Prince has left us. It feels weird even just typing that. Prince seemed immortal and just like David Bowie before him, not human. The first time I had heard about the aura and legend of Prince was through Chappelle Show, just like many young twenty-somethings. His music though, is what transcends culture, decades, and generations. There was a recent article by some other website or magazine that asked if Prince was killing his legacy by avoiding going digital and the answer now, as it was when I saw it a few weeks ago, is a resounding and undisputed no.
That’s what made Prince. Whether it’s telling ?uestlove to stop DJing so he could watch Finding Nemo or get mad at Michael Jackson in a ping-pong game, it’s all in the legend. And sure, at times, his legend superseded some of his music but, at that core was always the music. It’s the core of who he is. It’s the core of who he was. The debate over who’s the greatest ever (Prince vs. Michael Jackson) will forever remain ongoing but, we’ll pick that up again another day. Here are my Top 5 favorite songs ever by Prince. We can’t post videos/links because, well, you know.
1. “When Doves Cry” 1984
I remember hearing “When Doves Cry” in the back of my mother’s car at the age of 11, if I had to guess. 95.5 WPLJ was my mom’s favorite radio station back then and they’d always have songs from the 80’s playing. When I heard Prince’s voice, like millions, I was drawn in. And the guitar solo? Forget about it. I was hooked. It still remains my favorite song. For a lot of people, the first song you fall in love with is your favorite by the artist. Like “All My Friends” with LCD Soundsystem or “Through the Wire” by Kanye, it just always resonates.
2. “Little Red Corvette” 1982
1999 is often argued to be Prince’s most influential album. It’s the one that launched him into mainstream culture. My personal favorite is “Little Red Corvette” because it showed me the genius of Prince’s lyricism. Let’s just keep in mind that this is a song about a woman who drove around in a little red Corvette and had condoms in the backseat. Don’t believe me? Look it up.
3. “Kiss” 1986
Let me state this now: Parade is a VERY underrated album. With that said, it’s first single, “Kiss” sounds somewhere between Hendrix and Michael. There’s also something that still intrigues me about “Kiss”. The opening line, “You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on.” Generally, we regard Prince as ahead of his time and undoubtedly, he was. We’ll never catch up. But what’s interesting to me is how many current bands, in our current and needed wave of body positivity have tried recreating that line in one way or another and have attempted to sound poetic. It’s a simple line but, for 1986, in the age of greed and glamor, it’s a truly standout line from a truly standout song.
4. “Sign o’ the Times” 1987
In the 29 years since its release, Sign o’ the Times, to many critics including myself, is the best Prince album. My personal favorite is the title track. The bass and drums slam in your ears like it’s no one’s business and what’s more important is the social message behind it. In the late 80’s everyone got really political within the music world but, Sign o’ the Times different. It urged you to listen. I don’t know what the most important rock album of 1987 is because The Joshua Tree, Appetite for Destruction, and Document were released in the same year as Sign o’ the Times but, you can’t understate the importance of the album.
5. “Purple Rain” 1984
It’s the calling card and the most famous song off his most famous album and has arguably the greatest performance behind it during Super Bowl XLI. I can’t say much more about “Purple Rain”, song or album, that hasn’t been said. Just know that no list is complete without it.