Friday, April 22, 2016

The Purple Pang: A farewell to music inspiration Prince

It’s strange how the deaths of celebrities affect people. Sure, it makes sense to mourn the loss of any human being, but for the most part, celebrities are “others,” people we only experience through their televised or recorded personas. Usually, when a celebrity dies, my initial instinct is to think (or say), “Yeah, it’s sad that he died, but I never knew him personally,” and I leave it at that. If it was someone I admired as an entertainer, I’ll watch a movie marathon of their work or listen to their music for a while, and the next day, I’m back to business as normal.

But once in a great while, something else happens. When I heard the news that Prince had passed, I was shocked and a bit saddened, as I enjoyed a great deal of his music. I had only ever seen him in concert once (which is still a concert highlight of my life), but I had never met the man, and I wasn’t really one for following anything he ever said in the press. In essence, to me, Prince was JUST a guy who made interesting music I happened to enjoy, and it was a bummer that he passed.

But then, I woke up this morning with a weight in the pit of my stomach, a kind of spiritual void that something is no longer playing of role in my existence. It’s not the gut-wrenching, paralyzing moroseness accompanied by the death of a family member or close friend. It’s something less palpable, but painful nonetheless. I have only ever had this feeling two other times in my life – in 2010 when Ronnie James Dio passed, and much earlier in 1994 after John Candy’s passing. 

Therefore, I’m lead to believe that this strange feeling of sadness and a subconscious cessation of inner guidance is telling me that these people, none of whom I had ever met, somehow influenced the development and mutation of my psyche. Although they can now no longer provide some kind of pseudo-parental, helping hand, there is no doubt that the fact that they did exist has left a metaphysical footprint on the core of my being.

Was Prince responsible for my ever-expanding appreciation of music? Was it his influence that made me stop caring about what others thought of me? Was it his guiding hand that gave me the courage to make bold life choices? I don't think it actually matters that I know exactly how he served as an inspiration, it only matters that he did.

So, for being there when I didn’t even know I needed you, I thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson. Rest easy, you’ve earned it.

In the interest of shared experiences, here is the randomized playlist that accompanied my drive home from work today:

1. Undisputed (The Moneyapolis Mix) [from 2001's "Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic"]
2. Te Amo Corazon [from 2006's "3121"]
3. Eye Hate U [from 1995's "The Gold Experience"]
4. Thunder [from 1991's "Diamonds and Pearls"]
5. On the Couch [from 2004's "Musicology"]
6. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore [from 1996's "Girl 6"]
7. When the Lights Go Down [from 1999's "The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale"]
8. Do Me, Baby [from 1981's "Controversy"]
9. The Max [from 1992's "Love Symbol Album"]
10. U Make My Sun Shine [from 2004's "The Chocolate Invasion"]
11. New Position [from 1986's "Parade"]
12. Comeback [from 1998's "Crystal Ball: The Truth"]
13. That Girl Thang [2013 acoustic demo]
14. Mr. Goodnight [from 2007's "Planet Earth"]

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