I like playlists. It's a little precious, I know, but it's a good way to track how musical ideas spread and how a given style can mutate and grow. It's also one of the best things about the recent rise of streaming, since I now have nearly all the music in the world to choose from.
But it's also left me with a problem. Last night Prince pulled all his music off Spotify, leaving it on only Tidal and Google Play, and single-handedly screwing up my five favorite playlists at once. While that's totally his right as the musical genius of our time, it's left my music in total disarray. Put simply, I cannot make playlists without Prince songs, and I'm seriously considering switching to Tidal just so I can keep my queues together.
This playlist is a good example. I've been polishing it for about two months now, and as of last night, there's a huge "U Got the Look"-shaped hole in the middle of it. I'm honestly not sure what to do. How can you make a reasonable survey of the psychedelic end of post-Sly soul music without bringing Prince into it? He's just too central, the bright purple elephant in the room.
It's not just funk either. Prince has worked his way into almost all my genre-based playlists. He's just too good to leave alone. There's new wave ("When U Were Mine"), guitar jams ("Purple Rain"), disco ("Chelsea Rodgers," from the late period), and simple pop hits that work just about everywhere. He bridges across genres, which is really useful when you're trying to build transitions, and the genres he's connecting are exactly the ones I care about. It's not an exaggeration to say that most of the music I've listened to in the last two years has been exploring different facets of Prince.
Which puts me in a weird place! Playlists are a big part of how I interact with music, a big part of what I'm paying $10 a month for. I don't particularly care about any of the Tidal exclusives: Nicki, Kanye, and Beyoncé are all great, but they're also so big that I'll hear whatever they do eventually anyway. I'm also lazy about this stuff, and I don't particularly want to switch services at this point. But maybe I have to? Prince may have forced my hand on this one.