April 24, 2016

"DON'T DIE WITHOUT KNOWING":

The Death Of Prince And The Death of Jesus : Despite reveling in sexually explicit material, Prince also wrote more explicitly Christian lyrics than any mainstream musician of that era not named Bono. (Hans Fiene, APRIL 22, 2016, The Federalist)

Prince's penchant for pumping his music full of funk and jazz influences wasn't terribly appealing to many red-state rockers who were raised on a diet of Mellencamp and didn't know exactly what to do with a sequin-clad pretty boy who spent half his albums falsetto-wailing an octave and a third above middle C. For attentive, Christian parents like my mother, who mostly become aware of Prince during Tipper Gore's PMRC hearings, it made sense they didn't want to give a fair shake to Prince's indisputably brilliant "The Beautiful Ones" when the indefensibly filthy "Darling Nikki" was lurking just two tracks away.

But, for whatever reason, I hurdled the roadblocks that prevented so many who shared my background from embracing him. If there's anything I wish to impart to those who didn't join me in the purple fan club, it's this: Even if you can't stand the genres Prince performed, and even if you were understandably put off by his outlandish and often times obscene persona, it is an indisputable truth that Prince's level of talent was not of this world.

For whatever reason, when God knit Prince Rogers Nelson together in his mother's womb, he saw fit to give Prince more musical talent than virtually every other human being on the planet, bestowing on him the third-largest vocal range in pop music history, the ability to play countless instruments fluently, and a deadly command of the hook. In fact, Prince was such a prolific songwriter that he had a literal vault filled with unreleased material. (Before any haters assume all of these tracks must have not been worth releasing, remember that Prince essentially threw away arguably his greatest song before Sinead O'Conner rescued it from the waste bin and gave us one of the best female vocals of the 1990s.)

Likewise, most artists would never have been able to upstage either James Brown or Michael Jackson at any point in their careers. Prince managed to best the both of them on the same night. For anyone still unable to see past aforementioned sequins and soprano screaming, close your eyes and listen to Prince casually rip off one of the best guitar solos you'll ever hear. Eric Clapton is widely considered to be among the greatest axmen ever, and his solo on the original recording of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is likewise considered one of his greatest feats, which means Prince's solo at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony is the musical equivalent of Rocky Balboa winning the heavyweight title by ripping Apollo Creed's arms off and punching him to death with his own fists.

However, Prince didn't always use his God-given talent to the glory of the one who gave it, as his countless songs glorifying lust and promiscuity made abundantly clear. Throughout most of his career, Prince had a regular habit of taking the brilliance his creator gave him and pumping it into throwaway, pornographic songs that, for late-to-the-Prince-party Christian fans like me, was about as disappointing as if poetry lovers discovered that, in between scribing some of the greatest poems in American history, Robert Frost wrote a thousand dirty limericks for Hustler magazine.

Despite reveling in the sexually explicit material so common in pop and rock music from the late seventies through the nineties, Prince also wrote more explicitly Christian lyrics than any mainstream musician of that era not named Bono, composing numerous tracks that praised the God who made him and that confessed the atonement of Jesus Christ, even if they confessed it in ways that wouldn't exactly have passed doctrinal review in most orthodox Christian churches.




The Cross is one of the highlights of this album:


Posted by at April 24, 2016 6:09 AM

  

« KNOWING YOUR ALLIES: | Main | THE VRWC BACKS REPUBLICANS: »