I Feel Sorry for Prince
Written by: Alex Sandell
I've been feeling sorry for Prince, lately. The catastrophic world he envisioned in 1999 was never fully realized (although George W. is trying his best to make it come true) and he's probably sitting in his big purple mansion wondering why he's no longer relevant. And why his big mansion is still painted purple.
When he released the 1999 single back in 1983 things in the pop-rock world were simpler. A "Revolution" was nothing more than really stupid haircuts, goofy outfits and assless pants. Ronald Reagan was President, but the American public certainly wouldn't reelect that dork for a second term, so there was nothing to worry about.
The Police had the # 1 single of the year with their creepy hit stalker number, Every Breath You Take. Michael Jackson was busy claiming women were not his lover with Billie Jean. Lionel Richie was cruising up the charts with the redundantly titled, All Night Long (All Night). And Duran Duran were Hungry Like the Wolf.
It was a colorful era full of crappy songs, crummy haircuts and chilling cold wars. Prince stood out for writing decent music in a mediocre decade. That, and his bad acting in Purple Rain. And that horrible kiss -- was he trying to suck the life-essence out of the leading lady? Only Al and Tipper Gore could top the awkwardness of the Purple Rain lip-lock.
Flash-forward a couple of decades and Prince is still writing decent music in a decade of mediocre melodies. Compare his recent output to that of the American Idol gang and he seems like a genius. But that's always been Prince's curse and his gift: He writes good songs in bad decades.
If he were to release his newest album, 3121 the same year The Beatles cranked out Abbey Road, he'd be laughed off the planet. The difference between 2006 and 1983 is that nobody is noticing that Prince's music is actually better than most of the mainstream garbage out there.
When you're being outsold by Clay Aiken, something just isn't right. Then again, when Clay Aiken sells a single CD, something must be wrong.
Which brings me back to the recent
heartache I've been feeling for Prince. The guy is all old now and still
trying to play up the sex symbol angle. It's sad to think that a man
probably approaching 90 years old is singing lyrics such as, "U're a VIP at
least 2 me
Come here and show me some ID Eye know U're fine from head 2 pumps If U were mine we'd bump bump bump."
The "bump bump bump" part is the saddest. Prince is spitting out KISS-like juvenile macho lyrics while eating melba toast. No one outside of a trailer-park describes the act of fornication as "bump bump bump." A trailer-park or purple mansion.
The Purple One was recently divorced and is probably sitting in that purple castle of his thinking of the next set of seductive lyrics he can use to turn on his geriatric public. I'm guessing the word "whoopee" will be involved. Trying to recapture the glory days when doves cried and people partied like it was 1999.
Becoming irrelevant is hard. It happens to all of us. The fact that it's now happening to Prince -- who was a gigantic star when I was young -- means it's about to happen to me. But at least I don't hit girls up by telling them that we should "bump bump bump."
At least not yet.
I hope Prince finds a way to embrace his age and recapture the crown he lost long ago. Songs about Metamucil wouldn't be big sellers, but age doesn't have to mean obscurity. There are plenty of things, outside of sex and psalm, he could be singing about.
Or maybe not. Maybe Prince is stuck forever singing about his latest sexual conquest. One that he made at least 5 years earlier, after overdosing on a blood-pumping cocktail of Viagra, Levitra and memories of an earlier, better age. A more innocent time. A time when 1999 seemed to be a lifetime away.
If you want to communicate like normal people used to do, you can email me like it's 1999. Thanks.
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