October Artist – Prince (Part 1)
This post is part of my Deep Dive Music Project. This month I’m listening to some music by Prince. Be sure to check out the Prince playlist I have on Spotify. This post has all my thoughts about the music I’ve listened to this month, and is broken up into four parts including this one. Click on a link below if you’d like to read another next section.
There are some artists that I’ve chosen for this project, whose works are massive and who have been so influential in music and culture that it’s a bit overwhelming.
If you haven’t guessed Prince is one of those artists, but Prince was the reason why I started this project in the first place and so I knew I had to include him here. On June 7, 2020 (what would have been his 62nd birthday) I was writing about Prince for my Birthday Music Project. Reading about how he essentially started a genre of music (Minneapolis Sound). That he was basically a guitar virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist (I knew he played guitar, but not that he was a virtuoso). That he wrote over 500 songs (including ones for other artists). That he had 39 studio albums released in his life. It was then that I thought “holy shit there’s a lot of Prince’s music I don’t know and I need to listen to more of it.” From there I decided to do this project.
The Prince Songs I Kind Of Know
I was born in 1984 and while I don’t recall listening to a Prince album specifically growing up I’d definitely heard of Prince, and I knew a few Prince songs. In no particular order, those would be
- Raspberry Beret
- Little Red Corvette
- Purple Rain
- When Doves Cry
- Nothing Compares 2 U
- Let’s Go Crazy
Before I start diving into the discography for the artists I’ve chosen I want to give a rundown of the impression I get of their music and their work. This may or may not be accurate. The point of this isn’t for me to tell you, “this is definitely what this artist’s music is/will be like” but for me to see if these impressions are correct as I go along. They may or may not be.
There are some artists on here that I know a little bit more than others. Prince is an artist who had a major impact on music and popular culture during his life, so I can’t come at this from a blank slate. I mean an artist who can simply be known by one name (or even a symbol) like Prince is a literal icon.
As mentioned before I didn’t grow up listening to Prince. I heard several Prince songs for the first time through covers by other people like “Nothing Compares 2 U” or “When Doves Cry” (the version I first heard was the cover version featured in the Baz Luhrmann movie Romeo + Juliet). The other songs I likely heard them on the radio or in a movie or somewhere else. I don’t have any particular memory tied to a Prince song, but I will say that “Raspberry Beret” is one of my personal “Get Happy” songs (songs that make me happy).
For the few Prince songs I’m familiar with he seemed to be the type of artist who was willing to experiment and try new things. I know he did create a new genre of music. And back in the 70s and 80s when music was much more divided by genre than it is today Prince seemed to be an artist that could bridge and combine genres. I think about a song like “Let’s Go Crazy” which starts off as a Gospel-esque number, goes into a funk/pop sound and ends with a rocking guitar solo.
Of course, this might not be true for every song, but I think there is a freedom and fluidity to Prince’s music. Don’t take “freedom” to mean “just do whatever sporadically.” I think Prince was one of those artists who (in terms of music at least) knew the rules, and so he knew when to bend or break those rules. And he didn’t seem to be concerned with doing something (music or otherwise) just because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Prince defied conventions and was a trailblazer.
That’s my impressions for now. Let’s see if any of this will change as this month goes on.
The Prince Albums I’m Listening To This Month
For the most part, I’m not focusing on soundtrack work artists have done, but I’m making an exception with Prince and his iconic 1984 album Purple Rain (soundtrack for the movie of the same name). Prince actually worked on several other soundtracks in his career as well, although I won’t have time to get to all of those. I’ll be listening to the following albums in chronological order
- Prince (1979)
- Dirty Mind (1980)
- Controversy (1981)
- 1999 (1982)
- Purple Rain (1984)
- Around the World in a Day (1985)
- Sign ‘o The Times (1987)
Most of the albums I’ve chosen (with the exception of the first) are from the 1980s, but I haven’t included every 80s album Prince released. And there is a huge amount of his work I know I’m missing out on, but I can’t cover it all. If I have time I may choose to listen to one or two more Prince albums. There is an album of Hits/B-Sides I would like to get to if I have time. However this album is almost 4 hours long (right now I’ve got 5 hours and 45 minutes of Prince songs to listen to), so no guarantees I’ll get to it (at least this month). I’m also going to try to watch the movie Purple Rain this month as well.
If you’re familiar with Prince’s music and you have an album suggestion for me to listen to leave a comment below. I might not be able to get to it this month, but I’ll try my best.
Let’s go crazy…and listen to some music by Prince.
What’s your favourite album or song by Prince?