Monday, April 05, 2004
Illustration by Brian Bolland
In celebration of the new album dropping, I'm presenting a collection of rarities, remixes, live tracks, extended cuts and underappreciated personal faves by the one and only Prince.
I feel like I have such a complex relationship with Prince; he's been in my life in such an important way for so very long.
My first specific Prince memory was of this man in a purple dress at the Oscars. I couldn't have been ten yet and I was several years away from my first serious exposure to pop music. The television was on top of the clothesdryer in the kids room and mom was washing sheets while the belt vibrated the dryer and shook the tv. Prince was on the jitterbugging television and I didn't know who he was.
Then, many years later, a high school marching band trip.
Kelly had been scoping me for a few weeks and I knew she was interested but my feet were VERY cold and I didn't know how to do this. She was younger than me by three years and was in junior high; I understood this to be too great an age divide to overcome. Girls up until then had caused some confusion, some problems and nothing worth repeating in a public forum. I had gotten to my Junior year of high school without a girlfriend.
The boombox radio in the back of the bus was blasting an FM Prince tripleplay: "U Got the Look", "Erotic City" and "It". By this time I had heard a great deal of Prince, but still didn't have a real cognisant understanding of who he was; I certainly couldn't have known that it was the same guy singing all three songs. It sure didn't sound like it was.
I remember wondering how this guy was allowed to keep singing the line "fuck so pretty, you and I" over and over on the radio. I knew a lot of the words to "U Got the Look" (we all did) so I was singing along to that and Kelly sidled up beside me and sang with me.
I can't recall precisely how it happened, but that was what I want to remember as my first real kiss, open mouthed and everything. We hugged for the rest of the trip and didn't say anything else, but we were boyfriend/girlfriend after that and it came natural.
This led to many a makeout session in the closet of the Yearbook room and my first willing and trembling explorations of the female form, but that's another story.
Suffice it to say, when my heterosexual awakening came, Prince was there to show me the way.
2bcontinued, as the man would say...
Prince - "Cutz"
Prince's Kamasutra ballet was an NPG club tape-only exclusive (later released on the difficult to find direct-from-NPG release five disc set version of "Crystal Ball" as the fifth CD in the set) that I picked up when I saw him in concert years ago. Incidentally, if you have opportunity to see Prince live and skip out, you are an idiot. Definitely one of the best shows ever.
Prince wrote it for his then wife Mayte and, quite frankly, it ain't all that great. It's repetitive synthesized themes and not especially interesting except to hardcore fans.
This particular track is a bit better than most on the tape, IMHO.
I smell a lot of Danny Elfman going on here.
Prince's official home on the internet is also the place to DL his new CD, Musicology.
The notices for the debut of "Kamasutra"
Infernal crooning promises no sleep.
Say now, that's not very nice.
Purchase "The Lyrics of Prince Rogers Nelson" by C. Liegh McInnis direct from the publisher.
Not too often you'll hear Prince being compared to Baudelaire.
"For Prince, sex is not just for physical gratification. Sex was primarily used as a tool to achieve or show one attempting to achieve some other, higher state of satisfaction and self-completion, if only for a moment. Prince's discourse about sex is related to his desire to say something about life."
Prince - "Letitgo (Sherm Stick Edit)"
A favorite down and dirty single remix. The vocals and the music and the beat all seem to be going slightly different speeds and the dischordant non-blend leaves me kinda slow-mo queasy. Fascinating subversion of the jazzier, lighter original.
Amazingly, the "Letitgo" single is STILL available from Amazon or you could buy the terribly underrated "Come" which features the original version of the cut.
Prince.org is an "independent and unofficial Prince fan community site".
One of the oldest and the best.
A Prince Bio most notable for its rundown of Prince's numerous AKA's.
Prince - "Father's Song" (Live)
Although it's never appeared on any of Prince's albums, "Father's Song" is a rarity EVERYONE knows about. It's the instrumental music that plays in the background as Prince speeds away from his childhood house in "Purple Rain".
Prince breaks this one out regularly on tour. A fun Easter Egg to toss on any 80's mix and a sweet little tune all around.
You already own it, but if maybe you want to give an extra copy to your little cousin at his barmitzvah? You can get "Purple Rain" via Amazon.
Of course, this track is NOT on the album, but y'know. You could pretend.
A set of Prince album reviews
As the author reasonably notes, "I've never known of an artist whose fans disagree so much about what his best and worst efforts are. So if you totally disagree with my ratings, you're not the only one. I'm not trying to say which records are the 'best': more than anything else, I'm trying to guide people who are new to his music to where they should start."
The "Purple Rain" Screenplay
Prince - "Joy In Repetition"
EVERY Prince fan has that one favorite non-single track that they adopt as their personal hobbyhorse, the song that they whip out to turn on non-Prince fans (not that there's too many of those) to the vast quality of his lesserknown work.
This is mine. Might be my second favorite Prince song behind the forever golden "Doves Cry".
The masterful guitar, the seductive pace, the heartbeat drums, the perfect RnB via Tom Waits lyrics: everything here works like Microsoft.
"Was this woman he had never noticed before he lost himself in the articulated manner in which she said them."
Purchase "Graffiti Bridge" from Amazon
A real quintessential Prince "half album": 50% brilliant classics, 50% throwaway junk. Still, if it existed only to showcase "Joy" that would be reason enough.
An analysis of "Joy In Repetition".
"I wouldn't trade the understated jazzy guitar commentary that runs through this song for the whole goddamned Eric Clapton catalogue."
The script to "Graffiti Bridge"
Prince - "The Truth"
An unknown classic.
Clean, crisp countryandblues git-tar like you wouldn't expect.
Solemn and restrained smallclub taste that blows up like falsetto poprocks right at the end.
In typical "I'm being difficult" fashion, Prince never released the album that this track is on by itself. "The Truth" was released as a part of the "Crystal Ball" box, comprising the entire fourth CD in the set. It is by far the best disc in the box, innovative and largely acoustic. So. Purchase "Crystal Ball" (and, in turn, "The Truth") direct from Amazon at cutout bin prices.
Well worth it.
A review of the album "The Truth"
The E! Online Celebrity Whorefest at Paisley Park, 1996
Prince's Rotten Tomatoes filmography
Prince and Sheila E. - "A Love Bizarre (Extended Edit)"
If ever a song deserved a twelve minute extended edit...
Purchase the import CD of Sheila E's "Romance 1600", written almost entirely by Prince.
It turns out that Prince never really legally changed his name after all.
"He did make statements to the media, we believe, that he did change his name legally to the symbol, but that of course is pretty much fantasy. You can't change your name to a symbol--just not legally possible."
It features tons of dead links; it's poorly organized and badly designed; trapped by annoying frames and mostly isn't in English, but Ecnirp is still the best Prince resource on the net.
Prince's father's obit.
"The two co-wrote such Prince songs as 'Computer Blue', 'The Ladder', 'Christopher Tracy’s Parade', 'Under the Cherry Moon' and 'Scandalous'."
I keep forgetting to crow, but: 11,000 unique visitors in March!
Woo-Hoo! Keep 'em coming kiddos!
I'll let you know on the real: there may be brief work stoppage in our near future owing to some mobility, but barring an apocalypse, the Hut should be in it for the long run. I'm hooked.
All my office jockeys and otherwise weekend indisposed friends and readers should keep scrolling when you're done with THIS mammoth entry; I was a busy boy over the weekend and there's lots more yet to explore and DL.
Don't forget: comments, comments, comments! I really AM lonely. Holla back!
I've been getting some great promo discs in the mail and am expecting more.
So here's my first shoutout to a friend of the Hut: Fortyone, whose sampling mashup masterpieces are fascinating and giddy aural collages.
41 was nice enough to mail off a package of FIVE CD's that I'm only now starting to really crack. Expect a 41 post in the not too distant future; in the meantime all my glitch and dj culcha freaks should do themselves a flavour and go get 41's "Different Mayonnaise" EP, being distributed for free at Comfort Stand Records.
Once you've listened to that, give the boy a shout (his email's on the page) and tell him what you think. He's a real amiable cat and loves to talk about tunage. Tell him Shempster sent ya!
A little anecdote to relate on behalf of my non-blogging friend Kimdog: she set up a recent bootycall of the "come over and watch a film" variety that worked out just as you would imagine... but what film did this Mata Hari pick out for her spiderweb of seduction?
Capturing the Friedmans.
WORST. CHOICE. EVER. Why not just get "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer"?
Apparently it hardly mattered as the boy in question let off this little bon mot as the credits rolled: "You know I've been wanting to kiss you the whole movie."
Really? When would that be, during the crazed family arguments, the tearful in-court child raping confession or while the mother broke down on camera?
I'd be more righteously indignant if I didn't know that I'd probably have done the same thing under the circumstances. I'm reminded of the old Lenny Bruce routine about the maimed guy who gets a hard on when the nurse leans over him.
We're animals. Use us gently, ladies.
click it like a polaroid camera
What we lack in quality, we make up for in quantity.
Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig is an excellent example of putting your money where your mouth is. The book's subtitle is "How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity", the text is available online for free or for purchase from Penguin in hardback.
Definitely on the free-time list.
Those of you who were taken with the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo found on this blog may want to give a gander at this 2004 interview with Joseph Shabala, lead singer of LBM.
He is, as always, inspirational.
Just yesterday I was thinking, "You know, I wish I had pictures of the cover of every issue of Spiderman and the EC scifi line ever made."
But that would just be silly.
Tape 19A, Pages 324-351.
Dada grammar giggles, via WAXY.
The MegaPenny Project is an excellent intro on perspective into impossible numbers.
"Currently raising money for an injection solenoid."
The Modern Compendium of Miniature Automata
Useless, archaic and gorgeous.
A pair of priceless linguistic geeksites via PENNYARCADE:
The Harvard Dialect Survey results and The Speech Accent Archive.
The best designed and one of the most interesting sites I've ever seen.
Don't touch that link if you're not broadbanded, tho.
Sniff around for video demos with great audio: Thievery Corp, Radiohead and Bjork, f'rinstance.
From Critterton to Postal Del Sur, Sarsair will get you there.
Find out more here.
The Wooster Collective
This crazy beautiful preview for the upcoming anime Steamboy (by "Akira" creator Katsuhiro Otomo, no less) has my geekysense tingling like mad!
The buzz on Giant Robot has been offdahook and I, for one, was also totally sold... at first.
Videos like this and this left me initially giddy, but the utter silence from the news media suggests that there's nothing legit to back this up.
Seeing as this is almost surely a marketing viral then, why not take a peek at some REAL (if less sexy) giant robos from Tmsuk, specifically the Hyper Rescue Robot T-52?