I honestly confess that I shed a tear today upon hearing that Prince passed away at age 57. I’m not exactly sure why. I was never a big Prince fan, but his music did hold a place within me. I think my sorrow had to do with the intersection of three things: the sorry state of popular American music today, being so spoiled with music in my life that someone as dedicated and talented as Prince wasn’t all that important to me, and most importantly thinking about the creativity and love of music that many of my personal friends have shared with me.
The sorry state of popular American music today? I’ve sought out the music of the standard-bearer just to see what is going on, and I can’t recall a single song or lyric as I write this. It has no place within me while the music of Prince did. This standard-bearer of the industry today calls himself an artist, but apparently his inspiration originally came from a woman whose name is a watered down euphemism of a euphemism who stuck her fingers where the sun don’t shine. No wonder popular American music of today stinks. This guy is so directionless with his talent that he named his child for a point on a compass.
I feel sorry for young people today because so many current musicians are all image and no substance. I also feel so spoiled because not only did I have so many choices that I could discount someone with the verve and talent of Prince, but I have many friends who have dedicated their lives to music in this retrogressive atmosphere—I still have great music given to me by friends. Being a writer with little means myself, I can’t support them the way in a way they deserve. It’s a whole negative spiral.
So I guess what I really want to do—instead of complain or focus on what isn’t going well—is to acknowledge the creative spirits that have given me music and kept alive that spark. You mean more than you know. I can’t say where I might be if I didn’t have your music in my life. You’ve made me laugh and smile; you’ve amazed me with your talent and musicianship; you’ve help me remain connected to my heart and my community. You’ve spoiled me with music. Some of your music inhabits my iPod with four or five stars next to it and gets played alongside some of the well-known people we grew up listening to. You’ve carried on and furthered the art, and I am all the richer for it. Thank you.