335: My Medallion

Internet download (2001)
I can imagine My Medallion, like all good minimal music, was created Jenga-style with the gradual removal of elements from a fleshed-out track until the Minimal Viable Funk remains. Scratches, space invaders and ignition noises are amongst the load-bearing bricks that stay, leaving a sparse and jerky tower in the Kiss mode that gets under your skin like Frank Sinatra’s ticks. It’s a Looney Toons tale of a stolen medallion with a Spill The Wine chorus and verses that are downright hilarious. You often hear Prince’s guitar-playing described as under-rated, yet in my view it’s his lyrical storytelling that never gets enough props. He can spin a yarn as good as a Waits, Brel or Cash but can make you snort milk out your nose in the process. And as a pun fan, I cry bravo and throw roses on the “Dry cleaning: we do fine” line.

  • Feamelwen

    Yes! I agree that his storytelling is underrated.

    As a casual fan, I never paid attention to the lyrics, because he wasn’t known for that, but I think it’s on the “Sign o’ of Times” and the “Dirty Mind” album that I started noticing it. Songs like “Dorothy”, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”, “Head”, “When You Were Mine” made me go to the lyrics to figure out if I heard something correctly (happens alot when you’re not a native english speaker) and read them all. (To this day, I cling to the fact that I first heard the line “I spend my time following him whenever he’s with you” in “When You Were Mine” as “I spend my time following him whenever he’s IN you”, juste because it’s dirtier.)

    I guess my favorite storytelling piece by Prince might “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”, in the end. It’s got that perfect mixture of shortness & conciseness, it paints a vidid picture, the emotions & actions of everyone involved could be interpreted in a variety of different ways, it takes on the grim reality of life not often celebrated in any song – to paraphrase “Twin Peaks”, that sometimes love isn’t nearly enough – and ends ambiguously. Let’s not ever talk about the brilliance of the music … I guess it might by my all time favorite Prince song too.