Girl (1981)

Girl (1981)

(Featured Image: Morris Day with unidentified vocal coach, circa 1981; photo stolen from prince.org.)

One of the most fascinating things about the 1981 debut album by the Time is the way that, if you listen to the tracks in a certain order, you can practically hear the band’s classic sound take shape in real time. As we established in the last post, however, “Oh, Baby” was not an example of that classic sound. Morris Day, the group’s drummer turned lead singer, was still tentative in the role, his voice too strained to sell a seductive ballad.

Girl,” the second and (blessedly) only other ballad on The Time, is not an improvement–if anything, it’s worse. Morris sounds whiny and adenoidal, like a teenage boy whose voice is in the middle of changing. Prince’s backing vocals–even more audible here than on the rest of the album–hit a piercing, dog-whistle tone in the chorus that cuts through the rest of the mix like a knife, and only gets more annoying the more you turn down the volume. Morris, meanwhile, just gets louder: as on “Oh, Baby,” he starts the song at a whimper and ends at a bellow. The whole thing feels like bad karaoke, an impression that is only enhanced by the bland, lifeless arrangement. It’s the weakest Prince song since “With You,” but without even that track’s competent performance.

Continue reading “Girl (1981)”

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Dystopian Dance Party Issue 1 Kickstarter is Up!

Dystopian Dance Party Issue 1 Kickstarter is Up!

(Featured Image: Cover art for Dystopian Dance Party Issue 1 by Nazzpuller.)

Last November I announced the next stage of my and my sister Callie’s joint venture, Dystopian Dance Party: a physical magazine, the first issue of which–because we know where our interests lie and on what side our bread is buttered–will be dedicated to art and writing inspired by the music of Prince. Well, we’re now ready to roll out the next phase of the project: a Kickstarter to gauge interest and maybe even keep me from putting myself into (more) credit card debt!

The magazine will feature art by Callie, a.k.a. Nazzpuller, and writing by yours truly. One of the articles I have planned is an essay and accompanying playlist about Prince’s New Wave music: sort of a companion piece/introduction to my forthcoming chapter in Prince and the Minneapolis Sound. Our $100-level Kickstarter reward also includes the option to commission me to write a short essay on a subject of your choosing; so, if you’ve been dying for that close reading of Tony M’s rap from “Jughead,” now is your moment! And for those out there who like to read words by people other than me, I can disclose that we received some great submissions, including a poem by friend of the blog Jane Clare Jones that is as funny and beautifully written as I’m sure you expect it to be.

You can check out the Kickstarter–we’re already 25% of the way to our funding goal!–here:

I already say this on the Kickstarter page, but I will say it again here because it bears repeating: I do not expect to make a profit off this. At best, I’d love to be able to pay some of our contributors; at better than best, it would be great to get a head start on funding for Issue 2. I know there’s a lot of rancor in the fan community, warranted and otherwise, about people trying to make a buck off of Prince’s legacy; that ain’t me. We’re independent artists with no startup capital who want to do something cool and maybe even get fairly compensated for our labor in the process–I think that’s something Prince, of all people, would understand.

Anyway, please do take a look, and if you can’t support the project financially, share it! The magazine is coming out April 17, whether we’re funded or not; but Callie is working on some cool rewards that won’t be available anywhere else, so you might as well get in on the ground floor!

In the meantime, I’ll be back to d / m / s / r soon–hopefully by the end of the week. Thanks for indulging me as I continue to give myself more unprofitable side projects than any one human should reasonably have.