My husband didn’t like Prince.
He’s the only one on his shift at the fire department today who didn’t—doesn’t—appreciate the musical force that was and always will be Prince. For all the things, including taste in music, I like about my chosen partner in life, this lack of awe for all things Prince still baffles me.
I’ve listened to the music. I’ve watched videos and NFL halftime shows in the pouring, Purple Rain. I’ve listened to interviews, read posts by others who loved his music, and generally sat in some state of shock since the news flashed across my Facebook screen.
“Prince dies at 57.”
When I called my dad, we both sat with that thought for a moment. “He wasn’t even 60 yet, was he,” asked my dad, who is also not quite 60. Prince is not a full year older than my father, and this fact alone pushed my buttons even harder. Fifty-seven. You’ve got to be kidding me.
Later, I talked to my mom.
“Yeah, I told your dad that Prince died, and he said, ‘I know, I talked to our daughter. How do you know?’ So I said, ‘I saw it on her Facebook.’ Then he asked what I was doing on Facebook at work. I was locked out of my computer, so what else was I going to do?”
On a mundane, rainy Thursday, my mom and dad learned about the passing of a music icon from me. My mom even learned via the same medium as me, via Facebook. It all kind of rolled up, into, and over me. Prince. Dead. 57.
Listen, I’m at the end of Generation X. Some don’t like to include me because I didn’t go out on dates while listening to the same music. But the same music of that generation shaped my life, shaped me. I share the same pop culture memories, if only while wearing bows in my hair instead of giant hair sprayed bangs.
And I’m sad tonight.
I was raised to appreciate musicality in all forms. Prince had it. Even when he went about changing his name and wearing assless chaps and just being whoever the hell he wanted to be. His guitar couldn’t be beat. His lyricism sticks with us even today, in 2016 when we young X-ers are even aging and we’ve got too much going on in our brains and our calendars and our lives to think about what we wore yesterday or what we’re making for dinner tomorrow or whether or not our kids have seasonal clothing that fits properly… we still fall into the choruses together, still link arms and turn our heads to the sky as the Purple Rain washes over us and, just for a moment, we are young again. I mean, you guys, our class song was “1999,” which was the year we graduated.
Prince was a musician, a writer, a performer, a human being. And tonight he is gone. As someone else said somewhere on the social media today, a light has gone out and I can feel it. I can feel it.
There are deaths of musicians to come whose losses will affect me more, I will not lie. But this. This must be how my Grandpa felt with Johnny Cash died. An icon, just… gone.
“It’s time we all reach out for something new…”