Let’s Party Like It’s 2023! – Prince Flashback

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Let’s Party Like It’s 2023! – Prince Flashback

The ‘80s were a unique time for music. From the creation of new genres like pop and Electro to innovations in digital recording technology, the decade was a period like no other – a plastic-wrapped, neon fever-dream of bright colors and big hair. But, more than that, it was a forward-thinking time when people looked to the future and imagined what was possible.
1999
Standing at the forefront of a weird and wonderful future were a handful of who took it upon themselves to see just how far their could go. From David Bowie to Michael Jackson, legendary creative minds were working at the top of their game to develop the sounds and styles that would continue to influence us for decades. And of all the iconic ‘80s artists, perhaps none were as progressive and boundary-pushing in their sound as Prince.

One of A Kind

To say that Prince was one of a kind is an understatement. He was one of the defining voices of the ‘80s, a monolithic presence in and an inspiration to thousands of artists. That being said, despite what his name might suggest, Prince wasn’t born into fame but came upon it through skill and talent.
His career began in 1976, when – at the age of 19 – he got one of his demo tapes in front of Warner Bros. Music. That one tape was enough to secure him a three-album contract. Those three albums were For You, Prince, and Dirty Mind.
His career began in 1976, when – at 19 – he got one of his demo tapes in front of Warner Bros. Music. That one tape was enough to secure him a three-album contract. Those three albums were For You, Prince, and Dirty Mind.
By 1982, Prince was already becoming a major star, but he had far from peaked. His best years were yet to come, and his next album would accelerate him to astronomic fame.

1999

The album 1999 was released in August 1982 to massive critical and commercial success. Widely regarded as one of the greatest albums ever made, 1999 introduced the world to techniques and styles that would influence generations of House, R&B, and even techno.

Wildly ahead of its time – no pun intended – 1999 struck a chord with the 1980s’ growing obsession with the futuristic. The title song, in particular, spoke to the idea that the future was a happy place, a -ending party like no other.

At the same time, a cursory glance at the lyrics shows a fair amount of cold war tension. Lines such as “Everybody’s got a bomb/ We could all die any day,” and “I don’t wanna die/I’d rather dance my life away” feel quite explicit in their concerns about the risk of nuclear war.

Combining this dream-like vision of the future with the dark and real tensions of his day, Prince’s upbeat party hit speaks, more than anything else, to a dissonant view of the future – both wonderful and terrible.

Legacy

The year 1999 came and went, and despite many apocalyptic concerns – some more credible than others – the world did not end. Prince’s career continued to be successful, and although he is still best known for his ’80s material, he nonetheless produced until his tragic death in 2016.

Looking back on like “1999”, it’s hard to appreciate just how revolutionary it was at the time. It was energetic, funky, and vibrant, all while blending a mixture of disco, soul, and R&B. In short, it was a dance track through and through, and while it might even seem a little tame by modern dance standards, it’ll still get a crowd dancing all these years later.

So this year, as we look towards 2023 and wonder what the next year could bring, let’s also look back to a song that continues to inspire musicians all these years later.

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