Thursday, April 08, 2004
And then I saw him live. Unbelievable. Defining moment: holding his guitar like a lover, Prince frontflips off the top of his grand piano, lands in the splits and spins back up, still strumming, all while wearing six inch heels.
I screamed myself hoarse.
So here it comes, the album I had been desperately waiting for: "Emancipation". Three discs of vault and new material. I had followed Prince's travails with WB, his slave talk, his name change, his narcissistic preening. Man, I bought in COMPLETELY. If you even mentioned music around me you were going to have to bear a lecture about how Prince was about to remake the world in his image. Now that he was free from the yoke of a studio that wanted to hold him back (motherfucker had released a new album a year since 1984 and had wanted to release MORE), who KNEW what brilliance would come now?
Following the execrable "Chaos and Disorder" (a sloppy fuckyou to WB if ever there was one), there was a lot riding on "Emancipation". It was his first major NPG release after the massive success of "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" and was bound to have an impact on the considerations of other major artists who were considering stepping outside the studio system. I bought it the HOUR it was released with money that should've been allocated for food, convinced this would be the second coming of "Sign O' the Times".
And, well, it wasn't.
Don't get me wrong, there's probably at least two discs worth of good material and one of EXCELLENT material on "Emancipation", but so much filler... Bear in mind, I had just swallowed the man's prior twenty or so albums in the space of about a year and I was in no mood to be fucked with. He said he'd step with true brilliance and I expected no less. I liked most of "Emancipation" a lot, but it was no ""1999". I was terribly disappointed.
Years later, I understand just how outsized my expectations were. "Emancipation" really IS chockfulla good stuff: "New World" and "The Human Body" proved that Prince could still hack it in the clubs; "Curious Child", "E-male" and "Somebody's Somebody" are moving ballads; "Joint 2 Joint", "Slave", "Sleep Around" and "Style" were about as good as anything son ever released. There's also all sort of offbeat curiousities: the sound of his unborn child's heartbeat acting as the bassline of "Sex in the Summer", the convincing oldschool tenor of the cover of "La La La La La La La La La (Means I Love You", the dogged newjack determination of "Right Back Here In My Arms", "Facedown" and "Get Yo Groove On".
But OH, the lows were low. "Courtin' Time". "Betcha By Golly Wow" (THIS is a single?). "Mr. Happy". "Friend/Lover/Sister/Mother/Wife". LOTS of crap.
It was right around here that I started seriously exploring silver age classic rnb: "Mothership Connection". "Midnight Love". "Superfly". "HIStory". "James Brown's Greatest Hits". I began to understand some of Prince's roots and reference points and wanted to learn more.
Just then my sister slipped me a mix tape with a copy of "Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away" and I fell hard for Stevie. Here was a guy just as obsessive, prolific and talented as Prince, but with considerably less hubris.
Discouraged and deterred by lack of access (Prince made the jump to the net far before I was ready), intrigued by a vast array of options within the genre, and rediscovering a forgotten love for hiphop (De La played a big part here), I was ready to let Prince go for awhile. The poster came down. The albums made it into rotation less and less. My blood still pumped Purple and I DID buy "Crystal Ball" when it dropped, but by the time "Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic" came out... well, I'm ashamed to say I didn't even get a copy.
Prince - "One Night Alone"
More gorgeous buried treasure. As far as I know, this has never been released and I couldn't give you a general date of conception. Anyone, help?
Delicate Toriamos-y piano and velvet razor falsetto acrobatics make this one of my fave MIA tracks.
Prince's official home on the internet is also the place to DL his new CD, Musicology.
Prince's understanding of internet music sharing is kind of depressing.
Next week I'd like to look at this link in greater detail; for now, I'll just focus on the music and not the politics.
Buy "One Night Alone: Live" from Amazon
This is, surprisingly, Prince's only official live album, but it's a MONSTER three disc box with otherwise unreleased tracks, a duet with Musiq and a ton of unlikely looking wonders. The cost is prohibitive but MAN do I want this.
Those of you who'd like to get me an early Christmas present are heartily encouraged. "Look to your heart!"
Prince - "Thieves in the Temple (Single Remix)"
Sure, up to about the two minute there's nothing to even indicate it IS a remix, but then the drums kick in and it gets all "k-k-ki, k-k-kickin' me in my heart" and you get your appetite whetted for something a little funky. Then back to the original single again. Did you imagine it? Is this a nonremixed remix?
Oh no. It's not. Wait another minute or so to the 3:30 break.
Where the original hits its climax and fades out, our track has a bitter angry heartbroken man on the other side of the mirror and guess what? He's hurt, but he will survive. See, he's had enough of your shit. He's gonna tell you what's what, bitch.
Build. Build. Build. Pump up that volume kids, cuz you're gonna want to hear this:
"I am the best, better than the rest, better than the thieves in the temple tonight."
The hair on my neck raises.
But he's not done with you yet. He wants to strut around a little and let you know what you're missing. So we get breathy feedback, violent bangin' percussion, bouncy badass guitar riffs, diva singalong, highwire falsetto and then those funky drums return and instead of a theatrical screaming orgasm the scene closes on a big bronze plaque emblazoned with the title of the song and our man pimpwalkin' into the sunset, no lookin' back.
I'm not a big fan of the original, but what a great remix.
Purchase the "Thieves in the Temple" CD single from Amazon
The other two tracks aren't half as cool as this one. You're forewarned.
The Prince Digital Archive is priceless reference material for purple obsessives.
Nice site design, impressive original content (dig those animations!) and it's bilingual!
Prince - "If I Had a Harem (Live)"
Lifted from a live bootleg titled "The White Album". Another great example of Prince transforming the atmosphere in a stadium into that of a club.
The audience clapping along is totally organic and so very difficult to initiate. Again, the man puts on a helluva show.
Astute listeners will note the interpolation of "Billie's Bounce" (previously highlighted in the Eddie Jefferson post on March 5th) right around 2:02.
Prince in Print is an archive source of Prince reviews, interviews and journalism.
The Boston Globe review for the new album is nothing less than a rave.
Good lord, how cocky can you get?
"School's in session", indeed.
Prince - "Ripopgodazippa"
A bit of interesting Prince trivia: though this was only commercially released in the "Crystal Ball" box and never appeared on the motion picture soundtrack, this track was highlighted in the movie "Showgirls". Seriously.
Faux reggae bootybassbumpngrind cheezwhiz but I love it all the same. The elastic bassline and the bursting P and K and S sounds make this thing oh so derrrrrrty.
Purchase "Crystal Ball" from Amazon
The official site of Rosie Gaines, Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls" songstress.
Soon you will find here also the interpretations of these lyrics in German and Turkish.
I finally got around to doing some tech work and installed the upgrade copy of XP that I got, oh THREE YEARS AGO. That's right, up until yesterday I was laboring along with the TERRIBLE AWFUL CRASHAMINUTE Windows ME. Time will tell just how great of an improvement XP really is, but my PC hasn't forcibly crashed in two days which puts it head and shoulders above ME already. Mind you; reinstalling, retyping and finding EVERYTHING as XP (plugins, games, apps and all my precious links!) is a four day long pain in the ass, but I left ME on the other hard drive for reference, so at least I haven't done anything too stupid... yet.
The real cause for celebration is that now that I finally got a tetch more uptodate I was able to update the software on my forever skipping iPod and get iTunes.
I'd heard bad things about iTunes on Meta when it first saw release for PC and had pooh poohed it off, but now that I've got it I'm in love. I'd been using musicmatch up until now but its library was utterly incapable of handling the sheer bulk of my collection. iTunes is fabulously organized and indexed and as long as I'm careful, I'm able to maintain my harddrive filing system just the way it is! I've yet to experiment too much with playlists or iPod organization, but everything looks MUCH easier and smoother than what I'm used to.
In other news, I've also discovered shoes! They're great too; no more bloody feet!
Anyhoo, now that iTunes is in effect I'm finally able to participate in that game everybody was doing a month ago without saying "Oh but that's just the NEW music I'm listening to." So, check out a possibly recurring feature->
The Random Twenty:
Tupac Shakur - "Krazy"
Tracy Chapman - "Mountains of Things"
Pearl Jam - "Why Go"
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "The Natural Facts"
Tristan Prettyman - "Just Like Heaven (Live)"
The "Gumby" TV Themesong
King Oliver's Jazz Band - "High Society Rag"
Brak - "Soup on a Stick"
Women of Mambazo - "Yima Lapha"
Coyle and Sharpe - "Mr. Coyle is a Werewolf"
Johnny Cash - "Frankie's Man, Johnny"
Chemical Brothers - "Private Psychedelic Reel"
?Random Vinyl/Internet Grab? - "Bobby and Betty Go to the Moon"
Big Youth - "Ten Against One"
Ethnomusicological Speaker - "The Negro Spiritual" (Spoken Word essay from The Golden Gate Quartet/Josh White album, "Freedom")
Connector - "Interference (Paul Van Dyk Remix)"
Lynda Barry - "I'm Not Home Right Now, Number 5"
Goodie Mob - "Goodie Bag"
Z.C.C. Mukhukhu - "Ka Lifu Laka"
Moby - "Mercy"
I know it's de rigeur after this exercise to say either "I'm so embarrassed" or "Pretty good selection" or whatever, but I find this list neither embarrassing nor brilliant. Though occasional glimmers of serendipity do emerge (the Tupac/Tracy Chapman and Gumby/King Oliver doubleplays were surprisingly nice) and most of this is music I would listen to on any given day (the Goodie Mob, the Sister Rosetta, the Big Youth, the Johnny Cash), there are still a few flies in the ointment (I doubt I'd ever actually finished those Chemical Brothers, Paul Van Dyk or "Bobby and Betty" tracks prior to now) and far too much spoken word for this to be a successful mix. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find that first Moby album so appealing; after the utter burnout of six million spins of "Play" in every public space where people eat, drink or dance, I'd forgotten I actually kinda liked him.
Feel free to place requests or comment on anything that catches your eye.
Considering I have twenty thousand tracks in iTunes, it's astonishing that I would pull not only two artists featured on the Hut, but one track I've actually posted! What are the odds?
Incidentally, according to iTunes, I have enough Prince that if I wanted to I could listen for fortyone hours straight without a repeated track. Try to imagine doing that. Try to imagine MAKING that. Insane.
EVERYbody is musicbloggin' Prince. Check out:
Totally Fuzzy ("Oye Como Va" Live!); Esselle (with "Tick Tick Bang" the "Grafitti Bridge" paeon to premature ejaculation); Classical Gasp (with another DIFFERENT "Tick Tick Bang" track... again, what are the odds?), Mystical Beast (Jill Jones rarities), Get Your Bootleg On (this predates me by quite a bit, actually. Don't miss the very first "Prince Megamix"; it's great and filled with obscure cuts) and Fluxblog (still offering "Cinnamon Girl" from Musicology... but hurry!).
Speaking of Fluxblog, he posted a GREAT new mixup artist named Lenlo. How great is he? So great that I'm hosting today's fave DL of the day: Chocolate Cake.
Bizzle bozzle THAT flazzum, Coz!
New Soulsides is always cause for excitement and this is no exception. Go riggidy rock the miggidy microphone ta phone ta rock it and get you that smokin' James Brown track.
TtIKtDA is back to a more regular posting schedule and has unearthed THIS little gem: Pancake Mountain.
It's what Sesame Street would be if Jim Henson were still alive.
New Ish has really been on point with the posts lately. Doubters should check out the weirdness that is the booted tripped-outcover of the Popeye ballad "He Needs Me".
Jumping on the Tofu Remix tip, well you should be happy for me tackles that "Because (Acapella)" cut.
I dig remix/mashup culcha greatly and would be curious to hear whatever you lab rats cook up with tofu.
Sleevenotes just dropped a bushel and a peck of new tracks, including Deerhoof, Dizzee and Le Tigre.
If lovin' coke blunts makes me a dickrider than shuffle yo nuts, cuz I'm hoppin' on. I'm VERY grateful and excitded to find a devoted, intelligent and thorough hiphopmusicblogger in noz, who is daily dropping fascinating underground joints.
Copy, right? is similarly rocking my world with her blend of friendly "you are there" writing to her knack of finding covers I not only never heard of but would never imagine. Remember to drop by often: there's a lot of updating and music don't stay up long.
One last bit of sycophancy: Ready Rock Moe Rex is all about the offbeat electronic sound. Go soak it up.
And I love the rest of you too. You know who you are.
Going the extra mile for your entertainment value: That's the Tofu Hut® Promise!!!
Strangest advertising for an optometry practice EVER.
I regret to inform that this took me three tries to pass. I'm so ashamed.
But I just took it again, some two weeks later and got it on the first time. A good brusher upper.
Rotten.com does a surprisingly sweet and informative bio on Mr. Rogers.
The Esquire article referenced therein is some serious required reading.
This has been posted like yetiandpengu, so I don't presume to be the first place you've found it, but GHOST TOWN, the wanderings of a woman on her motorcycle through Chernobyl, is one of those rare net discoveries that deserves the hype.
If it's new to you, dig in.
Yo son, you call me a hairback?
Tofu is... different.
My Mac people, are you feeling this? Let me know.
iPod nation, are you ready for Choose Your Own iPod?
I've yet to test drive, but I love the concept.
Remember back when games like Sonic were fifty bucks and the price of a system?
You figure in twenty years that Jizzava IV will be running Doom III on your sidebar?
Ashcroft creates task force for copyright violations.
Jesus Hedwig Christ.
For the love of god, could we PLEASE get this guy in office, ASAP?
Fallen Rapper Pez Dispensers
"Aliens" Powerloader, here we come.
This hydraulic pogo stick ain't too shabby, either...
Well, there goes the weekend: every episode and bonus material of The State. Crappy video quality, but it's FREE!
Eating Muppets (from show 202) is one of my alltime favorite bits, ever; but who could deny the power of $240.00 worth of pudding?