I can’t remember the first time I heard his voice, that falsetto scalded by screams. Some pop stars make it easy: Michael Jackson’s “Bad” entered my young ears as a hypnotic suggestion, since kids already want to run around hollering the same two words over and over again. But Prince? I shied away from his songs back then, even the ones that ‘90s radio could safely play. Sex roiled beneath their surface like radiation, warping the landscape—a desire that left its subject unrecognizable. All of that confused me until I saw the poster for Purple Rain: shadows poised against blue wisps of séance smoke, as light flowed molten over Prince’s ride. It looked like the wake of an electrical storm.

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In a 1986 issue of CREEM, the critic J. Kordosh wrote about dreaming of Prince: “I suspect we both received serious blows to our respective heads by two big rocks, which were fragments of the same meteor.” During these nocturnal encounters the two might meet at an imaginary bus stop, or over some infernal game of checkers. Kordosh framed the conversations as deadpan comedy (“I guess we’re condemned to this checkers match in hell because of your lyrics, mostly, and my Starship review”), but the jokes come out nervously, tripped up by awe: “It wouldn’t be going too far to say that I actually want to be Prince,” he says. Kordosh was trying to decipher a symbol that still remains mysterious, even though everybody notices it.

“I don’t do interviews; I do dreams,” Prince says to Kordosh at one point during his dream. In truth it sounds more like a fantasy rather than a dream, where a lowly critic finally gets to make sense of this sinuous, abracadabrant figure. “It’s like a commentary on my ever-changing music or my very image,” dream-Prince muses on this particular format for an "interview". For a while during the late ‘80s, he planned to release an entire album as his pitch-shifted alter ego Camille, and vanish magically inside the upturned hat.

J. Kordosh's 1986 feature on PRINCE, in CREEM Magazine.
J. Kordosh's 1986 feature on PRINCE, in CREEM Magazine.

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