April 23, 2016

All Good Things, They Say, Never Last

Am I the weaker man
Because I understand
That love must be the master plan?
Prince - "Diamonds and Pearls"

I have adored Prince since the first time I heard "I Wanna Be Your Lover" on the radio when I was 8 or 9. We flew back and forth between New York and L.A. several times when I was a kid and my favorite part of flying was the little analog radio dial in the arm-rest. They played mostly current pop and rock hits, which I'd listen to for hours while staring out the window at the Earth below. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" was on one of those loops and, to this day, I associate that song with flying cross-country as a kid.

I once drove to the original Penny Lane Records in Venice Beach to buy a rare, expensive vinyl copy of Prince's "Black Album." In the audience at his "Lovesexy" tour in 1988, I marveled at how his energy never waned during a nearly 3-hour set. And Yael and I had a blast dancing together at his "Jam of the Year" tour at the Hollywood Bowl in the mid-'90s.

Amir enjoyed and appreciated Prince and we had many a discussion about his genius. He even indulged me in watching Under the Cherry Moon (a crap movie but its soundtrack remains my favorite Prince album). Still, I don't connect or associate Prince with Amir as much as I did David Bowie, though I know Amir would be saddened by his death as we all are.

The song "Sometimes it Snows in April" holds incredibly deep meaning for me, going back to when I was about 15. It's an intensely personal song about friendship and loss that has touched me since the first time I heard it, prompting tears on almost every listen. In 1986, my friends and I would sit on the floor in my bedroom, with lights out, eyes closed, listening to that song and not speaking the whole time it was on. Sounds sappy, but the song evoked that kind of reverence, even in a bunch of teenagers.

Even before Amir died, I often skipped it when shuffling through my music because it evoked too much emotion. But since Amir's death, I have associated the song with him. Amir was born in April. It will always be his month. Hence, I have not listened to that song since Amir died. I simply cannot do it. Yael and I have talked about it and (whaddaya know?) she feels the same.

Understandably, the song has been played a ton since Prince died. Starting Thursday afternoon, my local public radio station, WFUV, played Prince songs back to back through the evening. Naturally, "Sometimes it Snows in April" featured in the line-up. As soon as I heard the opening chords, I had to yank out my earbuds. Who wants to start crying at their desk at work?

Prince's music touched my heart and soul on so many levels. He made me dance, he told vivid tales of characters and places, he made me want to fall in love, he taught me that sex was beautiful and fun and vital, he made me think about my own spirituality and sexuality. His songs were the backdrop for so many moments and realizations in my life.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to listen to "Sometimes it Snows in April" without the emotion welling up inside me uncontrollably. Amir was born in April. Prince died in April. It's too much.