of the movie or last 20 minutes)… I was thinking “musical genius” and “neo-Mozart” and he would die for his music (I gotta stop saying that… cuz it makes him no longer being here a little too real).
And he was just the most epic performer the last 2 songs (purple rain the song I can’t remember that very first impression). He had me mesmerized (which is why “Dreamy” is the first part of the name) and left such a mark on me. My mom said “I think she’s in love with Prince”… he was always in the back of my mind and it took such a long time for him to finally come to the forefront.

MC’s talking about how he bought The Gold Experience at a 2nd hand CD store for $10-11. I got it used for $17.99. And it was WORTH EVERY CENT.
Although I didn’t know it then.
I guess you could say that it was my “Red Room” moment… like Anastasia Steele steps into Christian Grey’s red room for the first time and just doesn’t know what to think. Sensory overload is what I experienced. First the cursing in the first song, then the screaming and guitar in “Endorphinmachine”… it kinda destroyed me for a bit… but I was able to pick up the pieces and I progressively got stronger.

Forgot to mention for a podcast I just did that he is maybe the last person I should be interested in musically because he does so much that makes me uncomfortable. Sexual innuendo and cursing.
But I built a resistance over time and if those things are done artfully, it’s ok and I can even admire it when it’s done really well.

When I officially became a “fan”- February 5th 2017- when I saw “little red corvette” the video… after that, there was no going back.
So you can imagine that being the first song I heard when I got the news of his passing… yeah, kinda erases some of the good feelings and replaces them with one of the worst ever experienced by me.

What sealed the deal… I just answered that above… although Purple Rain the movie might be it, seeing the full movie finally after all these years wanting to see it in full.
It was just… still is wow…
still don’t know what it’s gonna be like seeing it again in a couple months, the first time I’ll see it since he passed away. it’s going to be an emotional affair.

What would life be without Prince in it?:

I have no idea… Prince jogging my mind around listening to his music helped me write some papers in college. I almost had a couple of meltdowns that could have been worse without Prince’s music.
There was also a void for a while with musical artists. I went into that on my previous blog post. I mean, I might have been okay in a couple of years when I got Taylor Swift and Gaga. Plus Maroon 5 and Daughtry were some other artists I really liked.

I just know that if I went my separate way from Prince after the SuperBowl. I mean he might have come up a few more times. But I think I would have been devastated last April if I found out he died and I never took that time to get to know his music and I’d be too late for a lot of it.
Not to mention so many albums of his were bought up after he died, I would have missed out so many albums that I own and love.

I can’t imagine life without him, honestly. I mean, I’m in the third decade of my life, a little beyond that and Prince got one third of it. That’s kind of a big deal.
Only PokΓ©mon has that much of my life and it wasn’t even consistent. With Prince, I maybe took a break from him for a total combined time of six months. Three months out of 10 years.
And part of why I got back into PokΓ©mon for a bit was because of Prince. In an inverse sort of way. Someone on prince.org gave me a download for old PokΓ©mon games for my PC and I got into them all over again. My sister kinda did the rest introducing me to Chuggaaconroy let’s playing games.

Reactions from family and friends: so many people didn’t get it. my mom thought he was weird. Still does. But at least she tries to understand my fandom and such. My dad makes fun of me for it yet he’s the one responsible for all this. He had me sit through Purple Rain when it was already half over. He had those two songs on a mix CD.
I still remember (yeah, we’re talking 2 years ago, but still) I said I had to go out and get his new albums in 2014, my dad didn’t get it and I said “this is all your fault, you know.” And he relented.
One of my cousins thought he was gay even though he’d been married twice and he’d been with so many women.
But when he passed away, my aunt and two of my friends reached out to me and asked if I was okay. They know how much he meant to me. And still does mean to me.
I’ve tried to play albums for my mom, but most of it, she doesn’t get. The conservative stuff even. She doesn’t like the guitar solos in PlectrumElectrum because it’s repetitive. I get that.

I need to come up with a list of conservative Prince songs that anyone can get into. I’ll have to do that after counting down my top 100 Prince songs.

Also- if I ever start dating, the guy has to like Prince. That’ll be in my online dating profile. “Must Love Prince.”

It’s true: you love or hate Prince. There really is no in-between.

I just looked at memoirs I wrote about my college years and out of curiosity I wanted to see what my schedule was. I spent so much time with Prince, I had to check where my classes were scheduled.
The day after, my first class was around 11am. And I wrote “I could swear that I was looking for SuperBowl commercials, but I came across a playlist of his music videos.”

Okay, that answered my question from before.
I had only to get up for 8:30 classes twice a week and I had huge gaps between classes. I remember spending a lot of time in a dark room watching all those music videos. Then something he said in “Batdance” scared the crap out of me because I swore he said my name and asked what I’m still doing at the computer. After that, I had to get out of the apartment πŸ˜›

Most obsessive/craziest thing you ever done as a Prince fan: uh, I spent over $100 on music on 7/7/07 and that included 4 Prince albums. Sign o’ the times, 1999, O(+> and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.
I was keeping a record of how much I spent on all the albums and can’t remember how much I had spent up to that point. I think I spent more on InuYasha DVD’s than Prince albums- the albums I bought myself.

The next question I think was “how did you stay a fan?”
Honestly, I can’t say for sure. It’s a different reason each time I come back to him. I guess because there is so much music. And so many different vibes. And experiences.

Prince is trending on Facebook RIGHT NOW. So I think I need to post this now while that iron is still hot. If I hear any more questions on this podcast, I’ll edit and add them later.

I know this was a long entry, but anyone who makes it to the end and had a good time, congratulations and thank you.

Starting next week, I’m going to go through all of Prince’s albums in chronological order, one album a week.
And I’ll do a blog on them.
I’ll listen to the album a couple times, do Peach & Black’s podcast on it and then listen again if I’m so inclined. I find that when I listen to the podcast and then the album second, the experience is marred a bit by their comments. Not that it ruins the album for me or anything, but maybe I spend a little too much thinking of what they said and not a lot about what my feelings are.

Like it was with Planet Earth, I have to get on my own with the album and listen to it and understand it before I let any other opinions into my head.

Ok, long entry finally done. Thanks guys, whoever got to the end of this.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Before Prince…

Yeah, within the next 48 hours, I’m going to revisit the SuperBowl HalfTime show… and I’m rebegin this journey all over again with Prince to mark the 10th year he’d been a fixture in my life.

I got the idea earlier this week and I’d followed it through up until this point… I’ll go through some mix CD’s I made in my earlier years of college and maybe try to put myself back in that mindset.

Here’s how it all pretty much started for me with music.
What I grew up on was pretty much what my parents played in the car. Bruce Springsteen, Bill Idol, The Moody Blues, Chicago… stuff I remember hearing, but I wasn’t really a huge fan of any of it.
We also had a VHS full of 80’s videos that my dad recorded in 1987. So then I knew I liked Whitney Houston, Debbie Gibson, The Bangles and Madonna.

Before I started buying my own music, Madonna was my favorite artist by far. I don’t know exactly what I liked about her music. Just the overall sound of it. The voice. The catchy beat. I swore to myself I’d get a blog post together about Madonna and how much I love so much of her music. Mostly 80’s, but stuff from the 90’s and beyond has sprinkled in a bit over the past couple years.

Then there was bubblegum pop. I got my first CD player for Christmas either in 1997/1998 and the first albums I owned were Christina Aguilera (which I barely listened to at all), Britney Spears (same), *NSYNC (…yeah, again) and Backstreet Boys…which I listened to A LOT.
I followed through the boy bands for a couple years.
That led up to Dream Street- who I kinda got into by accident. I saw the commercial for the album, but didn’t really get the idea. Based on the name, I thought they were a Backstreet Boy copycat.
But then I listened to the music channel on the airplane that summer where they happened to be playing and I heard 6 of their songs for the first time.

I listened to them exclusively for nearly a year. Then after they broke up… I was just lost for a long time. I didn’t like anything on the radio so I was on Radio Disney for a while because they at least played some of the songs I got to like in that short time.

I tried to pick and choose other artists to buy albums from but none had any staying power. One was another boyband I found about through a soundtrack album- not quite what I expected. Good music, but the amount of cheese in some of Plus One’s Christian lyrics… it’s not entirely my thing.
I started picking singer-songwriters, though, because I wanted to be able to play it in the car with my family and for us to have that bond with music I like. None of them, they really got or really liked.

My dad really doesn’t pay any attention to music that came out after the 80’s, but the rest of us eventually did bond over music on the radio starting around 2009 when Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift came on the scene and the fun’s been continuing onward ever since.
But it took a long time to get there. I was jumping from artist to artist between 2002 and 2007 so it was a difficult time for someone who loves music as much as I do.
But it wasn’t until I started listening to Prince that I really started to appreciate it. To pick apart the different instruments and put to words why I liked the songs I did.

But this entry had a more legit point and I’m finally getting around to it.

I had three mix CD’s that I made. And to be honest, all of them were pretty much about cleaning up inventory.

The CD I ended with today- that I played this afternoon- I probably should have played first because it was my Radio Disney/Disney Channel mix. Where I compiled songs from two Lizzie McGuire soundtracks (the movie and the TV show), Disney Mania 2 and maybe one of the Radio Disney CD’s my sister had for one song (which I found to be at the end).
My plan was to put my favorite songs on one CD so I could sell back the originals because I didn’t listen to them as often.

Or per my own system, I figured that I didn’t like enough of the CD to keep it.
DisneyMania was the only one I managed to sell back. They didn’t want the one Lizzie McGuire soundtrack (wasn’t the first time that’s happened- I had a Will Smith CD that I liked 3 songs on that got rejected and actually threw out. And I think there was one other I tried to sell back and they didn’t want)…

Yeah, I got a lot of rotation out of DisneyMania, but I only listened to 7 out 15 songs regularly.
Most of my CD’s, I listen more than 50% of them regularly. But then, I had my first CD’s for a number of years before I listened to the whole album. I used to just listen to the songs I knew from the radio.

Here’s the line-up:

Crush’N’- Jesse McCartney (Lizzie McGuire- he played this song at a concert I went to and it was never released on an official album)
The Tide is High- Atomic Kitten (Lizzie McGuire movie- next several songs)
You Make me Feel like a Star- The Beu Sisters
Open Your Eyes to Love- LMNT (interestingly just found 3 of them auditioned to be with O-Town and Matthew Morrison from “Glee” had some involvement with them… they were short-lived and did Disney soundtracks mainly)
This is what dreams are made of- Lizzie McGuire version
This is what dreams are made of- duet ballad version of Paulo and Isabella
Welcome- Jump5 (DisneyMania up until the final song)
The Circle of Life- Disney Channel stars from “That’s so Raven” and Christy Carlson Romano
A Whole New World- LMNT
Once Upon a Dream- No Secrets (oddly, they’re on an album I’m going to listen to tomorrow)
Anytime You need a friend- The Beu Sisters
Be True to Your Heart- Raven
Second Star to the Right- Jesse McCartney
I’ll be your everything- Youngstown- Inspector Gadget soundtrack

The fact I doubled up on a few artists is purely coincidental. Jesse McCartney, not so much. I kept pace with any news from former Dream Street members after they broke up and he soon became the one hope I had of not dwindling into nothingness.
Kinda makes it sound like I had a relationship with Dream Street that Bella had with Edward. The moment they left, I crumbled and it took a long time to find myself again in the music I listened to.

When I hear Jesse’s voice, to this day, it still feels like home to me. And the themes addressed in his music, I felt like I could relate to a lot of it. He said it in words I understood and connected with.
Years later, Taylor Swift did the same thing and took it to another level for me personally. Like I’d respond to situations using the same words, but I lack that songwriting talent.

So that’s a culmination of the Radio Disney years. I also have a couple of other soundtracks I got from Disney Channel movies that I still enjoy a lot.

You Make me feel like a star- whenever I listened to it, it was the greatest adrenaline rush of feel-good vibes. And today I sorely needed some of that.
Second Star to the Right- I put on my 11th grade mix where I put all the songs that were part of that year for me.

The Youngstown inclusion- I believe I put that there for some matter of stratagem (don’t know if I’m even using that word right, but I don’t care).
Youngstown was another band I liked a lot, although I only have a couple songs I know them by. I remember looking in FYE for their CD, but never found it.
It played on the music channel on the airplane that preceded Dream Street… and tomorrow I’m going to end with them.

Although what I should have done was do the Disney music Monday, my video game music mix Tuesday, the InuYasha soundtrack on Wednesday, and the massive overall compilation of stuff I downloaded from the Internet today. Just to go chronologically…

Before I got an iPod (one of my many things I didn’t have before Prince), I think I did a lot of downloading from the Internet. Most of them were probably illegal bootlegs. A bunch, I think, I got from Yahoo! Groups back in the days where I loved staying up for Adult Swim and InuYasha.
I downloaded from those groups all the theme songs from the series I liked. Some I could only find shortened versions of, but most I got in full.
I used to have a folder full of them on my computer, but it was the one folder I forgot to copy over to another medium when I had to get a new computer. With it was a Word document where I copied all the lyrics and how I broke them down by syllable so I could actually sing along correctly.
Going back, not only did I get a tremendous wave of nostalgia, but it had been so long since I listened that I forgot most of the lyrics, but with my favorites, they came back to me soon enough.
Then I ended it with two other animΓ© themes I grew to like a lot- one was an ending from FullMetal Alchemist, season 2. And the other was my favorite Bleach theme ever… “Life” by Yui. I still have it on my iPod. I love it that much.

I had no idea what any of these songs are about, but going back to them make me think that I want to go back to the lyrics, copy them down again, break them down and translate.
I thought maybe since I set up an account with RussianPod101.com, maybe I should do that with Japanese and learn some Japanese. I noticed certain words occurred in different songs. Maybe not reading Japanese in the characters, but I’d like to be able to understand it spoken.
A little different than my goals with Russian- where I want to be able to read it as well as understand it spoken. The latter is going to take a long time for me to get, but I’m willing to do the work.

Video games, I wasn’t really huge on video games. I own less than 20 games. Most of them are either PokΓ©mon games or Spyro. And the first 7 songs were Spyro tracks.
I always really liked Stewart Copeland’s score, but I didn’t know then he was a member of The Police. And I didn’t really get into the intricacies of the music until maybe this time around. Or at least when I got Depeche Mode’s greatest hits- their synth music sounds like it could be a video game soundtrack.
After that, I had some Zelda music. That stuff probably wasn’t legit (the Spyro music, I got from one website that had all the themes and I just downloaded the most nostalgic ones).
then the theme of Kingdom Hearts… I have opened up a new game just to see that opening sequence, to hear the song and then I’d shut off my Playstation before I even began playing.

Then I had a bunch of songs I downloaded thanks to Google. Three were Cascada tracks I heard in InuYasha YouTube montages. Hearing them again, they do get a little repetitive in the instrumental breakdowns.
Another was “Numb” by Linkin Park- that I used for my very first YouTube montage… that I uploaded three times because I needed to find a cleaner version of the song.
Then YouTube took it down for copyright infringement a week later… I watched it again for the first time in years a few months ago… it wasn’t perfect, but it was so great to revisit. It was all pictures because I didn’t know them how to get video clips. InuYasha’s parent company pulled so many videos from YouTube, it was insane. I had playlists of my favorite and have found almost all of them gone.
I think I deleted my entire InuYasha playlist because there was no point. Sesshomaru, on the other hand, I still have 4 videos that haven’t been removed yet. Two were set to songs I found and put on mixes. “Bring me to Life” and “Savin’ me” I found after. But nonetheless they worked really well.

I liked Inuyasha enough as a character that I wrote fanfiction about him. I was moving onto Sesshomaru and really getting to like him around the time Prince came into the picture.

I ended that album with a song sung by the Japanese voice actors of Sesshomaru, Rin and Jaken. I found out about it on a YouTube montage- I think I might still have that on my playlist.
That’s the piece that links up to the CD full of InuYasha themes- although I started it with “At the beginning” from the Anastasia soundtrack… I forgot I started it with it πŸ˜›

It pays to revisit mix CD’s after years of not doing so. You never know what you’ll find sometimes. That’s what I found out this week. I remembered most of the songs I had, but the surprises were so great to find. Especially finding songs I didn’t know I had saved. “Numb” was one of those.
I also had two songs by Nightwish that were YouTube montages I found by recommendation. One was on my YouTube home page. Another was in the right hand column of a video.

And why I wanted to put this last CD last instead of first… it also comes down to the final songs I put on. Because it connects with Prince.

It started with some old Dream Street bootlegs that were available for download on some of their fan sites. Songs that weren’t officially released until their Biggest fan soundtrack album.
Oddly, one song was the original cut and the other was a re-recorded version after their voices changed.
I also had some Jesse McCartney Sugar Beats tracks I got from Yahoo! groups (both Christmas songs).
A couple of interviews, then a medley of songs Chris Trousdale never released on a solo album that was planned after Dream Street broke up and he was to be a solo artist. A career that has yet to materialize.
Yeah, all these years later, I’m still waiting for it. He now follows me on Twitter and has replied a couple of times. Which is pretty amazing.

On YouTube, I was looking to see if any full versions of these songs turned up. “It’s gonna getcha” is the only one I’m really interested in. I remember getting a MySpace page just so I could listen to his music on there.

As I went through, I found some really old songs on there. Songs I hadn’t heard in years. The tail end of the 90’s and the early 2000’s.
“Bailimos” by Enrique Iglesias (I had another of his songs later on… and I got to thinking about how it’s been a while since I heard his most recent stuff)
“Clocks” by Coldplay (which had such bad quality, it almost sounded like another artist that wasn’t Chris Martin)
“Desert Rose” by Sting (that was another great YouTube montage featuring Sesshomaru (it got uploaded a second time but since then, it hasn’t been back)… love how atmospheric that is.
then the one time Click Five did a soundtrack for Disney- “Best Friend” for The Shaggy Dog… someone recorded it off the TV when they did the promo for it so all the effects are still there.

After a while, though, I got where I needed to go. there were a handful of songs I heard on the radio in 2006 that had me thinking that I might be able to give radio a chance ago.
“Cable Car” by the Fray
“Ever the Same” by Rob Thomas
then to my surprise “Makes Me Wonder” by Maroon 5… I didn’t get their albums until a couple years after that. I remembered I liked “She will be loved” when I saw the video on VH1… I heard a few songs there I liked, but I never followed through with anything. Not until I finally gave Adam Levine and Maroon 5 a chance. I got their first two albums for Christmas 2008.

Then I ended with two songs from the Bangles… wild guess what the 2nd one was… hint… Prince wrote it.

So it all circles back to him after all that.

My tastes in music has changed so much over the years, but when he became a permanent part of that, it became much more varied and more enhanced.

I was getting into the doldrums about the albums I put on heavy rotation in the winter and this was a very welcome change.
So I’ll revisit the HalfTime show, probably write a blog about it and next week I begin with Prince from the very beginning again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment