Prince's 20YearOld 'Emancipation' Wasn't Just an Industry KissOff, It Was a GoingAway Party
publish date: 2016-11-18
Call it 69 F--k Songs. Except The Magnetic Fields’ magnum opus wouldn’t appear for another three years and Prince’s triple-length breakup album from his major label only had 36. But add to his total the 11 brazenly rock-oriented tracks from just months earlier on the underrated Chaos and Disorder, and a couple other new jams from the mostly old-classics-plus-rarities Girl 6 soundtrack that March. These five discs made 1996 the most prolific year of Prince’s life, just to prove the point that he wasn’t going anywhere. Why would he be expected to? Because people were sick of him.
Yes, if it’s possible to imagine a time when people were fed up with Prince, 1996 would’ve been it. Pop audiences increasingly lost patience for his antics (Colin Kaepernick's haters certainly would've been no more sympathetic 23 years ago to a black man who wrote “slave” on his cheek), his unending parade of albums (eight between 1990 and 1996), and track titles like “Orgasm” on an album called Come. Despite a Top 5 hit on the Hot 100 with 1994’s slushy “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” it was in 1993 when he changed his name to an unpronounceable rune -- still one of the boldest moves in pop ever -- and lost a fair amount of the public interest. But instead of going away, he closed out a year already marked by two Prince releases with three discs of absolute fire.