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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

He Died Alone, Slumped in an Elevator on the First Floor...

I didn't realize how much of a Prince fan I really was/am. The New York Times listed the 5 must-have Prince albums, I realized I at one time owned 4 of them - Dirty Mind, Sign of the Times, Purple Rain, and Musicology.

I just listened to Musicology again and thought to myself - this is one of the greatest Soul/Funk/R&B records I've ever heard with a totally kickass band. I found myself reading the liner notes, turns out Prince played every instrument on the record.

Astonishing. Even though Prince has left us with a "towering legacy," at the same time, it's probably safe to say that he is somewhat, "underrated." Because he was unlike any one else, it was always hard to rate him at all.

He was Prince. Just being Prince. A genre all his own.

Why am I obsessed with how and why he died? Not sure. I guess it was a total surprise. And the Prince I thought I "knew," is obviously not the Prince that lived. He was an extraordinarily complex character. That probably made him what he became - a boundary-crosser, a hybrid, a contradiction - deeply sexual, deeply religious, deeply conflicted, deeply obsessive. 

All these swirling stories are strange, weird, disturbing. I suppose they also remind me of one of my basic theories of human beings - we are very odd, weird, strange, contradictory. Capable of extraordinary beauty, kindness, over-flowing with love and creativity, and at the same time, capable of terrible things too.

Seems what ever terrible things in Prince's life were directed primarily at himself. His extraordinaryness also seems to have isolated him. So he was wrapped up in his own genius. With no way out.  He died alone, slumped in an elevator. You thought the man lived in some kind of musical/creative paradise. But of course there was pain, sickness, heart-break, unhappiness, and maybe some madness mixed in too.

I know there are folks who just want to remember the good parts. But the whole story is actually the real story. And the real story is probably, or maybe, important to know. By denying or burying the parts we don't want to know, I think we do a disservice to an understanding of the full human thing. We may never know the truth, the whole truth. There are probably a multiplicity of truths about the man and some of these truths just collide. Living and dying it's a strange, ephemeral thing. Human beings are supremely weird. Prince certainly did his own thing, his own way, all the way to the end.

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