217: $

Lotusflow3r (2009)
Seneca, the Roman Stoic, once described the pursuit of riches as “empty and daubed with showy and deceptive colours, with nothing inside to match their appearance”. Almost two thousand years later, the American philosopher Method Man counterpointed with “get the money, dollar dollar bill, y’all!” This track off Lotusflow3r says both at the same time. It skips along with nary a care in the world and the singer (in the breezy manner of someone who’s never had to choose ‘show balance’ on an ATM) tells us that money doesn’t buy happiness. But he sure loves the attention and lifestyle it affords him, and wants us all to know it. The hollowness of fame and money is a common theme in Prince’s music. In both Don’t Play Me and My Name is Prince we’re told at the top of the mountain there’s nothing there. Normally the message is God will fill that void, but here dancing and the female gaze is the antidote. And also – in a tragically candid moment – popping pills. It’s such a light-footed, beguiling song that it seems perverse to bring attention to that foreshadowing line, so I’ll end by saying $ is Movie Star without the farce; Life o’ the Party without the spit and nettles. It’s ostentatious in a charming way and just because it glitters doesn’t mean it ain’t gold.