Bit of an odd duck, that Prince.
The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince has just released his latest single, 'Cinnamon Girl', and the video, which begins its rotation on MTV next week but can be seen online already, tells the story of a young girl of Middle Eastern background who is the subject of racist taunts at school and imagines becoming a suicide bomber and blowing up an airport.
It's a cracking tune, up there with 'When Doves Cry', 'Raspberry Beret' and 'I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man' as far as I'm concerned, and the video's great in the sense that it explores what makes a young person decide to choose such a path without endorsing the act itself - similar to Steve Earle's provocative 'John Walker's Blues' about American Taliban John Walker Lyndh.
But in 2002, he became a Jehovah's Witness, and started going door to door with copies of The Watchtower, freaking out suburbanites confused as to why this man
was asking them if they believed in blood transfusions.
To the dismay of his fans, he also began de-raunchifying the lyrics of his songs. Which must take some doing: This is the same singer, after all, whose 1984 song 'Darling Nikki,' an ode to masturbation, so shocked Tipper Gore that she went and did a Mary Whitehouse and formed the puritanical Parents' Music Resource Center [sic] - the inspiration for those annoying Parental Advisory stickers stuck on CDs in the late eighties.
Nonetheless, post-conversion, he has attacked Janet Jackson for her Superbowl 'wardrobe malfunction', and in April of this year walked out of Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl because he didn't like the swearing in the film, calling it 'potty-mouthed'. Now, he's a sensible man to have walked out of that abysmal Ben Affleck vehicle, even if for the odd reason that they said 'poop' too many times, but all of this makes his latest video seem somewhat random.
Still, cracking tune and great politics, even if the man is clearly mad as cheese.