Top 5 Essential Prince Moments
Today marks a very blessed day for music fans across the world, for the dawn has heralded the arrival of Art Official Age, the 34th (!!) studio album of Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as Prince, formerly the Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Such an event should signal the start of a worldwide day of funkalicious booty shaking and freaky dance moves galore, but for those of us not prone to wildly fervent shaking in the streets, we decided to honor the Purple One by compiling our Top 5 Essential Moments of Prince. Enjoy, and don’t be afraid to get down and bug out to it.
5. Batdance: It’s 1989. Tim Burton was given the director’s chair of a lifetime with a Batman blockbuster starring Academy Award winning talent. But he needed that one element to really seal the deal and make it the action-packed movie of the year. Enter Prince and his entire original motion picture soundtrack. While it’s no where near the majesty and might of his real albums, there is something deliciously funky about hit single ‘Batdance’—a track not actually featured in the film but who cares when you have this music video. Bonus points for the half-Batman, half-Joker ensemble.
4. 1999: And then mighty Prince said unto the masses, “tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999,” setting into motion one of the most important albums of a century. He had had previous releases, but this marked the moment where the world recognized Prince as the star he was destined to become. The album seamlessly forged together funk, R&B, and the synth of new wave into a colossal juggernaut of electric grooving perfection. The title track can still get a party to its feet in seconds, but songs like the outrageously dirty ‘Little Red Corvette’ and the super smooth sex jam ‘D.M.S.R’ cement the album into its rightful place of honor.
3. The Love Symbol: How many acts in the history of music have had the gall to change their name to an unpronounceable symbol? Answer: only Prince. 1993 was a tough time for the poor guy, his previous album, now known simply as The Love Symbol Album charted but received enormously poor sales compared to his previous efforts. He had finally managed to release his first greatest hits collection, and after compacting his career into a tiny package of compact discs, who can blame the poor guy for having a bit of an identity crisis? The name change was temporary, the legendary fervor from such an awesomely unpredictable yet perfect move will last a lifetime.
2. Kiss: ‘Kiss’ appeared on Prince’s eighth studio album, Parade. While not a bad album, the monumental achievement of this first single continues to outshine many of the artist’s other efforts. It is quite simply one of the downright funkiest tunes ever recorded in human history, with one of the most bravura vocal performances showcasing his insanely large range that the man ever laid down. If you play this song in a public place, no one, and we mean no one, can stand still. It also holds the distinction of containing, in the opinion of this author, the most profound lyric Prince ever wrote: “Act your age Mama, not your shoe size.”
1. Purple Rain: The album, the film, the song, take your pick. Purple Rain is a collective experience, one that will forever be one of the most inspired, resonant, totally 80’s, heartbreakingly gorgeous entries of culture in the 20th century. As an album, from the moment those opening strains of organ begin to peal on ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ we know we’re in for a wild ride, all the way to the closing strains of the epic, nine minute title track finale. The film, while no masterpiece, remains an inherently important piece of our American cultural fabric, that shoulder-padded jacket with the shirt of endless ruffles equating to our very own funkadelic Mona Lisa. And there is no song in the world that is as equally sexy and tragic as his magnum opus, the thunderingly glorious ballad that is ‘When Doves Cry.’ Just try and listen to that song objectively, without shedding a single tear (you can’t).