Republished from Medium
Prince esta muerto. That is how this thought process began.
This morning began with a two-hour trip out of town to take care of some business. As I prepared for the drive, I decided to find a CD from my collection. You know a compact disk…that blast from the almost past that replaced cassette tapes and vinyl records. While vinyl is making a comeback, that is another story for another day. While I no longer purchase CDs as they are outdated, I do cling to some of my old collection. Those that survived the purge of most of my belongings a little over a year ago as I prepared to travel for the next year are those with a special place in my heart.
Prince’s release of The Gold Experience was my choice. Released in 1995 under the unpronounceable Love Symbol the Gold album was truly something unique. In those years of my life it was exciting for the reasons only understood in the mind of the young and immature. The lyrics had curse words, naughty words, and made numerous references to taboo subjects. Yes, for a young person it was THE best!
Fast forward a (cough) few years and the meaning and the lyrics have changed. Not literally, but the understanding and full appreciation has become something one can only gain with growth and maturity…and an understanding of mortality. Musical lyric meanings have been at the center of many competing opinions. Only the writer truly knows, but others will always profess to know what they really meant. Interpretation is a pie of many flavors and slices.
If you know that album, then you know how it begins. If you do not, then you have a research project. Grab your favorite music service and check it out for yourself. Trust me, it is better that way. As the third track wound to a close that operator returned with the line “Prince esta muerto”. Twice. My Spanish is not the greatest, but I know that phrase. And I suddenly began to cry. You see this was the end of Prince and the birth of the New Power Generation (NPG). But my tears fell because now the translation of Prince is dead…is true. And I still cannot believe it after more than three years.
You see, this CD survived the purge because of how many memories I have with a couple of very dear friends along with the fact that it is a genius release. Those friends and I can volley those lyrics for days and they never fail to make us smile and generally feel better.
Say what you will about the content of The Gold Experience but let us all agree that Prince is a genius. As a musician, writer, and performer he stands above the crowd. His music is raw and provocative without apology. He has never been afraid to use language you would not use outside of your closest circle. He speaks of subjects so taboo that they only exist in the very far recesses of most everyone. But one thing is for sure his brutally honest lyrics only improve with age. Ours, but unfortunately no longer his.
So many years after the release of Gold, the raw emotion of each track is so much more to me. Now I get to be that younger me singing along and knowing every word along with the older me that truly appreciates the artistry that was Prince Rogers Nelson. Long live the purple one, the symbol, the man, the genius, The Prince. You were so much to so many and you will never be forgotten…none of you.