Tuesday, October 16, 2012

163 1999. Apparently he's very good

Album: 1999
Artist: Prince
Year: 1982
Genre: Pop


1. 1999
2. Little Red Corvette
3. Delirious
4. Let's Pretend We're Married
5. D.M.S.R.
6. Automatic
7. Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)
8. Free
9. Lady Cab Driver
10. All the Critics Love U in New York
11. International Lover

People keep telling me that Prince is a brilliant musician. He's supposed to have a talent so staggeringly massive it's possible to overlook the fact that he's unbearably pretentious and irritating. He's rumoured to possess abilities so immense they're even capable of approaching the size of his own ego. I'm supposed to appreciate him as a genius whose skills give him a free pass when it comes to the standards of social acceptance we apply to other human beings. Personally I've never been able to see it. To me he's just an annoying person with an elevated sense of his own importance and an ability to say some truly silly things like saying the Internet was over in early 2012 ("The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you." -shut up fool)

Every Prince track I've ever heard has struck me as annoying pop with appalling lyrics. It's all been overdone synth-wank as far as I can tell with lots of badly dated electronica and a really annoying squeaky voice but I want to find a way in. I might never become a fan but I want to at least become an admirer, even if it's a begrudging one.

My entry point was always going to be the guitar. Apparently Prince is a great guitar player and managed to make Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the top 100 guitarists of all time. So I listened to 1999 hoping for some six-string wizardry to turn my view. Sadly it's not really a guitar album. Prince apparently has a lot of strings to his bow and he chose to play around with the other strings on this release leaving the six guitar strings to bury themselves in the mix.

I've checked out the youtube clip of Prince playing on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in which George Harrison was honoured by a group of musicians playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps. People have claimed his guitar solo is among the best ever recorded. These people need to hear more guitar playing. When Clapton plays While My Guitar Gently Weeps his guitar genuinely weeps. He's playing from the heart as he focuses his talents on providing a fitting tribute for a great friend whose loss he feels deeply. He understands the blues and he gets them from George's death. Prince just understands Prince adoration. It's the only thing that drives him on. His solo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction is an exercise in guitar wizardry which requires great skill but is totally devoid of soul. It's highly practised and rehearsed trickery which looks fantastic but has nothing at its core but a desire to impress. This sort of thing is fine at a Prince show which is designed to be a shrine at which his fans worship but at an event that's supposed to pay tribute to someone else it's just selfish show-ponying of the worst kind. It's an attempt to steal all the limelight away from George and turn it into a Prince show. It's made worse by his arrogant (and pre-rehearsed) fling of the guitar and poonce off-stage as if receiving applause is beneath him. Whenever I watch that clip I really want Tom Petty, who has put more soul into a soundcheck than Prince has put into his entire career, to smack that smug little poser in his artfully unshaven face and force him to his knees to beg an apology from any of George's family who were present.

I still haven't found any evidence of Prince's guitar prowess but if I do it's going to have to be truly electrifying to make me overlook what a detestably arrogant little tossbag he is.

Influenced by: His own ego
Influenced: Other arrogant pop singers.

Highlight: The cover
Lowlight: The performer

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Hate i"

-That's the entire review. Very succinct. Agree i.

So was 1999 a good year or not? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. Oh well...well, hopefully you'll like the next album on the list!