Before I get in to “Live 4 Love” please allow me a few paragraphs on my soap box. It’s Independence Day in the U.S.A. and it’s safe to say we haven’t had one like this in my 44 years here. 128,000+ Americans have died of COVID-19 in four months and our current administration still can’t even have the decency to tell people to wear masks. After four months of responsible social distancing, mask wearing, and sacrifice it’s infuriating to see no end in sight simply because other people didn’t have the discipline to remain patient. They claim they’re “not afraid of Coronavirus” so they won’t wear masks or stay out of bars and restaurants and now look at us. Worse off than we were two months ago. For God’s sake, put your masks on and just shut the fuck up for a few months. I’m looking at you and your MAGA crew first and foremost, President Trump. Listen to epidemiologists even if what they’re telling you isn’t what you want to hear. They certainly know more than you or any of us on this topic. While Europe has taken the necessary steps and begins to open back up responsibly (including wisely not allowing Americans in), we continue to be a science-denying shit show here in the U.S.A.
Black and brown people continue to be targeted and murdered by our police, and while some encouraging progress has been made on that front since Memorial Day, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We can’t accept minor concessions that were long overdue and go back to business as usual. There’s so much more to be done in the fight for equality that was promised in our Declaration of Independence that was signed by slave owners 244 years ago today. Meanwhile white fragility is at an all-time high. Equality is going to be difficult to obtain when the people who have had all of the power for generations wrongly believe they are now actually the ones being oppressed. Our President threatens anyone who would consider tearing down monuments to 155 year old traitors who tried to secede from the union because they wanted slavery to continue. You realize that when you fly the Confederate flag and claim to love America so much that you’re a walking contradiction, right? You do realize that the Confederates were traitors and the greatest threat to America in our 244 year history, right? Those so-called “rebels” should be relegated to the darkest parts of our history books and remembered as the worst black eye America has ever had, not treated as heroes in our public places. Yet you celebrate them, likely because they were slave owners. To quote Chuck D, “Straight up racists, simple and plain.”
Russians have put bounties on American soldiers and our President clearly knew about it – or should have if he would’ve read his daily briefings – and doesn’t care. Seriously, what does Russia have on him? How much money does he owe them? What’s he hiding? Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it’s 100 degrees in the Arctic Circle and we backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement and continue to roll back environmental regulations because they’re bad for business. You know what else is bad for business? Everyone being dead and/or under water. You can’t make this shit up. Are we in the upside down? Are we in the Back to the Future II timeline when Biff is the mayor of Hill Valley? Actually, that would be preferable. It would be easy to move out of Hill Valley.
Anyway, I will be spending my Independence Day dreaming about November 3, the day we can send Donald Trump and anyone in congress who supports him back under the rocks whence they came. If you’re in America and you’re reading this, please visit whenweallvote.org right now and make sure you’re registered to vote. Don’t wait until October or November. When you’re done, send the link to all of your friends. We can’t let voter suppression deny us our most important right in a democracy. Let’s send a message this November. Let’s make America good. Period. Fuck MAGA.
OK, thanks for that. Today’s song, somewhat appropriately, is titled “Live 4 Love.” It’s the final track on Prince’s 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls. It was also the B-side to “The Morning Papers,” Prince’s final single from that album. “Live 4 Love” does have a video despite the fact that it wasn’t a single. It’s a concert video with fighter jet bombing videos and images of things like happy families and flowers interspersed. It’s intentionally chaotic.
The song is intense. It has a driving beat and some impressive bass work courtesy of Sonny T. The song is sung from the perspective of a fighter pilot, Tommy, on a bombing run who’s questioning everything as he’s approaching his target. His family kicked him out of the house, the military is his family now, his best friend is dead, and he’s asking himself “how can I live 4 love?” In the end, rapper Tony M. (Did anyone in NPG get a last name?) represents the angel on Tommy’s shoulder reminding that despite all of the hardships in his life, you’ve still gotta live 4 love. The delivery of the message is not subtle and reminds me of Keenen Ivory Wayans appearing and shouting “MESSAGE!” throughout the movie Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Still, the song promotes love and positivity and I’m not going to fault Prince and NPG if the rap delivery was slightly ham fisted.
“Live 4 Love” definitely sounds like it was recorded in 1991 and you can tell Prince is still begrudgingly experimenting with rappers in his music, but the positives far outweigh the negatives here. I recommend you check out this deep cut. In the end I always appreciate a song that’s encouraging us to live 4 love. I wish everyone peace, love, and justice on this Independence Day.