I was going to start today’s post with a few paragraphs about Prince’s habit of writing the word “slave” on his face in the 1990’s. This was one of many ways Prince displayed his displeasure with his Warner Brothers contract that he signed when he was only 19 years old. While watching today’s video all I could see was that provocative beacon on Prince’s right cheek. Instead, I’ll save that topic until the day the song “Slave” comes up on the Daily Prince Song Randomizer. Not gonna lie, I’m also fascinated with the NFL game that just started. Not sure I’m ready to tackle a topic as heavy as slavery on the Daily Prince blog while Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are on. Shout out to Chloe x Halle for that stunning rendition of the National Anthem performed while wearing George Floyd and Breonna Taylor t-shirts. I sincerely hope they ruined Mike Pence’s night. Classy touch by the Kansas City fans for booing during the moment of silence for racial unity. Maybe they were booing the NFL’s obvious attempt to create a sanctioned protest/photo op that doesn’t hurt white people’s feelings by having anyone kneel during the anthem, but that would be giving them too much credit. Based on my life experience, I’m guessing it was redneck football fans booing Black Lives Matter. I believe Dave Chappelle referred it as a brittle spirit. I won’t get started right now on these ignorant fools or this post will go in a different direction in a hurry. Damn I hate the NFL, yet I can’t quit it. The Packers play tomorrow and I’ll hate myself for giving it three hours of my time. Fuck.
Let’s listen to “Gold” from 1995’s The Gold Experience. “Gold” is the final track on the album as well as the second and final single. Only two singles from a Prince album in 1995? Again, must’ve had something to do with his Warner Bros battle.
I know that Prince was not named Prince at this time. He was TAFKAP or O(+> by now, but to avoid confusion, I’m going to refer to him as Prince. Please don’t call me out on it.
When I hear “Gold” I can’t help but think that it was written specifically to be played during movie credits right after the good guys win. Perfect example: If this song had been written ten years earlier it could’ve played at the end of Goonies when the kids realize they have a bag of jewels and they saved the neighborhood. They tear up the contract and everyone is happy and hugging. Then this song comes on and Prince sings about “all that glitters ain’t gold,” and you nod your head because you realize that those kids found more than gold in that cave. They found true love and friendship. Data and Sean Astin hug. Josh Brolin kisses the girl. Chunk and Sloth share a Baby Ruth. Roll credits while “Gold” plays triumphantly.
Seriously, this song is a simple arena rock anthem. Nothing particularly complicated here. This is straight forward inspirational rock. I can picture Prince on the Grammy stage performing this the same way R. Kelly had his moment with “I Believe I Can Fly” the following year. Similar songs. I expect more than this out of Prince. He can do so much better. He had every right to do whatever the hell he wanted, but a song like this is not what I look for out of Prince. He spoke many times about how it was easy for him to write hits. That’s what this is. It feels lazy.
Then there’s the video. Prince covered in gold glitter with “slave” written on his face is an interesting contradiction. There’s the hot girl in the front row lusting over Prince. I believe she also has “slave” written on her face, although I’m not 100% sure. What a strange choice. “I’m gonna sit front row at Prince’s concert and write slave on my face to get his attention!” Tommy Barbarella delivers another A+ performance with his gigantic purple keytar. He definitely knew his role in mid-90’s Prince videos. He was asked to bring the baby grand-sized purple keytar and the Fabio-esque hair and he fucking delivered. Every time. Everyone looks really happy but it all feels staged. I wonder if anyone is really enjoying themselves or the song. Let’s just end this analysis here because I don’t really have anything good to say.
“Gold” feels to me like Prince bet someone, “I can write something that will win Song of the Year in my sleep. Watch this!” Instead, “The Gold Experience” got three other Grammy nominations, including one for the far superior single, “Eye Hate U,” but none for this song. “Gold” is beneath Prince, especially at this point nearly two decades in to his career. There was no need for him to go cheesy arena anthem in 1995, but he did.
Happy Saturday, y’all.