You know that old joke “what’s black and white and red all over?”
Answer: A newspaper
Seeing as Prince is the muse of my blog, that’s the direction I’m going with this.
Though there’s really nothing black & white about me.
On the other hand, though, black + white = gray.
As far as DreamyPop goes, there are a lot of gray areas.
I’ve been on this journey for approximately 3 years, 9 months (give or take a couple of days, I’m rounding up). I’ve done, seen and heard many crazy things. Things I wouldn’t have thought to look into in my dizziest daydreams. My mind changed about a million different things and naturally I approach certain things much differently than I would have without a little influence from the purple music.
If someone asked me right now “what kind of Prince fan are you?” I’d have the following answer:
First of all, I don’t like to call myself a fan unless that’s the only way to get my message across. Suppose we’re talking in person I bring up I dig Prince, I’ll probably hesitate to say the word “fan” but say I am crazy about his music.
I’d say that I want(ed) to take the holistic approach. Meaning that I didn’t just want to get the hit albums, I wanted to see the entire picture of Prince’s career through his music.
I wanted to achieve this objective as frugally (is that a word?) as possible. Meaning I wanted the best and wanted to get the minimum amount of albums to really create a decent picture of Prince’s transition through his music.
I wanted a little bit of the 80’s, a little of the 90’s and his two most recent albums: Musicology & 3121 (as of Februrary 2007).
What ended up happening, ultimately, was me owning all Prince’s 80’s albums, one of two from the 70’s (his first), 8 90’s albums and 7 of his most recent albums.
The most recent is a tricky denomination in that both of the One Night Alone albums came between The Rainbow Children and Musicology… and at the time, Planet Earth, Lotusflow3r, MPLSound and 20TEN didn’t exist.
I wanted more than decent picture of the past so I could better understand the paths taken in the future.
Although I must say that nobody saw any of this stuff coming.
Prince parting ways with Warner Brothers after a 14-year relationship went sour.
Prince becoming a Jehovah’s Witness.
Prince spurning all kinds of nastiness from his music BECAUSE of his newfound faith, nastiness that had ultimately made him famous.
I’m the kind of person who likes to think of Prince as the musician as well as the person. The holistic approach includes looking at every aspect of him and enjoying their individual brilliances. I try to take his personal experiences into account when I listen to his songs and occasionally when I see him on screen, whether if its Purple Rain, Under the Cherry Moon or even the Diamonds & Pearls video collection. Each video tells a different story and brings with it imagery to coexist with the music with an equal amount of brilliance.
One thing Prince changed my mind about to the utmost extreme was the way I looked at an electric guitar.
Not only do I know what Fender Stratocasters and Hohners and Cloud guitars look like, but I’ve grown to love the sound of the electric guitar when its used to demonstrate artistry and controlled displays of power. Opposed to the heavy metal, headbanger sound that I more or less dismissed as noise.
I can gurantee that I wouldn’t be mimicking holding notes on a guitar neck if Prince hadn’t gotten me started on the idea.
Prince made me completely understand what it is to be a songwriter, that music can be an art form, and why there should always be a little more of a “je ne sais qua” in favor of musicians opposed to people who are where they are because of prepackaged bubblegum or lyrics rapped to a sample ripped from another artist.
I’d been trying to check into singer/songwriters to find something my parents and I could listen to and enjoy. My dad was stuck on the aspect of singer/songwriters and how we don’t have those in this day and again. Nothing I picked pleased him.
Although I think my mom and I have Taylor Swift in common between us.
I still gotta listen to her new album now that I actually have it.
Prince showed me how a musician literally throws themselves into their art. They tell stories with some personal common ground and the music itself demonstrates the accompanying emotions. Sometimes those speak louder than the most brilliant of poetry. Listen to “Shh” from The Gold Experience and I dare you to say otherwise.
But really, the lyrics begin something of a seductive nature and the music carries it through a rise and fall system and it takes off until you can taste ectasy in the air.
I was thinking about this earlier and I don’t believe I’d ever known an artist who put their heart and soul into their music the way Prince has. His songs can only really belong to him with his voice backing them up or the meaning just doesn’t hold up.
I still need to hear Prince sing a rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” just to prove my point that Sinead O’Connor cannot do that song justice because she didn’t write it. It doesn’t have the right emotion behind it, something only Prince can bring to the table.
I’d heard The Family’s version and I’m still not convinced.
I think he did sing it on Ellen in 2004, but I need to hunt down that clip again. Until then, his duet with Rosie Gaines will have to do.
While I’m on this rant, before Prince, I never referred to my CD’s as albums… it’s more than just the package with Prince. It’s an entire experience. CD covers only the compact disc. With an album, you get cover art and album jackets as well. That’s part of the overall product in my book. I look to the album jacket to give me a taste of what’s to come. I see on its pages (or the front & page of the CD case) the vibe I can expect from the music.
The cover art for Come is my prime example for this. The church that’s on the front cover brings with it a little of an eerie, sad vibe. Dark ages. Void of emotion. Subtelity.
Listening to the music itself is an experience unlike any before him. When there’s just music, I listen. If there’s only music, I listen and hold my breath. My mind follows the rhythm of the melody, but takes few other things into account if it can help it. Jaw-dropping is the best way I can describe some of his best work, especially on the first go.
If there’s a visual to go with the music, I hold my breath, I follow everything with my eyes but move my head to keep up with everything. My jaw is nailed to the floor and I fall into a trancelike state. Captivated until released when the music stops.
If I hadn’t been extremely overexposed to it, chances are very good that if you get me in a room alone with Prince’s music or of a video of him performing, there’s a certain magic that weaves through the air. He casts such a spell on me with his music that its hard to think of anything else. Every one of the five senses get involved especially with the particularly potent ones that are of a seductive nature… well, maybe not taste and smell so much…
Today, I probably had the biggest turnaround, something I desperately needed. First I heard a sample of a concert in Denmark called “Stratus.”
I confessed myself crazy for what I’d been like lately, getting bent out of shape about all kinds of things with Prince’s music. Why am I questioning the things I already know to be true? Why was doubt even in my frame of mind?
I don’t know.
So I listened through a folder of music someone sent me. One of maybe 13 s/he sent me and I have one more to go through.
There was a lot of great stuff there, including another version of Eye Hate U, P Control, then songs like Rock n’ Roll is Alive that didn’t make the final cut or were b-sides.
Purple Medley and its remix were the undoubtable highlights.
Hearing familiar songs in another context, another skin really does wonders and I was just head over heels… head over feet… all that jazz. Amazing stuff. Puts the “A” in Amazing… make that A+
Although, if I’m not mistaken, Prince has probably heard that millions of times b4.
But certainly is the first time I’m saying it.