465: Jukebox With a Heartbeat

NPG Ahdio Show #9 (2001)
Showing Prince at his most caustic, this gripe against radio programmers was written in response to the lack of airplay Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic received. The lines “why you giving people what they want when you oughta give them what they need ” are repeatedly spat out with white-knuckled frustration as Prince rails against the rigged game that charges for exposure. Of course this game served him well when he was an unknown teenager armed only with a bag of demoes, a deluxe press kit and an advertising exec behind him, but to point that out would be churlish. Ultimately Jukebox With a Heartbeat incapsulates one of the motivations behind Prince at the turn of the century turning to the internet to explore new models of promotion and distribution, appropriately enough only being released on one of his internet-only NPG Ahdio Show compilations. The beat is gnarled, highly strung and twists in complex directions as the song unfolds. Muscular but tense and full of knots crying out for a good massage.