I don't know what there is to add to the fact that Prince died a year ago. It still hurts. It still sucks, and no news of continued legal hassles or lurid medical speculation will change that. If you'd like to wallow in the prolonged mourning process, there is no better conceivable way than to tune in to the rebroadcast of Nothing Compares 2U, Kevin Cole's magnificent four hour tribute on KEXP today at 2pm. This is what I wrote (and still feel) about the original event:
A year that began with the inconceivable death of David Bowie in early January and continued with the slightly-less-inconceivable death of Phife Dawg achieved maximum inconceivability when Prince died on April 21. Prince, dead. Prince. Months later, the loss is still stupefying. Amid the many public outpourings and eulogies, the greatest source of healing was this four-hour stretch of rare numbers, live recordings, and incredible stories from a career DJ with a deep personal connection to the late, great artist. In addition to a concentrated, curated power-wallow in the incalculable wonder of Prince's music, the show provided a ritual so rare and familiar you almost forget how important it is: the chance to share an essential experience—as a city, as a community, and as individuals—by listening to the radio.
Otherwise, as you may have noticed, there's a lot more stuff to read about Prince than there used to be.
Annie Zaleski contributed this interesting consideration of what it means to watch Prince videos online when the one thing we know for sure is that he didn't want them to be there.
City Pages recently published a very convincing guide to ALL of his (official) records, edited by Keith Harris, who also wrote this fantastic piece about Prince's effect on his hometown.
And Michaelangelo Matos's exploration of Dirty Mind is worth cancelling your morning plans for. (Also, go find his 33&1/3 book about Sign O' The Times, as long as your plans are cancelled.)
Toure's book is good, also.
Otherwise? I don't know, man. People wrote a lot of good things that sent me back to the records that legitimately shaped my entire consciousness. That was good. Dancing on Pike Street with people was good. Crying was good and leaning into the shared experience of loss was good. Seeing Sheila E back on the mainstage was good.
Everything else was awful.
I'm sort of glad I wrote this before he died because I never would've had the nerve to do so after. And there are some good links to great pieces here and here, but aside from that, I feel ghoulish participating in the comemmorania.
Attempts to frame his death as an exponent of the so-called opioid epidemic in America fill me with contempt. I hate the way we mourn for people in public. I hate the way we express ourselves. I hate the way emotions are simultaneously cheapened and weaponized by social media. I never want to see another inferior artist sing Purple Fucking Rain.
But more than that, I hate the image of him spending so many years in so much pain and being afraid or unwilling (or unable) to let people know, and then seeing him do something as transcendent as this and wondering what every split cost him.
But most of all, I'm sorry he's still gone.