Whether Jay Z sells Tidal to Apple or not, it’s unequivocally clear that the value of Prince’s catalogue made his streaming service incalculably more desirable. I had nothing but jokes for Tidal, but the moment that I discovered that it had the Prince exclusive on lock, I caved. I also failed to renew, but that’s besides the point.
It’s still bizarre living in a post-Purple world. I’ve written two Prince obituaries (see here and here), but there’s no possible catharsis. The earth has lost one of the most gifted musicians it ever produced and arguably the only man capable of pulling off assless pants. Some things you just can’t get back.
Until the vault is fully unleashed and we get to the see the full breadth of what he left behind, I’ve been spending most of my listening time going through his previously available bible material. It goes far deeper than the 30 some-odd solo albums, Time and NPG and sundry Mazerati records. The bootleg live shows and rehearsal sessions are the stuff of legend. Prince managed to combine the tight pop song-craft and conceptual album sprawl of the Beatles with the improvised virtuosity and live resume of the Grateful Dead. Add the funk of Sly and Curtis, the guitar chops of Jimi, and the whole package was absurd and yet somehow quite compact.
One of the best come-ups I’ve stumbled across is these Sign of the Times rehearsal sessions graciously made available for download by the Shibe Park vaults. If you still miss Prince as much as you should miss Prince, this is the best way to spend the next two hours.