As you’re reading this there’s a good chance I’m on my way to Henderson, Minnesota. I feel trapped right now. Can’t see anybody. Can’t do anything. Here’s what I know I can do: Drive for five hours to see an outdoor statue of Prince. I can think of worse things than listening to a few podcasts, an audiobook, or a Brewer game (welcome back, MLB!) while watching the Wisconsin and Minnesota countryside pass by in my windshield. I know I’m not supposed to cross state lines right now, but if I don’t come near another person, does it count? We’ll see what time I wake up in the morning. If I do go, I’ll take pictures and post them tomorrow.
As for right now, it’s Friday and I was really hoping for another track or two from the Super Deluxe Sign ‘O’ the Times today, but no such luck. I got spoiled as hell with last week’s songs and I was looking forward to more of the same. My assignment today is the song “Mr. Happy” from the 1996 album Emancipation. I’m 90+ posts in to this little hobby of mine and it feels like a quarter of the posts have been about tracks from Emancipation. There are 36 tracks on the album, so it’s possible. However, I checked the stats and this is only my sixth track so far from Emancipation. I’ve actually done seven from Sign ‘O’ the Times.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts about Emancipation you’ve probably noticed that it’s not my favorite Prince album. I can’t think of a single song out of the 36 that I love or consider essential Prince. That said, I do believe it’s one of those “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” kind of albums. I enjoy Emancipation best when I’m listening to it from start to finish. I don’t cherry pick random tracks to listen to.
When it comes to “Mr. Happy” I can actually say that I normally skip it, unless I’m playing the vinyl. Prince opens the song by saying “Turn off that weak jam, man…” and that kind of sums up the song for me. I find that the Prince songs I like the least are his attempts to fit in with 90’s hip hop culture. As with most of those songs, he spends most of “Mr. Happy” talking shit about picking up girls. Rapper Scrap D. makes an appearance and contributes a solid verse. There’s a sample of a much better song, Ice Cube’s “What Can I Do?” Other than that, this just isn’t what I want to hear from Prince. Also, for a song called “Mr. Happy” there’s nothing upbeat about it. The song is in a minor key and sounds almost ominous when paired with the slow tempo.
I’m not contributing any more time to this one. “Mr. Happy” kind of bums me out. If you’re listening to Emancipation I recommend you skip right over it to “In This Bed I Scream,” which is one of the better tracks on the album. Have a happy Saturday, y’all.