Music for bright midsummer days should be exuberant, youthful, obvious as the sun and shadows. When the cool, inky evenings draw out peeper and cricket song, they ask for sensual, somnolent accompaniment, tinted with a little drama at the edges. The hot, steamy days are not yet constant--then we'll turn on the mellow tunes and lay back, too tired to move. But today, we need music that lets us expand.
For me, this week of the Solstice means Prince. The Purple One unequivocally rules my car in late June. He is a splash of crazy sunlight, an uninhibited but skillfully restrained master of the season's mood. I cruise the suburban streets with my window rolled down, imagining my red Geo Prizm to be a little red corvette. I blast Raspberry Beret--perhaps my favorite of the early hits for its storytelling lyrics and ridiculously infectious groove--crazily singing along in my own poor "falsetto", until I realize I am at a stoplight where respectable people can hear me. No matter!, I decide, They will like this song, too! I'm sharing! I feel my heart soar as my car rounds a bend to the lyrics, "I'm not human, I'm a dove, I'm your conscious, I am love". I groove to the brilliant Musicology. And, as night swells over the treetops and stars send their first cool light of evening, I am one with the drama of Purple Rain.
The remarkable thing is that I'm about 10 years too young to really remember Prince's great 80s heydey, but maybe this is part of the love. My images of the songs aren't overpowered by silly music videos or celebrity. I get to enjoy the music with my own associations, and the dramatic, leonine persona of The Artist without thinking how silly he looked with that curly, assymetrical mop of hair.
Finally, I leave you with this, because the people at GraphJam wouldn't put it up (although it clearly indicates vast comedic genius):
Here's the Key.
What are you blasting at Solstice?
6 months ago