Saturday, July 25, 2020

"Annie Christian" - Song of the Month

Each month I will share some brief, personal thoughts on one of my favorite Prince songs.

I'm intrigued by "religious Prince" and "quirky Prince," so it makes sense that "Annie Christian" is one of my favorite tracks on his 1981 album, Controversy. Though I was too young to remember the "Satanic Panic" in popular culture, it was alive and well in my Christian household. I grew up believing in the existence of the devil and his effect on the world, which I expected to end at any moment. I will always be interested in unpacking good and evil, and I enjoy analyzing how Prince did this in his music. Discovering "Annie Christian" as an adult, I dug into his narrative of the Antichrist--characterized as a woman--committing real-life crimes (the Atlanta child murders, the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, etc.) and considered different interpretations. Beyond the lyrics, I fell in love with the music, a brilliant combination of punk and funk. It's certainly the album's oddest track, with its keyboard wizardry, handclaps and chants, but my favorite part is the way the guitar line adds color throughout the track.

Prince took "Annie Christian" to another level live; there are some musical alterations and both he and Dez Dickerson are absolutely shredding on guitar. It's electrifying! Hearing the song with a full band made me more impressed that Prince composed and recorded all of the parts himself. Before I found other Prince fans online, I tried in vain to turn a couple friends on to "Annie Christian." One liked the line, "I'll live my life in taxicabs," but wasn't moved by the message of looking over your shoulder in a world of unspeakable evil. Another liked Prince as a guitarist, but complained that the live version was "a little too out there." There are plenty of Prince songs I don't like, but I'm not sure any are too weird for me. Perhaps I'll give that some thought for a future blog post...

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  1. I'd love to see if you could get an interview with either Josh Welton, his wife Hannah, or both of them. They're both Christians and have their own ministry. They say they talked to Prince about Christianity, and they also say he became a Christian before he died.

    1. Here's a link to where they talk about him.

  2. When you have the freedom to express yourself, you are blessed! Prince was able to say anything he wanted and I'm thankful I was able to witness that! The bold and honest way Prince expressed himself will never be done again in the manner in which he did! All people should paint a picture of their truth through what is expressed can save us all! Thanks, Erica, and continue your journey in true expression! ~ Daryl

  3. this is an absolute KILLER. WAY AHEAD of its time and especially with my favorite part at the end when he threw in the ad-lib car horn sounds combined with the AMAZING sonics of the synthesizers and handclaps. John Lennon would have LOVED that song and the whole Controversy album for that matter.

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  5. There is nothing similar to singing to his tunes while out and about.

  6. Many guitar players prefer to use fingerpicks or a guitar pick to play the strings, while others prefer to use their fingers.