250: The Sacrifice of Victor

O(+> (1993)
Despite having the climactic anthems of 7 and 3 Chains o’ Gold at his disposal, the mid-tempo Sacrifice of Victor was always Prince’s pick for album closer. It’s a puzzling sequencing choice, possibly influenced by the storyline that used to course through the album before key segues were removed. Or what’s more likely is the song was always destined to bookend My Name is Prince, a track referenced in the final segue by Vanessa Bartholomew before she says “tell me your real name”. Prince answers “My Name is Victor”. This was his last album before the name-change and a bewildered media started reporting that this is how you pronounce the unpronounceable symbol, causing him to respond in live shows that “my name ain’t Prince and it damn well ain’t Victor”. Indeed. So who is Victor? “What iiiiiiiiis Sacrifice?” There’s whole books you could write about the lyrics in what is probably the most candid song in his repertoire. After a decade and a half of myth-building was this finally a glimpse of autobiographical truth? Did his dad beat him? Did the assassination of Martin Luther King and the ensuing riots help sober his clique up? Was he really epileptic ’til the age of seven? Prince did admit in a 2009 interview that he was born with epilepsy (a disorder that has also afflicted fellow songwriters Neil Young, Ian Curtis and Lil Wayne) and says his “flashy and noisy” persona was crafted to compensate for this struggle. It was a sacrifice he had to endure to make him the man he is today. He’s had trials and tribulations, heartaches and pain. Survived them all baby. And now to the victor belong the spoils.