James McNew is a member of Yo La Tengo. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Prince has two new albums! One of them, Plectrumelectrum, supposedly features him backed by the band 3rdEyeGirl! I say “supposedly” because that’s what I’m told. I haven’t heard the record because I had to turn in this piece before I got a chance to hear the music. That’s fine. I’d love to hear it, though. Maybe it’s great! I hope so. I hope he plays a ton of guitar on the album, long solos, no holding back. No overdubs, all analog, no computers? That’d be amazing! I hope the band is good, too, but I’m sure they are since he chose them, right? I know Prince isn’t very fond of musicians whose playing isn’t up to his standards. Who is? Nobody, that’s who! He even made a whole album about it once. I know how he feels! Coldplay’s playing isn’t up to my personal standards! Who from the “indie world” would Prince think is a good musician? Not me! Prince is not very fond of cursing any more, either. A bunch of his great old songs have swears in them. Does he still play those songs? If so, does he substitute nice words where the swears once were? Like a movie dubbed for TV? What if the whole spirit of a song he wrote was dirty, can he still play the music? I think that’s a pretty good question. Prince also didn’t/doesn’t like rappers, which I always thought was too bad (I like both rappers and cursing, which totally works out for me!), but to each his own! Maybe he just hasn’t heard the right rap record that would resonate with him. Wait, whaaat? Rolling Stone magazine (online) just told me there is a rap by a rapper on his other new album! How about that! I’d like to hear that album too. But I can’t! I wonder if Rolling Stone magazine (online) actually got to hear the record, or if they are just repeating what they were told. I wish I wrote for Rolling Stone magazine (online)! Prince was on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine (magazine) at least once, but he hasn’t been on the cover for a very long time. Why is that? I guess there are some people who don’t even like Prince — I can’t really think of any — or who gave up on him a long time ago. Also, there are people who think Prince is weird, like when he made a whole record about his newfound Jehovah’s Witness faith, or when he wrote “SLAVE” on his face. Fuck that! He had his reasons. You have yours for what you do. Maybe Prince would think you were weird for watching Bar Rescue all day or having a big bushy beard or wearing flip-flops in midtown Manhattan. Weirdo! When people don’t understand someone, sometimes they take it personally, or write that person off as weird. People are constantly changing and growing, in all directions, for whatever reasons, so why can’t Prince? Or Bob Dylan? Or Half Japanese? To me, Half Japanese are a great band, innovators, never to be duplicated, but I don’t think Prince would agree. That’s OK! We’re both right. But someone should play him “I Know How It Feels… Bad” (seven-inch version) sometime. Now I’m imagining that actually happening. Speaking of which, it’d be great if someone could play me the new Prince albums! I know, right? Because, man, I have loved Prince since I was a kid and I have followed his entire career closely. I don’t think all of his (roughly THIRTY-SIX) albums have been perfect, nor have I agreed with his every decision, but so what? I haven’t felt that way about anyone, ever. He just happens to be a legitimate, one-of-a-kind genius and talent this world will never see the likes of again. His gifts have changed my world forever. When you really love someone you give everything they do a chance. I’m here for him! I hope it’s great!