In the summer of 2013 I spent $70 on one trip to the Walgreens on Summer Avenue. What did I buy? Batteries, sharpies and a Prince CD. I knew I had already spent enough money that day, but Prince’s intense stare, curly hair and ginormous hog of a motorcycle lured me into believing that “Purple Rain” wasn’t just a last-minute purchase. It was a necessity.
I’ve loved Prince since 7th grade. I loved everything about Prince - His music, his voice, and how he defied what a “normal” pop-star should look and sound like. Prince was great. Prince was weird. For my friends who thought Prince was too weird I’d often tell them that lyrically Prince just...“gets it.” And he did.
It is truly hard for me to write about this man in the past tense and the news of a celebrity’s death has not stopped me in my tracks like this since Robin Williams. Right now, I’m in disbelief. Right now, I’m in denial. Right now, I am certain that this is all just a publicity stunt (like that time he changed his name), and that in three days Prince Rogers Nelson is going to spontaneously reveal himself in a grandiose way like some funky, purple Jesus.
The “Prince” symbol will be projected in the skyline of various cities (like Batman) and Prince, the dark knight that he is, will squeal, groan and start pumping out the opening guitarlicks of “Kiss” to crowds of relieved albeit confused pedestrians. “Prince has duped us again!”
Yet, all major news networks are reporting that he’s gone. His Wikipedia page has a death date. His personal publicist even confirmed the terrible news. He was found unresponsive in an elevator at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday. We’ve lost another incredibly talented alien in the year of 2016 and a few boxes on my own bucket list will never truly be checked off.
If I could have met Prince I would have told him how when I was young my Dad put “When Doves Cry” on mix cd of songs for me to listen to, and “Doves” just stuck out. It’s simplicity. It’s subdued funkiness. It’s lyrics. Oh, it’s lyrics. It took me a long time to truly understand the complicated dynamic that “When Doves Cry” illustrates between two people, (or animals) but as a young man in the millennial dating pool I can vouch that the 1984 hit is timeless.
“Dig if you can a courtyard. An ocean of violets in bloom. Animals strike curious poses. They feel the heat. The heat between me and you.”
“Touch if you will my stomach. Feel how it trembles inside. You’ve got the butterflies all tied up. Don’t make me chase you. Even doves have pride.” Prince is very suggestive. But he’s also very, very weird. At the same time he’s so confident about how weird he is, and ultimately - incredibly poetic. And cool.
Prince was just cool and there will never be another pop star as cool and collected ...and yet bizarre as prince. Unapologetically so. His dynamic in the music industry was completely original and yet widely respected. Musicians loved Prince. Critics loved Prince. I loved Prince.
Now he’s left us all standing alone in a world so cold. It’s going to take a while for me to hear “When Doves Cry” or “Purple Rain,” or even, “I Would Die For You” and just enjoy the lyrical complexities and odd antics of Prince’s awesome voice without missing him too much. When an artist is that weird he reaches some weird part of yourself you didn’t know could be cool. For accomplishing that feat for many, many fans Dave Chappelle once unknowingly but somehow accurately described how to react about Prince’s many victories on this planet. “Game - Blouses.”