Man, this year has sucked.
Every post we’ve done in 2016 has been mourning those we’ve lost–and the last post was bidding farewell to Vanity, one of Prince’s girls. I admitted in that post that I’m not as much of a “Purple Rain” film aficionado as my fellow Lerlines (who I hope will be able to fumble through their sparkly tears to share with us their favorite moments, again), but I did love Prince. He fell squarely into the David Bowie he-makes-me-feel-funny sensual attraction, with the same androgyny, beauty, slender build, and eyeliner.
(Men: wear eyeliner. Seriously. You’ll get some.)
“Purple Rain” was part of the soundtrack of my childhood, but by the time I actually passed my David Bowie-induced puberty, and hit high school and college, Prince had pulled together the New Power Generation and released some of the best dance singles to come out of the early 90s (and there were a LOT of dance singles). Nothing got my ass on Bubba’s dance floor faster than “Seven.” Seven was bizarre and fantastical, and kind of religious and sort of made no sense, and goddamn, was it a hip-grinder that got the pelvic regions in contact with other pelvic regions? Yes, yes, it was. I’m pretty sure anybody who danced to “Seven” can say they got to second base.
There was also “Cream” and “Diamonds and Pearls.” But the Prince I really loved? That was the Prince whose songs were the opposite of metaphorical. The AppleJack-honest, in-your-face, “I am a sexy muthafucka,” THIS SONG IS UNQUESTIONABLY ABOUT THAT THING THAT ALL OF MY SONGS ARE ACTUALLY ABOUT.
One of his greatest songs –yes, I said it, I’ll put it up against Nothing Compares 2 U and Purple Rain–is “Gett Off,” a song that is unapologetically, 100% about orgasms. Specifically, women having orgasms. Specifically, Prince ensuring women get orgasms. Which I’m pretty sure he can do by raising one perfectly-crafted eyebrow.
What other song so effortlessly ties together a hip-thrusting bass line, rap, hip hop, soaring vocals, and James Brown funk? What other song has lyrics that are both domineering (“Now bring your big ass round this way so I can work on that zipper, baby”) and submissive (“I’ll only call you after if you say I can”)? It’s celebratory (“I like ’em fat! I like ’em proud!”) and insulting (“You better be happy that dress is still on. I heard the rip when you sat down.”).
It compares stripping down a woman to opening an ALMOND GODDAMNED JOY. (Did anyone ever see him eat a candy bar? Or video it? Please, share. The world needs that now.)
What other song so perfectly personifies Prince that he can say, straight-faced and OMG you giggle but you SO BELIEVE it: “Tonight, you’re a star. And I’m the Big Dipper.” (Nananana! Nananana!)
So let’s walk through the video. Note: the screenshots are VHS-blurry, so I recommend watching the video carefully, several times, to fully internalize its majesty.
Diamond and Pearl are auditioning for something. Diamond is wearing one of the best baby doll dresses ever to come out of the 90s, and good god, I still want to wear it all the time. (Halloween costume idea!)
Diamond wants the gig and is all in. Pearl ain’t so sure, especially after Diamond gives her a fake name.
The double doors open, and…
I watched that scream several times yesterday. I’ll watch it again now.
Diamond, of course, knows what her biz is and runs right up to Prince to start in. He enjoys it. And we cut over to Tony M, with amazing hair. He’s wearing what seem to be elbow-length black gloves. Why? I don’t care. His voice is butter.
(BTW: I cannot adequately express how excited I am that this hair is coming back. One of my first-grader’s classmates has a high-top fade and I have to control myself from giggling and clapping every time I see him.)
THEN we cut over to the effortlessly majestic Rosie Mays, with a soaring voice and her fabulous refrain “Let a woman be a woman and a man be a man.” It could be ironic–when has Prince ever let those two things be distinct entities?–but we know what’s for reals: it means we have complimentary parts that fit together nicely, so let’s make them fit together nicely, shall we?
So Prince and Diamond get down for a bit, and we see all the gorgeous characters dancing all around… and then, “Oh, no, little cutie, I ain’t drinkin!” And he totally ditches Diamond and goes after Pearl, who seems mildly disgusted by the whole thing. So what’s he do? He strips her down like the ALMOND GODDAMNED JOY. That’ll teach her.
Tacky and overeager as ever, Diamond runs up to try to win back his attention, and then darts off, pouting–which is when Prince throws the shade:
“So here we are, here we are, in my paisley crib. Whatcha want to eat?”
“Ha, toy, I don’t serve ribs. You better be happy that dress is still on. I heard the rip when you sat down.”
A few items of note: 1) Prince’s paisley crib is decorated with human furniture.
2) Appreciate the shade.
Incidentally, that woman in the back is letting loose a gorgeous scream. I’m not sure if she’s laughing or horrified. Is she Pearl, and found a coverup? I’m not sure. The red dress makes the whole thing very Lynchian.
And then he gets down and the sex starts. All over. I’m not going to ruin it with blurry screenshots. Watch it, several times. Today.
1) OH MY GOD.
2) Dance moves.
3) Flaming torch orgy.
4) Drag harlequin.
5) COME ON.
6) Sexy flutes.
7) The guitar. Always, always, the guitar.
That guitar! Always and forever that guitar.