For starters, a Happy 64th Birthday to the man, Prince Rogers Nelson. I miss him every day and wish he was still here with us. He could be doing so much good – especially in Minneapolis right now – and he could still be blowing us away with his music. Rest in peace, Prince.
May 2020 will go down as a dark month in American history. It was the month COVID-19 deaths reached 100,000 in the country, as well as the month that the unthinkable, senseless murder of George Floyd horrified us. My silver lining in an otherwise bleak month was the fact that SiriusXM offered the Prince channel for 30 days. I have everything Prince I could ever want to listen to in my Apple Music library and yet it was refreshing to turn on a radio station that was dedicated to him. I listened to very little iTunes or even vinyl in May because I was fixated on SiruisXM Channel 30.
My favorite feature of the station was the Purple Playlists. Someone famous and/or Prince related would spend an hour or more playing their personal favorite Prince songs and telling stories behind why they chose them. I enjoyed all of them, but I had three favorites: Wendy & Lisa, The Revolution, and Maya Rudolph. The members of The Revolution were great for obvious reasons. You may be surprised to see Maya Rudolph on that list, but I was not. I was certain I would love her list. She’s one of my favorite Saturday Night Live cast members, she’s been in countless projects that I love, and I’ve known of her love of music – specifically Prince – for nearly as long as I’ve known of her. I’ve always felt something of a bond with her (even though we’ve obviously never met or interacted) because of her sense of humor and love of music. She has a Prince cover group called Princess with fellow vocalist Gretchen Lieberum. I stayed up to watch Princess perform “Darling Nikki” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in September 2012 (if you click the link and watch, make sure you pay attention them singing the backward part at the end). I was brought to tears when D’Angelo and Princess performed “Sometimes it Snows in April” just days after Prince passed away (if you click on that link you better have tissues). When I was informed that there was going to be a Maya Rudolph Purple Playlist I was next to my bluetooth speaker waiting for it to start.
She did not disappoint.
She told great stories about her experiences with Prince and his music. She also picked an amazing playlist surprisingly heavy on Around the World in a Day-era music. She scored huge points with me when she played the Hallway Version of “Computer Blue.” She blew my wife and me away when she chose the fantastic acoustic demo of “International Lover,” which is currently my wife’s favorite prince song. She also made a few choices that I found to be completely out of left field, but I loved them. One of those choices was a true rarity: “Girl.”
“Girl” is the B-side to “America,” the fourth single off of 1985’s Around the World in a Day. It was also included as part of 1993’s The Hits/The B-Sides collection if you’re looking to stream it somewhere. Once again, Prince’s B-sides are so much better than most people’s best music. His B-sides are so much more than just throwaway music on a single. It’s truly some of his best and most unique work. “Girl” is no exception. The lyrical content is nothing terribly out of the ordinary for Prince. It’s a sexy track about a girl that he “wants in the worst way.” The music is mind-bending. I LOVE a song that makes you work to figure out the time signature. I can’t for the life of me figure this song out. The beat feels like a steady 4/4, but the vocals don’t always match it. It drives me crazy, but I love it. The whole vibe is mysterious. Another amazing B-side. By the way, check out the “America” 12″ vinyl single if you get the chance. If you’re in to crazy long Prince jams like I am you’ll be blown away by the 21:46 version of “America” on the A-side and 7:35 extended version of “Girl” on the B-side. Some people say songs like that are too long, but I can never get enough Prince. I could listen to his grooves for hours. Prince’s music is just getting time to stretch out at seven minutes. Give me an 8-15 minute Prince track any day.
I highly recommend “Girl” for people who want to do a real deep dive in to Prince. Respect to Maya Rudolph for choosing this song and for being one of the coolest people on the planet. Once again, Happy Birthday to the legend, Prince. We wish you were still here to celebrate it with us.