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Remembering Prince on his 60th birthday: Here are Explica's favorite top 5 jams

Prince is an iconic artist for a reason; his long career produced some of the most memorable and moving songs of our time.




Prince was iconic. It's rare to find an artist that was half as talented at writing, composing, and performing. He defined multiple eras with his controversial lyrics and his undeniable talent.

 

Whether it was his classic Purple Rain or his more off-beat Sign O The Times, he knew how to make a song memorable. The Purple One, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, will be forever remembered for his genius ability to craft a masterpiece. 

1 Purple Rain

Prince

Purple Rain - If it seems like a cliche that this song is at the top of the list, its because this is a masterpiece. I dont care how many times youve heard this song; it never gets old. It also marks a Prince career highlight. He has the number one song, album, and movie at the time. An achievement few would ever achieve. The entire song is about ten glorious minutes in length with a large instrumental portion that shows off Princes ability to turn instruments into an extension of his voice. There's so much honesty in his voice when he sings "I never wanted to be your weekend lover, I only wanted to be some kind of a friend." It's a song yearning and regret that can never be topped.




2 Let's Go Crazy

Prince

That opening organ is a statement. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” In Princes sermon, this is the opening statement with “Purple Rain” closing it out. “Lets Go Crazy” was the start of the party but the lyrics showed a darker color. He sings, “Maybe it's 'cause we're all gonna die. And when we do, what's it all for. Better live now before the grim reaper. Come knocking on your door.” One of Princes most vivacious and colorful songs, it became a perfect example of a Prince song. In the beginning, we have a hint of mystery, then the sound builds fast and releases. Its nonstop energy then builds to that insane guitar solo. Its a shimmering, fast, song that ends in a screaming guitar before burning out.




3 I Wanna Be Your Lover

Prince

This song is Prince's disco influence at it's finest. A solid bassline lends the perfect backing for the shimmering sounds of his Telecaster. While it doesn't take a master lyricist to understand what the song is about, the song takes a surface line like "I wanna be your lover" and hides little pieces of sexual innuendo, because with Prince nothing is ever surface value.




4 Sign O The Times

Prince

One of the oddest lead singles, it couldnt be more Prince. The song is minimalistic and tackles the themes of the era. He talks about AIDS, “died of a big disease with a little name,” The Challenger explosion, “when a rocket ship explodes / and everybody still wants to fly,” and the breakdown of society. For an artist who thrives off of glamor and overindulgent music, it was conscious effort to take his audience in a new direction.




5 If I Was Your Girlfriend

Prince

This song showed how Prince could easily shift perspectives in a song. It also showed his love for gender fluidity and controversy. The song is written from the perspective of a man talking to a woman, but he wonders how their relationship would be if he were her female friend. He sings, "Would you run to me if somebody hurt you, even if that somebody was me?" in an effort to look at the differences between male and female relationships in a way that's poetic and thought-provoking.