21.4.16

List #273: Those Princely Memories

I am a child of the 1980s and so my childhood was filled with records and basement dance parties while my parents drank cheap beer and caught up with friends. I remember the adults entertaining us rowdy kids by listening to our song requests over and over again. Now I recognize that this was probably just an attempt to have a few moments of adult fun when surrounded by chaos but back then, it felt as if they though we were the best DJs in the entire city.

And when midday news broke that the legendary Prince had died these dance parties were one of the first things I remembered. Being in your mid-30s means you really can't remember a time in your life without Prince. Being a 30-something year-old woman means you probably find Prince completely sexually attractive. And and it probably means you're going to spend the upcoming weekend dancing

Besides basement dance parties, Prince was there:

  • On half days off from school when someone's mom (or my dad) would load a bunch of kids into the backseat of a car and head to Pizza Hut. No one cared about carseats back in those days, at least not for anyone who could talk, so the amount of legs dangling over seats could be quite a few. And when we got to Pizza Hut, we'd cash in our Book-It! personal pan pizza coupons and throw quarter after quarter into the Jukebox. And I would always, always select "Raspberry Beret" for reasons I'm a little unclear of. I wasn't really eating raspberries in the 1980s though I did own a beret. But I did love, and still love that song, even if I'm no longer eating personal pan pizzas while it plays.
  • When I was really little my absolute favorite song was "Manic Monday" by The Bangles. I wanted to be the girl in the song:  Monday morning, leaving my lover in bed, hot-shot job downtown, independent and awesome. I was four/five when that song was popular but I think I sensed then that my adult life was going to be a madhouse. Employment down, deadbeat lover, late to work. It's the story of my early 20s really. In college one of my roommates would jump start our week by blaring it through computer speakers every Monday morning. It's perfect. It's like Prince knew in 1985 I would need a girl group anthem to get me through life.
  • I was just a little Catholic grade school girl when Prince released Diamonds and Pearls. But oh my gosh, did I love it. I remember the year I went to a new ballet school because the old one was getting too expensive and I wasn't going to be a professional ballerina the other dancers and I would sit outside on parking lot curbs listening to this album. We'd sing along to "Diamonds and Pearls" and I remember thinking that "Cream" was just about the sexiest song I had ever heard. I still do. This is Prince at his sexiest.
  • Remember the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack had that beautiful version of "When Doves Cry?" Of course you do. Take a few moments to remember the glory that is that song right now. 
  • I graduated high school in 1999. I don't think there was a week that went by that year where I didn't hear "1999 (Party Like It's 1999)" at least once. I'm still kind of bitter that our senior prom theme was "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House and not Prince's millennial masterpiece. Seriously, how was that even possible?! 
  • I don't think there is a woman alive who hasn't tossed her heels off her feet and ran to the dance floor as those first few chords of "Kiss" began to play at some epic dance. Sure this song is played at just about every wedding but it's forever locked in my college sorority memories. Tipsy and in formal dresses, all of my girlfriends would gather on the floor and sing to each other. Our dates stood a little baffled, or at least a little more drunk. And if they don't play "Kiss" at college sorority formals anymore I just feel bad for those girls.
I've been spending my evening alone listening to Prince's greatest hits album and each song elicits a strong memory. He's just always been there. He was even on New Girl and I didn't think it was a catchy gimmick, I thought it was legitimately thrilling and I would have acted the same way if I got to go attend a party with Prince. 

I know his music will live on. But frankly, it's just not going to be the same. Something will be missing the next time I race to a dance floor or belt Prince from the top of my lungs. Thank goodness for memories. 

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