Ever watch three hours of Prince videos straight? I did the other night, for, uh, "research" in preparation for his November 30 show at the Metro Centre. I ended up locked within a vortex from which I could not escape. “Tell me more, Prince,” I murmured as the flickering images of thrusting hips, lips and thin moustaches pulsed before my glazed, confused, lust-shadowed eyes. Here are my notes from that long evening.
"Gett Off" - from Diamonds and Pearls, 1991
This is Prince's first album with the New Power Generation. (Side note: did you know three members from this era of the NPG now play in a band with Nick Jonas? The Jonas brother. The middle one, or whatever.) Anyway! This video features two babes - Diamond and Pearl, natch - who are auditioning for a Prince video and find themselves in a Bacchnalian circus of sorts, with a doo-ragged Prince getting all up in their faces and butts, and playing some guitar now and again. Diamond is really into it but Pearl, she's a little hesitant. But by the end everyone is all like "Yeah, okay, I guess I'll dance too." Diamond and Pearl will appear in a few of Prince's videos to come, played by different actresses.
+ About three-quarters of the way through, Prince raps to the girls in a welcoming manner and we learn some important facts. He welcomes to his "paisley crib" and then asks if they want anything to eat. But if you want ribs, you're out of luck. "Toy, I don't serve ribs," he says.
+ Sharp-eyed nerdfans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer may recognize Pearl as the actress who would later to go to play Miss Jenny Calendar, who (SPOILER ALERT) received an unfortunate demise at the hands of evil Angel in Season Two. Things that make you go hmm.
"Black Sweat" - from 3121, 2006
This album is not so great, but its second single "Black Sweat" is one of my favorite Prince songs. I marvel at the way 40-something Prince can create an evil, slick, minimal hip-hop song that feels entirely NOW and still infuse it with basic Prince-osity. He is truly magic.
The video is a sexy B & W version of the video for "Kiss," with a hot babe circling Old Purply like a hungry shark. That's pretty much it. It's hot.
+ The keyboard squeal at the "you will scream like a white lady" part remains potent five years later. JUST LIKE PRINCE HIMSELF.
+ Some great faces in this video. The moment below is a personal favorite.
"Controversy" - from Controversy, 1981
This song is so good that even people who hate Prince love it. It falls in the canon of "stop talking about my famous life" songs like "Leave Me Alone" and/or "Gossip Folks" but instead of being openly pissed off and yelling at the camera, Old Princey writes a jam and inserts a recitation of "The Lord's Prayer" in the middle. Oh you are such a sassy!
Everyone in this video should - for all intents and purposes - look ridiculous, but they are all so cool that you immediately overlook all the usual '80s trappings.
Except for this guy, who makes a little appearance at 3:06. What is he, exactly? He looks like a funky, shitty male nurse. I feel like he's the guy that the rest of the band "forgets" to invite to stuff all the time. "Hey, why didn't you guys invite me to bowling?" "Oh, didn't we? Sorry, Steve."
"Partyman" - from Batman: The Soundtrack, 1989
Yeah yeah, here's a song from Batman. I actually am not a huge fan of the Batman soundtrack, despite the fact that it inexorably links Prince with a portion of my childhood. "Scandalous" is pretty epic but the rest of it is...fine. I feel this video doesn't let Prince explore the true bounds of the freak, either, and it's actually kind of boring.
Then there's a monkey getting pranked by a banana!
"Kiss" - from Parade, 1986
(Note: Prince hates having his music on Youtube and won't let you listen to the song, so just picture it. In your ear.)
"AIN'T NO PARTICULAR SIGN! I'M MORE COMPATIBLE WITH!"
You all know the song, I'm running out of steam. Watch the video and check out the best parts near the end, when jacked-up Prince does the angry dance with his shirt. He is so pissed at his shirt, he's like, "GETTHISFUCKINGTHINGOFFAME."
Now. I am sure there's 800 other videos/songs I missed, but any more of this and my eyes would do the sex-bleed. Post your favorites in the comments! Let's get pumped for Big Purps!