Today, the Internet is justifiably flooded with biographies, think pieces, analyses, video tributes, and tweets about Prince, the beloved singer, songwriter, and musical icon who died Thursday at just 57 years old.
To help you wade through what amounts to a massive, living memorial, we’ve collected five things you need to read, watch, and listen to while mourning the artist formerly known as Prince, a performer who changed music forever.
1. “Dancing to Prince” by Sarah Larson (The New Yorker)
“Watching him dance in the video for ‘When Doves Cry,’ halved and doubled by a split-screen mirror effect, looking weird and freaky, was like watching him say, What am I? I’m this, I’m that. I’m a floating midriff, I’m an arm, I’m too fast and funky for you to comprehend. I look freaky and I don’t care. I know what I’m doing. That’s just who I am.”
2. “Prince, a Master of Playing Music and Distributing It” by Jon Caramanica (The New York Times)
“Prince … understood how technology spread ideas better than almost anyone else in popular music. And so he became something of a hacker, upending the systems that predated him and fighting mightily to pioneer new ones. Sometimes he hated technology, sometimes he loved it. But more than that, at his best Prince was technology, a musician who realized that making music was not his only responsibility, that his innovation had to extend to representation, distribution, transmission and pure system invention.”
“…As I walked home on Thursday evening, Prince blared from cars up and down Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in downtown Brooklyn. It was warm, windows were open, and people were trying to cheer themselves up with the very man who got them down. It felt good to share these songs with strangers out loud in the street, particularly “Darling Nikki,” the Purple Rain cut obscene enough to inspire the Tipper Gore crusade that led to the establishment of parental advisory stickers on albums. How delicious to hear Prince’s quivering badness howl like it was meant to, to see it dance on the grave of a bygone-era’s prudishness.”
“My assessment is that he learned early on how little value to assign to someone else’s opinion of you…an infectious sentiment that seemed soaked into his clothes, his hair, his walk, his guitar and his primal scream.”