Listen to the Voice of Reason – Part 6

Prince

 

Prince

I didn’t want to write a blog when David Bowie died; it didn’t feel right and I sure as hell didn’t think anything I could say would be any different to the other voices singing his praises.

With Prince, I feel different, I liked a lot of Bowie’s music and he was a massive influence to many people, but for me Prince was a little bit different. The little purple fella was intriguing and beguiling and he wrote some of the sexiest, filthiest lyrics for which I give him thanks and praise.

I’d be lying if I pretended that my Ipod and CD/Record collection were stuffed to the brim with Prince tracks, they aren’t, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel anything for his  music or feel sad when he passed away.

I love music of all types except the sort of jazz that sounds like seven people playing different music on different instruments at different pitches/tones.  Oh, and there’s always someone who sounds like they are strangling an elephant….that’s the sax player!

An electronic beat (like Hot Chip), strong guitar ( hello Nile Rodgers) and some cracking drums make up my favourite dance tracks. I do love a good dance, I’m crap at it mind you but I do love to have a go. Prince has provided some of the most danceable records with a feel good beat and I love him for that.

From the start Prince Rodgers Nelson was differen; taking charge of his very first album as he insisted that he played all the instruments, did all the vocals and the mixing himself. A brave task for a 17 yr old but one that gave him his first record release in 1978 with the ‘For You’ album. Warner Bros gave him the artistic freedom he wanted for his first three albums but the also took charge of ownership of the publishing rights.

Prince wasn’t an attractive man (to me), he was short and skinny, but his voice was something else. The lyrics, the innuendo combined with the slight, sly smile on his face and the gleam in those eyes let you know he was up for it if you were. He danced like the devil and you knew he had the energy of a steam train.

It would be easy to write a list of the dirtiest of his songs and lyrics but that wouldn’t be doing justice to the man. Instead, I’d rather focus on the fact he was a brilliant musician and songwriter. He played guitar and the credits for his records show he played a multitude of other instruments too. He wasn’t bad at writing lyrics either!

Here are a few of my favourites, I’d love you to share yours.

SIGN O’ THE TIMES

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The rumbling bass and his opening vocal set the scene for this explosive track from the 1987 album of the same name. Prince plays everything with just a backing singer, Susannah Melvoin, his then girlfriend joining in the fun.

With scorching lyrics showing Prince was political without being in your face, this was probably the first non-commercial record of his I really liked. It’s the keyboards, Fairlight synthesizer and sampled electronic bass that set the mood of the record before the meat of the sandwich, the lyrics kick in with a reference to AIDs:

In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name
By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same

This cheery little ditty continues later on with lyrics that are still relevant today and probably always will be:

A sister killed her baby ’cause she couldn’t afford to feed it
And yet we’re sending people to the moon

Yes indeed my purple clad friend, life makes no sense sometimes and we’re still doing the same shit to each other.

GETT OFF

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Ok, so I lied, I said I wasn’t going to do the filthy stuff but I can’t resist this record from the 1991 album Diamonds & Pearls. I love dancing to this record, usually on my own when nobody is watching! I love the beats, the voice and the totally over the top lyrics:

How can I put this in a way so as not to offend or unnerve
There’s a rumor goin’ all round that u ain’t been gettin’ served
They say that u ain’t u know what
In baby who knows how long
It’s hard 4 me 2 say what’s right
When all I wanna do is wrong

He’s a conceited little fecker on this one. I’ve got an image of a sharp-dressed guy, sliding up to someone at the bar, determined not to take ‘no’ for an answer. He’s Mr. Smooth, all the women want him and he sees it as his job to ‘service’ the poor dowdy girl who doesn’t get much action.

With a promise of ’23 positions in a one-night stand’ this ‘talented boy’ could talk the talk but could he deliver the goods? My favourite cheese filled chat-up line of the song has to be:

Now move your big ass ’round this way
So I can work on that zipper, baby
Tonight your a star
And I’m the big dipper

It’s nonsense and harmless fun, it’s a shame that Robin Thicke couldn’t write a sexy song without insulting the whole of womankind! Or was Prince just as bad with his lyrics but I’ve somehow let him get away with it?  Answers on a postcard please or maybe we could start a debate on the most misogynistic lyrics ever?

ALPHABET STREET

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This is the first single off the 1988 album Lovesexy. Essentially it’s an instrumental with some lyrics relating to some girl on girl fun! I’ve tried to put a clip of the track on here but Prince didn’t like sharing his music in the way that some artists do. It’s a shame because it’s another ridiculously danceable track and I’m rather fond of it.

Prince wrote masses of songs, some were hits, some weren’t and some were little treasures to find hidden on the albums he made. He was talented, underrated and berated by those who thought he was too fond of celebrating sex and the fact that women actually enjoy it.

A little brightness went out of the world on 21 April 2016. The doves cried and the purple rain fell for the last time. RIP Prince……you sexy motherf**er!

 

 

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