BEST NEW TRACK: PRINCE - BLACK SWEAT
Brothers and sisters! We are here to celebrate new Prince! Well, new old Prince anyway, with "Black Sweat."
The passing of The-Artist-Formerly-Known-As-The-Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Prince was felt around the world. Sure, most artists experience a little posthumous popularity boost. With Prince, however, it left a lot of popheads stunned, realizing how much his Paisley Majesty helped to create today's pop culture.
While there's no shortage of love for Prince's earliest material, like "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry." You don't hear about Prince's later material quite as much, unless you're a Pop devotee like we are here at We Are: The Guard. The records are about to be set straight with a new collection of Prince jams, Anthology 1995 - 2010.
PRINCE - BLACK SWEAT
"Black Sweat," one of the leading singles off of Anthology 1995 - 2010 offers a chance to both re-appreciate latter-day Prince as well as reflect on his musical legacy. "Black Sweat" sounds like Prince doing his best Pharrell Williams impression, all squealing high falsetto over a simple drum machine beat and squiggling synth line. It's a little like The Neptunes producing early Snoop Dogg with Michael Jackson on vocals.
"Black Sweat," amazingly, is actually three times better than how this sounds. It's a reminder how Prince managed to stay with the times right to the bitter end. Partially because he helped to create those times.
"Black Sweat" was originally released on 2006's under-heard but critically lauded 3121. At the time of its release, critics said about "Black Sweat" "The song is all stuttering drum machines, hand claps and buzzing, burbling synths, with grunting vocals and falsetto shrieks." They also talked about 3121's rather unfortunate sequencing, preventing "Black Sweat" from becoming as huge of a mega hit as it deserves to be. Prince had a tendency to be a great Singles artist but sometimes faltering when it comes to album-length statements. This could be in part due to the fact how many ideas Prince could have. The classic Gemini, Prince could never settle on one persona for very long (or one name, or a music genre.) This served him well over the span of his 40 year career but it can make for some weird albums. Prince is one of those rare artists where Greatest Hits compilations and anthologies actually make sense, and not just for people who get their music recommendations from the FM dial.
So press play and be reminded of the sweet, sultry, sexy world of Prince's gender-defying funk!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.