I could try and put all my emotions about Prince’s sudden passing last week into words, but it would be way too long; I probably wouldn’t be able to completely capture my emotions on the subject. Prince’s music has been with me growing up; my Mom and Dad don’t agree on much but they both loved Prince. The man was a one-of-a-kind talent and I still remember the first time I watched the incredible “Purple Rain.” I was immediately hooked on his charisma and sheer talent. I then started exploring outside of the well-known ‘80s and ‘90s hits and watched whatever tidbits of videos I could find. Prince made music that defied genres and did it his way like no one before. The only way to properly show you what I’m talking about is by recommending some of his music.
*Now a few disclaimers first:
This list is not in any particular order. I had a hard enough time deciding on only ten songs to include as the best, don’t make me list them in an order.
Prince was a very sexual and emotional human being; therefore, some of his songs touch on controversial subjects, but always in a beautiful way.
Go watch “Purple Rain” and the album of the same title. They're probably your best bet as a good introduction if you’re a Prince virgin.
Here goes nothing:
An early ‘90s staple. This one I came to love later in my Prince fandom. He incorporates some Indian music influences and makes it his own.
The greatest ballad of all time. The piano and guitar sections of this song are legendary and the intro brings me chills no matter where I am. This song is considered by many to be his greatest song and one can definitely make the argument. It’s even better once you see the movie and bring the movie context into your listening experience.
According to urban legend (but probably mostly true), this song is what led Al Gore’s wife to create the committee that mandated that obscene music must have a parental advisory sticker on it. This song is all kinds of sexy and is a great example of Prince’s primal scream-sing that became a staple of his. This is a great song on a strictly musical level as well, subject matter aside. It's been covered and reimagined by many artists to this day.
“Little Red Corvette”
Probably my personal favorite Prince song, but who knows? This is a great upbeat-pop song with rock and soul influences. This is a good Prince starting point and possibly one you have heard before but might not have known who it was by.
“I Wanna Be Your Lover”
The song that started it all. This was his first major hit and it sounds like it could be a hit on radio stations today. This song really shows how much influence he’s had on all the music you hear today. It’s extremely catchy.
Though he hasn’t had a top ten hit since the ‘90s, this is a new song that I really enjoy. Prince could play almost any instrument and often played and produced every part of his songs. He really focused on playing the bass on these later albums and this song is a great funky party jam. His new stuff is overlooked and underrated.
“Let’s Go Crazy”
This is probably my go-to party jam out of the many he created. Prince made some of the best love songs but also some of the best party jams, he knew what made people feel good and he put it into musical form.
“The Beautiful Ones”
Well, this one is a more emotionally raw song. He serenades us smoothly about a girl who is choosing between him and another guy. He leads us through the gamut of emotions in a five-minute span leading to an emotional almost begging at the end that makes you feel some type of way.
“When Doves Cry”
This song wasn’t supposed to work. He wrote a dance song without bass, which no one thought could be possible. However, it turned into his most popular and successful song. It was probably his most impressive guitar work as well, in which many other guitar visionaries have said they can’t even hope to match.
“I Would Die 4 U” and “Baby, I’m A Star”
Catchy. Beautiful. Brilliant. I throw these two together because they are the end to the “Purple Rain” movie and just full of good times. They make me want to go conquer the world.
Honorable Mentions (a.k.a. I Couldn’t Stop at Ten...11)
“Kiss,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Do Me, Baby,” “Controversy,” “Delirious,” “Dirty Mind” and “1999.”