Nothing Compares 2 U// Sinéad O’Connor

I’ll admit it: like it seems with every Minnesotan who was raised here during the 80s, I have an absolute love affair going on with the early Prince songs. I don’t think most people realize just how many hits he was responsible for in the 80s and 90s because more than just a few were written under alternate egos or pseudonyms. This hit by Sinéad was one of the more obvious songs (I can’t recall if he claimed it under Prince or under one of the many other names he used). And while I have always thought she was a bit misguided in some of the ways she handled her activism (poking the bear is not always the best method for changing things you perceive as being wrong, as you are sometimes apt to outrage the people you are trying to reach, thereby ending all discussion and subsequent change).

I think Prince gave away some of his best songs, to be honest — but he had so many hits back then, I don’t know if he was keeping track. “Manic Monday” was another he might have done better keeping for himself. The Bangles were fine in their own right, but that song pushed them higher than I think they might have gone on their own. And honestly, I can see the wink and the smile he would flash (before an eyeroll) if he’d have made a video of the song.

“Wait a golddarned minute, Mr. Raven,” folks might say. “You mean to tell me you liked pop music at one point?” Yes, and I was very selective about it. Or, rather, have been selective. It’s a continuous process for me — I like what I like and occasionally it includes a pop song. Prince was one of those artists that seemed like a bloody shame NOT to like back in the 80s. Compared to most of the stuff coming out at the same time, his songs were supercharged, danceable, hot and sexy. It didn’t (at first) fit comfortably into a single category. To give you an idea just how popular he was locally, just before he really hit it big with the Purple Rain album, you would see spiked leather jackets with Never Mind the Bollocks painted on one arm, “Punk’s not Dead” on the other, and “Prince” written along the shoulder panel in the 1999 script. Everyone knew “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “Little Red Corvette,” and a couple of early hits (although songs like “Head” or “Sister” were less well known by most people due to not wanting to be caught with an album listing those songs by your parents).

There was a time around 1985-1995 where I did some travel and it always seemed that the first question out of anyone’s mouth when they found out I was from Minnesota was: “Do you know Prince?” While I’d have to admit that I didn’t, I’m not ashamed to admit that I milked the whole, “but he went to my high school,” thing. [Truth, by the way. And I am familiar with some of his pre-fame haunts because I haunted them too].

Anyway — I love this song because it is essentially simple, minimalized and cuts to the heart. “I miss you and I fucked up.” Hey, who can’t relate to that message?

It's been so lonely without you here
Like a bird without a song
Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling
Tell me baby, where did I go wrong?
I could put my arms around every boy I see
But they'd only remind me of you

I went to the doctor, guess what he told me
Guess what he told me
He said, "Girl you better try to have fun, no matter what you do"
But he's a fool

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