The Unintentional July Tour Through Prince’s Most Obscure Shit continues today! This time my Daily Prince Song Randomizer has presented me with “My Computer” from Prince’s (technically he was O(+> at that time) 1996 album Emancipation. You know a Prince song is obscure when the princevault.com entry for it says, “The track is not believed to have been performed live by Prince.” So, you’re saying it wasn’t one of his favorites?
Please allow me get a personal note out of the way first: I took keyboarding class in my first semester of high school. That would be fall of 1990. That means I’ve been typing frequently since the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. At some point I was over 70 words per minute. Not sure if I still am, but I have to be close. Despite that there are certain words that still trip me up every time. One of them is computer…and I’m an IT Director! I would say 60% of the time I attempt to type that word it ends up saying comptuer. I struggle to make myself type it correctly. I don’t know why it happens, but I can’t get past it. Also, please keep in mind that I am my own proofreader and this is a hobby for me. That means I only want to do what’s fun, which is the storytelling part of this. The proofreading? Not my favorite. If I re-read my stuff too much I’ll just pick it apart and edit it to the point of paralysis. If I just go with my gut I’m not afraid to post. If I edit too much I end up hating everything and scrapping it. I do try to skim everything once after I’m done to catch anything obvious, but there’s probably at least one error in every post. First, I apologize, because that shit is admittedly sloppy. I’ll clean up my act when somebody pays me. Second, this entire paragraph was my warning to you that a song titled “My Computer” means several typos. On to the song!
My initial impression is that putting the AOL “Welcome, you’ve got mail!” voice in the first five seconds of your song is a great way to date yourself. It makes me think about Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in their battle for the book lovers of mid-90’s Manhattan. The same voice also bids you “goodbye” at the end of the song. Why not just add the 28.8k dial-up sound, too? If you were alive and connecting to the internet in the 90’s, you know the sound I’m talking about and you can hear it screeching in your head right now.
There’s nothing remarkable about “My Computer.” I would call the music and vocals slightly below average Prince. Not bad. Just there. I’m more interested in focusing on the lyrical content in a song about Prince’s computer (I just typed it wrong and caught myself) from 1996. Kudos to Prince for understanding how to use the internet well enough to write a computer-themed song at that time. In 1996 the only way I was getting access to the internet was at work or a public library. Admittedly, Prince had slightly more money than I. If you look at some of the lyrics to the song you get an idea what Prince was using the internet for back then.
I scan my computer looking 4 a site
Somebody 2 talk 2, funny and bright
I scan my computer looking 4 a site
Make believe it’s a better world, a better life
The song is about how terrible everything is and how he turns to his computer (Fuck, I just did it again. I’m not kidding.) to find a better world. How about that for some quaint mid-90’s shit? His computer was a place that he could look to for solace. I turn on my computer in 2020 and get bombarded with spam, news about a global pandemic, politics, and hate everywhere…and that’s just Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, as I type this every verified account is shut down because someone hacked a bunch of famous accounts and started tricking gullible followers in to sending them bitcoin. Did President Obama click a phishing e-mail? Didn’t Bill Gates and Elon Musk have MFA on their Twitter accounts? Shame on them! I’m enjoying the thought of Bill Gates’s Twitter password being password. Now Twitter has all the famous tweeters sidelined while they remediate. What a lovely place the internet is! Glad I’m not a part of that security team. On the bright side, it’s forcing President Trump to take a break from Twitter. He’s gonna have to spew his lies and hate the old fashioned way now. I expect a racist fireside chat any second. That dude can’t spend more than 30 seconds without someone paying attention to his stupid ass. At least this Twitter break will give him a preview of how life will feel next year. No Twitter in prison, right?
Anyway, I enjoyed today’s trip back to the days of yore when Prince was apparently in the chat rooms and the worst thing that could happen on the internet was someone trying to trick you in to clicking on nude Anna Kournikova pics so they could install a crapware poker game on your Compaq Presario. Prince was looking for a better world. A better life. He was looking in the wrong place.