To say I was stunned to hear that Prince had died would be an understatement. His music was part of the soundtrack to my growing up. His album Purple Rain is considered to be one of the greatest records ever made and, like Michael Jackson's Thriller, made a huge impact on my generation. Prince was not only great a crafting R&B, funk and pop but also the sacred and the profane all in one song.
One cannot even say the word "party" without someone saying that they're going to party like its 1999. His mark on culture, fashion and music are tremendous. He also performed one of the best Super Bowl half-time shows defiantly in the rain. The pouring rain felt like it was a part of the act, as if he had planned it.
Along with Madonna's Like a Virgin, Prince's Purple Rain was the album my mother hated the most that I had spent my money on. Yet there they were next to Amy Grant's Age to Age, Keith Green, 2nd Chapter of Acts and Rich Mullins. I definitely preferred Prince to Carman. It was a friend of mine who even explained that "I Would Die 4 U" is about Christ. The lyrics go:
I'm not your lover
I'm not your friend
I am something that you'll never comprehend
No need 2 worry
No need 2 cry
I'm your messiah and you're the reason why
I would die 4 u
Yet as big as his Purple Rain was on culture and the collective conscious, it was his album Sign O The Times that made the deepest impression on me. From the title track to the hit "U Got The Look" to my favorite song and the one that probably surprised most Prince fans, "The Cross."
When I found out that he had died, it was this song that came to my mind. I couldn't meditate on the spiritual truth found in those lyrics:
Don't cry, he is coming
Don't die without knowing the cross
We all have our problems
Some Big, some are small
Soon all our problems
Will be taken by the cross
He would even go on to record the song "What If" by Christian singer/songwriter Nichole Nordeman. What many didn't realize about this artist was that he believed strongly that Jesus is the way. Those who knew him understood that Prince was constantly striving after God and that he had a deep faith in Christ. He read his Bible daily.
While I, like most of my generation, will be mourning this deep loss to music, I can't help thank Prince for helping us "get through this thing called life."
He will be dearly missed.