Prince Turned Our Hearts Purple
An appreciation of the genius and wonder of a musical icon gone too soon.
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The year 2016 has already been a tough year for music legends, but the recent death of Prince last week has been especially painful because it was just so unexpected. And for Prince fans, he appeared to be forever young. Prince made music at a pace–and at a standard of excellence–that only a few artists have or could ever match in music history.
One of the most exciting, and often most frustrating, aspects of being a fan of Prince was that no matter what, you ultimately were never going to figure him out. You’d never be able to fully understand all of his lyrics. You’d never quite understand the reasoning for some of his sideways-twisting business and personal-life decisions. You’d barely even be able to keep up with his musical output, a decades-spanning collection of music that ranged from poppy-funk to scorching guitar anthems to delicate, R&B ballads. Prince, who died, April 21 at the age of 57, ,was never going to let anyone fully into his world. At best, we got small glimpses from time to time. The rest was left to our imaginations.
It’s not just the Oscar for the Purple Rain song score, the seven Grammys, the Golden Globe for Happy Feet, but ultimately how he continued to surprise and reinvent in a way that only the late David Bowie can even be compared. Both were hugely influential shape shifters and rebels who continued to reinvent themselves and their music right up until their end. The complete sheer output of Prince over the decades is stunning – and supposedly there are hundreds of unreleased tracks sitting in the vaults at the famous Paisley Park.
Now that he’s gone, I’m guessing there’s nothing that would delight him more than knowing we’ll be spending the rest of our lives trying to figure him out—analyzing every song, testing every theory, and still talking about him, and remembering that is the greatest tribute we can pay to the man from Minneapolis – and party way harder than if it was 1999. That’s what he’d want.
So let’s go crazy.