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Jun 22 2016

Prince, the closing

De laatste show

Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last

(1999, Prince, 1982)

Preface

On April 21st I was shocked to learn that Prince had passed away. Five weeks prior to that I turned 50 and shared my top 50 albums of all time and the top 50 best concerts I visited. Prince played a rather prominent role in both lists. After his passing I listened to his music, and only his music, and came to the conclusion that Chuck D’s remark regarding habituation when it comes to his music, was true for me as well. Despite the fact that latter Prince is clearly less than the ‘golden’ years, it still produced some fabulous music. In this closing piece an analysis of the top 50, the exception list and an album ‘ranking’.

Selection

The same question I posed when compiling the album top 50, I pose here: Was it hard? Yet again the answer is yes and no. I decided to limit myself to officially released material, under the moniker Prince/O(+>. This excludes all bootleg recordings (outtakes and concerts), but also all the music he released using pseudonyms or other monikers. These also contain fabulous songs, but weren’t part of the ‘competition’. Based on that one simple rule the number of selectable songs was reduced from 1500 to 501. That turned out to be a lot simpler, although a lot of great music was elminated. The first 50 exceptions to the top 50 list are included at the end of this post.

Analysis

The graph shown below, clearly proves that the output during his ‘golden years’ is my favorite. During this time his music was the most popular and experimental. The 1990’s are over-represented, becasue of the releases of The Hits/The B-Sides and Crystal Ball, which both contained a lot of 1980’s music, and the (postponed) release of The Black Album.

Prince Album analysis (en.apoplife.nl)

Prince Album analysis

The graph illustrates that my original choice in the top 50 albums regarding my favorite Prince albums is correct (from Purple Rain to Lovesexy), where I also stated that it should also include Dirty Mind to 1999.

Based on the data displayed above, must-have, should-have and nice-to-have lists can be compiled.

Albums Must-Have

  • Dirty Mind
  • 1999
  • Purple Rain
  • Around The World In A Day
  • Parade
  • Sign O’ The Times
  • Lovesexy
  • The B-sides (als onderdeel van The Hits/The B-Sides)
  • The Black Album
  • The Truth
  • The Rainbow Children

Albums Should-Have

  • Prince
  • Controversy
  • Batman
  • Graffiti Bridge
  • Come
  • The Gold Experience
  • Crystal Ball
  • One Nite Alone…
  • Xpectation
  • N.E.W.S.
  • C-Note
  • Lotusflow3r

Albums Nice-To-Have

  • Chaos And Disorder
  • Emancipation
  • Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic
  • Musicology
  • The Chocolate Invasion
  • 3121
  • Plectrumelectrum
  • Art Official Age
  • HITnRUN Phase Two

Bad music

Is the rest bad then? No, but it doesn’t live up to the standards Prince himself set for his music and genius. Didn’t he make any bad music at all than? Sure he did, see the following list of his 10 worst songs:

  • The Arms Of Orion
    (Batman, 1989)
  • Tick, Tick, Bang
    (Graffiti Bridge, 1990)
  • Diamonds And Pearls
    (Diamonds And Pearls, 1991)
  • Jughead
    (Diamonds And Pearls, 1991)
  • Blue Light
    (O(+>, 1992)
  • Incense And Candles
    (3121, 2006)
  • Compassion
    (20TEN, 2010)
  • Aintturninround
    (Plectrumelectrum, 2014)
  • Art Official Cage
    (Art Official Age, 2014)

I clearly remember the release of Batman. The album opens with the stunning The Future, followed by Electric Chair, not one of my favorites. But the next one genuinely shocked me, The Arms Of Orion. Prince makes a bad song, and then not just bad compared to the rest of his superior body of work, but just really bad!

Performer

It’s abundantly clear that I prefer songs, which are released by the one-man-band Prince. Even during The Revolution era the majority of the songs are produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince alone.

Prince performer

Prince performer

‘Afvallers‘ in the included graphs relates to entries from the exception list

Musical style

Which Prince do I like the most? Funky Prince it is. Despite the funk-Prince being my favorite, I didn’t quite expect it to be this clear.

Prince songs by musical style

Prince songs by musical style

Live

I consider myself lucky to have witnessed a lot of the songs in my top 50 song and the exception list live, most of the time with completely different arrangements as they were ofiicially released. Each tour songs sounded different to the tour before.

Prince various analyses

Prince various analyses

Slightly less than 1/3 of my favorites is part of one (of the 3) compilation albums released during his lifetime.

Last show

The last Prince show I saw, was (luckily) absolutely fantastic. In my Concerts top 50 of all time it ranks as number 8. What a show is was! He played a lot of my personal favorties:

Prince Antwerp 05/27/2014

Prince Antwerp 05/27/2014

60% of the songs played are among my favorites (although he, sadly played Diamonds And Pearls, yet again…).
What stood out was the, almost casual, ease in which he switched from song to song to song and started (and stopped) them at a whim. Upon his stage entrance it was immediately clear this was going to be one of those nights, a special night. And it turned out to be one: the Sportpaleis was turned upside down! The day after the show this tweet from Prince’s own Twitter account 3RDEYEGIRL appeared:

Antwerp-tweet

Antwerp-tweet

The whole show was like this. Is is and will remain to be a pity I will never get to see Prince again.

 

The exception list

As promised before, hereby the exception list. These songs didn’t make the cut to the top 50, but are favorites nonetheless:

  • Soft And Wet
    (For you, 1978)
  • I Wanna Be Your Lover
    (Prince, 1979)
  • Bambi
    (Prince, 1979)
  • Sexuality
    (Controversy, 1981)
  • Do Me, Baby
    (Controversy, 1981)
  • D.M.S.R.
    (1999, 1982)
  • Lady Cab Driver
    (1999, 1982)
  • Let’s Go Crazy
    (Purple Rain, 1984)
  • Computer Blue
    (Purple Rain, 1984)
  • I Would Die 4 U
    (Purple Rain, 1984)
  • Raspberry Beret
    (Around The World In A Day, 1985)
  • Hello
    (B-side Pop Life, 1985 & The Hits/The B-Sides, 1993)
  • Girl
    (B-side America, 1985 & The Hits/The B-Sides, 1993)
  • Anotherloverholenyohead
    (Parade, 1986)
  • Forever In My Life
    (Sign O’ The Times, 1987)
  • It
    (Sign O’ The Times, 1987)
  • I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
    (Sign O’ The Times, 1987)
  • The Cross
    (Sign O’ The Times, 1987)
  • Alphabet St.
    (Lovesexy, 1988)
  • Anna Stesia
    (Lovesexy, 1988)
  • Dance On
    (Lovesexy, 1988)
  • Scarlet Pussy
    (B-side I Wish U Heaven, 1988 & The Hits/The B-Sides, 1993)
  • Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got
    (Graffiti Bridge, 1990)
  • We Can Funk
    (Graffiti Bridge, 1990)
  • Thieves in the Temple
    (Graffiti Bridge, 1990)
  • Gett Off
    (Diamonds And Pearls, 1991)
  • Money Don’t Matter Tonight
    (Diamonds And Pearls, 1991)
  • Sexy MF
    (O(+>, 1992)
  • Le Grind
    (The Black Album, 1987/1994)
  • Cindy C.
    (The Black Album, 1987/1994)
  • Bob George
    (The Black Album, 1987/1994)
  • Come
    (Come, 1994)
  • Letitgo
    (Come, 1994)
  • P. Control
    (The Gold Experience, 1995)
  • Endorphinmachine
    (The Gold Experience, 1995)
  • Dolphin
    (The Gold Experience, 1995)
  • Chaos And Disorder
    (Chaos and Disorder, 1996)
  • Crystal Ball
    (Crystal Ball, 1998)
  • Dream Factory
    (Crystal Ball, 1998)
  • What’s My Name
    (Crystal Ball, 1998)
  • The Ride
    (Crystal Ball, 1998)
  • The Work, Pt. 1
    (The Rainbow Children, 2001)
  • 1+1+1=3
    (The Rainbow Children, 2001)
  • When Eye Lay My Hands On U
    (The Chocolate Invasion, 2004)
  • 3121
    (3121, 2006)
  • Dreamer
    (Lotusflow3r, 2009)
  • Future Soul Song
    (20TEN, 2010)
  • Wow
    (Plectrumelectrum, 2014)
  • Time
    (Art Official Age, 2014)
  • Xtraloveable
    (HITnRUN Phase Two, 2015)

 

Compliments/remarks? I´d love to hear them!