Somedays it is hard to figure out which version of Prince I want to listen to. The layman’s version of that would be which album.
Based every album seems to be a different version or time/place of Prince within the storyline of his life. (I made a comment once on .org about wanting to get the basic storyline of his life through his albums and they thought I was crazy- their answer was a simple ?).
Anyway… I wasn’t really looking for this album in particular because I wanted a version of Prince where he was well aware of who he was as an artist and in the perfect zone. Unfortunately the only album that really fit that picture in my head was “Purple Rain”… I’m not ready for that yet.
I’d heard every song off it except for “Baby I’m a Star.” And I could seriously go on for a tumblr sized entry about hearing “I would die 4 U” on the radio the other day. It’s a song that’s less than 3 minutes (I think…), but I had a million thoughts cross my mind in those 3 minutes. Being the first song I ever heard by him, seeing the movie performance the first time, the fact he has died… there was 5 seconds within that first chorus where I almost broke down and cried, but I didn’t quite get there.
…back to topic now…
Between the looming Christmas holiday, getting everyone the perfect gifts for Christmas, some things coming up with work (being unsure about what I’ll be doing with the quarterly season over, being nervous about re-enrolling in insurance when I only just enrolled in October… it’s procedure for everyone), people still being mad about the election… I’d been stressing about a lot of stuff.
On top of that, Prince’s death is starting to get more real as more time passes. Next time I know, I’ll be celebrating being 10 years with him and then the first anniversary of his death will be right behind it.
I didn’t know which album of his I wanted to listen to, but this morning, I started to think about a couple songs from his 2nd album. “Why you wanna treat me so bad?” but mostly “It’s Gonna be Lonely”
So I entertained the idea of the album, not really expecting much.
It’s funny how early on I really didn’t like when Prince had these long instrumental solos… yet I’m listening to “I wanna be your lover,” loving the extensive keyboard/synth solo that makes the whole piece 3 minutes longer than the radio version.
“Why you wanna treat me so bad?” I wished was longer… it’s just getting good when the guitar solo comes in and the song just fades out. One of my favorites on the album.
“When we’re dancing close and slow”… I could listen to the instrumentals for ages and never get bored. But it would sound better in headphones. On the stereo, I can’t hear the lyrics too well.
“With You” has that same problem.
It might be a bad move to put two ballads back to back. The first to me is so memorable that I completely forget how the second one goes with the exception of a couple lyrics. I could just chill with it and forget the rest of the world for a while.
The highlight of the second is the vocals. They’re sweet, but also vulnerable. Love that falsetto climb at the end.
At this point, I was wondering if Prince could have been an R&B heartthrob if he continued on that particular tangent. He has a few innuendos he spouts here and there, but he seems like a good safe clean-cut choice. The only thing that kinda ruins that is “Dirty Mind” and the fact he’s a musical genius. You can’t really put him in that particular box- just doesn’t work.
And some of the time I was thinking “Thank God he was 19 when he made this album”… as if it’d be wrong of me to fall in this groove with him if he was 17 at the time.
Going on that tangent, it’s going to be a little awkward when I turn 58 because I’ll be older than he was ever going to be… for the sake of argument right now, he’s always going to be older than me no matter which album I’m listening to.
It’s kinda funny how with some of these tracks, Prince seems like an insecure teenager. Being in a relationship was a precarious position for him because he was never completely comfortable in it. He’s afraid he’s going to get left behind because he isn’t good enough.
of course this was before he became a superstar, so he couldn’t exactly get any girl he wanted at this point. Nothing long-term anyway.
For a brief moment, though, I believe that he could be good and that I’d want to be with him. But he always had something that put an end to every relationship he’d been in.
Then “Bambi” comes on and I’m hoping I have plenty of room on the road to ride it out. And this time I did and it was amazing. I revved up to maybe 75 (on a 65) with plenty of room in front of me. There’s nothing like that guitar solo. It had me also pinning for the Undertaker version where this song was more or less a jam session but the guitar work sounds so much better than it did.
I also love how unique the concept of the song is. Nobody really talked about that in the 70’s. Being in love with a lesbian and trying to make them change teams. I also love that last verse where he ends with “I’m gonna show you what it’s like to be loved by a man”- I always sing that at the top of my lungs with a smile on my face.
“I feel for you” is so catchy, but I can’t help but hear the nuances in the back of my mind of Chaka Khan’s cover. I saw the video a couple of times on VH1 Classic before Prince became a fixture in my life. I don’t know if I made the connection until much later that this was his song. There just seems to be more going on and the sound quality is better with Chaka’s version. But I still have a lot of fun with Prince on this one.
“It’s Gonna be Lonely”… oh man… I have a lot of favorites on this album and this is another of them.
Between this, Bambi, Why you wanna treat me so bad? and When we’re dancing close and slow… man, it’s hard to pick just one favorite. Each of them I love for a different reason, obviously. “It’s Gonna Be Lonely” I’m inclined to pick as the favorite because it’s the final impression he leaves behind. And it also goes on for pretty long so that impression gets deeper over time.
And with Prince being where he is now, I can relate. I don’t want him to go either.
[“Sexy Dancer” and “Still Waitin'” I don’t have any deep thoughts or comment to really add. that’s why I haven’t mentioned them]
Although I can relate to “still waitin'” at this current moment… I’m at the point where I want to have someone special in my life. I mean, I’m still not cool with hanging with myself and with my work environment being isolating, I have a lot of “me” time. I’m a bundle of insecurities. But I also don’t want to be alone forever and I can’t stay at home forever.
…I say all that and kinda realize that Prince may have ruined any chance of me being in a relationship.
This album is a prime example of the fact he presents such a great fantasy that nothing in real life, it seems, could ever compete with that. Not to mention any guy I date, they’re going to have to like Prince. They have to at least “get” him and why people love his music. And they certainly can’t take it badly that I feel so strongly about him.
Oh yeah, that’s going to be a great online dating profile.
“Must love dogs. Must like Prince”… yeah, I can totally see getting no hits on that.
I think that’s basically all the points I wanted to touch.
It’s tempting to just go through all of his albums chronologically about this point. But I really want to save that for next February. I might do an album a week starting the anniversary of his SuperBowl HalfTime show and that might take me up to St. Patricks’ Day week when I saw all of Purple Rain for the first time…
There’s so much I want to do.
I want to compile a list of his best songs as well as my favorites.
I want to define what version of Prince I get with each album.
Compare my first impressions with what I feel about those albums now.
…that’ll do for now, then.