“U always get the dream that U deserve from what U value the most,” Prince (one of our Greatest Alternative Drummers of All Time) declares on “Fixurlifeup,” the gnarled funk-rocker he performed with backing band 3rdEyeGirl the same night Miguel crotch-planted on an audience member’s head. When the song first surfaced online, what stood out was the Purple One’s grungy new sonic direction, but the newly posted video emphasizes the politically charged lyrical content. The clip circulated earlier this week but was taken down almost immediately, and now it’s back online — for good, we hope.
In it, we see the fancifully attired, ever-eyelinered pop legend in the midst of what looks to be a ferocious performance with 3rdEyeGirl, as lyrics and relevant images flash across the screen, including a few of Occupy-like mass protests — with shades of Thurston Moore’s latest Chelsea Light Moving video. Prince invokes Pink Floyd (“another brick in the misogynistic wall of noise”) and the Rolling Stones (“Instead of everybody getting what they want / They can get what they need”) but to ends that might not square with those bands’ market-friendly worldviews.
In the context of Daft Punk’s return to live instrumentation and Alt R&B artists such as Frank Ocean’s embrace of Prince’s influence, the social consciousness here may also help explain the throwback-rock feel of the Minnesotan’s recent tracks: Like the relaunched left-wing journal The Baffler, he’s “blunting the cutting edge.” After this video, discussing “Fixurlifeup” without remarking on its subject matter should be like talking about Das Racist without acknowledging race.
As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, “Fixurlifeup” is Prince’s first video since disclosing a “partnership” with new company Kobalt Music Group. The song, which you can download via iTunes, is expected to appear on an album with the working title Plectrum Electrum, though much is still unclear at the moment. According to Prince-watching blog Dr. Funkenberry, the video was directed by Sanaa Hamri, and the live part was shot at a show in San Diego.