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Thread started 06/12/19 1:57pm

BartVanHemelen

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An insightful article on Prince by Ian Penman in the London Review of Books

Ostensibly a review of Mayte's book as well as Jason Draper's, it is in reality a lengthy analysis of Prince's life and his work. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41...stion-of-u A stunningly great text, a worthwile read. Approx. 8,000 words, so not a quicky.

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #1 posted 06/12/19 5:35pm

KoolEaze

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Wow, what a great read. What an in-depth analysis of not just his career but also his music and his life.

Thanks for posting.

[Edited 6/12/19 17:42pm]

" I´d rather be a stank ass hoe because I´m not stupid. Oh my goodness! I got more drugs! I´m always funny dude...I´m hilarious! Are we gonna smoke?"




http://kooleasehvac.com/
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Reply #2 posted 06/12/19 8:52pm

mynameisnotsus
an

Thanks for the link.

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Reply #3 posted 06/12/19 10:30pm

BalladofPeterP
arker

Interesting take on Prince. Thanks for sharing.

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Reply #4 posted 06/13/19 12:38pm

bsprout

interesting, warts-and-all article.

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Reply #5 posted 06/13/19 2:23pm

Kares

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BartVanHemelen said:

Ostensibly a review of Mayte's book as well as Jason Draper's, it is in reality a lengthy analysis of Prince's life and his work. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41...stion-of-u A stunningly great text, a worthwile read. Approx. 8,000 words, so not a quicky.

.

I disagree. It's a rather shallow article, regardless of its length, written by someone who apparently doesn't know much about him or about music.

.

And I must say I am absolutely sick and tired of the argument that Prince's artistic peak period ended in 1988. Nonsense. He continued to grow and continued to be a true artist and has greatly expanded his horizons. The fact that for the average music consumer it was getting to become too deep, complicated and varied, way beyond the world of pop hits, is not his fault. The fact that he couldn't remain relevant for the new generations of kids is not his fault, that's just the way of life. That says nothing about the artistic value of his work.

.

[Edited 6/14/19 0:42am]

Friends don't let friends clap on 1 and 3.

The Paisley Park Vault spreadsheet: https://goo.gl/zzWHrU
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Reply #6 posted 06/14/19 6:34am

jaawwnn

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I kind of had that argument with a friend earlier when I pointed out that while Prince might not have as much detail on wikipedia as Van Halen, he more than makes up for it with the entire Princevault wiki-site devoted to him!

My conclusion is that the first half is a very well written summary of the current critical consensus on Prince, a few incorrect details here and there irked me to one degree or another but it would be a useful primer for someone coming in blind. The second half, where he was no longer summarizing Prince's career, I found more interesting. There's lots in it I disagree with overall, and lots that needs complicating where that article made it seem simple, but it's up to us to write the better articles.

[Edited 6/14/19 6:35am]

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Reply #7 posted 06/16/19 5:01pm

Buttox

Kares said:



BartVanHemelen said:


Ostensibly a review of Mayte's book as well as Jason Draper's, it is in reality a lengthy analysis of Prince's life and his work. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41...stion-of-u A stunningly great text, a worthwile read. Approx. 8,000 words, so not a quicky.



.


I disagree. It's a rather shallow article, regardless of its length, written by someone who apparently doesn't know much about him or about music.


.


And I must say I am absolutely sick and tired of the argument that Prince's artistic peak period ended in 1988. Nonsense. He continued to grow and continued to be a true artist and has greatly expanded his horizons. The fact that for the average music consumer it was getting to become too deep, complicated and varied, way beyond the world of pop hits, is not his fault. The fact that he couldn't remain relevant for the new generations of kids is not his fault, that's just the way of life. That says nothing about the artistic value of his work.


.

[Edited 6/14/19 0:42am]



Maybe it's worth starting a topic debating this in depth and with some seriousness . Something definitely changed in the late 80s to early nineties. No matter the album between 1999 and Lovesexy Prince managed to craft a handful of songs on each album that knocked it out of the park(No pun intended) and in a wide musical range. Even most non single album songs were really strong and engaging (except some in ATWIAD). To me that and his broad talents across musical disciplines is part of what made him so incredible.

Lovesexy is when trouble in paradise started.
In my view, there was the disappointment with how lovesexy was received in the States, Batman was a soujourn but
successful. Graffiti Bridge was a further disappointment commercially with hip-hop starting to enforce a change in his approach. And then Prince brought in rapper Tony M who rapped worse than he could and D&Ps worst songs were really poor. The Symbol Album had too many songs and it was as if Prince was losing interest in caring what the public thought of his music. The fight with warners sealed the deal...and to free himself maybe musically as well as contractially he switched from wide commercial acceptance to reaching his goal of writing more songs than anyone else with complex structural elements that satisfied him but that sacrificed melody, hooks and timeless classic tunes...

He never again had an album with that handful of songs that hit it out of the park...great quality still came through but more diluted and dispersed...and never to reach mass appreciation save with tmbgitw...which was a hit song to thumb his nose at warners.

So I don't think he stopped being capable of greatness...he just didn't care the same anymore. The song Clouds is a case n point .there is a worldwide hit in the melody and the instrumentation but them goes off on a tangent that makes it more challenging to listen to...
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Reply #8 posted 06/17/19 7:14am

deebee

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Came back from my hols yesterday, and was intrigued to find this waiting for me in the LRB. A good article, albeit a bit hit and miss. I thought the points about his shutting himself away in Paisley Park, in the seamless fantasy of Princeland, and choosing to work with competent but compliant musicians, during his post-peak career, as an ultimately unstimulating quirk of ego were well observed. Likewise, the bits referring to Mayte's book.

Some of it felt a bit more influenced by the kind of speculative psychoanalytic theory 'literary' writers often draw on. And it seemed to have been squeezed into a narrative of ego-led anomie leading into creative decline after 1988, then grief, addiction and death, where the reality seemed to fluctuate a bit more to me. (I put the real decline after 1996, but, even then, there were creative high points - despite an overall secular decline.) I also wasn't convinced that framing the piano and microphone concerts as his reconnection with his emotional self wasn't a bit of a narrative fiat. (They still sounded 'over-polished' in the way that he never seemed to break free of in his late career to me. And didn't he say to one of those around him that he was totally bored on stage?)

Interesting read, though, overall. Odd that they didn't wait for his own book to come out, then work material from that into the review.

"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin
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Reply #9 posted 06/17/19 8:07am

jaawwnn

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deebee said:

Came back from my hols yesterday, and was intrigued to find this waiting for me in the LRB. A good article, albeit a bit hit and miss. I thought the points about his shutting himself away in Paisley Park, in the seamless fantasy of Princeland, and choosing to work with competent but compliant musicians, during his post-peak career, as an ultimately unstimulating quirk of ego were well observed. Likewise, the bits referring to Mayte's book.

Some of it felt a bit more influenced by the kind of speculative psychoanalytic theory 'literary' writers often draw on. And it seemed to have been squeezed into a narrative of ego-led anomie leading into creative decline after 1988, then grief, addiction and death, where the reality seemed to fluctuate a bit more to me. (I put the real decline after 1996, but, even then, there were creative high points - despite an overall secular decline.) I also wasn't convinced that framing the piano and microphone concerts as his reconnection with his emotional self wasn't a bit of a narrative fiat. (They still sounded 'over-polished' in the way that he never seemed to break free of in his late career to me. And didn't he say to one of those around him that he was totally bored on stage?)

Interesting read, though, overall. Odd that they didn't wait for his own book to come out, then work material from that into the review.

Dude, don't make me list 5 thousand 'literary' writers who aren't that interested in psychoanalytic theory.



Otherwise, yes lol

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Reply #10 posted 06/17/19 10:55pm

SirPussalot

Kares said:

BartVanHemelen said:

Ostensibly a review of Mayte's book as well as Jason Draper's, it is in reality a lengthy analysis of Prince's life and his work. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41...stion-of-u A stunningly great text, a worthwile read. Approx. 8,000 words, so not a quicky.

.

I disagree. It's a rather shallow article, regardless of its length, written by someone who apparently doesn't know much about him or about music.

.

And I must say I am absolutely sick and tired of the argument that Prince's artistic peak period ended in 1988. Nonsense. He continued to grow and continued to be a true artist and has greatly expanded his horizons. The fact that for the average music consumer it was getting to become too deep, complicated and varied, way beyond the world of pop hits, is not his fault. The fact that he couldn't remain relevant for the new generations of kids is not his fault, that's just the way of life. That says nothing about the artistic value of his work.

.

[Edited 6/14/19 0:42am]

not sure shallow is the correct term. When you evaluate why in some cases articles focus on certain periods its helpful to consider the author also. IIRC this chap was at NME in the 80s and beyond. However Ps relevance to the British music press was in the 80s.

He didnt decline as much as the game changed .. things are only new once . Many examples of how he innovated in other areas in the 90s and beyond but not much musically.

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Reply #11 posted 06/18/19 2:08am

deebee

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jaawwnn said:

deebee said:

Came back from my hols yesterday, and was intrigued to find this waiting for me in the LRB. A good article, albeit a bit hit and miss. I thought the points about his shutting himself away in Paisley Park, in the seamless fantasy of Princeland, and choosing to work with competent but compliant musicians, during his post-peak career, as an ultimately unstimulating quirk of ego were well observed. Likewise, the bits referring to Mayte's book.

Some of it felt a bit more influenced by the kind of speculative psychoanalytic theory 'literary' writers often draw on. And it seemed to have been squeezed into a narrative of ego-led anomie leading into creative decline after 1988, then grief, addiction and death, where the reality seemed to fluctuate a bit more to me. (I put the real decline after 1996, but, even then, there were creative high points - despite an overall secular decline.) I also wasn't convinced that framing the piano and microphone concerts as his reconnection with his emotional self wasn't a bit of a narrative fiat. (They still sounded 'over-polished' in the way that he never seemed to break free of in his late career to me. And didn't he say to one of those around him that he was totally bored on stage?)

Interesting read, though, overall. Odd that they didn't wait for his own book to come out, then work material from that into the review.

Dude, don't make me list 5 thousand 'literary' writers who aren't that interested in psychoanalytic theory.



Otherwise, yes lol

Gawd bless 'em all.... biggrin

"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin
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Reply #12 posted 06/18/19 10:27am

herb4

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Good write up

Always fascinating to me the blatant homophiobia of the Stones incident given that Jagger was no stranger to androgyny, wore a lot of make up and had famously tongue kissed his rythym guitar a few years prior on SNL. They'd also dabbled in disco (Miss You, Emotional Rescue) and there's not a huge world of difference betweent the material on Some Girls from that of Dirty Mind, so the only real discernabe sticking point would be race.

But that doesn't check out either given how many black musicians the Stones played and toured with (Billy Preston comes to mind)

I've heard it offered that ANYONE would have gotten booed off the stage that day since it was so hot and fans waited so long but I dunno. Details seem to conflict.

I did know a lot of Stones fans who were homophobic but somehow gave Jagger (and Bowie) a pass.

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Reply #13 posted 06/19/19 2:36pm

herb4

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One of the more interesting reads on him I've seen in a while but I disagree with the writer on a few things (his later output, the Love Symbol album and the idea that the Stones are mainly an "Arena Guitar Anthem Band", or however that was worded).

Plus the writer made a clear error by saying that Tipper and the PMRC were solely provoked by Prince and that they had no issues with metal. Motley Crew, WASP, Ac/Dc, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard and Black Sabbath - all metal acts - were listed in "The Filthy Fifteen" that was the center of the discussion and 9 of the 15 were metal acts to one degree or another.

Prince, Darling Nikki (along with proteges Vanity and Sheena Easton) were just the most popular and biggest selling thing at the time (plus, arguably, the most overtly sexual) so they got the most attention. Nikki may indeed have been the springboard that set it off but metal acts were far from ignored there.

I would have been very interested to see Prince show up to the hearings but, as I understand it, he didn't have an issue with the warning labels*. John Denver, Frank Zappa and Dee Snider did such a fantastic job skewering and exposing the ignorance and hypocricy of these "very concerened" senators pretending to give a shit about childern, public morality and decency and really won the day for the "freaks" throughout the entire debacle by exhibiting surprisingly articulate arguments that clearly caught the senate off guard. They expected a bunch of wasted, drugged out morons talking stupid shit and got intelligent, well reasoned, nuanced and composed debate.

John Denver was the icing on the cake since he was perceived as a born again goody two shoes and I'm certain the commitee expected him to side with them. Surprise. For anyone who hasn't watched the entire hearing, I recommend finding it on YouTube.

Watching Prince speak his mind on sexual liberation, freedom and artistry - things we know he cared deeply about - would have been fascinating to witness.

* citation needed

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Reply #14 posted 06/20/19 3:31am

Vannormal

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-
What a wonderful article.
Thank you very much Bart.
-
The only thing that got in the way of Prince was Prince himself.
That is actually what the writer is trying to tell us, and he’s right.
I nearly agree on 99% of this article.
It’s a great wonderful and detail read, and a huge in-depth truth about someone we love too much.
For me it’s kind of detailed discription on the person Prince was, and I am now more than ever ready to read the book by Mayte Garcia.
-
I can somehow understand now how most reacted and didn’t like the description of the situations from when their child Died.
Prince always ran from emotional responsibility. Instead, he chose to sing about it, alone. Far away from confrontations with humans and direct emotions. afraid of dealing with everyday reality...
-
Again, great read!
-
He kept passionately working and writing and recording more songs than ever, even far after his highlight period. And even-so more prolific.
But he was already way too locked into his own ivory tower.
I remember the lyrics that somehow made clear that he “wish(ed again) to sit on (some) a stoop, watching the cars pass by”... he must’ve felt that time went by fast (for nearly two decades), and that he missed out on a lot of things... common things. Unusual but earthy things. And then again quickly shutting off (again) and hitting a so called new funk or whatever, again, and again.
-
Was it his strength to be that introvert ?
Was it wise to have a ladt say about every detail and everyone around him ?
Did all that pay off for the prolificness in quality ?
Was it all worth ?
I dont want to know the answer.
-
It is the way it went.
And we’re dealing with it.
-
"...no matter what, all will be fine, always."
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Reply #15 posted 06/20/19 7:11am

Mumio

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rolleyes

Welcome to "the org", Mumio…they can have you, but I'll have your love in the end nod
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Reply #16 posted 06/20/19 9:11am

emesem

Nice putting into my pile for laters. Always love those pics with the Blue Telecaster

Live at Wembley Arena in 1986

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Reply #17 posted 08/02/19 6:29am

Cloudbuster

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I read this article a few weeks ago, a pretty fair summary I suppose. That stuff about Mayte's pregnancy though. Crikey.

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Reply #18 posted 08/06/19 3:29pm

steakfinger

Kares said:

BartVanHemelen said:

Ostensibly a review of Mayte's book as well as Jason Draper's, it is in reality a lengthy analysis of Prince's life and his work. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41...stion-of-u A stunningly great text, a worthwile read. Approx. 8,000 words, so not a quicky.

.

I disagree. It's a rather shallow article, regardless of its length, written by someone who apparently doesn't know much about him or about music.

.

And I must say I am absolutely sick and tired of the argument that Prince's artistic peak period ended in 1988. Nonsense. He continued to grow and continued to be a true artist and has greatly expanded his horizons. The fact that for the average music consumer it was getting to become too deep, complicated and varied, way beyond the world of pop hits, is not his fault. The fact that he couldn't remain relevant for the new generations of kids is not his fault, that's just the way of life. That says nothing about the artistic value of his work.

.

[Edited 6/14/19 0:42am]

Prince's music didn't become "too deep" in the 90s. Not only is it objectively false, but implying that you are somehow superior in your deepness detecting abilities shows an arrogance that is only granted to those suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect. His songwriting evolved at a very slow pace and the major difference between the 80s and 90s was him following rather than leading when it came to production values, sounds, and arrangements. He may have had some heavy life experiences in the 90s, but the skill with which he turned them into song was much the same.

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Reply #19 posted 08/06/19 9:17pm

blackwell1

Finally lost me at dogging out "Push" and "Jughead". Sounded like what he thought someone told him he was supposed to say, er something. Long live Jughead.
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Reply #20 posted 08/07/19 11:01am

Doozer

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Really masterfully written - not the kind of thing you find online much these days. The opinions are strong but well justified, agree or not. What makes it hard to read and nod along as you do is that there is meaningful and credible insight into Prince as a person, which was the kind of thing that he focused so hard on keeping to himself.

Flaws are what make characters so great - and Prince was great despite hiding nearly every flaw.

Check out The Mountains and the Sea, a Prince podcast by yours truly and my wife. More info at https://www.facebook.com/TMATSPodcast/
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