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Prince (#110 of 12)

Diamonds and Pearls: Prince’s Underappreciated Gem Turns 25

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Diamonds and Pearls: Prince’s Underappreciated Gem Turns 25
Diamonds and Pearls: Prince’s Underappreciated Gem Turns 25

Consider Prince in the early 1990s, not yet Formerly Known As, coming off two soundtrack albums, 1989’s Batman and 1990’s Graffiti Bridge, neither of which registered as substantial expansions of the artist’s very individualist persona. The latter shared a set list with everyone from funk godfather George Clinton to soul icon Mavis Staples, while the former pit his Purpleness against one of the very few pop-culture symbols more ubiquitous than his own. Prince’s previous studio album, 1988’s Lovesexy, had been well received by critics, but less so by the general public.

Prince’s Minneapolis: The Town the Kid Built

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Prince’s Minneapolis: The Town the Kid Built
Prince’s Minneapolis: The Town the Kid Built

Three days later and I still have difficulty defining the heightened emotional state we’ve been experiencing in Minneapolis. I’ve personally been spontaneously ambushed by welling tears that have been hardly unexpected. But whether Prince’s death knocked you flat or merely held your attention, to be in Minneapolis right now, and to see and read about the tributes pouring in from every corner of the globe, is to tap into a once-in-a-lifetime moment of civic communion. You don’t have to be Prince’s biggest fan—I’m about 97 to 98 percent sure I’m not—to recognize it. This is a town of 3.5 million Prince stories.

Chris Rock, Prince, & the State of Saturday Night Live

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Chris Rock, Prince, & the State of Saturday Night Live

NBC

Chris Rock, Prince, & the State of Saturday Night Live

Something intriguing seems to be happening to Saturday Night Live. There’s no denying that the departures of Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers have overall drastically muted the show’s comedic palette, throwing it into a transitional funk. You’d think that booking names like Jim Carrey, Woody Harrelson, and Cameron Diaz to do some of the heavy lifting would help ease new cast members and writers into viewers’ minds. Instead, these recent episodes have felt mostly constrained by a soberness that’s prevented the 40th season of the program from finding its rhythm. But then it was announced that former cast member Chris Rock would return for the first time since leaving SNL to host the November 1st episode, with Prince as musical guest, what unfolded was one the show’s most engrossing episodes in a very long time, turning this transitional phase into a spectacle of its own.

15 Greatest MTV Video Music Awards Performances

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15 Greatest MTV Video Music Awards Performances
15 Greatest MTV Video Music Awards Performances

This Sunday marks the 30th annual MTV Video Music Awards. But this isn’t your father’s VMAs. After excising the words “Music Television” from its logo a few years back, and allowing viewers to vote for winners at its annual awards show, MTV has given its famous moonman award a temporary makeover (see above) to commemorate the ceremony’s move to Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center. But one thing that hasn’t changed about the VMAs is the opportunity for show-stopping and iconic performances. From Britney’s snake to Madonna dressed as Marie Antoinette, we took a look back and picked 15 of our favorites.
 

Listen: Slant‘s Best Singles of the 1980s

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Listen: Slant’s Best Singles of the 1980s

Warner Bros. Records

Listen: Slant’s Best Singles of the 1980s

Listen to Slant Magazine’s Best Singles of the 1980s, except for most of Prince’s songs, because he apparently wants to pretend it’s still the ’80s.