Last Thursday would have been Prince Rogers Nelson’s 60th birthday. A fact which earned him his own category on the long-running American game show Jeopardy, incidentally quite popular with geezers of all ages. Perhaps we should be consoled that there will never be a starstruck clerk at the Four Seasons hotel forced to wait uncomfortably while Prince digs in his wallet for his AARP card to get that senior-citizen discount on his luxury suite. But nevertheless, we’ve all got a space to fill.
1. Pop Life 6:17 (Remix by Sheila E.)
2. Hello 6:15
Both marked as “Fresh Dance Remix.” The song ‘Pop Life’ is from the LP “Around The World In A Day.”
Paisley Park 9 20357-0-A vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; AUdioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
“Pop Life” has always been one of my favorite Prince singles and this extended version is one of several that were done, this one by Sheila E. (who also played drums on the track). What exactly makes this a “fresh dance” mix is unclear to me, perhaps the couple of deliberate tape-stutters made it easier to do the robot on the dance floor. It has an extra verse and a jazzed-out piano solo and is indeed a ‘fresh’ way to hear one of his finest moments. The lyrics to this song always gave me the feels and that has been even more the case since his passing. The song “Hello” was written as a response to the ‘scandal’ or kerfuffle surrounding Prince’s non-participation in the We Are The World recording session. Fairly autobiographical in nature, it recounts how he offered to contribute an original song rather than sing on that godawful, cheesy craptastic travesty of a pop song. At the time, many (in the press at least) were attributing it to a perceived rivalry between Prince and Michael Jackson, but I feel like the the passage of time has only vindicated Prince by highlighting that he had better taste and a clearer sense of musical integrity than to get involved with that debacle. More importantly, given what we now know about the extensive charitable work he contributed to with absolutely no self-promoting fanfare – I think it is worth asking whether this superstar, frequently lampooned for his stage persona of outsized ego and narcissistic tendencies, actually had a fairly sophisticated moral and ethical vision and found the self-congratulatory attitude of the celebrity philanthropy “aid” mania of the mid-80s to be a bit ridiculous and tacky. (Not to mention, in most causes, that most of those efforts were riddled with fraud…) In any event it was a spell of bad press for Prince, as there was also an incident involving one of his bodyguards punching out a paparazzi while they were chilling at a club instead of attending the USA For Africa gala event. For me, it all just confirmed his royal bad-assness. Oh, and the song isn’t bad, using one of his favorite recording techniques of the time – guitars tracked at half-speed (so sped-up when played back). The jamming groove in the coda is a blueprint for another killer single, “Girls & Boys,” from his next record, Parade. Hope you enjoy!