Dr. Funkenberry interviews Owen Husney and other Prince news

Where do I even begin? [Also- this post is more like “Prince news and Dr. Funkenberry interviews Owen Husney”… in that order]

Ever since April 21st, I feel like I’ve been pulled in so many directions where Prince is concerned… I said on some platform that I needed a color wheel but with all the albums I own πŸ˜›

Also since then… 2 things:
1) on some random site where there were Prince lyrics for an unreleased song- in the margin, they had a blurred “crime scene” photo… I only could see the colors of the room, but nothing beyond that… but I think I’m ok now… with all that’s happened in the last 24 hours, that’s not as clear in my head anymore (and it wasn’t super clear to start)
2) I watched that BBC documentary I had saved in my files… it wasn’t what I thought it was… it was a trash documentary titled “Prince’s Millions” and they were talking how Prince spent all this money on clothes and sets for music videos that were never released and all kinds of stuff… and they just painted him in such a way that was unpleasant. They had Bob Cavallo chime in a couple times and while some times he spoke well of him, other things, he didn’t. They even talked to a WB exec and he dismissed the name change thing and so on…

Needless to say, I needed a little distance. Plus I went to bed that night (and being up for a while talking to my fellow purple knight- it was almost 1am), I listened to “how come u don’t call me anymore” and promptly silently cried myself to sleep… it was an emotional release I kinda needed.

Today, I had some ideas of things I wanted to do. I thought maybe I’d listen to the remastered Purple Rain disc, start reading Duane Tudahl’s book, and listen to Dr. Funkenberry interview Owen Husney aka. Prince’s first manager who now has a book to promote.
But in the back of my mind, I was half wondering if I should maybe write something for Around the World in a Day cuz I was feeling the vibe, how it was the album to follow Purple Rain and how some thought it was a huge radical departure… I actually wrote a quick intro about the album this morning… I might revisit that at a later point, add more and that’ll become its own thing. (I figure with this project, I’ll write when inspiration strikes and that’s when the best work will come out…). And I’d been kinda clamoring to hear “Raspberry Beret”… there were so many references lately to raspberries that it was inevitable.

I haven’t read enough of the book yet to comment properly. But Questlove’s intro is pretty awesome. He talks how he was fascinated about Prince’s process in the studio and he’d also taught classes on “Thriller” and other artists… I didn’t know Questlove had a side-teaching gig too.

And with Purple Rain… I don’t know… when I hear “remaster,” I thought about what happened with 1999 and the new master and what an eff-up that was. Not just brand new vocals by Prince, but he added a stupid rap that has nothing to do with the song. (I’m not going to actually put this in print for my book, but it really seems it was evident in the music that Prince was really drinking the JW Kool-Aid from 1998-2001… with ONA onward, it becomes less painfully obvious…)
So I thought maybe the remastering would be a little more obvious– laying down new, but similar sounding vocals or guitar solos… giving “When doves cry” back its bassline (I hope I never do hear that version, but you can never rule anything out)…
Whatever changes were done in the process, they weren’t obvious to me. I think I know this album pretty well (or at least the music… I’d seen the movie enough times) so I thought I’d be able to pick out some differences or changes. Nope. I’m sure MC and the other guys at Peach & Black would be able to pick more things up than I will. But the same reverb was on the live vocals, all the components were the same. The only thing I can really pick up was that, possibly, certain aspects of the songs might have been turned up in the mix. Apollonia’s vocals on ‘take me with u’ sound like they’re a little louder. Some percussive moments might have been brought up louder.
What I really don’t want to happen is that I’d go back to listening to the original album and seeing the movie again and missing some differences and appreciating the original less. (I still plan to listen to the original regularly… or as regularly as I have… it’s actually an album I don’t get out all that much just cuz I know it so well)…
MC tweeted something about how certain aspects that made Purple Rain great were missing in the remaster… but maybe he picked some things up on the vinyl editions than I couldn’t on CD… I expected the worst and it was ok in the end.
And I got through Purple Rain without getting emotional, so I guess that’s a plus. That song had been very difficult since Prince… yeah, you know…

On top of everything else… I check my cell phone a couple hours after I get home and my fellow purple knight DM’d me saying Prince has a new album coming out…
that terminology will be difficult to drop, so I’m not even gonna try…

Ever since that 2011-2014 gap when Prince didn’t release any new music, I am hesitant to trust any news source until I am holding the physical album in my hands. It was like that with PlectrumElectrum, AOA and the HitNRun albums… cuz there were no an-album-a-year guarantees anymore.
And that will be the same with this.

It’s a funny thing, though. I had this epiphany during work maybe around 9am… I wrote it down to tweet it later… I thought how WB only let Prince release an album a year and that’s why that dispute happened (well, one part of it) and people like Captain have tweeted how the Estate is only releasing one song or project a year and that’s not enough. I pretty much said the WB thing and that might have something to do with why we aren’t getting a mountain of music released from The Vault. And also “patience is a virtue”… as clichΓ© as that sounds, that’s what I said.
And hours later, this news came out.
It is hard for me to believe in coincidences anymore… honestly… I’d been getting this weird feeling and that might be the reason why… and that’s all I’ll say about that for now.

Now for the interview on the Dr. Funkenberry podcast…

I didn’t know much about Owen Husney other than him being Prince’s first manager and how Chris Moon gave him the demo tape and he asked “how’s the band” and Chris Moon is like “sit down, it’s one guy playing everything and singing everything”… that story is known to all Prince fans (and the Peach & Black guys joke about it all the time).
And I also know he has a new book out “Famous people who have met me”… I dismissed it right away because a) the title and b) he’s just another person who is coming out after Prince’s death to write a book about him.
Honestly, after listening to the podcast, I’m actually thinking of getting it.
He talked about how he got started in his business. He was in a band in the 60’s and he was a nerd in school that the football players would beat up all the time and the band made him cool. And he also got involved in a promotion company and wound up as a concert promoter.
Then Chris Moon came to his office with the demo… he actually sat on his coach for a week before Owen actually decided to let him in to talk to him…
And he talks about meeting Prince and being so impressed with songs like “Baby” and how he saw something in him that he really wanted to protect- which is why when they were recording the album, he wanted him to be secluded in Sausalito instead of LA so he wouldn’t be exposed to certain things. He talked about telling white lies to help him get the record deal, saying how other companies were interested and offering more money, and how he was the one who really wanted WB cuz he knew they were an artist friendly company.
I also learned that this whole thing about Prince laying down “just as long as we’re together”… he did that after WB had agreed to sign him, the laying down of the track was to convince them to let him produce himself.
And Owen and his wife and Prince and Andre Cymone lived out there like a family (Bobby Z’s brother came later- Prince wanted him there cuz he has perfect pitch and he wanted his help laying down vocals) and the closeness Prince and Andre had.
Then he also said in retrospect, it was good For You wasn’t a huge success cuz, no matter who the artist, that is something that can crush a new artist and they’ll never match that success again. And he also cleared up why he left Prince- he kinda blamed him for the album not doing as well as they’d hoped and how other people had been whispering in his ear about things Owen wasn’t doing for him… etc, etc.
But all those experiences he talked about, that was so fascinating to me. Getting that perspective of it.
The only thing about the podcast- Owen Husney pretty much had free reign and Dr. Funkenberry only chimed in a couple times, but when he did, his mic was so low I had to turn up my volume to hear him and it hurt when Owen started talking again.

Oh, maybe the best part… Prince’s sense of humor… he talked about how practical jokes helped Prince when working on the album was stressful. and he did this thing where he pretended a bus had taken off his hand and it was a fake hand. I was just picturing his face like he was Christopher Tracy with that sense of humor… it was another “almost died laughing” moment.
And the whole thing about going over budget on that first album… it was slightly over budget and WB actually approved it, despite what we were led to believe.
Speaking of led to believe… he talked about “exploiting” Prince’s mystique, but it wasn’t fake. It was something that was already a part of him, but it was an aspect used to promote him.
And MAN did that work… the mystique was one of those things that brought me here in the first place.

…and I think that’s it… at least for today πŸ˜› not sure if I’ll be posting every day again, but I feel like I’m wanting to write more and more these days…

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Positivity- 2 years without Prince

Can I just say how I REALLY hate that you can only make custom thumbnails for YouTube videos after you verify your account?
Doing so sounds like a lot of trouble, first of all. Second, it’s something only famous people do. Or Internet famous YouTubers like Chuggaaconroy and Masae… And I don’t make videos all that much to require it.
I don’t know- I just hate how awkward I look in thumbnails when it’s just me in the video.

Anyway, most of the thoughts I wanted to get in today are in this video and I’m so glad I made it within the time limit. I really hope you guys enjoy it and take something good away with you after watching it.

For the record, so far today, I am doing okay. I’ve done a couple of things and seen a couple of things that have made me think of Prince, but I really haven’t done anything super nostalgic to bring any of the feels on yet.
I’m wearing my Revolution shirt (not sure how well it came out in the video), got my haircut, at the grocery store “Kiss” was playing and I kinda danced to it, a sign at a local school said the word of the month is “Positive,” my sister and I got Coolattas at Dunkin’ Donuts (not noticing until after the fact that we got strawberry and blue raspberry– which make purple) and saw a little red corvette.

The signs are telling me that Prince is everywhere today and I do feel like he is close by in some form.
I also played a little of my keyboard (which I rarely do) and got out a little of “U’re Gonna C Me,” “Raspberry Beret,” “The ? of U,” “Purple Rain,” “Somewhere here on Earth”… just to name a few…
I’d been listening to some podcasts this week with former Revolution band members. Gayle Chapman finally cleared up why she left the band (she was seeking personal growth in her career and kinda regrets now leaving when she did). And there’s a series where Bobby Z and Dr. Fink (that I’d heard so far) went through their 10 essential Prince songs. Lots of good stuff, nostalgia and old stories. And they both talked about how Prince wanted both hands to be doing something and just because you’re in the back row and behind a drum kit doesn’t meant you’re exempt from learning choreography. I never even thought about that until the other day… The Revolution moved as a whole band. They did with Prince and they certainly did it when I saw them in concert last August.

Seriously… if you haven’t gone to see them yet, what are you waiting for? Don’t make the same mistake I did with Prince–
MC from Peach & Black freaking traveled all the way from Australia to see Prince at Montreaux Switzerland (twice!) and North Sea Jazz Festival (although I think he was already in the neighborhood at the time… which I think was the case with Captain when he saw Prince in Japan as well as in the U.S. for some Musicology shows)…
Just because Prince never came to the tri-state area from 2007 onward (ok, I had three chances to see him, but the timing was never right and I foolishly thought there’d be another chance) shouldn’t have stopped me… and I will forever regret that I never got to see him. Every year, I think I am going to light into myself about it at least once or twice.

Speaking of MC for a second, he appeared on an Aussie radio show the other day (Peach & Black posted the audio on their SoundCloud account so I hear it, yeah!) talking about how Prince helped me get over his shyness and meeting him in New York and since he did that, talking with other people became less difficult.
It half made me dream about how my life could have changed if I met Prince… never got that chance, but I think in some small ways, similar to MC, I had gotten over some of my issues talking to people because of Prince.
However, the trick is feeling like it is ok to talk about him. I mean, there is this stigma about him from his younger days, how he was very explicit and people think he’s weird. But if they are interested in what I have to say about him and the conversation is something I can contribute to, then I can. And at work, I have gotten the chance a few times and it’s been freeing. Talking about Prince with other people does feel good and 99% of the time, the focus is on him as an artist. Which I really appreciate. I don’t want to spend my time talking about him if it’s going to be about the bad stuff, that we lost him at a young-ish age and it was about drugs.
A lot of talk about his death has come up lately (and some jerks circulated “crime scene” photos that I have thankfully been able to avoid… that would actually kill me if I came across any of those myself)… and a lot of people have had a tough week. Me included. Friday was unbearable at places, but I think I was trying hard to stay focused and put on my own music (which I can at work) so I couldn’t hear him if he played on the radio. I especially didn’t want to hear Purple Rain, just because I want to hear it as part of the movie when I watch it later and I want it to sound fresh to me. Does that make sense?

I also talked about how I hope Prince’s music from other eras other than the 80’s will also be remembered. Just because he had this thing during the 90’s where he didn’t go by Prince anymore doesn’t mean that the music isn’t any good… although to be fair, I don’t really care for the late 90’s stuff like Rave and NewPower Soul (which is technically an NPG album, not a Prince album, but if Prince didn’t want it to be considered one of his albums, he shouldn’t have put himself on the cover… I’m just sayin’!)… but The Truth is a really good acoustic album that comes with the sense that Prince wrote this for himself rather than other people. The stuff is a little more experimental, a little more fun and there’s extra honesty- “Comeback” especially. After reading Mayte’s book, I get the impression that a lot of the stuff on this album, he wrote to help himself grieve their loss. (The album’s material was recorded Autumn 1996… the timing with that loss is a little too uncanny to overlook).
But yeah, except for maybe the last couple of albums, a lot of the 90’s stuff is amazing.
And the 00’s and beyond… One Night Alone has some really cool piano work (in case people don’t know that Prince can play some great piano). 3121 is a great pop album.

I mean, the 80’s stuff is SO GOOD… but just don’t forget about everything else Prince had written, okay? That’s all I really ask.
When I put my list together, I know I wanted each decade to have some representation. Heck, I think my top 10 has something from each decade… except maybe the 70’s… Bambi is there somewhere, but I think it’s in my top 20.

At some point, I will want to put together lists of Prince bests… best guitar solos, best piano tracks, best vocals, and of course the all important- best Prince songs that anybody can get into… that’s the most important thing, I think because so many people haven’t given Prince a chance because of many things- his past history with explicit music, odd things he did on stage, etc, etc. But there is stuff that anyone get enjoy.
I mean, take me as an example. I didn’t like a lot of Prince’s explicit music, but the admiration of his artistry helped me stay motivated and while I found stuff I really liked, I got to understand some of the other stuff as well. And sometimes I like the explicit stuff a little too much for my own good πŸ˜›
But that doesn’t mean I like R-rated stuff all the time… it has to be handled a certain way and maybe sometimes it just needs to wear me down before I can really get into it. (Although the fact I saw all of the 50 Shades movies and am currently reading the first book from Christian’s POV… and yes, a lot of the time, he comes off as an even bigger ass than before… why I put myself through all that, I really have no idea… if I read these books a second time, it won’t be for a while. The movies probably have more watchable than reading the books- at least they don’t have a million references to an “inner goddess” or how a certain body part is responding… that’s almost worse than the Inner Goddess talk… just, why? Was that subconscious chatter just padding to make the books get to 500+ pages?)

Moving on…

I don’t think there’s much more I can add… except I do reference “Beginning Endlessly” and that lyric “love is much too small a word for what you feel for me”… I have so many feelings about Prince that “love” just doesn’t fully cover it. If that was unclear in the video, I wanted to make it clear now.

I think I will post a little more after doing the stuff I have planned for tonight.
watching Purple Rain with my purple cocktail and the remaining marshmallow peeps from Easter (they’re purple bunnies)… and watch some stuff on the release of “nothing compares 2 u”… and some other tributes… and I think I have a documentary saved on my laptop- I forget where I got it and I’m not quite sure what it is. I’m hoping it’s that BBC documentary I kept referring to… but I was under the impression that was just a radio broadcast. But I will find out.

The other day, I listened to D&P in my car. Thunder had me admiring him all over again- that’s one of those “modern day Mozart” tracks. But the first part of the drive home was a little difficult– my car got beat up a bit during the March snowstorms so sometimes it feels like it’s a little uneasy on the road. But I don’t know if it’s my imagination or it’s the wind or something is wrong, but I was so nervous driving home that I couldn’t really enjoy the first couple of songs cuz of that. (Plus, my folks are away on a trip and if I get into a wreck by some random bad luck, I wouldn’t know what to do)… but oddly enough once “Gett Off” started and I was singing along to it (I think I was doing a Susan Moonsie impression for most of it cuz I had just listened to the Vanity 6 stuff earlier that day)- I totally loosened up and the rest of the drive was great. I think I should video myself doing that song, wearing sunglasses and trying to be all gangster singing to it in my car πŸ˜› when I’m not actively driving, of course. I wasn’t driving when I did my other YouTube Prince tributes in my car.


so I just watched the movie… it was an interesting venture, as it often is… I’ll just say whatever comes to mind first, not caring about the order…
I’d been aching to hear the entirety of Purple Rain for ages… it kills when 100.7WLEV plays only the first 3 minutes, verses and choruses and fades out at the guitar solo… and I hadn’t heard it, really, since last April (or whenever my aunt finally saw Purple Rain), not counting the concert. I asked whoever was listening (Prince or God, I really don’t know who) to let the spirit move me wherever it needed to be. The first note got me and the rest of the song proceeded to break me down little by little. I was able to come back completely by the time the next song was ready to start and I was ok after that. It’s almost like that song is telling me it’s an ok time to grieve. And I may have been pretending this for the sake of having a moment, but there were a few times where I felt like Prince was hanging around. At the end, I think he whispered in my ear “it’s ok”… and that’s when I calmed down.
The funny thing is how I was breaking down- I was taking breaths on all the right cues, when there were actual breaks in the music. And that’s something that’s been going on with me for a while. I’d be at work listening to my iPod and sometimes I’d take breaths without thinking and it’d be at the right part of the music. Kinda crazy… almost like all that was training for this. Or I’d just gotten so deep into the music I listen to (and this is usually just Prince or Depeche Mode where this happens anyway) that the spirit is moving me in that particular way. Kinda the way the traffic around me will sometimes work with the flow of the music. But it wasn’t just breathing with Purple Rain- it was sobbing and tears streaming down my face, all to the right moments.

The rest of the movie… I was trying not to anticipate stuff coming up, but sometimes I couldn’t help it.
Then when Computer Blue came on, I actually went back to the Revolution concert and certain moments in that number came back to me the way they did… I don’t usually talk like this, but when I figured that was the song they opened with, I lost my shit! I really did… I loved this number in the movie so much (Heck, I’d played it a couple of extra times online cuz I loved the choreography- I’d love the song more if it had been released as the full version where it just goes all kinds of crazy places)…
I thought about seeing Morris Day in concert. Fangirling the first scene where Wendy and Lisa are there in the dressing room cuz I’ve been listening to them so much lately. I saw some of the back row choreography with Bobby Z and the others- they really did go all out. I’m like “I’d totally jump in Lake Minnetonka” if Prince told me to… and yeah, I’d risk pneumonia.

And by this point, most of the thoughts have gone out of my head… my uncle posted a compilation of videos for me and it covered nearly every Prince era- so that was pretty cool.
I’m part of a Facebook Prince group and someone had posted pictures of Prince’s actual living quarters, including a bed, a large shoe rack and a room full of guitars and room with many shelves of vinyl… and some interesting supplements as well like vitamin D and ginseng and even 5 hour energy… somehow, none of that surprises me.
I’d been in such a celebratory mood all day that I didn’t really leave myself any room for sadness. Purple Rain the song was it- him saying “never meant to cause u any sorrow… any pain… only want to see you laughing…” that’s what Prince would want for all of us, not to be sad he’s no longer here and mourn all the reasons why and how, but just to be thankful to know him, have lived in the same time as him, and for all of the music he left behind.

Not sure what else I can say after that… just that I don’t really want to stop listening to him now πŸ˜› and I’m going to turn my attention to Purple Rain deluxe very soon…

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Why don’t I like “Kiss”?

“Kiss” has been coming up in headlines a lot recently… I think it’s because we reached the anniversary of when it was written… um… it was written/recorded April 28th-29th…

Anyway, I’ve read a couple of interesting articles about it. Mostly talking to Brown Mark about it and how that whole thing came up.
On that BBC Radio special (that I can’t seem to find anywhere… but it has been a while since I looked, it was narrated by Mica Paris and released in 2003) Brown Mark was interviewed and he said he couldn’t stand the song and Prince was seeing him work with his band, Mazerati when he was suddenly inspired, took an acoustic guitar and a tape recorder and went into another room and came out with the song and wanted to give it to them. Brown Mark said how he couldn’t stand it, but his band worked on it… and after Prince heard the changes, he realized what he had and took it back. And the rest is kinda history… and for some reason, Tom Jones was able to cover it… bleck…

Anyway, with this song… it’s a weird thing… there are some highly popular Prince things I don’t quite 100% get… or at least I don’t love them like the majority of the fanbase.

“Kiss” is one of those things… when I got The Very Best of… and went through all these hit singles for the first time, I didn’t really like I wanna be your lover, Alphabet Street, Sign o’ the times and Gett Off… some of those songs have grown on me over the years.

But “Kiss”… I don’t know… I mean, I will enjoy it when it comes on and I will sing it at the top of my lungs and totally ham it up (when I’m alone in my car, that is), but it’s not my go-to Prince song. Hate is a strong word, but I don’t like it as much as the rest of the planet. This is one of those Prince songs EVERYONE knows- and I hope that everyone who knows it knows that it’s a Prince song (and not by Tom Jones)- but while this song gets a lot of radio play, there are plenty of other great songs that should’ve gotten radio play. Mountains and Anotherloverholenyohead and Girls & Boys…

And I think recently I’d pinpointed why maybe I’m not in love with the song.
And I think it’s Prince πŸ˜› I really don’t like his falsetto on this song. It’s unique, but it just sounds so weird to me, it was kinda grating at first.
But when I really listen to the instruments, I really like a lot of it. I love the guitar and the beat. And that rhythm guitar breakdown halfway through.

Reading some of what Brown Mark said about it and how he was a little upset he didn’t get a co-writing credit on it. Some of the beats on it are really sick and I think he deserved some credit because those are probably some of the things on it that I like.

But another thing I don’t really like… having the Mazerati backing vocals still on it… the sound of them there is kinda distracting to me because they aren’t The Revolution and they aren’t on any other Prince song (obviously cuz they’re Brown Mark’s band).
It’s also weird that Prince took the song back and kept that part of it…

Just wanted to post this cuz this has been bugging me for a while.

I will say, though, that Kiss had a cool moment in “Pretty Woman”… Julia Roberts singing to it in the bubble bath. Richard Gere walks in on her and she says “don’t you just love Prince?” and he adds “More than life itself”…

Amen!

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Prince thoughts leading to the 21st…

I’d been hovering around this site deciding whether or not to press the button to start a new post… after all this time, I can’t believe I still have anything to say about Prince. I’d said so much already and a lot of it probably isn’t new.

Obviously, I’m going to be thinking about him a lot this week. I’ve been trying to limit my focus to one Prince project/era a day… which means I’m leery of hearing any songs on the radio not directly connected to where I’m at (and considering how I’m not really going into 1999 and Purple Rain stuff… yeah, that’s everything on the radio)…

I thought about doing a post yesterday after listening to 20TEN again, but it didn’t quite come up. And today, I listened to Dirty Mind and Controversy back to back during my commute. And in between, a lot of other little things have been going on.
Bear with me cuz a lot of this will be very random and out of order.

One:
I’ve been having a lot of random Prince lyrics coming to mind and how they’d just been fitting me or what’s going on at the current moment.

“would u run 2 me if somebody hurt u even if that somebody was me?”… from “If eye was ur girlfriend” [adding on to that… made me think of how one fan recommended that I save Sign o’ the times for later in my album quest cuz I’d appreciate other albums less… I’m starting to wonder if that would have been the case if I started with Sott- a lot of fans love that set and call it Prince’s masterpiece/magnum opus… I don’t quite feel the same way about it. Not that it’s bad or I don’t like it- I just don’t LOVE it like a lot of people do]…

with this lyric, I thought about how people have dealt with Prince’s death in different ways… some fans found it really difficult to listen to his music or watch him after it happened. I can understand why that would be and if I wasn’t the person I was or had this relationship with Prince that I do, I’d be the same way…
but as much as I was hurting over what happened to him, I had to run to him and listen to him as much as I could because I didn’t want him to go away… I feel like if I spend any large amount of time away from him, I’ll forget how he makes me feel when I listen to him, that I wouldn’t be able to see his energy or see him in my head… obviously, that’s not the reasoning behind him writing that lyric, but I was feeling myself in it in a different way.

“love is much too small a word for what you feel for me”… from “beginning endlessly”… I had this moment listening to this song the other day and I gasped when I realized that lyric fits like a glove… it’s almost like he wrote that lyric to me specifically.
I do love Prince- anyone who’d read any of this blog would know this… but that love is far different than it is for anyone else I have any fondness for. And obviously it can’t be like real romantic love because I never met him. But my feelings for him are very complicated beyond just love.

and then today- “what you do, I could never love no other”… from “Do me, baby”… uh, I’m either seeing these songs in a new light or Prince is trying to send me a message through certain lyrics that are lighting up like he has his own little flashlight (like the one he had in that scene from “New Girl”… which I am watching right now… not that episode, brand new on FOX)… :sigh: I must sound so crazy right now

TWO:

I had this thought about how certain Prince songs can connect to each other in a storyline… I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thought of this…
Still Waiting- How Come U Don’t call me anymore- Gotta Broken Heart Again… they’re not in chronological order, but they have a similar vibe to them. Especially Still Waiting and Gotta Broken Heart, they have that country vibe… but in Gotta Broken Heart, he says he spent all his money on a long distance phone call, which How Come U Don’t Call Me talks about.

THREE:

20TEN is a really curious album… maybe it’s because of how long it’s been in limbo within the discography for me… I mean, I’d had it since it came out, but I didn’t listen to it more than 3 times until this past year… but when I listen to it, it feels like it could fit in with the 1999 era with all that cool Linn-drum. It’s almost seamless. Except for all the current references in the lyrics, like polar ice caps melting, and all the “Act of God” lyrics…
I think about how I see Prince as he was in 2006-7 when I listen to it. How Planet Earth-20TEN-HNR2 might be a trilogy even though there are a bunch of albums separating them… heck, if you count Indigo Nights as an album, on either side, there are three albums in between…
I’ve always felt like 20TEN is closer to the Planet Earth sound like MPLSound and Lotusflow3r, and Planet Earth is nothing like those two albums… songs like “2.Y.2.D” with that trifecta of bad-ass female vocalists sounds like it could have worked on 20TEN cuz they were on that album as well. It’s complicated- I like Planet Earth so much and the albums that followed didn’t feel like they worked for me the same way.
Also, I feel like Lotusflow3r and MPLSound work well together cuz they were released at the same time…and the same with Plectrum and AOA, even if their sounds are completely different from one another. But it’s hard to put these albums in trifectas cuz they have a compadre… although there are the two HitNRun albums, but they don’t feel like they have anything in common at all…

20TEN is also funny because… well, I’ll probably be saying this for years to come… it was hard for me to get myself to listen to the album, but now it’s hard to stop listening to it…
but I feel like “Beginning Endlessly” is his siren call. I get that song in my head out of the blue, it means he wants me to listen to it… I got the song in my head on Sunday morning, when I was working For You stuff… I delayed for a day and that made no difference. It was still a great album.
Planet Earth was the first album that was released when I was officially a fan, so I have this special bond with it. But it is not perfect… it has Resolution… some really lame lyrics in The One U Wanna C… I still feel like Chelsea Rodgers has nothing in common with anything on the album and should have maybe been put somewhere else…
20TEN feels like an improved version of Planet Earth… the ONLY thing it is missing is a seduction ballad… and “walk in the sand” is not gonna be it… but while I don’t really care for everything after Lavaux (not as strongly as I feel about the first 6 songs… Laydown is growing on me all the time and better than the three songs before it… but it’s kind of a meh ending for the album aside from it).

Four:

I’d thought this since I first got the album… but with Dirty Mind, it feels like the tale of two albums. I listened today on the way to work what would be Side A on vinyl. And then Side B heading home, with Controversy going after it. Maybe it’s because there are these spacy synths that come at the end/start of the tracks starting with Uptown all the way to Partyup…

I just had this huge thought a storyline within the album and possibly with Controversy as well.
Side A of Dirty Mind is Prince doing his thing… he’s seducing a girl, doesn’t quite appreciate her and loses her, tries to find another one, and then gets his heart broken…
Side B- he goes to Uptown and all kinds of stuff happens there… he meets a girl who’s a neophyte to this type of society, he seduces a virgin bride, he meets up with his sister, and then there’s an anti-draft protest.

Then Controversy comes in and it’s like Prince is now king of Uptown and he takes charge in the first two tracks. Then next 2 are what he’s like behind closed doors that nobody gets to see… kinda like Prince’s private life in real life. Private Joy is in direct response to Do Me, Baby.
Then with Side B of Controversy, he and his Uptown delinquents decide to travel to Washington D.C. to protest all kinds of stuff… stopping nuclear proliferation and speaking out in support for gun control and the electric chair… they might not be heard the first time with Ronnie Talk 2 Russia, so they blow off some steam at some dance club that they hold up shop in for the night, then they return with Annie Christian. Jack U Off makes no sense in any of this, but maybe it’s just what he goes to do after a long day protesting and stuff… or maybe he meets a girl after the protesting and she’s digging what he’s speaking out again :shrug:

Goes back to when I listened to Controversy to review it last year, thinking how Prince came off as this cult leader in the first couple of songs.

[Side-note: Do me, baby is SO GOOD… I’ll admit that I’ve become guilty in the car of just screaming and hollering at the top of my lungs when I’m feeling the vibe and I really feel like it with that song. Almost like this liberating thing has happened that’s opened me up to it… and really, nothing’s changed. Maybe Prince has possessing me when I put that song on]

Five:

I ordered 2 Prince books from Amazon and I just got them. Duane Tudahl’s book on the Purple Rain sessions, which I’ll start reading after the 21st. And Jim Walsh’s book from when he followed Prince during the Gold Experience shows… this is gonna be so much fun.

Six:

Oh, and I found some podcasts to get me through the rest of this week.
One with Gayle Chapman and two with one member of The Revolution as they go into essential Prince listening… I’m very curious about what Dr. Fink and Bobby Z will pick.

…I think that’s everything for now. If I have any more thoughts through the rest of the week, I’ll make another post with the same title, but just call it part 2.

I had a lot of random thoughts that I couldn’t just do separate entries. But I also wanted to get some of this stuff out, put into cyberspace and see if any other comments come of it.

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So many angles… [Prince discussion]

Yeah, April 21st is a week away and I’m still on this first album. That isn’t to say my intention was to go in order chronologically all over again like I did last year… what a trip that was…

But the thing is that I’d written so little for this album anyway. And the fact that Prince kinda came back (his energy went away after I recorded a podcast on the 2017 discography trip…) when I listened to this album and all these thoughts came to mind… I don’t think he’s done with me yet and I need to write more for this album before I move on. And also before I get terribly sick of it πŸ˜› it was kinda funny how when I started everything in 2017- February 6th or 7th, I think… I think my plan was to do an album a week, but I wound up spending almost 2 weeks on this one because I don’t listen to it much.
And the fascinating thing is- despite it being Prince’s first album EVER, it feels so far removed for me from a lot his albums. I think because I wasn’t there when it came out and it wasn’t my first time hearing Prince. And it’s also new for me. With the albums I’d gotten more recently or really took a listen to recently (Prince, Batman, C&D, The Vault, Crystal Ball, One Night Alone…Piano, 20TEN), I don’t quite see it within that progression of albums. Or at least I haven’t found a place for it.

Now, I think some of those elements were starting to finally come together. And I’m actively trying to connect the sounds here to what came later on.
Then I had this thought that opened a can of worms that plagued my mind all of yesterday:

For THE WORD (the working title for my book about Prince music that I’m trying to write), I’m still trying to figure out my direction. My unique voice. Because all these books on Prince (books I REALLY WISH were around when I got started in 2007) are starting to come out because he isn’t around anymore to sue people for defamation or all kinds of negative stuff. But I was trying to think how I want to address Prince in this book. How do I want to write about him? What content should it include? There are 100’s of angles and I’m sure I’ve touched on all of them on this blog… except straight up negativity. That’s not how I roll with him at all.

I looked through some of my older work I set aside for it (and most of it, I wrote fresh for the book, it’s not from this blog even though there’s 11 years of material on it now) and I’m not 100% sure I like what I have. A lot of it feels like a research paper where I’m incorporating what little I found of the DMSR book (practically the Prince Bible of the purple community, talking about the first decade or so of his career), the BBC Radio special narrated by Mica Paris, various interviews and people I’ve talked to on .org. And the other half is opinion-based. I tried to make it sound as professional as possible, but not making it too dry. I honestly don’t know. I don’t write the way I used to and my thought patterns on a lot has changed. The admiration is still there, but it’s evolved and has more information to back it up.

One problem I’m afraid I’m going to have is it being too much like a research paper and I don’t remember where a lot of my information came from. I figured I’d just have these sources and I’d reference them at the end. But I’ve also heard stuff from other fans- and I don’t think that’s stuff that will work in a published work. I’d have to look it up, but I don’t know if I can use conversations as reference material, especially since the information is all in my head. I don’t remember who I learned a lot of this from.
One thing I could probably do is Google myself (myself being DreamyPopRoyalty) and all those .org threads I started or contributed to and get the information from there, but that’s A LOT OF WORK. Plus, I don’t want to go back to that website. I’m still not 100% convinced it isn’t going to make my computer crash cuz it had previously (one time it was the home computer and I was banned by my parents from going there on that PC… we lost Internet for a month and I lost my mind… I wrote my Prince stuff on a Word.doc because I just couldn’t stop).

I think what I want to do now is to have actual facts come up only where they are relevant, make sure I know where that information came from… and the rest of it is just creative writing and essays.
Also another reason I don’t want to just do strictly facts, other than not knowing everything there is to know (my head is already pushing maximum capacity), that’s what everyone else is going to be doing. Matt Thorne went into EVERYTHING in his book, talking about songs that weren’t even released that he was somehow able to hear about or hear for himself. There was a lot of opinion in his book, so it gives me hope that I can do opinion stuff as well. Except my stuff will be mostly positive. He was a little too critical and when he was, it sounded over critical to the point of just being mean.
Per Neilsen of DMSR fame did his thing and I’ll leave people to try to find whatever they can from it (hopefully that book gets reissued).
And Duane Tudahl who recently published a book about the Purple Rain recording sessions and Alan Light who wrote “Let’s Go Crazy” about recording the movie… they did their thing and they did it really well. Incidentally, I wrote maybe 50 pages about Purple Rain and it was a summation of information from DVD commentary and behind the scenes… I also wrote a couple of essays about Vanity vs. Apollonia and how the movie might have differed with each of them in the lead, the inner and outer conflicts of the movie and so on… there was a lot there… After Alan Light did such a great job, I’d hate to step all over that and just repeat all the same stuff.

The thing is, though, that I’d gotten feedback from my writing from people who said that it make them look back through the music from a different perspective. And my perspective is unique because I came in towards the end of his career. I took advice from the fans themselves and everyone has an opinion, which is the cool thing about this community. People are very knowledgeable and they’re also very helpful and generous. Heck, half of my albums (maybe more) were gifts from them.
But as much as I want to do this book for them, I also want to do it for all the new fans. Everyone that will discover Prince in years to come. People like me who didn’t know a lot at the start and were very intimidated about him. Not just the vast volume of work, but him being such an enigma and as much a musical genius as a sexual deviant. Because of songs like Darling Nikki and Head and so on, there was this stigma about him that kept people from giving him a chance. And it’s why his name isn’t up there with Elvis or the Beatles, or Michael Jackson for that matter. A very overlooked and underrated artist. I’d like Prince to get the respect he deserves and doesn’t often get. As much as I’d love this book to actually happen and get published and I get accolades that might finally launch a writing career for me… my goal with this was to put something out there that wasn’t available for me in the beginning. You can listen to Prince until the sun comes, but even that isn’t entirely enough to get to know the artist. I wanted to be able to read something about him to give more insight. And there was very little.

In the end, though, I think this project will be dedicated to Prince and all the people who care about him, his music and his legacy. They’re the ones I’m writing it for and hopefully it’ll garner new fans who wouldn’t have given him a chance otherwise. I just think the trick with Prince is to keep an open mind. Not everything he says and does in his music has to make sense. But if you find a door you’re able to walk through and you like what you find, there’s plenty to explore. And the time might come where you decided you want to get to know another side of him. So many sides, so many angles, as is always the case…

From personal experience, I just wanted to know everything. I wanted a little of the 80’s where he was prevalent, a little of the 90’s for significant times in his life (professionally and personally) and a little of the 00’s- where he was at the time I was getting started. Prince at Present, I liked to call him. And whenever I think of him, that’s the version of him that generally comes to mind. From 2006-2007 when he appeared on American Idol and did the SuperBowl- two very impactful TV appearances for me. And also, the previous times I’d seen him were the 1999 video and footage from Purple Rain. I had no idea what he looked like in current day until that time. And while he was as spellbinding as he had been back then, there was this air of sophistication and confidence that just made me fall in love with him all over again.

After my first 4 albums (and a compilation), I picked out albums that were readily available, but I started to get intrigued about other periods in his career I hadn’t before. Like with Dirty Mind and Controversy- I started to learn how he started becoming “Prince” as the masses came to know him during that time. That was my first gift from another fan. And then I heard about the history of the Black Album and that was another. And it just kept building from there.

[hmm… a lot of this sounds like something good for the book… not this last paragraph, but the one above it]

So I spent a lot of the day jotting down notes about the songs from For You… I didn’t even have to listen to it. They were playing in my head and I put down what stood out in particular.
The entirety of the work I did for this album was just an intro (full of facts I need to actually check the sources for… how he blew the 3 album budget on this first album and spent A LOT of time working on it to make sure it was perfect… I don’t remember where I heard or read that, but I know that’s true… I really need to get my facts checked. But I also don’t want my book riddled with 1000’s of annotations like Matt Thorne’s was… I did kinda like some of them, though, where he added another sentence or two to a train of thought that would have made the paragraph too long, had he included it. But I spent so much time flipping back and forth- I don’t want another Prince book where people have to do that. Plus, it makes the reading process longer. A criticism he got was that the book was too long and maybe a little dry in places. I didn’t get that only because a) I love Prince so I didn’t find that boring and b) I asked for the book for Christmas and I proceeded to read through the course of ONE YEAR… it was informing every album I went through like the Peach & Black podcast had.

And I also did a page where I wrote a brief comment on each song from the album… and that was it. I don’t remember if it was my intention to just leave it like that (because of sheer laziness or lack of inspiration) or I always planned on going back, but just haven’t felt like it. Honestly, I think I was being lazy.
But being as inspired as I am now, I really can’t leave things like this. I have to write these things down.
And I also have to have something at the end that talks about what this album means for his career. Could you tell he was going to be a superstar based on this album? What common Prince elements got their start here? How brilliant was Prince at this time and which elements did he excel at more over time? Stuff like that…

So I wrote a little something down and I hope to get it on my laptop or flash drive some point soon.
I also listened to Peach & Black again (yeah, I couldn’t help it… plus, it’s been 3 weeks… I am clearly going through withdrawals, lol) to see if there was anything I missed.
I believe I have the bare bones of all the points I want to address anyway. However, I did have a couple of moments where Captain said something that I had actually written down. (Just wait- he’ll read this and he’ll say he wants royalties when the book becomes successful… I think in my acknowledgements section, I will have to namedrop a lot of people and everyone from Peach & Black will be there… only because I’d spent so much time talking with other fans that I’ve undoubtedly picked up some things they’ve said, so I will have to credit them where it’s due.
Off the top of my head, one thing he said that I actually had written down- they were talking about the first song and he said it was a “vocal showcase.” I also made a comment about how it’s an odd opening, wondering who he was addressing with the lyrics. MC went into that tangent as well. So I don’t know if I’m picking all this up directly from them- from a podcast I listened to a year ago… or it’s just lingo all Prince fans use anyway, so it’s hard to call shenanigans on copyright infringement. I think that might actually become a thing- Prince fan community lingo- all of us talk about Prince music roughly the same way.

However, aside from the issue of facts… the other issue about writing this book that’s bound to come up… I am not musically inclined. Before Prince, I had no idea what a Linn-drum or Oberheim synthesizer was, or falsetto or interplay or any of those musical terms. Now, I can certainly put up a Linn-drum when it’s used in a song (although in the later 80’s, Prince started using the Fairlight synth, so unless I know the history of the actual songs, I don’t know what instrument he used to create the beats.
My point is that I don’t want this text to become as dry as a dusty old musicology textbook (if there’s such a thing as a musicology textbook)… and I’m not a musical expert and I don’t want to become one in order to write this. I leave that stuff to Toejam (from the podcast) and the musicologists that will (hopefully) study Prince music for years to come. Talking about the elements used (unless I 100% for sure know what they are) and what chord or key something is in (I know the chromatic scale- Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do- and I know about flats and sharps- that they exist- but that’s basically it).
As has always been the case with Prince, I don’t want to be something that I’m not. I don’t want to learn a whole new language just to sound like I know what I’m talking about. And people at Rolling Stone don’t talk about keys and scales and chords when they write their articles, so why should I?
I know the majority of these songs so well and I know a lot of things about him in general… I just need to have my facts and sources straight so nobody can come after me to say that something is wrong or I’m an idiot who has no idea what they’re talking about. And the fact I never got to go to a Prince concert and I didn’t personally know him (I have two degrees of separation from him- only because I talk to a couple of people who actually got to meet him… but they aren’t people I know in person, just from online discussions) doesn’t make me any less of a fan. I certainly know a lot more than the casual fan who only owns Purple Rain or 1999. But I’m also not an expert like the people who run Princevault.com or the people at .org who own 1000’s of bootlegs and know the history of a lot of the songs that never saw the light of day… I’d heard rumors about some of them like “Wally,” which he supposedly wrote after he broke up with Susannah Melvoin- his fiancΓ©e as well as Wendy’s twin sister and later had Susan Rodgers (his engineer at the time) erase. But I don’t know about every single song he wrote. And I kinda don’t want to πŸ˜› like I said before, pushing maximum capacity enough as it is.

Now, it’s to the point where I’m rambling and I need to stop.
I think I did make the point I meant to in this post… Prince is such an incredible artist with so much music and a long career… there are so many angles ( #SoManyAngles… yeah, that’s never gonna trend, lol) to discuss him from.

With the actual songs, I would like to bring them to life for whoever’s reading using figurative language with some facts to back them up in case they’re needed. Ultimately, it’s all my own interpretation and I’ll try to leave myself out of it as much as I can. It’d be a very ego-tripping read if every paragraph said “I love this song” or “in my personal opinion” or anything super personal. Unless it’s something that brings a special light to the song that it might not have gotten before. But I also don’t want it to come off like I’m a crazy fanatic or a girl madly in love with Prince where no other man would do. It has to be level-headed, informative, but also entertaining and engaging… cake walk, right?

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FOR YOU- Prince’s 1st album- 40 years later…

Checking my Twitter feed throughout the day, everyone has been retweeting or simply mentioning the fact Prince’s career officially began 40 years ago on this day… April 7th 1978.

Everyone has to start from the beginning at some point, even Prince. And after going through his albums chronologically over the past year (and many of the albums several times on their own before that), it’s too mind blowing to even think about.
Did anyone have any idea what Prince would become- as a person and an artist and a part of the vast world of popular music? Did Prince even know what was in store for him- the degree of fame and fortune and the endless evolutions he experienced, that his fans were able to witness as the years went by?

But one thing I continue to struggle with… because I really wasn’t around during the beginning… by the time I was born, Prince was already on his 8th album, currently writing his 9th… my issue has always been trying to connect this album with all of the others he wrote. Was any groundwork set in this album that would foretell what we could have expected in the future? I’d like to believe there were some commonalities, but it might wind up being a pipe dream.
In my heart, I don’t see any true evidence of Prince as I came to know him until the Controversy album, where his lyrics left us with more questions than answers (Controversy, Sexuality and Annie Christian), where he’d kill a groove until it couldn’t take anymore (let’s work) or the steamy seductive bedroom ballad (Do me, baby). Previous to that, there were precursors like “Head” and “Sexy Dancer” that no one but Prince could do. But maybe they just lacked that spark- that combination of uniqueness and confidence.

And in my mind, For You still reads as a foreign concept to me. I spent maybe 10 days with it, longer than I thought I would simply because I haven’t listened to it as much as I should have. It wound up being my bottom ranked album simply because it wasn’t unique, strong or confident enough. The Prince I knew was barely present, sprinkled throughout the album, but for the most part, he remains an enigma.

By the time I do finish this post, it will be the 8th of April and maybe too late for anyone to give a damn… but I want to attempt to listen through the album today and try to collect more pieces to the puzzle. Because right now, the only extraordinary thing about this album that merits the continuation of Prince’s career… he wrote, sung and performed everything himself. Not to mention producing it so everything he sung and played would sound exactly as it did when he first heard it play in his own head.

***

You would think that there’d come a time where I’d simply run out of things to say about certain Prince albums and everything that comes after is just repetition of the same old stuff…
This is one of those albums where I think I’m always going to have something to say. When you’re trying to wrap your head around someone playing, producing and singing all of this at age 19 and thinking of all that came after, it’s hard to stop coming up with new things.

First off- I did this listen on headphones on my laptop, my eyes closed the whole time and my laptop is casting the only light in the room. So I am taking everything in. And I’m doing my best to focus on each song as it comes instead of trying to recall what has happened or what’s coming up.

This hadn’t happened any previous time, but something kinda special happened with this listen. Maybe it’s because a couple of people have posted this picture where Prince on the FOR YOU cover fades into Prince as he was at the end of his life- afro to afro. But there were a couple of songs where I very clearly saw Prince in my head singing them and it’s the late life Prince as he was during the Piano & Microphone shows. I didn’t see any footage of him from those shows (and never attended one myself- would have liked to if a nationwide tour had happened- I still suspect that was the plan…), but that’s how I pictured him. And it just happened- I didn’t intentionally conjure that image up.
It’s always been hard for me to put the two entities together because I didn’t know Prince from the 70’s all that well. But here I was picturing him as if he had written this songs recently instead of 40 years ago. It’s crazy, right? Anyway- just the fact he was here a couple of times throughout those 34 minutes… just want to say it was comforting.

The few songs where he appeared… In Love, Crazy You, Baby (briefly), and So Blue… the rest didn’t quite have that same connection, but the overall listen was very positive and I felt good about all the songs. Not that I get bored during this album, but I was invested the whole time. That’s always good.

So, to answer my own question of how much of a preview we got of Prince’s career just from this one album…

Honestly, 99% of it felt like it came out of vocals. I felt that common ground with his falsetto as I had with it in many of his other songs. Where I can feel that unique energy and it’s something special.
The lyrics were the weakest point of this album more than anything else. Most of the time, nothing terribly special. However, there were some songs where lyrics did work…
Musically, it’s very masterfully performed. That’s undisputable. But that unique stamp Prince has with his musical composition and performance, there weren’t many songs I got that from. But every now and then, there’d be something.

For You- the title track- all it is is a vocal showcase. There’s nothing particularly special about it. However, it is a gutsy, bold move for anyone’s debut on their first album. If I didn’t listen through albums like I do and I just listened to individual songs, nothing about this one would make me want to take it out and play it.
One thing that does stand out, thought… and I think it always has… the way he sings “my love with”… it’s a single isolated vocal… in fact, I think it is the only time in the whole song where Prince has an isolated vocal with no back-up at all, whether it’s an assisting vocal or a barrage of back-up. The way his voice breaks on that line, it just hits me. I’m sure there are many other instances where his voice sounds just like that and it’s in a part of the song where his emotion hits its peak and whether it’s a personal resolution or the song is about to finish, it’s a crucial moment.

In Love- Prince makes his first appearance… and when I saw him, I broke into a smile like I couldn’t help myself. I’ve always kinda liked this song. That synth hook always sticks in my head and when I come back to it after time away, it’s nice. The funny thing is that this song is so simple, something special, but something about it resonates with me. Clearly, because I pictured him singing this in my head today. And a couple times he has ended songs where he says “there’s nothing left to say” or something to that effect. He just follows the groove until the whole thing fades to black. It might seem like a cop out and often times it is, but I kinda like it here. (And when he uses it to end “Gotta broken heart again”… underrated song for sure). Another highlight is where a barrage of vocals come in that just say “ooh” on this really high falsetto note. I can’t connect it to any other songs at the moment, but I’m sure he had something similar a couple of times.

Soft & Wet… :sigh: so, confession… I really don’t care for this song… I never really did. Chris Moon wrote the lyrics for this and Prince set them to music. I read in Matt Thorne’s book how Chris Moon got this idea that Prince should do innuendos because it would appeal to the teen market. Granted, it is something that became a trademark for him. But while the intent in on point, the lyrics are just bad. I hate that first line, I hate the 3rd verse where he says “just as soft as a lion tamed and just as wet as the evening rain”… so cheesy and so stupid… probably the only thing I do like- when he says “leave me without… breath”… granted, Prince isn’t the only person who timed their vocal delivery to match lyrics in that well, but he had also done similar things after this. It’s one of those moments that just keeps you on your toes and you have to stop and think “oh, that’s clever”
I think this is a song that maybe could have benefited from being remastered with better sounding instruments. The production is a little too choppy for me. The combo of that synth hook and the percussion- it kinda feels like cheap 70’s disco. The best parts are that instrumental break halfway through and how the song ends with that synth and that vocal and that soft cymbal

Crazy You- Prince is back again… and this song would fit on The Truth so easily. There’s acoustic guitar and some interesting percussion things throughout.
There’s just something about Prince doing a ballad where the lyrics are so easy and simple, but he sells it with the right vocal to fit the situation. Also- I think he just did one vocal for this. So it feels a little more intimate than being surrounded by a million little Princes.

Just as long as we’re together- the very first time Prince came up with a killer groove and drove it into the ground over a long duration. I didn’t like this song the first couple times I heard it because it runs so long. But now that I know a little more about it, how it was the song he demoed for all the record companies… actually recording it for them to see his process… I look at this as musical mastery and it didn’t come off better on any other song on this album. It is a marvel.
Peach & Black talk all the time about interplay. This is the first time this is demonstrated successfully by Prince and many many songs would go on to follow this tradition. And he did it without Linn-drum. But he did have Oberheim synths, which I believe he used on the song 1999 where interplay was Hugely the reason beyond why that song is a masterpiece.
And when this type of thing happens, I try to fit the groove and I try to air play all the little moments. Most of them, I just recalled as they were happening. Some moments, I’m still not 100% on top of. But I’m still liking this more the more I listen to it.

Baby- another great lead falsetto vocal and I think he did briefly appear on this one… the only connection I find to later songs… there’s a breakdown that happens that he’d later bring back in the song “eye hate u” but he probably wasn’t aware he’d already done that music thing previously.

My love is forever- yeah, I remember that this song reminds me a bit of the Hustle. there’s a guitar solo in this. but beyond that, nothing else really sticks in my head whenever I try to recall it. it almost feels like it could have connected with the previous song, saying how he’ll never stop loving this girl and how she makes their love alive and such… I do like how the music changes up in the final moments and it’s a nice melody.

So Blue… I have dismissed this song so many times in the past… but I think with later listens, it’s been growing on me a lot more. And it’s down to that vocal. Prince appeared in this one for sure. The lyrics are very simple and it’s obviously an abandoned lover’s lament. But with a single vocal, Prince can sell almost anything and he’s been selling me on this. Picturing him just strumming away on acoustic guitar like he had on Crazy You, but with more sadness. The emotion in me had started building halfway through, but then he does this line “crying over you”… the second time he says it in this song, he hits this high now and some ad-libs at the end of it. The fact he’s able to bring that much emotion and make it resonate at the age he is here… when it’s something that’s become a trademark in many other songs he’d go on to write… that’s mind blowing to me. Heck, I was getting to that point, knowing it was coming… he got me cryin’… a single tear welling up in my right eye…
maybe because I was thinking about him and how because of him, I will spend the rest of MY life so blue…

I’m Yours is another of those songs I wish I could go back and edit or get remastered. I used to love this song, but now whenever I hear, all of its flaws overtake whatever’s good about it. His electric guitar prowess wasn’t where it ended up by a long shot. He was doing it to try to leave a big final impression, but I don’t think it comes off well. I get in the majority of his songs, where there is prolonged guitar action like this, he really wants it to mean something. He does it because his voice and lyrics can’t get the point across nearly as effectively. Here, I don’t think that and it’s just a means to an end.
And his vocals are so low in the mix that I do not understand what he is singing and that bothers me (not just Prince, but anybody- I want to hear and be able to understand lyrics as they’re being sung).
After a couple of verses and choruses, you have the main groove that repeats and with each go round, the electric guitar and accompanying instruments play something different. I really like that main groove with the bass pops and such, but the guitar is style with very little substance.


so overall, I guess I can say for now that while the instruments being used and the lyrics being sung have changed a lot over the years, in content and composition… Prince as a vocal performer has always had something special going for it, but those moments are few and far between. But when they’re on point, they are highly effective and they leave a really strong impression to come away with at the end.

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Reconsidering “The Word”- my unique perspective on Prince

Ok, I’m freaking out…
I’d been putting off writing this all day and now I’m finally going to do something about it. How well it’s going to come off, I really don’t know, but I’ll do my best to get my point across.
People in the business say that writer’s block is the result of fear, being afraid of how things are going to go or what people are going to say.
It may be easy when I’m really inspired, but even 11 years later (I think this blog will turn 11 within a matter of days… it was early April 2007), Prince is really hard for me to write about. I think right now there are just so many cylinders firing that it’s been keeping me from writing this. It’s been difficult.

I’m always honest on this blog, as honest as I can be… but I’ll just say that to be honest, I have been a wreck since I finished my journey through Prince’s music. All of it culminated in my podcast on Purple Knights (the part with my top 7 albums is up and ready to go… the part about my top 100 songs will be up shortly… I still can’t believe I did all those things in 3 hours of airtime… to complete that train of thought, I will post an accompanying entry when both are out and have been properly/fully listened to… I’d hate to post about all the items of discussion and have people read them without listening to the podcast. I don’t often do them and that’s pretty much as good as you’re going to get me in a situation like that. But for the parts that were either rushed or not clear, there will be a manuscript of sorts. I had notes in front of me the whole time and they will be here. Ok, moving on…)

This hasn’t been just because a year long project came to an end. In some weird sort of way, finishing this felt like losing Prince all over again. I was keeping his spirit very much alive and with me as I was going through the albums and reliving him through all those songs. (I’ll give one thing away that I didn’t get to on the podcast: between the albums and B-Sides and the one-off tracks I have hanging around… there were 466 Prince songs I wound up scoring and I mined my top 100 out of them).
But afterwards… it’s hard not to go into this without using a drug reference… it felt like self-medicating with alcohol, being under the influence or however else… I was under that for so long that after finishing with Prince, it felt like quitting cold turkey or it all being a medically-induced coma and waking up at the end of it. Either way, I leave Prince World after being sucked into it for so long and I’m back in a world without him. It’s almost as if his death became more real in that moment. He stayed with me for a little while, but soon enough, that feeling of familiarity was gone. I’d play an album or two, but that old connection felt like it’d been severed. That I cannot longer fool myself into thinking he’s still here when he isn’t.
Then there’s the fact April 21st is on the horizon. That day, I do plan to watch Purple Rain again. And I’ll do that on that day every year from now on. And if that day is during the week, I will take it off from work. I do not care what anyone says. Shortly after that, I will check out the extended deluxe edition of the Purple Rain album, so I’ll have that to occupy me for a couple weeks. But there’ll probably be this hangover situation again…

Yeah, it’s been really difficult. I’d been mentioning on Facebook about being depressed and because I’m now friends with some people from work, they’re concerned and asking every now and then if I’m ok. Between things ending with Prince and this HORRIBLE winter weather, it’s been a difficult past couple of weeks.
It just feels like I have nothing to be excited about anymore, no big project to keep me busy. Because this thing with Prince was a massive undertaking, but I was more than happy to do it. 10 years of fandom needed something special to commemorate it.
Other than taking that pilgrimage to Minneapolis, whenever the hell that’s going to be I have no idea, I don’t have much on the radar in my life to look forward to. That I really want to do. The long time goals of independence, finding love and getting married, and also getting a book published… those things will still take a long time to happen and I kinda need something more immediate. (Plus, those things are not easily attainable and with my personality and quirks and how I’m just afraid to step out of my comfort zone and engage with strangers, I see attaining those things as impossible)
I’ve gone through this issue a couple times before in my life where I’d be crushed by depression and I’d need some sort of project to keep me going through life. Something to keep me busy so I forget that things aren’t perfect.
I want to reiterate, though, that my life has a lot of good in it. Good job, family and friends, but something is still kinda missing for me. And I feel like I need to find it soon…

So right now, it’s really hard to focus. There’s so much I want to go into about Prince, that I still need to go into, but I don’t know how to narrow down that focus.

Going back to the title of this post… I forget how far into my career of fandom I was, but I boldly stated that I was going to write a book about Prince because there were none around. Thanks to his death, sadly there is plenty of literature around, so it makes this task seem pointless. I felt the same way when he personally announced he’d be releasing a memoir. (The state of said memoir, I have no idea. I heard he had 50 pages written. I’m betting he wrote more than that. Not the entire book, of course, but enough where it should still be published. As well as I know his music, I’d love to read Prince in his own words too).

Here’s fear and writer’s block cropping back up… I started to think to myself, as much as I’d love to have my voice represented in all the Prince literature that’s coming out now… I don’t think my personal perspective warrants an entire book dedicated to it.
I mean, how am I? I’m just an admirer of his work and him as a person. (It’s funny- when he was alive, I always called myself an admirer because he hated the word “fan” so much… now that he’s left us, I’m using “fan” all the time just because, dammit, it’s easier for people to understand that. It’s the classic term you use when you’re really into something somebody does). I am not a journalist. I have no professional or personal connection to him. I’m practically nobody. Why the hell would anyone want to publish my words about Prince?

All these thoughts come to mind… from the years I tried to get a fictional story published, I know that there are query letters involved (in non-fiction, they call them proposals) and agents and representation and so on. Nobody ever wanted to represent my book because they either had a full workload or my project wasn’t quite right for them. Being honest again- that rejection still hurts, a lot. And going over that story I wrote when I was in high school, yeah, it isn’t perfect. I tried to rewrite it a couple times, but I never got to the finish line.
I’ve started writing another fictional story completely separate from that, but I had no deadline for that. Now I’m afraid it’s never going to fully come together. And even THEN, would any publisher want me? It’s a controversial, less-than-perfect subject matter… there is some R-rated sexual content involved, which I didn’t do to be shocking or because sex sells… I did it because I felt it suited the storyline.

The only reason I can think to write and try to publish a book about Prince… there is an audience for it. There are a couple of other people who like Prince and his work who have liked my writing on this blog and when they engage with me on Twitter, they seem to like my direction and thought process.
But is this really worth it just for less than 10 fellow Prince fans? Or my family where the majority don’t even care about Prince that much, but they pay attention and ask me about him sometimes because they know he meant a lot to me.

So what I did over the last couple days: I went into my flash drive with all of the chapters I’d written for this so far. I have:

1. For You- a short chapter with a little blurb for each album track
2. Dirty Mind- backstory, fashion talk, and track by track discussion
3. Controversy- backstory, fashion talk, track by track discussion and whether it’s more like Dirty Mind or 1999
4. 1999- backstory, fashion talk and album discussion
5. Purple Rain- HUGE section, I think I wrote close to 50 pages of the movie and the album
6. The Black Album- backstory, album discussion and conspiracy theories
7. LoveSexy- backstory, track by track album discussion, and synopsis of the Dortmund concert
8. Diamonds & Pearls- band discussion, track by track album discussion
9. Symbol Album- album discussion, trying to find the storyline in the album and 3 chains o’ gold movie discussion
10. Come- album discussion
11. The Gold Experience- album discussion
12. The Rest of the 80’s- culmination of Crystal Ball, The Truth and NewPower Soul
13. Rave- so far only an introduction and track by track on Rave Un2 and with In2, just a few differences so far
14. The Rainbow Children- a little on Kevin Smith’s involvement and one interpretation I wrote on the album

That’s off the top of my head… that’s only 17 albums so far (out of the 38 I own, not counting any compilations, internet releases and protΓ©gΓ©/side projects). And together, that’s probably 120 pages so far with half of them on Purple Rain alone.

What it basically was- me going through Prince albums, but I had some backstory that I picked up either from discussion with others on prince.org, the D.M.S.R. book, the BBC Radio special “Prince: A Purple Reign” and Prince of Paisley Park. But I tried to write about the music objectively while occasionally trying to insert my opinion.
I wanted it to be an artistic discussion of the music, but not entirely focused on my own perspective. (Meaning I didn’t want to spend the chapters saying “I” a million times).
I wanted this to be something where non-fans could see Prince from a different perspective and maybe they’ll give him a chance. I wanted to debunk misconceptions about him being weird and unapproachable because of what he wrote about. I severely wanted other people to just appreciate him more than I felt they did. Sadly, more people seem to be doing that NOW when they weren’t when he was alive.

Then I started to think the other day… there is going to be a problem with me doing the book this way. All the sources I got my information from, not all of them are ones I can just click and access. And I don’t think I can submit fan comments or blanket comments under the “purple community” umbrella. That’s not going to be perceived as professionally. (I mean, Matt Thorne did say a couple times how some songs were fan favorites and he’d go on to say otherwise for himself… I can’t get away with that because I’m not a bloody journalist!)
But I’m also not going in by saying I think every Prince song is great. I want to reflect on the positive when possible, but I will be honest when something just doesn’t work for me. And I already had.

As far as I can tell, what I wrote about Dirty Mind and Controversy still hold even after all these years. With the Symbol Album, I might have to edit some things. I think I said it was one of my favorite albums and clearly it isn’t… it was in my bottom 10 Prince albums, to the best of my memory.
The Crystal Ball chapter, I started re-reading and not loving my approach. I tried to save time by pitting songs against similar songs and declaring which I thought was done better. I’m still not an expert on the album, but I know a little more than I did then.

In addition to the fan commentary being an issue… it’s going to be work about as well as hearsay in court. I don’t know if that’s something I’ll be able to put in the book and have publishers support it.
There was one other thing… and it started with Alan Light’s book on Purple Rain called “let’s go crazy”… that is such a good book and it discussed Purple Rain in such good detail that I really don’t need to bother myself. Meaning that a lot of my discussion on that project will have to be cut out because someone already did a far better job than I did.
But then, I do remember writing some interesting discussions… about Vanity vs. Apollonia, or analyzing the various conflicts within the movie, those things will probably will be good. But all the backstory stuff I got from DVD commentary and Behind-the-Scenes footage… I should probably cut out entirely because someone already did a better job of it.

Why I called it The Word, I can’t remember anymore… it’s not a JW thing and it wasn’t because it was my favorite Prince song ever (although it did chart very high in my personal scoring system)… but the more I listen to that song, the more I’m starting to get my own interpretation of it that is so apt for the book.
I’ll probably copy the words line by line and putting my own thoughts in brackets.

What is this exhalation?
That I just can’t explain.
What are these new inspirations
That I can’t get out of my brain?
How am I gonna sleep with this feeling
Rushing all through my veins?
Get up, c’mon, let’s do something.
Don’t you wanna go get saved?

[This verse describes me coming into contact with Prince. Not sure which encounter I’m thinking of, but either way, it was a big deal. Something about him just affected me so much and I didn’t quite know why, but I wasn’t getting over it and I wanted to find out more]

Tonight is calling you to react
Act upon every urge
You can’t get no satisfaction
if you ain’t got the courage.
I don’t know what you’re afraid of.
I don’t know what you’ve heard.
Get up, c’mon, let’s do something
Don’t you wanna know The Word?

[First two lines- something in me is wanting to take that extra step and finding out more about Prince. And I’m not going to be entirely happy or things won’t settle down until I do. 3rd line- I’m afraid because he has a long career and I’m thinking that it’s too late to catch up on everything. But he’s also an artist that is taboo and a lot of people think he’s weird. He’s saying to me that he doesn’t know why I’m afraid or what I’d heard about him and he’s encouraging me to give him a chance]

The bridge about the spiders spinning the sticky webs… I don’t know if I’d found my own interpretation for this train of thought yet…

Don’t matter how far you have
the truth has got to be told
No matter how shiny your lips
they’ll never be streets of gold.
They may try to get us crazy
cuz they don’t know what I’ve heard
We’ve got this new exhalation.
Talking about The Word.

[This coincides a little bit with a moment I had after listening to “Gold” and an interesting conversation took place as a result of it… he’s saying it doesn’t matter how far I go with this as long as I make my voice known. They’re not going to always be perfect, but you still need to say them. And there will be doubters and you need to not listen to them].

Somehow, I gotta figure out how to make these things work in terms of the book for my own personal perspective.
I started to have some of these thoughts during the week I was listening to 3121, but I didn’t give myself the opportunity to really spell it out like this.

All Prince fans have their own unique stories and perspectives. That much is true.
But since the beginning, my journey with him has always been a little unconventional and different than it was for everyone else.

…now’s to the part where it’s less self-deprecating and more self-satisfying… finally!

1. I’m unique in the fact that I didn’t immediately join the fan community the first time I saw him.

I attempted to count this a couple of times, but I believe that I encountered Prince on 7 different occasions before he finally stuck around.

*I saw the 1999 video the year of… the song and the visuals of the video stayed with me even after all the time in between times I’d seen it.

*I saw him in part of Purple Rain. I thought a couple of times of renting the movie from Blockbuster, but the one time I did remember, we were going to have company over for a wedding and my mom said it wouldn’t be the best idea. I just dropped it then and just for years, I completely forgot.

*He made that surprise appearance on American Idol that I had heard a possibility of, but never thought he’d actually do it because I figured he’d think he was above it. (That wound up being true, but he still came)

*Good Morning America- somehow I heard about that shortly after his American Idol appearance

*VH1 was counting down their top 100 80’s songs and I saw Prince for “little red corvette” and “when doves cry”

*The SuperBowl Halftime Show

*I was looking up SuperBowl commercials or something the day after the SuperBowl… bam! there was a website full of his videos… and that was that… ok, 8… I completely forgot about hearing “I would die 4 u” and “Baby I’m a star” a couple years before seeing them performed in the movie… that was such a pivotal thing, how could I forget? I wanted so badly for 7 to happen, that’s why.

My point is that I waited a LONG TIME before I decided to dedicate myself to finding out about Prince. I’d been curious about him for years. I’d known about him and the few times I saw him, they were all very positive. And they were infectious and being around him was unlike being around anyone else ever. I swear, that is not an exaggeration.
So why did it take me so long? I honestly don’t know. Either other things would always distract me or I just didn’t have that free time to stop and think about him and trying to find out more.
I always say that deep down, I knew I wasn’t ready for him yet. The vast amount of music he put out, it’d take me ages to catch up on everything. And I knew he was not typical and I might not fully get him, but I somehow wanted to know more. That curiosity was so strong.
And the fact I was so drawn to him resulted in me sticking around for as long as I have… because even though I did finally take that step to the other side and decide I was going to find as much about him as possible, it was not an easy thing to pursue. There were a lot of moments of doubt and there was difficulty.
And just maybe I wanted to be sure I was ready for him or that I just needed to reach a certain age where I’d be able to appreciate him. Thinking back to my view of music when I was a teenager… he’s so unconventional that I couldn’t have understood his unique artistry. And in the early days of my official fandom, there were some bits of that old mindset that kept me from liking certain songs. They were too long or repetitive, to give one example. I didn’t like a lot of really long songs when I was younger. The Moody Blues had a couple songs on their greatest hits album that we had in the car a lot… they ran 5-8 minutes long and there wasn’t a lot of variation or anything in them that I could really grasp and enjoy. Then around the same time as I found about those two Prince songs, there was Disco Inferno… which ran for 9-10 minutes… after the first three minutes, it was all instrumental and it was repetitive and I hated it. Which makes me believe that I might not have liked Purple Rain when I first heard it in the movie because he took so long to get through it. Heck, I didn’t like “Baby I’m a star” at first because a) I liked the previous song better and b) he kept ending it and starting it up again… that song is only 4 or so minutes long and I was already sick of it by the time the multiple endings came…

I think I’ve made my point… sorry about that… just couldn’t stop myself…
What I’m trying to say is most fans hitched themselves to Prince’s star (I think that’s the saying…?) after seeing or hearing him once. I had to encounter him multiple times before I finally did that.
Maybe that’s just a testament to how finicky I am as a person and it takes me a while to warm up to things. I can’t be sure.

I’m unique in my own personal scope of music. I grew up around The Moody Blues and Bruce Springsteen (we played them so much in the car that I really can’t stand to listen to either anymore… although there are a handful of songs I will still enjoy). I grew up in the 90’s during bubblegum pop, Britney Spears and boy bands. We also got Pure Disco parts one and two, so some of those songs had been with me since I was a teenager as well. I started paying more attention to singer-songwriters because those were the types of artists my dad personally liked. And I think I wanted to find someone that he’d accept instead of just rolling his eyes like he did at all the boy bands I liked.
Nowadays, I still very much love pop music, but I’m much more selective than I used to be. (And Prince is to blame for some of it… I think he’s the best there is, so nobody will be able to compare to that).
And I’m also kinda unique in the respect that I didn’t grow up around Prince like so many other fans had. He’d been in the background, I’ll say, since 1999… but only coming out of my subconscious when he personally appeared in front of me. There are also a couple of artists that were established in an earlier time that I got into. I’m not serious about many of them (just Hall & Oates and Depeche Mode, I think). But I will sometimes get interested in older artists that aren’t as relevant as they used to be. But I think that’s something Prince might have started… yeah, the only non-current artist in my album collection that predate Prince is Rick Astley.
Let’s just say my tastes in music are very different than most people my age. Not just me not like hip-hop, but I don’t like a lot of current stuff. I like some, but not a lot. Half is thanks to my dad and half is thanks to Prince.

But I think what makes me the most unique among that community… I was probably the worst possible candidate to become part of this fraternity/sorority of Prince fans because of… I want to call them personal quirks, but that isn’t quite right. I mean to say that the kind of artist Prince was (particularly in the first half of his career- Dirty Mind through The Gold Experience, roughly) the least compatible with me as a person.
This is going to sound weird… it’s hard to explain my personality when it comes to certain things.
I’ll preface by saying that I didn’t grow up in a religiously strict household.
But I do not like cursing. I don’t like it in music or in movies. I did it very rarely from memory, but on the occasion I did, I got in trouble. So it was odd to go off to college and find one of my professors was cursing in conversations with students. Not so much that it was dropping f-bombs every other word, but a curse word or explicative had been once or twice in a semester.
I do not like nudity or sex in movies or overly lewd sexual language. From memory, I don’t remember encountering much of it, but the few times I did, I was uncomfortable about it.

I didn’t find out until I’d already gone through the door that Prince was the type of artist who did a lot of those things that I really didn’t like or feel comfortable around.
The Gold Experience was an album that was very difficult for me to like at first because it was a culmination of all those things. I wrote my reactions to it on Housequake and one or two people wrote back saying that I wouldn’t get through any of Prince’s music if I couldn’t handle what was on that album.
It was a serious conflict and I had a complete breakdown over it… then there came a moment I’ll never forget where, whoever it was that reached out to me, it was a spiritual encounter and whoever that person was, they told me everything would be ok and I could do things at my own pace and not have to worry about what everyone else thought of my views.

To this day, I will still look for approval of my opinions to feel validated… but after that, I think I just stopped caring what everyone else thought. I would take new albums on my own time and block everyone else out until I knew how I personally felt. I took ownership of my opinions.

As for the lewd content… it took a year or two, but all the issues I had… for the most part, those issues went away. At least with Prince’s music. I’d listened so much that I’d become desensitized. And I can see how he used artistic expression to make things not come off as filthy or offensive.
Ironically, Prince stopped cursing after he became a Jehovah’s Witness, but now I will occasionally curse… no f-bombs or worse than that… but I’ll say “hell” and “damn” and “shit” occasionally happens or I’ll say someone on some show is being a bitch because she’s being mean to a character I like… I thought I’d try for Lent to stop doing any of that and even pseudo-curse words… nope, I couldn’t even do that. I made it maybe 3 days. It’s not as if my language is laced with expletives, but it’s like I don’t know how else to react to certain situations without certain words and usually I’m just talking to myself in the car while this is going on.

I did have a big point to this… and it was the fact that I actually changed FOR Prince. I am not the same naΓ―ve person I was when I “met” him or started getting to know him. My personal sexual experience is still zero. But I guess you could say that I started testing those boundaries of what I was comfortable with as far as media goes because of him. And a story I’m working on is about that as well… exploring those topics and experimenting with them.
How they’ll translate into real life… I have no idea… I sure as hell am not going to have sex with the first person I date.

So the point of this whole post… it’s not just me venting, I promise.
I think I can offer a unique perspective on Prince because I’m not your typical music fan or your typical person. I’m uncomfortable with a lot of things in life in general… one of those things is just talking to people and starting up any sort of conversation verbally. There are certain people I feel comfortable enough around where I can freely do that, but there are not enough of them. And they’re mostly family members. Prince has helped me overcome some of that, but only in small doses and in certain situations that don’t come up all that often. Certainly not often enough.

How I’ll progress with Prince from here… I really don’t know… it’s getting a little more difficult to be around him just because it hasn’t been the same lately. He’s not as present as he used to be and the energy is different. But I do feel like he is still around, somewhere.
As is often the case with him, I think I just need to let go and let things happen on their own.

Yeah, this is way too personal to share on Facebook…

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“Better With You”- Jesse McCartney’s New Song

This is going to be a quick post… at least I’m hoping it will be. It’d be kinda silly to write a novel about a 3 minute song.

I don’t know what kind of audience this blog has, but for those who are used to reading either the Prince discussions or the figure skating stuff… Jesse McCartney was the main artist I’ve followed for a long time. Since September 2001 when he was part of Dream Street and beyond.
I was heavily into that group for only a year when they broke up. They gave me a lot of happiness through that one album and the loss of them was devastating. Something I didn’t get over for many years… mainly because it coincided with a time in music where there was nothing I could connect to or identify with.
Jesse was my last connection to that group because he was the most successful of the five guys in their solo careers.
His second album in particular was a constant companion in 2007-2008. The kind of album where I’d put it in my CD player and just lay in bed in my dorm room between classes (ok, I did this one time) listening to it.

His last album was In Technicolor back in 2014. I didn’t quite get into the previous album like the previous one and I saw this last album as a return to form. Me slipping back into an old pair of shoes or a jacket I hadn’t worn in years.

So fast-forward 4 years later… I’ll go into more detail on another Prince-related post, but I have been feeling like a mess since finishing up with his albums. Life is good, but there feels like there’s something that’s been missing.

Now, I’m not saying that “Better with You” completely fixed everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.

At first, there was this “oh-no” moment where he opened with saying how people are on the news arguing different points of view. I was SO afraid he was going to be yet another artist talking way too much about current events where there is so much negativity against people who don’t share your point of view.
Thankfully, it was just to preface the state of mind in this song. And oddly enough, it felt VERY close to my personal state of mind.
The basic message of the song is about not feeling completely right, still feeling like a mess, but having that special person with you makes everything seem brighter.
It’s odd because Jesse had something special that few other artist had for me: the things he sung about, the subject matter he approached… they were things I personally related to and I’d use similar words and phrases to describe how I felt. This song wasn’t a 100% match, but it came very close to how I’m currently feeling.

And hearing his voice again for the first time in a couple years (I think it had been over a year… I started on my journey through Prince’s music last February and just weeks before that, I listened to the Dream Street stuff), all the sadness I’d been feeing lately and the reasons for it felt like they went away. I was just too elated and into his voice to pay attention to anything else.

What I will say… he started out in pop with the first two albums, the third was more R&B with some hip-hop influences (bleck! still not quite over that rough transition of an album even though there are some good things on it I like a lot), and the 4th album had a mix of everything, but no hip-hop.
This new song and direction sounds like he might be going back to his roots or at least a singer-songwriting type of direction. I picture him on a stool strumming an acoustic guitar while performing this… to my knowledge, Jesse doesn’t play an instrument… I wish he did because he could be taken a little more seriously by people I know if he did. Nowadays, I don’t know how many people successful in music do anymore. Gaga plays piano and Taylor Swift does piano and guitar, but their hits on the radio are more pop-driven and real instruments don’t always get that chance to shine.

But I digress… I’m hoping that with “Better with You,” Jesse will be having a new album come out this year. And that’ll give me something, at long last, to look forward to. There’s been very little of that lately…

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2018 World Figure Skating Championships

I guess it’s that time again… and with the comings and goings of this year’s competition, it’s sure to be interesting. Although it’s still going to be VERY likely that Alina Zagitova is going to win gold… but after seeing her short program, perhaps some fatigue between the competitions is beginning to show.

I took the day off because we were expecting another snowstorm, but I think I also needed some time off as well. It’s been a rough couple of days for me just from a mental standpoint. Hopefully springtime weather won’t be far behind and it’ll stick around for more than a week.

I looked ahead to see who would be competing and the starting order. Evgenia Medvedeva, I read a headline saying she withdrew from worlds and I was really feeling bad, thinking that she still wasn’t over her loss at the Olympics. It turns out that her foot is still bothering her and she needs time off the ice to physically recover. Karen Chen withdrew for some reason (probably fatigue between competitions- she did have a poor showing at the Olympics) and Ashley didn’t take advantage of her spot as the first alternate. On Twitter, she said she needed to take a break from international competition to regroup. I can get behind that. That doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed to not see my favorite skater attempt to redeem what’s been a disappointing season. I know she’s been taking it pretty hard, so I wish her well and hope she has her best season ever come next time.

By the time I tuned it, I had missed Gabrielle Daleman, but she was in first place for a while. Probably was a good thing because I hated her Carmen music with that annoying woman singing it. I know it’s an opera, but her vocal was way too elaborate for my tastes and it was like nails on a chalkboard.
I also missed Bradie Tennell… I didn’t even see her name when I looked through the entries, but I don’t think I was even looking for it. She was in 2nd place.
Mirai Nagasu did not attempt the triple axel and settled for a double, but overall she did well, but not her personal best.
Mariah Bell, who took the alternate spot, had some dodgy landings, so it didn’t come off as well as it had in the past.
Wakaba Higuichi from Japan, she started well, but had issues later in the program.
Carolina Kostner had, what I believe to be, her personal best ever. She broke 80 points (which had been known exclusively as Medvedeva-ville until Alina Zagitova came along… now Johnny & Tara just call it “Russian”). I think Carolina got a good boost from having home ice advantage (it takes place in Milan, Italy this year and she had a lot of support in the audience). But she was also flawless. I hadn’t seen her skate that way in ages.
Alina Zagitova… I started to see how her program with all the jumps in the 2nd half worked… it’s like there were two halves of the program and you could see both parts individually- the components and the technical. But on components, I think she isn’t quite there yet. She’s very composed and poised, but she also needs to engage the audience, skating through her fingertips (as Scott Hamilton had once said about Plushenko after he came back from winning Olympic gold and he learned more about engaging the crowd from doing shows) so her energy reaches the rafters. But the one thing that made a difference- she had to fit to land the second jump in her combination. It was the smallest of details that have her in 2nd place at the moment. And my belief… the only reason she is dominating other skaters who skate clean is the 10% bonus for all her jumps. If her programs were set up in a fair, conventional way, her margin of victory wouldn’t be nearly as large.
Maria Sotskava has done better than she showed, but she was still good. The interesting thing of this competition was how every skater seemed to be getting 3rd place, but none could touch the top 2.
Kaetlyn Osmond oddly had an off day. I don’t know if it’s fatigue between the Olympics and now, but she wasn’t as clean as she had been. And I was actually counting on her to do well.
Satoko Miyahara skated last and she had those under rotation issues, but as always, she was delicate and poised and beautiful to watch. I freaking love her and I hope with the standings as they are that she can fight her way back to the podium.

The guys will be tomorrow. I already knew Adam Rippon opted out and it sounds like Jason Brown and Ross Miner had as well. So the next alternate was Max Aaron. I really hope he’ll bring out his best so he could get some personal redemption for himself.
Interestingly, Javier Fernandez opted out as well. Not sure why. He didn’t say anything on Twitter. But with him not here and Yuzuru not going because he’s still dealing with injury… it’s an open field.
If I had to put my money on anyone, it would be Shoma Uno for the gold medal. He has the most experience of the Quad Revolution. Boyang Jin doesn’t have strong components, but he could finally get better than third place, which would be nice. I’m sure the two Russians will be hungry to do better than they did at the Olympics. Dmitri, I wouldn’t count out. And Alexei Bychenko could do well also.
Which leaves Nathan Chen. He was the junior world champion in 2015, but his appearances at worlds at the senior level hasn’t been particularly good. However, if he skates his best, I think he could win. But nothing is guaranteed. And you also can’t rule anything out. After these Olympics, ANYTHING can happen and with the men involved this year (and Patrick Chan isn’t among them- another notable absence)… and I am excited to see how it plays out. It’ll give an opportunity for someone who hadn’t had that degree of success simply because of the biggest names that won’t be there.

After much ado (the gymnastics competition airing beforehand ran long), the mens competition started.

Daniel Samohin skated first in this broadcast. He had a killer quad to start, but his triple axel and second quad didn’t come out well.

Vincent Zhou FINALLY had a clean short program, nailing all his jumps. They might nail him on under rotation in a spot or two and had a little stumble in his step sequence. But he landed on his feet on each jump. I was so thrilled after that last jump, I can’t even say πŸ˜› #HappyDance
96.78- 57 and 39… they took a while to get his scores, so they were definitely reviewing some things. But definitely in first by far. I was just thinking how he nailed everything technically, but he was a little nervous so he won’t get huge points on his components. but he looked much more comfortable here than he had at the Olympics, I think because he had been to a couple junior world championships before this.

Max Aaron
all of his jumps had little issues with them, they didn’t get positive grades of execution, but he was on his feet on all of them. He’s the kind of skater who needs the technical to work out in order to stay in contention and I’m not sure if he’ll make a dent. Certainly isn’t going to beat Vincent, but it’s a respectable skate for anyone at this level. It’s just not at the extraordinary extra level where Javi and Yuzuru and Shoma live. I noticed that some spins only got level 2’s and his step sequence only got level 3… it’s kinda nice having that on the screen so I can compare. He definitely isn’t the best at components, but he always fights for excellence in what he’s good at.
79.78- 40 and 38

Deniss Vasiljevis
no quad, but a perfect program. really nice jumps with great GOE’s. Each time I see him, he’s even more mature and it’s hard to believe that I first saw him as a junior skater. Stephane Lambiel has done so great with him and I hope that partnership continues to have great results like I’m sure this is going to be.
84.25- 43 and 41

Keiji Tanaka
I don’t often write about him because he’s not one of those skaters I actively watch and he’s also been very inconsistent. He popped his triple axel into a double, but otherwise, this was the best I’d seen him. His music “memories” by Gary Moore is really powerful with the guitar work and such and I don’t know if he fully gave into the emotion of that… but he carried himself with confidence and that’s all I can really ask.
80.17- 40 x 2

Misha Ge
his landing on the triple axel was a little rough, but he was on his feet. otherwise, a flawless BEAUTIFUL program with so much emotion. And the commentators were really giving him props for all the success he’s had this year doing things on his own terms and focusing on what he’s good at: artistry and emotion
86.01- 43 and 42- 3rd place

Keegan Messing from Canada, they didn’t show, but he’s currently 2nd with 93 points even.
One group left and I think I have all the names already written down from just looking at the list of competitors… it’s just about the order.

Mikhail Kolyada is first to go in this final group.
And he is out for redemption. He took out his quad lutz and opted for the toeloop combination instead. Every jump was solid and everything just came out right. At the end, he looked very satisfied with himself. I was just thinking how great it’d be for a Russian to win this competition… they haven’t done that since Plushenko competed… not to get too far ahead of myself, but if he nails his free skate just like this, he could be in the conversation for that and I’d be over the moon for it. Even if it’s at the expense of Nathan Chen πŸ˜› these competitions are so much fun because I have many different skaters in the game and I never know which one is going to deliver the goods at the end of the day.
100.08- 54 and 45… whew! that’s incredible!

Alexei Bychenko
Another really good program from him. great jumps and energy with this really fast Jewish Folk dance music.
He’s one of those skaters you can never count out, especially when he’s performing at this high a level. And he’s 30… he doesn’t have Plushenko’s history of injuries and that’s probably what’s given him the advantage in this age. And it’s almost as if he’s gotten even better as he’s gotten older. That’s just crazy to me.
90.99- 48 and 42- currently in 4th place and I think this is the first time he’s broken 90 points.

Nathan Chen
whew, he had a great short program to start this competition off. not perfect landings on his jumps, but he fought for each one and sold this program. Definitely putting himself in good position for the free skate here.
101.94- 57 and 44… ok, he’s in 1st place, but not by a whole lot

Dmitri Aliev
there’s this stupid rule I keep hearing about… something about not being able to repeat a jump… I thought you were able to do a jump twice, once alone and one in a combination. supposedly the rule now is that you can’t repeat any jump in the short program… so he lost 9-10 points on an invalid element (a toe loop he meant to be a quad, but only got a triple). The triple axel was a little scratchy, but he landed it. A solid program except for that jump that got zero points… grr… so unfair!
82.15- 39 and 42… 11th… ouch… and he’s probably going to be in 13th by the end of today. his quad lutz was also under rotated

Boyang Jin
the only issue I saw with that performance was his quadruple toe loop, which looked a little off and it was very close to the boards (I was afraid he was gonna hit them), but he had another solid performance overall and he’s going to be in contention for sure for the podium, potentially to win. He definitely has a chance to get better than 3rd place. I feel like each time I see him, I like him even more, but it also helps that some programs have allowed me to see his personality come out and he seems like a nice guy with a great sense of humor to be around.
95.85- 53 and 42… aww, I thought for sure he’d break 100, but that components score tends to let him down and supposedly his 2nd quad was a little under rotated

Shoma Uno
oh man… just one element gave him issue and it was a combination in the middle of the program- a triple salchow-toe loop… it was a little dodgy in the middle of the two jumps. But the rest of the jumps were so good. I think his artistry will keep him in the conversation, though… he should still break 100, I think.
94.26- 47 and 46… but he’s 5th place… uh, yeah… I hope he can bring things around in the free skate because he’s definitely capable of it…

with things as they are, I think Nathan, Vincent, Mikhail, Shoma and Boyang all have a shot to win. They all have the technical content to do so, it’s just a matter of who performs the best program. Dmitri could potentially still medal, but he’s going to need A LOT of help.

I’m going to predict for the medals…

I think Shoma is going to still win… Nathan will get second and Mikhail Kolyada (just based on how inconsistent he’s been this season) or Boyang will get 3rd.
Vincent isn’t as good on components yet, but if Mikhail has a bad free skate and Vincent kills it, he could get on the podium.

Ok, time for free skates from the women’s competition.
They’re going to show the top 12 from the short program.

Loena Hendrickx from Belgium is up first. Mariah Bell is the current leader.
I mean, her program was really jump-heavy in the second half. Not all of her jumps, but it felt like there were a lot in a row with very little choreography and few transitions in between. It wasn’t as nice to watch, but she hit every jump and probably will get a new personal best out of this. She had a lot of jumps with her hands aloft and it made me miss the fact Evgenia Medvedeva couldn’t be here. Nobody does the hand over head as beautifully as her.
192.31

Elizavet Tursynbaeva from Kazakhstan
oh man… she had a couple of landings that were a tad off and one axel was a single instead of a double, but she was on her feet the whole time and didn’t break form the entire time. coupled with her skating to “The Prayer,” it was a really beautiful image and I’m getting teary thinking about it.
186.85- 61 and 63- 2nd place

Nichole Schott from Germany
the first fall I’d seen all night with some struggles on landing jumps, but a nice program overall. (don’t have much more to say cuz she’s not a skater I comment on often)
174.13- 53 and 59- 4th place

Bradie Tennell
whew! this is the skate she should have had at the Olympics. you can nitpick on the landings of some jumps, but she was on her feet for each one. A really nice performance and her reaction at the end was everything. She’ll place well for the moment, but she doesn’t have the components yet to make the podium. There is talk, though, that depending on our placements overall, we could still get 3 spots for the next world championships. I think they said the top skaters had to finish with placements that added up to less than 13.
199.89- 65 x 2- first place

Mirai Nagasu
phew, made it through. no triple axel attempt and some jumps had sketchy landings, but she was on her feet for each jump and gave this performance everything.
187.52- 57 and 64- dang it, only 3rd place. The technical panel was really critical, taking her total down by 13 points according to the commentators

Wakaba Higuichi
wow… I hadn’t seen her much, but this is easily the best I’d seen her. She’d had a couple of issues with this Skyfall free skate. This time, she hit all her jumps, almost perfectly and really brought the fire and emotion in the final moments. And she’s breaking down now after doing so well. I mean, I’m so sick of hearing Adele on the radio, but I love when this song is done so well, done justice like this. I love when music has the perfect visual to accentuate it. Times like this.
210.90- 74 and 70… wow- 1st place… awesome job!

So it’s down to the final six:

Kaetlyn Osmond
she had a couple of rough jumps early on in the program, including a double axel-triple combination she got negative GOE’s on, but she gained a lot of steam in the second half. She’d had difficult free skates in the past, but this year, she’ll make a quick mistake and the rest of the program would be flawless.
223.23- 75 x 2… dang… ok, beat that, guys.

Maria Sotskava
another nice skate until one of her last jumps. it was an awkward landing where her legs kinda split over the ice. I don’t think it’s enough to take the lead
196.41- 58 and 67- 4th

Gabrielle Daleman
dang, that was another shaky program. no falls, but she looked off on a bunch of her jumps and she was not going to give anything up after the collapse she had in the Olympic free skate.
196.72- 57 and 67- 4th place

Satoko Miyahara
it was the typical beautiful skate. But in the second half, something started to feel a little bit off and I was suspecting she was going to have a fall. And she did have one. Oh man, I hope she doesn’t lose that bronze medal again over this…
210.08- 64 and 72… 3rd place with 2 skaters left 😦

Alina Zagitova
and I had a feeling that Alina coming off the Olympics was potentially going to cause a problem, doing this competition so soon after that.. she fell three times, more than any of us had seen her. Between that and not having Evgenia at the competition to push her to be her best, I think all that contributed. After a while, I think this technique of doing all the jumps in the second half is going to take its toll and skaters just can’t maintain it.
207.72- 62 and 69… whoa… off the podium… 4th place with one skater left…

Carolina Kostner… this is hers to lose, I think.
Not sure how this is gonna go… she got tired in the second half of that and had a couple of falls, one would have been a three jump combination… I kept thinking how this was fated, for her to win the title on home ice… now I’m not so sure. Earlier when Alina was having difficulties, the crowd was clapping and willing her to go on and I was thinking “you guys do realize you have your own skater to support, right?” although that is great that the crowd is so supportive of all skaters when they’re having issues during a performance.
Alexei Mishin is there with her at the kiss & cry, hadn’t seen him in a while, not since she returned to her home country to train.
208.88- 54 and 74- oh wow… 4th place…
so Satoko does get a medal, just not the way I would have imagined. But really good for her and Wakaba Higuchi. And wow, Kaetlyn Osmond having all kinds of issues, but others better than her usually made more mistakes.

Wow, this has been one crazy competition and it’s probably going to get crazier tomorrow.

As of the broadcast, Dmitri is in first place with 252.30 and Max Aaron is 3rd.
This means Dmitri got 170.15 in his free skate, which could break down to 85 on both marks… it’s a decent score, but it could be better. If not for that stupid role where you can’t repeat a jump outside a combination, he’d have had at least 10 more points in his total.
This is an impressive score, though. But it’d be better 10 years ago πŸ˜› now we’re at the level where 300+ totals are a thing. Oh, 86.29 is Dmitri’s technical score that everyone will be chasing… 83.86 for artistry, so his jumps really served him well today. That makes me happy πŸ˜‰

Alexander Majorov from Sweden, they’re showing first. Some really strong jumps. Supposedly he’s Russian, but he and his family moved to Sweden. I can definitely see that Russian technique on his jumps. Wow, the crowd’s really getting into this program towards the end. The music was mostly serious James Bond type music and then at the end, there was this burst of enthusiasm with a change in music. He’s in 4th place

Kazuki Tomono is skating for Yuzuru with West Side Story as his music.
If I had seen him as a junior, he was just one of many names that I have trouble keeping track of. I certainly don’t remember anything like this. His technique was flawless and he did the jumps with as much ease as Yuzuru, but he looks like a younger Shoma. Oh man, the men’s field in Japanese skating is STACKED- they’re going to be dominating for a long time. That was brilliant and the crowd really got behind him.
256.11- 94 and 79- wow- season’s best and the new #1 in the field… I looked through previous entries and I have seen him before. He’s a skater I keep forgetting about. I said he was a showman and his jumps needs some polishing (no problem with that now… yeah, I said he was a future star and I’m really seeing that now. Won’t be forgetting him again)

Paul Fentz from Germany doing his Game of Thrones program.
He started to get tired towards the end of the program, but he did well overall. Some strong jumps and he fit the character of the music well, but he didn’t quite maintain that all the way through.
7th place

Gotta say, though, Ryan Bradley kinda sucks as a commentator. All he really does is name all of the jumps and talking about how important it is to get the free leg back on jumps. I’m not really learning anything new or being entertained. It’s just meh… WHERE ARE JOHNNY & TARA?

Deniss Vasiljevs
a clean program and extremely entertaining. This is a really appreciative crowd anyway, but there were some great roars when he really opened up at the end of it. Hit all the jumps nicely and didn’t miss a beat. The only thing he’s missing is a quad- he opted not to use it to do a clean program. Brilliant, though. Even if it’s unacknowledged I should tweet Stephane Lambiel just to applaud him for taking this already talented skater to the next level. He was great as a junior, but he’s even better in this new coaching situation. Just wow…
254.86- 2nd place- with a season’s best too

Misha Ge
He had a slightly sloppy ending on his final jump- a double axel, but another brilliant performance with such ease and poise. Beautiful to watch, amazing artist… I’d pretty much said everything about him I could say. He’s one of my favorites to watch and I’m going to miss seeing him on the ice. He was very happy and kissed the ice and bowed to it at the end, his way of saying goodbye.
249.57- 4th place

Alexei Bychenko
he was starting to show a little wear and tear towards the end, probably from the Olympics… his triple axels were a bit of a mess in the second half of the program, but lots of great moments in between. Very strong skating.
258.28- 86 and 81… but still in first place… brilliant.

Looking at the standings so far, Dmitri is in 4th… so the latest he can finish is 10th overall. Which certainly isn’t terrible. Depending on where Mikhail finishes, Russia could potentially get 3 spots for next year. But at the very least, they’ll secure two. It’s taking a while, but they’re finally starting to rebound after that long drought after Plushenko retired.

the two Americans will be skating last… Vincent has 5 quads planned, 3 in a row.
Nathan has 5 planned with 2 in a row, 3 in the 2nd half.
Oh man, I’m getting so excited already πŸ˜€

Keegan Messing from Canada is up first. skating to Charlie Chaplin.
He was the one person I didn’t want to crack the podium just because he’s not in the Revolution and he’s not one of the skaters I actively watch. He had issues with a lot of jumps. Mostly his quads. He had three planned, doubled two of them and he slipped off the edge of the last one. He looked a little tired towards the end.
5th place

Shoma Uno is up next… oh boy, I hope this is good… I want the final placements to be decided because of everyone doing well and it’s just down to their technical merit at the end.

That wasn’t an easy skate for Shoma. He looked like he was really off his game, tired from doing the Olympics… he fell on his two opening quad attempts and he slipped off his 3rd quad. However, after that point, he just fought through all the jumps and gave it everything. Ryan Bradley was saying after the 3rd failed quad that it was a heartbreaking skate to watch… I didn’t find that at all. I know Shoma has so much fight and resilience in him that he’s not going to quit until after he takes the final position. He is just that good.
He’ll for sure get the lead here, but keeping it is going to be another matter entirely. Especially when 3 of the final skaters are in the Revolution with 4-5 quads in their arsenal.
273.77- 94 and 88- yeah, first place… man, he looks exhausted… give that guy a bed to get as much rest as he needs

Boyang Jin
geesh, what the frick is going on?! Now it’s getting to the point where the medals will be given to the people who suck the least… that’s the last thing I wanted for this competition…
he fell on all of his quads, almost hitting the wall each time. The mistakes just kept piling up… there’s no way he’ll get on the podium
223.41- 63 and 73- whoa, 9 points in deductions and only 16th place… OUCH! That’s freaking terrible… especially since he relies so much on that technical score.

Mikhail Kolyada
Another rough program… but he didn’t give it up entirely… he fell on all his quad attempts, but had some strong moments sprinkled in between. I think it should be enough to give him first place, but it’s not going to be a safe placement.
272.32- 86 and 88… oh man, he’s in 2nd… well, Russia will get 2 spots for next year’s competition for sure… yikes… I hope Nathan and Vincent don’t have any of these issues and have the best skates of their lives.

Vincent Zhou
several jumps were falls… I’m getting really annoyed with the commentators at this point, talking about all the bad things happening, how “heartbreaking” it is… just shut up!
235.24- 66 and 76… 13th place… wow… and we’re only getting 2 spots for the men because of that…

Nathan Chen… c’mon, Nathan! You got this!
he had 6 quads attempts with 5 of them being clean… phew… that was incredible. There were no nerves at all, he just went out there and killed it and he’s going to have one of the top all-time scores.
321.40- 127.62 and 91.84… oh man, he won and in epic fashion…

yeah, Max Aaron is in 11th so that secures us 3 spots…
looking at the rules… it depends on how many skaters you have. If you have 2 or 3 skaters, you get 3 spots if you have the top 2 finish with placements that are less than or equal to 13. Meaning that Russia will get 3 spots next year because Mikhail and Dmitri finished in 3rd and 7th… that’s pretty awesome.

Still… I can’t argue with these results, but it doesn’t mean I’m entirely happy with how things went.
It could work in my favor where they could potentially make a rule to not allow programs with all the jumps in the 2nd half. Unfortunately, the Quad Revolution isn’t going to be seen as a good thing because so many falls have happened on quads this year. That really sucks…

I got curious about score totals and where Nathan will wind up in the top scores of all time.
He’s 8th all time with his win at Four Continents last year. Yuzuru has the top 3 scores with 321 and higher.
Whoa, Nathan’s score will put him 4th place all time, just slightly behind Yuzuru’s score at last year’s World Championships. So Yuzuru’s score will still remain the top score at the World championships. Javier Fernandez has 2 in the top 10 around 314 and 305… Patrick Chan is completely out of the top 10 because he never broke 300.

So… I guess I’ll post this and be done with it… what a season this has been, so many ups and downs. I think all of us need a break to recover our strength and stamina πŸ˜›

also, Mikhail Kolyada is the first Russian to make the podium since 2011… this guy Artur Garchnski got 3rd then… I would have said that Plushenko was the last time a Russian was on the world podium, but it’s just atop the world podium. Nathan is also the youngest world champion since Plushenko.

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Figure Skating at the 2018 Olympics

Oh man, so much has led up to this moment…
I’ve been so backlogged with things and I’m finally able to get around to this. And I kinda have to if I’m going to be blogging about the junior world championships next. I’d been so busy with my Prince project and finishing a game that this has been neglected a bit.

But now I’m ready.

First of all, much of the anticipation about these Olympics started from the last one. Whether Evgeni Plushenko would be able to come back from injury after injury and make the Russian Olympic team.
Sadly, that did not happen. One injury too many just kept him from being healthy enough to compete. Plus, I think he saw the other bit of writing on the wall and decided it was best to bow out gracefully. And now he’s fulfilling his new dream of becoming a coach and running his own school- Angels of Plushenko.

The writing on the wall, of course, is the Quad Revolution. Plushenko was barely able to do the quadruple toe loop after a certain point. Now with a quad everything (except for the axel, which I hope never happens because he got injured at Sochi on a triple), only the skaters in the best shape and willing to take technical risks are podium contenders. But of course there are some exceptions to that…

The next thing I was concerned about was Russia’s placement in the Olympics. There was all this talk about them doping and supposedly many athletes, including Adelina Sotnikova who controversially won gold in the ladies’ event were found to be involved. The end result- all Russian branding and official personnel were banned from the Olympics and only athletes deemed clean were able to compete. I was so sure that few Russians would want to compete under those conditions. National pride is everything to them.
However, that did not stop the figure skaters from competing. At least not the ones I personally had my eye on.

For starters, I will say that I wrote EVERYTHING down on paper. Everything that I personally have a stake in. However, I will not be writing down EVERYTHING from my notebook because I’d be here for days and I have more to do than blog about figure skating all day. (I know, shock, right?)
I will be going from memory about the events and I will have my notebook nearby if I need to fill in any blanks.

Before the official start, though, I will say how cool the opening ceremonies were. Lady Gaga’s SuperBowl HalfTime show might have started something because drones are now the big thing for events like this. They had drones that went on to draw the Olympic rings in the sky. My jaw dropped to the floor, that was SO COOL.
Then there was the anticipation about lighting the torch. Someone from North and South Korea took it up the staircase to the final person. And that person was Yuna Kim, who is figure skating royalty in South Korea. She won Olympic gold at Vancouver and there was this huge outcry because she was given silver at Sochi. Personally, I thought Adelina was better and it was down to one little jump where I thought the landing wasn’t 100% clean for Yuna Kim. (And before you start talking about doping, doping does not help you land the jumps so I don’t see how that’s considered cheating in figure skating).
But yeah, Yuna Kim looked like an ice princess up there and she lit the torch.

THE TEAM EVENT

So we started, as we did at Sochi, with this new event where there are 10 countries vying for the podium. One skater competes for each country in a given event and based on how they finished, they are given a score from 10-1. At the end of the short program, the top 5 teams advance and vie for gold, silver and bronze.

Not too surprising, the podium came down to the same three teams- Canada, Russia (known as the Olympic Athletes of Russia at these Olympics, but I will say Russia because that’s what I feel like doing) and the US. They were the podium finishers at Sochi. The only difference this time was who got silver and gold. I think the US got bronze at both of these Olympics.

From the get-go, it was pretty rough for us. I dont know if I was more annoyed at the circumstances or the media. Not just Johnny and Tara, but NBC as well for hyping up Nathan Chen (the American quad king) and Bradie Tennell (the new US National champion who is supposedly so consistent)… they hype them up SO MUCH that they were doomed to fail. It really hurt for Nathan in particular. I’d been following him since fall 2014 when he was competing as a junior and won junior worlds that season. I’ve never seen him make as many mistakes as he did at these Olympics. But he was also doing these EXTREMELY difficult jumps. In 2014, the quad lutz and flip weren’t a thing yet. And sadly, Nathan have these rough patches followed him through the entire Olympic experience. I was so worried that the rest of the audience, who hadn’t seen him during the grand prix series and beyond, weren’t thinking “what was all the hype about? he sucks”… all these negative things all because they weren’t there to see all of his previous accomplishments, including a couple grand prix medals and 2 National Championships.
Bradie Tennell did well except for her opening combination and that robbed her of a good placement at the team event.
On the other hand, for team USA, we had a highlight in the pairs event with the Knirem husband & wife team. They had, I think, a personal best at the team short program and it was really great to see their reactions afterwards.

For the other teams- Evgenia Medvedeva, who I thought wasn’t competing because of the whole OAR situation (she either changed her mind or she was pressured into it because Russia needed to show their dominance despite the OAR situation), did go and she showed why she’s the best in the world. Mikhail Kolyada, on the other hand, had a really rough skate and throughout these Olympics, he never completely shook that off. Which is a shame because he is better than he’s shown. (To be fair, his season wasn’t all good either. He had one great skate where he landed a quad lutz, but since then… very inconsistent).
They began the event, surprisingly, but also not surprisingly with Jun Hwan Cha, a junior skater from South Korea who is coached by Brian Orser (who had a full plate these Olympics). He had a good showing and it got the crowed really revved up.
Yan Han from China had a rough Olympics overall. He’s been extremely inconsistent, but when he’s on point, he’s beautiful to watch. Tara kept saying how he and Boyang Jin were yin & yang where one was really strong technical and the other was a great artist. I love that. And both of these skaters are great to watch when they were doing well.
Matteo Rizzo from Italy became a star. He didn’t show any sign of nerves despite being a junior skater with little international experience aside from a couple grand prix events. No quad, but he entertained like nobody’s business. I’m sure that throughout these Olympics, he won a lot of hearts and fans and I think he will be one to watch in the future. Carolina Kostner, the Sochi bronze medalist, had her issues throughout the Olympics. She was good, but not at the level a lot of people are used to seeing.
Patrick Chan… I’ve made my opinion about him pretty clear. I’m not a fan of his artistry and I certainly don’t like how his components scores get buffed up so much even when he had bad jumps. Nobody else can get away with that but because the judges seem to like him wherever he goes, he gets more points. I think all of us were watching him and questioning those scores. I tried to explain it, but you really can’t. There was a lot of talk about how Canada wanted him to have a gold medal and that’s why they really brought their A-game for the team event. That’s the kind of thing this event is made for and I really like that. But it isn’t quite the same as a Canadian man outright winning Olympic gold because it’s never been done before. Elvis Stojko came really close at Nagano, but with the injury he obtained, he was extremely lucky to get silver. Kaetlyn Osmond did what she usually does- she nailed it. The only mistake she made at all was during the ladies’ individual free skate and that made the difference about what color her medal was going to be. She’s the only one seemingly able to keep up with the Russians.
Alexei Bychenko from Israel supposedly had a really good skate, but they were so busy doing yet another promo for Nathan Chen that they never showed it so I felt like I missed out (although he did do really well at the individual event- it was kinda emotional seeing him so emotion and happy with giving his personal best out there).

I will say upfront that the figure skating coverage at these Olympics was terrible. They had us waiting until 10 o’clock at night to watch any of it. Thankfully, I followed my instincts a couple times and decided to check NBC Sports when they were showing the individual events. Otherwise, I would have missed A LOT of skaters and I would have been unbelievably pissed (although I didn’t need bad coverage to take certain events really hard). I think the worst was the fact that the stations didn’t tell us when to expect figure skating or when they’d be on. I was avoiding social media during these Olympics, so I couldn’t have found out online when they were doing anything.
Anyway, you just had to be on your toes and have the remote within reach and I was fine. NBC Sports had issues with their commercials where they kept showing a few seconds of one and immediately breaking into another. But their figure skating coverage was great because they showed EVERYONE. I caught the men’s event half an hour into it and luckily I was there to see Vincent Zhou and I missed nobody I wanted to see before him.

To end the team event, Shoma Uno was doing the short program for Japan (Yuzuru wouldn’t be showing up until a couple days later) and he did just enough to get 10 points for Japan at the men’s event.
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir… phew… dang, those guys are at another level of ice dance than everyone else in the world. I don’t like them as much as the Shib Sibs (who were consistent throughout the Olympics and gave their best ever at the individual free dance… I was so happy for them to get a couple medals here).
Alina Zagitova skated for Russia and nailed it, of course.
Mirai Nagasu had an Olympic moment where she nailed the triple axel and gave her all to solidify America’s bronze medal position. Only the third woman to land it at the Olympics. (Sadly, that did not carry over into the individual event… but the fact she was so happy with her bronze medal really made it all worth it after all she’d been through since being passed over in 2014). Adam Rippon was another star of these Olympics cuz he was freaking everywhere. Whether NBC was doing it because they liked his shining personality or they wanted to push a pro-gay agenda, it really doesn’t matter to me. He showed why he deserved to be at these Olympics, passing over National silver medalist Ross Miner in the process (Ross Miner didn’t have the international experience, so I can understand why Team USA went with Adam instead). However, it was really cool that they had billboards on my commute congratulating him on his team bronze medal. He’s from Clarks Summit, which is an hour away from here (being East Stroudsburg. Meaning we have a local Olympian. I’ll let the people of Clarks Summit brag about it, but I just want to say it’s a cool feeling to have that extra connection, which I don’t think I’d get to have. Plus, we have talked a couple times on Twitter previously. One cool conversation we had was him talking about a junior skating competition. I’ll include it here.

Every now and then on Twitter, I do get to interact with some people I admire in things that I follow. And now this feels extra special because he made it to the Olympics.
I will say, though, that not all people will probably be on board with him and that’s fine too. He didn’t do enough to win an individual medal, but he didn’t waste any opportunity. One of his best competitions and I’d been watching him since he nailed that quad lutz at the National championships in 2015. It seems like since then, he’d gotten even better at this sport and certainly one of its best artists. (Even cooler that Benji Schwimmer is his choreographer and he was one of my favorite So You Think You Can Dance winners- another winning personality).

MEN’S EVENT

Oh man, this was super exciting. This was practically my Christmas πŸ˜› I’d been waiting so long for this moment and with very few exceptions, I knew everyone in this event and they were all together in one place. It was the coolest feeling ever. Johnny made a point in saying that there were 55 project quads in the short program alone. Plushenko must be so proud with how far the sport has come since Vancouver when the gold medalist had none. One day, I hope we can have that same success again, but with some quads in our arsenal.

Vincent Zhou was the first one I saw and still has yet to nail his “Chasing Cars” short program. It’s so beautiful to watch, but I wish to see it skated clean once. His Olympics overall were a little flawed, but he still made a good showing. Especially with his Moulin Rouge free skate.
Denis Ten, the Sochi bronze medalist (ironically, the only podium finisher with a perfect free skate) had issues with all his jumps. It was so bad that he didn’t even qualify for the free skate. He and Yan Han are very similar in the fact that they’re great artists, but they are very inconsistent. Denis Ten has a tad more international success and more issues with injuries, but otherwise, they are both great skaters I like and constantly feel bad for when they don’t do well.
Julian was one of maybe 2 Olympians from Malaysia and while his skates were not perfect, he skated in a way he was clearly proud of. I saw him as a junior a couple years back and I loved in interviews how he said he wanted to bring figure skating to Malaysia and represent that.
Misha Ge was one of those stars in the early groups back in Sochi. And while I have seen him better in the past (including a bronze medalist podium finish this year- his first grand prix medal ever), he was so good. And he was clearly very grateful for the opportunity because he thought about retiring and not being at the Olympics.
There was an interesting storyline with Jorik Hendrickx and his sister at these Olympics, how they were in the audience watching each other skate. He did “Je Suis Malade” as his short program and was very expressive and happy with his finish- that’s all I can ask of a program with that music. It’s very important to embody it or it just doesn’t work.
Daniel Samohin has been very inconsistent since he joined the senior ranks, so I was really happy to see how he did at these Olympics. His short program was really special because of that. He missed a triple axel, but he had music that made him look like a rock star, which is what won me over the year he won junior worlds. He had a Scorpions short program then.

In the later groups, it got really good to the point I was almost shaking with anticipation.
Dmitri Aliev was a nice surprise from Russia. Mikhail Kolyada had been so inconsistent at these Olympics that Dmitri helped pick up the slack. His program almost broke 100 points- it was that good. I prefer his more artistic programs compared to the super dynamic technical ones, but even then, I really liked how he did.
Deniss Vasiljevis from Latvia had done better, but it was a short program he was happy with. His free skate was even better- he’s such a young skater with lots of potential to become even better and with Stephane Lambiel as his coach, the possibilities are endless.

The biggest anticipation was, of course, about the final group. Yuzuru, Javier Fernandez, Shoma, Nathan Chen, Boyang Jin… the Quad Revolution had officially arrived.
I was extremely nervous about Yuzuru because there was so much at stake. I would have cursed out Dick Button endlessly if he didn’t win because it seemed like there was this impossible feat about a man being able to win back-to-back Olympics. Plushenko couldn’t do it because the judges didn’t support him. Yuzuru definitely had the judges’ support here.
First off, his short program was practically a mic drop. He hit every jump and element. The content wasn’t as crazy hard as it was before his ankle injury, but it gave him a score of 111.68. Not a personal or world record, but an Olympic record for sure. (At Sochi, he set the Olympic record with his short program- I think it was at the team event).
With his free skate, I don’t think I’d ever been more nervous for a skater. I didn’t know what to expect with his injury and reintroducing some difficult content to his program. He got full rotation, but he had bad landings with his lutz jumps (it was the quad lutz he injured himself on in the first place, so that’s not surprising). But he gave everything to this and Seimei was as dynamic and crowd-pleasing as it’d ever been. I still get chills thinking about it. Then of course they had to talk about his army of fans and the raining Pooh bears that fell on the ice when he performed. His total was 317.85- technical was 109.55 and components were 96.62. (I’m writing that down so I’ll always have it for reference). He was crying by the end of it and I think I was too. Happy tears.

Dmitri wound up out of podium position, which kinda sucked. I think he will still be a contender, though. Such a bright future.

Shoma Uno was the last skater to go at the free skate and I wanted so badly for him to get second place. We needed some Revolution representation on the podium πŸ˜› he fell on one jump and some other small issues, but he got 2nd place with 306.90.
Javier Fernandez, I think, became my mom’s favorite skater during these Olympics. But then, he’s got such charm it’s hard not to fall in love with him. Sadly, he’s one of those skaters I kinda jinx because I want others to finish ahead of him. I wanted a Revolution podium sweep, but with him getting bronze that didn’t happen. The one mistake he had- he had a quad he turned into a double, that’s how freaking close it was. I will note he had a creative exhibition program and my mom and I watched it and we were beside ourselves. It was unique in the fact he did his own voiceover for it, the music changed to all these different pieces and it was like he was an instructor at a dance class. Costume changes included. I still have no words for that. He’s one of the few people who can get away with that and still have people going nuts for him.

Boyang Jin had a great showing at these Olympics, but I think he just missed out on the podium because his components score wasn’t quite there. But his Star Wars program was fun to watch- especially cuz my mom is a big Star Wars fan.

Nathan Chen had a terrible Olympics, almost in a similar fashion to Mao Asada during the Sochi Olympics. Both had terrible short programs, but they did so amazing in their free skates that they were leading up until the final group.
Nathan missed maybe one jump, but it was a quad. He even nailed his triple axel, a jump that has been so hard for him. Johnny and Tara were counting quads and the anticipation was mounting. He attempted SIX QUADS- nailed 5 of them, but it was an Olympic first and it was insane. His total score was 297.35- my head was exploding during all of the replays, I couldn’t take it πŸ˜›

I was over the moon for this podium, though. Really happy that Javi did get a medal after he supposedly missed at Sochi due to some sort of technicality- either one too many combinations or he repeated a jump too many times.
But considering all the skaters he beat out, I wanted a lot of them just as much if not more.

Also during the special they called Olympic Ice, where they did chatter before the actual events, they interviewed Brian Orser and it was kinda trippy seeing them show footage of him when he was competing back in the battle of the Brians back in the 80’s. I’m so used to seeing him as a coach that it’s hard to conceive that he once competed. It was such a different time too.

PAIRS EVENT
They did pairs first after the team event and I missed most of it. But the winners were from Germany and the woman on the team was competing in her 5th Olympics. That’s pretty insane. And I was floored by how good their performance was.

LADIES EVENT

This was the really rough one for me…
First of all, the Americans finished in 9th, 10th and 11th. All had mistakes and missed out on podium position by a mile. I said on Twitter that Ashley would have gotten a medal if they sent her, but I have no idea who I would have given her place to. All of them brought their best to Nationals and there’s no way you could dethrone the National champion due to lack of experience.

Second of all, the podium was not what I wanted.
Johnny and Tara kept saying over the years how the interest in American figure skating has dropped considerably over the years because there was no big rivalry to root for. They were doing the rivalry angle again just to have a narrative to get viewership involved.
It was all about the Russians. And in my personal opinion, the wrong Russian was given the gold medal. The craziest thing was that their free skate scores were identical and Alina Zagitova won by 1.31 points from the short program. I was so unbelievably upset about this because the layout of her program should be illegal and it should be made a rule so it’s never repeated. She had ALL of her jumps in the second half of her free skate- Evgenia doesn’t even do that. She has all her jumps in the second half of her short program only. And after a while, I’d been thinking how it’s an unfair advantage over other skaters. But putting all your jumps in the second half of a free program, it just isn’t right. Nobody outside of Russia is ever be able to do that. And unless the music and choreography is just right, the artistry isn’t coming to come off if you’re so busy jumping in the second half.

I felt so bad for Evgenia. She gave her all for both programs and she was a mess at the end of her free skate, where she’d always been so composed, even when she had a mistake (which is a rarity anyway). But to see her do that well and not win… it crushed both of us simultaneously. I’m surprised I even got to sleep that night. (I had such sleep deprivation after the mens’ short program to the point I should have taken a sick day from work).
And with the promos of her being into hip-hop and K-pop and Sailor Moon and animΓ© and such, I was getting to know her more as a person and really liking her. (I always have, but I liked her even more by the end of these Olympics). Even sadder- her exhibition was practically a funeral cuz she was all dressed in black sweats and it was a serious piece. If she had won, she would have done her Sailor Moon exhibition. I have no doubt of that.

Then Kaetlyn Osmond, who had maybe one mistake the entire time… she got bronze.
Even worse than Evgenia not winning, there was nobody else on the podium that could take the sting out of that. Satoko Miyahara did really well on both her programs and just missed out on bronze.
Gabrielle Daleman was someone who I felt really bad for in these Olympics- she had a disastrous free skate to the point where I thought she’d walk off and quit. Devastating to watch.

For the most part, some good skating, but there were too many lowlights for me to really enjoy it in full.

One funny moment was how Johnny kept saying how he didn’t like Ivett Toth skating to AC/DC cuz he doesn’t like that kind of music. I don’t either, but I like skaters doing heavy metal every now and then because it shows off interesting personality quirks. And for the rest of the event, Tara and Terry Gannon wouldn’t stop asking him about it.

ICE DANCE EVENT

The Shib Sibs won bronze and that was a personal triumph for all of us.
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir- they’re clearly on another level. And of course they had Moulin Rouge for their free skate, so I had to be completely invested in it. It was just wow.
One pairing that left an impact on me was from Russia because of their free skate. They did it at the team event as well where she’s blind and he teaches her how to see and by the end, he ends up being blind.


Overall, I guess that’s my Olympic thoughts. There are now rumors of a female Quad Revolution… and of course it’s in Russia.
How about perfecting the triple axel before moving onto quads? I think I’d much rather prefer that.

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