It's been a year since he died and I still haven't quite come to terms with it. I accepted Bowie's death, I knew Leonard wasn't long for this world. George was a shock, but not entirely. Prince though...
Of all the artists we lost last year, Prince was the one I felt the hardest. For about a month after his death, I listened to little else but his back catalogue on repeat. He was one of the biggest superstars of my life. Many of the others had been recording long before I was born, but Prince started making music in my lifetime, created some of the most amazing records I ever heard... and then was taken far too soon. I wanted to honour that again, but since I've already compiled My Top Ten Prince Songs, here's the next best thing...
10. The Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch
This one again. Sorry about that.
It's just, they're (dreaming) of doing "the kind of stuff only Prince would sing about"...
9. Jesus Jones - Right Here Right Now
It did seem in the early 90s like the world might well be changing for the better. When Jesus Jones wrote this, they proclaimed Bob Dylan's dream was coming true...
I saw the decade in, when it seemedSo... did the world wake up from history?
The world could change at the blink of an eye
And if anything
Then there's your Sign o' the Times
Did it heck as like.
8. Goldie Lookin' Chain - Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do
Witty Welsh rap. What's not to love?
Guns don't kill people rappers do,7. Missy Elliott - Work It
From Bristol Zoo to B&Q,
I want to rap, I want to rhyme
Heard it in a song now I'm into gun crime,
Its a sign of the times like Prince changin his name,
Gotta have a shooter to be in the rap game,
Like Michael Ryan about to snap,
Guns don't kill people its just rap!
This is probably the first time I've featured Missy Elliott here, but I am a fan in small doses. I particularly like this one: always impressed by her ability to rap backwards. Wonder how she does that live?
You know Missy feel supa dupa6. Beck - Debra
Prince couldn't get me change my name, papa
Kunta Kinte a slave again, no sir
Picture black sayin', "Oh, yessa, massa"
Beck's whole Midnite Vultures album was a huge departure from his earlier work and wears its Prince influence proudly. A lot of artists have been influenced by Prince musically, but this song also shows huge lyrical influence. It could be the b-side to Raspberry Beret. Speaking of which...
5. Clint Boon Experience - Not Enough Purple, Too Much Grey
I'll just slip this one in here and leave you to decide whether it's about Prince or not. It certainly sums up the post-Prince world to me.
4. Hot Chip - Down With Prince
I'm not always the biggest Hot Chip fan, but how can I resist when they channel the purple one?
3. Eminem - Without Me
Eminem, the self-proclaimed "worst thing since Elvis Presley", rarely has a positive word to say about any other artist (except, maybe, Dr. Dre). But while he cheerfully puts the boot into NSYNCH, Limp Bizkit and Moby in this track, he really can't bring himself to say anything bad about Prince, using him instead as a comparison for how long Marshall Mathers spent writing songs before he got his break.
2. Smog - Prince, Alone In The Studio
Bill Callahan's epic captures better than anything what made Prince a superstar. He was a perfectionist. He lived for his music, more than just about any other artist we've had in popular music. Not all of that music was perfect, but it was his life. More than food, more than sex, more than anything else... music was what mattered to him.
1. Prince - My Name Is Prince
And he is funky.
Of course, the irony of this song was: very soon after, he stopped calling himself Prince and changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol just to piss Warner Brothers off. We all had to call him TAFKAP for the next eight years. But he was always Prince in our hearts.
Goodnight sweet Prince. I Wish You Heaven.