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Sun Apr 24, 2016, 01:17 PM


As is always the case in any culture war, there was a lot more to it than mere moral outrage. Rather, it was about whose power was called into question and who walked away from a song feeling emboldened. As Richard Kim writes at the Nation: “On one side of your childhood, there is Reagan and AIDS and nuclear war and the yelling Christians. And on the other side, there is Prince.”

Prince himself was far less equivocal. “The system is broken,” he said in a press release.

The Prince Position

It may be trite to say that Prince broke down boundaries, but that’s what made his music such a revelation.
by Alexander Billet 4-24-16

Genres are fictions, categories whose social weight comes almost entirely from money and marketing. They exist only because over time enough people can be pushed to believe they exist. Ultimately, the concept of genre — this kind of song should sound like this, while others should not — holds back the evolution of music far more than aids it.

On some level, Prince understood this — he’s been credited with essentially inventing a whole new style of music. The irony is that he did so by annihilating the divisions between those that already existed.

< snip >

Prince was not a nostalgia act. His stylistic components were assembled uniquely, their points of convergence completely different to where they had been twenty years prior. This was both new by reference to the old, and a different way of looking at the old through the newness of possibility.

What made Prince Prince, then, wasn’t just his sound but his methodology. In the 1980s, sounds associated with black America were being aggressively corralled into the broad-yet-restrictive category of “urban music.” Prince took all the characteristics and tropes that the industry hung on that term and cast them back out into music as a whole. They left innumerable ripples in their wake and redefined popular music ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/04/prince-obituary-minneapolis-sound-genre-politics/

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