While we await the next credit bubble, and with it the circumstances that justify pursuit of my master’s thesis, "Metaphors of Technology in R&B," plz allow me to share some notes for the chapter "Prince//The Komputer."
Prince was an early adopter. He got down with l’ordinateur in the early 80s, and quickly established himself as a pioneer of romantic cybernetics. On this extended version of "Computer Blue," from 1983, we hear a Wendy (Lisa?) monologue around the 10 min. mark:
Narrow-minded computer, it’s time someone programmed you. It’s time you learned. Women are not butterflies, they’re computers too. Just like you, Computer Blue.
There is a lot to talk about about the new David Bowie video. The first thing, I guess, is that it was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who made The Runaways movie two years ago and lots of other music videos set in, as she reportedly put it, "entropic underworlds inhabited by tortured souls and omnipotent beings." (Hooray!) It co-stars Tilda Swinton, who plays David Bowie's wife in the most masturbatory coupling we've seen since Mick Jagger married himself in the form of Bianca Peres Moreno de Macias in 1971.
Here is a nice black-and-white video for the song "Wichita" by the young rapper XV, who is from Wichita, Kansas. The song is good, though I wish XV had done a little more with the chorus. The star producer Just Blaze, who is most famous for his work with Jay-Z, constructed the beat for XV's song using samples of the classic pop standard "Wichita Lineman" as recorded by Johnny Harris and the Dells.
"Happy 53rd Birthday, Prince Rogers Nelson. You are definitely one of the world’s 'Favorite Blacks.' We know this not because of all the joy your music has brought your millions of fans. But because in 1985 you and your band, the Revolution, were presented the honor 'Favorite Black Album' at the American Music Awards (by Huey Lewis and Madonna, no less). The irony of this is that you didn’t even win that award for your raw-as-hell The Black Album (which didn’t come out till a few years later and scared all your pop fans who never heard Dirty Mind; we had to buy that shit on a bootleg cassette behind [...]
Did you know you needed to hear a mashup of "Running Up That Hill" and "Sign o' the Times"? (Historians of the 80s will know, of course, that Kate Bush is Prince's "favorite woman," and will already have both their collaborations, "My Computer" and "Why Should I Love You?") (via, via)
So Prince is releasing a new CD, 20Ten, inside the pages of the July 22 issue of Rolling Stone … in Germany only. According to your McChrystal-dooming domestic RSwebsite, the album will also be a cover-mount bonus in England's Daily Mirror, Scotland's Daily Record and Belgium's Het Nieuwsblad. (Yes. Prince is playing some dates in Europe this summer.) Forget the fact that the last few Prince self-leaks have been pretty bad–a new disc from the dude is always cause for internet fun. But guess what–the best review of the forthcoming record has already been written.
What is the last Prince song I heard that I liked as much as like this new one? Oh, right, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," from way back in 1995, when he was sending special glyph icons to magazine art departments so he would not have to see his name in print. It's a rockabilly pop tune, in the vein of his early 80's stuff like "When You Were Mine," but looser and grungier, as if it was played by, umm, Everclear instead of, umm, the Cars. And the video takes its cues from his palCee-Lo. Not surprisingly, there is MYSTERY[...]
And here is Beyoncé covering Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" (and Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" (whatever)) this weekend. She's been doing this on tour for a bit (and covering Prince for a couple of years, and of course she performed "Purple Rain" with him in 2004) but this is the first really stellar recording of this; I would describe this as LIFE-CHANGING. Stop work, put your headphones on, etc. I do wish she hadn't switched the genders in the lyrics though. (via, previously)
Oh, excellent! The beloved golden-era rap duo Nice & Smooth have filmed a video for their 1989 classic, "No Delayin'," which samples Prince's "Starfish and Coffee," and Big Daddy Kane's "Ain't No Half Steppin'." Big Daddy shows up in the new clip. Prince, surprisingly, does not. No matter, though, this song is so great, there's no way it could ever be anything but right on time.
Man, what a storm! The howling wind woke me up at 5 o'clock this morning, and then I couldn't go back to sleep. So, maybe because I still had Merry Clayton's gale of a voice in mind, I made a list of songs that fit the scene. Nothing else to do today but watch the videos. Certainly, no one should go outside.
"What Prince has figured out is that the proportion of effort/return on pushing the internet user to actually BUY music is not worth the resources it takes to do so. When 80 – 90% of your PR effort disappears into non-revenue online areas (piracy, Spotify), the PR needs to be 8-9 times as ubiquitous as in the pre-internet era to make the same gains. He's done the sums, and has figured out that even if he only stands to make a penny profit on each CD that goes out on the cover of various European newspapers, that it's worth more to him than a hundred million people retweeting a video [...]
"If you're a small male you really have to sing your heart out it seems. Whereas if you're the strong silent type, you'll do all right." -Dr. Tom Tregenza, a professor of evolutionary ecology at the University of Exeter who, with colleagues, studied over 250,000 hours of video of hundreds of marked crickets taken with 64 cameras covering an 8,000-square-foot meadow in Northern Spain. Over two generations of crickets, the study showed that smaller, subordinate males mated with twice as many females as larger, dominant males, while both groups produced the same number of offspring. The scientists also found that the more a smaller, subordinate male sang, the more [...]
"Of course, not everyone has the purple blood to imitate His Royal Badness. The decision is left up to the judges. But remember: the clones can earn up to $25,000 per year on a part-time basis. Not a bad salary for donning a little eyeliner, some lacy frocks and gyrating like Elvis!" —As is their wont, the guys at Ego Trip have unearthed something wonderful for us.
This is about a month old, but today happens to be Friday so I am not gonna worry too much about issues of novelty. Anyway, here is Mr. Costello performing the Prince classic "Purple Rain." Enjoy! [Via]
Today's reason to hate myself: for missing Prince play "Crazy" with his opening act Cee-Lo at Madison Square Garden last night. God, that guitar! (This video will disappear soon too, because Prince, copyright, etc. Which is funny, since this isn't even his song!)
Over the weekend, Liz Phair had a surprise: 11 new tracks, collected under the title Funstyle, available for purchase at her official site. This release was surprising for reasons that went far beyond its semi-stealth timing! Seth Colter Walls and I decided to figure out "the deal."
Maura: OK, I am ready!
Seth: Well if you "are ready" to talk about this then you are ahead of 99% of the people who have listened to this record from Liz Phair, called Funstyle.
Seth: Maura — why did this happen?
Maura: I think I might be one of the few people who doesn't see Funstyle as a total [...]