“Dearly beloved: we room gathered right here today to gain through this thing referred to as life.”

Is over there a an ext accurate mission declare for all of pop music?

Pop music -- the ideal of it, at the very least -- knows that life is messy and also unkempt. Life is no easy. The rips our hearts to pieces. It inherently reasons friction, tension, anxiety. The dangles illusory promises, and also then takes them away, leaving us in require of comfort and also solace.

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Life rarely provides us the solace. But Prince always, constantly did.

Prince performing in the hit movie "Purple Rain."

Prince, who died today at age 57, who musical genius and cultural impact is difficult to fit into any kind of obituary, was more than a brilliant songwriter. An ext than a dynamic singer. Much more than one impossibly lithe dancer. Prince to be something most pop stars aren"t: he to be there because that us.


Prince knew the teen of losing a love so solid that life doesn"t feel worth living. The song? “Nothing compare 2 U.” Prince knew the tumult of cultivation up in a residence with fighting and resentment. The song? “When Doves Cry.” Prince knew the joys the sex, accepted and also explored its many forms, and also made the feel like the most organic thing in the people instead the a taboo that we"re an alleged to feel weird about. The song -- well, too plenty of to name.

This is what Prince did for us: put words to our feelings, once those feelings were many complex. When society gave us no structure for expertise situations, Prince built one because that us.

“I"m no a mrs / I"m not a guy / I"m something the you"ll never understand” spoke for thousands in the shadows throughout the Reagan years. “Am I black color or white? am I right or gay?” were much more than simply lyrics to “Controversy” -- they were forbidden concerns in one America quiet guided through Phyllis Schlafly and also Jerry Falwell.

The sheathe of Prince"s "Let"s walk Crazy" single.

Have you ever before trusted who so much that you came to be blind to your betrayal, and also only love them an ext afterward? That"s “When You were Mine.” have actually you ever before been struggle on by who who"s obviously so much on the cant that, even though you"re lonesome too, you decline their developments because it"d simply be messy? That"s “I can Never take the place of her Man.” have you ever before pleaded through someone keeping you ~ above hand as a second option to simply choose already? That"s “The Beautiful Ones.”

All the this music arised so effortlessly that it felt choose breathing air. Ns last saw Prince just two month ago, at the great Theatre in Oakland, and the only way I can define it is come say that music just poured the end of the man. In ~ the piano, Prince unreeled track after tune with a glorious ability that could break the resolve of any type of atheist in the room, because that here, surely, to be the device of divine creation.

Some would call it genius, however Prince transcended “genius.” Today, testimonials came from every feasible celebrity, native Katy Perry and Neil deGrasse Tyson to Barack Obama. This is how massive Prince"s affect was: the chairman of the unified States declared that "nobody"s soul was stronger, bolder, or much more creative," and also it still feel inadequate.

That"s due to the fact that there to be so many moments. Performing the best Super bowl halftime display in history. Certification in the finest midnight movie the the 1980s. Record his greatest hit solitary live in one take, at its very an initial public performance. Laying a team of rock "n"rollers come waste with the guitar solo to finish all etc solos, and then cram the etc up right into the air choose a boss. (Of course, that doesn"t come down; my only explanation is the God wanted it together a souvenir.)

These moment were no extraordinary; they to be just component of what it to be to it is in Prince. In 2011, I witnessed him at the DNA Lounge in mountain Francisco through 800 other people. It expense $275. It to be worth every dime, and here to be the biggest takeaway:

Can friend name any type of other musician who desires to beat as much as Prince?... This is what Prince does, people. He shows up and sings together perfectly together he’s ever before sung, theatre the shit the end of every instrument in range, he twisted his etc pegs to song his strings mid-solo, he turns around and also mixes his very own monitor board mid-song, the plays guitar behind his head, he gyrates his pelvis and commands sing-alongs and also throws the end his guitar picks and also plays, plays, plays, every in a day’s job-related -- other than for him it isn’t work, it’s typical life, the same means you or i walk under the street or buy milk or complain about the internet.

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Prince"s pedal board, DNA Lounge, 2013. (Gabe Meline)

When an artist is the gifted, they normally let your ego swell. They lose touch v the world. Prince didn"t. In current months, he speak of Black stays Matter, and also of the water crisis in Flint. The quoted Kendrick Lamar. That was never overtly political, but his actions verified that the still, at age 57, want a better world.

As because that our personal worlds, it is a gift to united state all the Prince left behind so lot music. This is why he was so universally loved; Prince provided so lot in return, across races, genders, borders and generations. At his critical concert, in Atlanta, the an extremely final track Prince performed to be "Diamonds and Pearls," and the last heat of that last tune seems an ext relevant than ever before right now: "All I deserve to do," he sang, "is simply offer you my love."

With that love, Prince -- may there never ever be another like that -- assisted us all v the highs and lows, the heartbreak and joy, the this thing dubbed life.