El’s Rabbit Trails: Prince and Niche Culture

My husband called around lunch time and told me that he got a text from his brother that Prince had died. As I picked up my daughter from class, she got into the car and said, “Prince died.” I asked her what she could possibly know about Prince, which she found humorous.

Since I have broadcasted my age here to anyone who makes a couple of curious clicks, I have no qualms saying that I came of age as Prince was at the height of his fame, and his earlier works which were released when I was a young girl were easily found in my older sisters vinyls when I was old enough to listen to them. In retrospect I don’t know if one is ever old enough to listen to some of that stuff, as I was recalling to my husband my favorite Prince song from back in the day.

When our older daughter came home (after hearing about this in her office from people of every age, race, and background) she offered another perspective on what in reality is a non story for those who don’t remember Prince’s albums as part of the soundtrack of their younger life. Whatever you thought -or didn’t think- about Prince as an artist, it is almost a forgone conclusion that his level of musical prodigy and exceptionalism is pretty much unheard of among the people being heralded as music stars today.

A virtuoso, highly accomplished playing guitar, percussion, bass, drums, synthesizer, and keyboard, he was reported to have played all 27 instruments on one of his albums. All that, besides a pretty decent vocal range. America’s got talent, and I would never assert otherwise, but it takes far less to be considered talented today than it did 40 years ago.

The other question my daughter asked is this: Is it even possible that 30 years from now an artist of today could inspire cross generational, cultural and widespread acknowledgment the way the deaths of the great names from the 60’s-80s’ do today? I think not.

We live in a niche culture. It is extremely easy to be exposed to what you like and only to what you like 99% of the time. Everything from television channels to clothing stores to Internet dating sites are pared down to accommodate every little quirk and preference we have so that in 25 years the idea of a name or song that most everyone has heard will be nonexistent.

It’s a smaller world in many more ways than one.

Sidebar: Prince had been a devout Jehovah’s Witness for the last couple decades, and this post is not about religion but nostalgia and a bit of commentary on culture and art (or lack thereof)  in 21st century America.

Gratuitous Prince song: She’s Always In My Hair, complete with a superb guitar performance:

 

Still reading Vanity Fair, and it’s taking a while but it’s totally worth it.

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Music Interlude: Romantic Sap Edition

I’m working on a review of Bonhoeffer, but there’s such a wealth there I’m having trouble pulling it together quickly. I hope to be done by Monday. Meanwhile, February is fast approaching and every February I turn into a romantic sap. No, not because of the scent of canned romance that is Valentine’s Day. It’s because our anniversary is in February.

Back during my much younger, more immature days as a bride I figured I’d one day have the wedding I never got to have via a vow renewal. This song would play at it: Natalie Cole’s Inseparable. It has been one of my favorite love songs ever since I can remember. My older sister had a huge R&B vinyl collection when I was a little girl in the 1970’s. Natalie Cole was mixed in.there, and when news of her death was reported earlier this month, I was reminded of the song:

Incidentally, Nat King Cole’s collection of Christmas hymns and carols is the number one thing listened to around our house at Christmas time as well.

Have a great weekend.

Mid-Book Musical Interlude: Chill Out Edition

I’ve actually have a few book reviews in draft status, but it’ll be a couple of days before they’re done. Priorities and what not. In the meanwhile, I’m sharing this hilarious video in the spirit of reminding us all to chill out, laugh, and even dance once in a while if you’re so inclined. Enjoy Adventures of a Lifetime, by Coldplay.

For the sticklers: To be honest with you, I’m not clear enough on the lyrics to offer content advisory. It’s harmless enough but my focus here is the video. There’s something apt about it whether the producers realized it or not.

 

Thanksgiving Music Interlude

Times three. The first is a very old and traditional hymn written in 1866, Sing to the Lord of the Harvest:

 

Next is one that typifies what I would hear in the Baptist church I attended throughout my childhood, To Thee We Give Thanks, recorded by the Utterbch Choir:

I still love this music, so soulful.

Lastly, a modern Thanksgiving song that most Christians will recognize immediately. Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart by Don Moen:

 

Something for everyone! Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t eat too much. We don’t get a gluttony pass on Thanksgiving.

Real Music Interlude: Fall is Here Edition.

My latest read is a big book, one that also requires thinking as you read it. I’m resisting the urge to hurry through it simply because I have a stack a half mile high waiting for me. There are so many books I am looking forward to reading for various reasons, but I need to finish this one first. Since it will be a bit longer before the next review, I figured some real music is in order.

Fall is finally arriving here, or at least peeking out at us for a day or two. The combination of sun, breeze, and creatures I saw on my walk Thursday morning brought this hymn to mind. Enjoy How Great Thou Art, an instrumental arrangement as performed by The Piano Guys:

Have a great weekend!

Real Music Interlude

Reading is slow going at present, but music is always playing. There was a hymn referenced in the book Their Eyes Were Watching God. It was one that we sang in church growing up and the tune has been stuck in my head for the last two weeks. It’s a very simple song:

Walk in the light, beautiful light

Come where the dew drops of mercy shine bright

Shine all around us by day and by night

Jesus, the Light of the world

I thought I’d share it:

And what’s a Friday without some jazz? Nearly two decades ago my husband (who loved himself some rap music, I might add) introduced me to Miles Davis’ album recorded in 1959, Kind of Blue. Like I said, this is real music. I hope all 3 of you enjoy it, and have a great weekend!