in honor of prince’s hit and run tour, which kicked-off this week, can we talk about prince for a minute here? seriously, the purple apostle is on fire. recent late-night non-stop live sets at london’s electric ballroom and new york city’s city winery. sitcom appearances. turning 55. wait, back-up a second: a video for breakfast can wait popping-up on prince’s official channel on youtube. game: blouses. joining freaking twitter. selfies! the man is officially unstoppable. outtacontrol. what’s next? it’s almost too much. yet not even close to enough. we prince fans want more.
while prince was one of the first artists to sell music online (he opened his now-shuttered musicology online store in 2004), after years of shunning social media, music sharing services that were not his own and online video sharing, prince finally has seemed to embrace the internet… as only prince can. for someone who once declared that the ‘internet’s completely over,’ this is a pretty big deal. prince even recently retracted his recent $22 million lawsuit against his video-sharing fans. it’s doubtful the old prince would have been so forgiving. a full-on neo-luddite prince is (mostly, he still refuses to own a smart phone) no more.
let’s just put it out there: prince was made for the internet. or, rather, the internet was made for prince. can you not think of a more perfect marriage? for the past 36 years, prince has steadfastly been at the forefront of every modern musical trend, literally affecting the surrounding cultural climate itself. in 1983, the video for prince’s ‘little red corvette’ was one of the first regularly aired videos by a black artist on mtv’s network. prince was one of the first artists to have a multiracial, multireligious band consisting of both men and women. an unabashed musical chameleon, prince was one of the first artists to reinvent himself with every album and practically every song that he created. while it makes sense that an artist, especially a supremely prolific one, who found countless ways to share his music with his fans pre-internet (between 1978 and 1992 he dropped fourteen studio albums, numerous recordings of live shows, began several side projects, spun-off a few protégé bands and produced, wrote and contributed instrumentals for other musicians) to be repelled by some of the downsides of the internet, such as digital music (his words) and uncontrollable piracy. however, prince being prince, it also makes sense that he is discovering the benefits of technology by finding his own online voice and cultivating a fun and unique presence that only prince can create. prince’s music has always been ‘reflecting the evolution of the culture at large.’ culture is undeniably evolving at the speed of the internet today, and, due to the power of prince, there is no doubt that he will have a hand in further cultural shifts, whether they be on or offline.
historically, this is an especially incredible moment in time to be a prince fan. i can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next. hopefully, with the internet on his side, we’ll continue to get more and more.
(image courtesy of v magazine.)
the kanye discussion at home these days goes a little something like this: what if kanye was a bit more like thom yorke? more like thom yorke meaning that thom gives interviews few and far between and is intensely private. but despite thom’s quietude, he’s far from inhibited. and he let’s us in on the deeply intense thoughts that swirl inside of his head with one incredibly important clue: his lyrics. thom let’s his lyrics speak for him, his music is his voice. when thom speaks, we listen.
kanye’s disposition careens him towards the exact opposite result: kanye speaks so often that in turn he is often tuned out (or, worse yet, his more extreme thoughts are broken into chunks and turned into fantastic soundbites, resulting with the actual point that he’s trying to make drowning in the hype). kanye, who, like thom, is an excellent wordsmith, says so much with each album he crafts. he absorbs what’s current and on-trend, resulting in albums that are saturated with fabulously important cultural references, influences and touchstones, from artwork to concept to production. each album is a timestamp on a certain place and time in history, much like each and every radiohead album. listen, or even name, a kanye west or radiohead album and all kinds of thoughts about what was happening during the year that each album dropped will most likely come to mind. one could highly contend that with every album he releases, kanye ends up influencing the cultural sphere around him. that’s an incredible feat.
kanye obviously has much to say and what he has to say tends to be highly valuable insights on the current state of culture and therefore holds much weight. but the nightly addresses during his current yeezus tour and countless interviews that he’s been giving in support of yeezus tend to wash out what he had to say and oftentimes the points that he makes veer towards the repetitive. what if kanye was more like thom in the sense that he let his lyrics do the talking and was a bit more selective about where and when he chooses to speak and interview? i bet the results would be exactly what kanye wants: when kanye speaks, we listen.
(image courtesy of mtv.)