So begins another Purple Year…

It hasn’t quite been a whole year yet, but its getting very close to that point. Looking back over the past year, it’s been full of crazyness. Not just in school, dealing with the pressure, but also gaining perspective on all kinds of things. Prince has already taught me so much, both about music and about myself. And he still has a lot to teach me yet.

Last night as we were counting down, I was thinking about what a great year its been and how much has changed. Also how much I’ve done. The clock hit :00 and I couldn’t wait for the new year to begin. I found myself trying to think of a New Year’s resolution, but I couldn’t pick anything as of yet. Do I work on my essay writing on Prince in hopes of writing a book about him? Do I work on my poetry in hopes of putting together a collection of my best to send out? Do I work on myself (which I’m really not too keen about)?

I don’t want a resolution that I might not be able to grasp. I want something realistic, but also a worthwhile effort. It can’t be something like “I want to read 100 books this year”… that is something, I suppose, but what do I get out of that? All the same, what do I get out of writing essays on Prince? Just things to share with fellow supporters of his. I might want to keep that among my closer friends, though. A great percentage of the community still devalues my opinions enough to make me nervous about posting anything huge.

I don’t really care too much about what Prince will accomplish this year if anything. A new album would be nice, I agree, but I’ll just let things happen as he wants them to. I’m in no rush and my life doesn’t revolve around what he “does next”… it’ll happen when it happens and I’ll keep myself busy otherwise.

Anyways, I was listening to 1999 last night and for a while, I was thinking about how it was after Dirty Mind & Controversy. I was trying so hard not to compare them even if they’re in sequence. I want to believe that 1999 came from a different core than the other two… I want to believe its vibe is closer to Purple Rain. I did, after all, want to have my collection start with 1999 initally since it was the first album that made a huge impact (and I thought it was his first album EVER). I was afraid that if I believed it continued from that same vein, my views of Prince would change and I wouldn’t like him or respect as much as I do now. After a while, a little voice in my head told me NOT to fight against it.

I always try to avoid viewing Prince as others do, those that don’t know him as well and only have what the media sees to tell them where he’s coming from. I was afraid my mind would follow their lead and I’d see him as a freak the way they have. Like I’ve said, I feel like I have short-term memory sometimes with Prince because my views of him are always changing. Like I see him as my friend one minute and my mentor the next, just as an example. The little voice then told me that I shouldn’t fight the vibe and just go with it. If I were to see Prince as a freak, that would have happened a long time ago when I was just getting to know him. Things like that don’t do a 180… once you jump on Prince’s ride, there’s no going back.

Needless to say, I had a blast with 1999 even if I was getting tired during “Lady Cab Driver”… I was thinking about skipping to “International Lover”… but I heard about his rant about NY’s critics in track 10… “Body don’t want to quit, gotta get another hit” kept echoing my head through the album’s duration, so I couldn’t stop. I did, however, leave out DMSR because there was always tomorrow.

I was feeling the rhythm of each song. Delirious was very catchy and of course, the 3rd verse put a smile on my face. I just enjoy the rhythm and the delivery of it by Prince. The guest vocals throughout the albums hinted that he was on the edge of something big. The vocals are great on a lot of numbers. “Little Red Corvette” had me a little distracted, so I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. The drum machine is brilliant along with Dez’s guitar. It added something extra that Prince couldn’t accomplish.  It can be hard to believe there are some things he can’t do, but even he isn’t perfect. I gotta admit that his fellow musicians had a lot of talent. Prince inspires them, they help him and in return, they inspire him as an artist. Dez helped inspire the rock side of Prince and the “funk” disappears throughout the album.

One thing I have noticed throughout the three albums is his use of rhythm guitar. I forget who said it, but he/she said that Prince is one of the best rhythm guitarists out there. And he did plenty of that in “Controversy” and with the end of “1999”. I was listening closely to that rhythm guitar and it is something very interesting. After this album, he went onto to the amazing guitar solos that he became known for… Purple Rain, Shh, Gold, Dolphin, The Morning Papers, A Million Days…the list goes on and on… Dez could have helped him with the power guitar solos he’s done or at least raised them to that level of potential.

The chemistry between Prince and Wendy is undeniable, but Dez was more of an inspiration for his later sound. With the help of Lisa & Wendy, his music took on a psychedelic feel that made him stand out.

Clearly, I still have a lot to figure out.

The other tracks that stood out were “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” and “Free”… the first was just amazing all around… and “Free” set a template for Purple Rain and a lot of other rock ballads. I won’t be playing the movie anytime soon (come spring break, I’ll break it out and reminisce)… but there’s the matter of playing the Purple Rain album OR the extended mix I put together.

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