Even dead, Prince is probably more talented than most of us will ever be. He's certainly sassier.
Prince's posthumous memoir The Beautiful Ones comes out tomorrow. Well, a snippet of it.
Prince went into the project with typically high ambitions, telling co-author Dan Piepenbring he wanted the book to be "weird" and "controversial," according to the Star Tribune. At another point in planning, Prince wondered aloud if the book could "solve racism"—an audacious notion, but one Piepenbring took seriously.
Months later, Prince was dead, and Piepenbring (at the urging of those handling Prince's estate) was left to cobble together the project on his own. He turned up all of 28 pages, handwritten, a tragically underwhelming amount for such a complicated and otherwise prolific subject.
So Piepenbring rounded out the memoir with an introduction about his experience on the project and methods to render a coherent volume. Granted access to Paisley Park, he found old drawings, photographs, and lyric sheets, some dating back four decades, plus Prince's original treatise for the movie Purple Rain.
As for the stuff the artist actually wrote and intended for the book, much centers on his childhood in various parts of Minneapolis. (For what it's worth, the Strib says Prince saw south Minneapolis as the city's more "feminine" side.) He took fashion cues from his stylish parents, and learned of love's lows from their fights.
His father "represented discipline." His mother sometimes took money from his room and neglected to pay it back.
Readers should only expect a few deep insights within a couple dozen pages from the man himself. But one line gives a glimpse into Prince's exasperation with the relentless promotion of certain artists in mainstream American radio.
"They keep trying to ram Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran down our throats," Prince wrote, "and we don’t like it no matter how many times they play it."
Imagine going through your career knowing one of the last things Prince thought in his life, and one of the few musical insights that made it into his memoir, is that you suck and are only successful because the industry's foisting you on helpless listeners. In a just world, Sheeran and Perry would never live this down.
In this one, Prince is gone, and right, and these two will carry on just fine.