Henry Holt and Co.
Beginning at the end – the sad, sudden end – Ben Greenman’s book about Prince is a celebration of his life and music, of what made him so special; written – unashamedly – from a freak-fan point of view but with some balance and huge knowledge. Greenman’s an excellent writer – whether putting his own fiction and non-fiction out there or helping to tell the stories with and of Questlove and Brian Wilson Greenman is always utterly readable and beyond that on point, smart, sharp – engaging.
And so it is with this book of essays – some purple prose for the purple one, but always knowingly.
Greenman documents his own fandom, the various points in his life where and when Prince’s music mattered the most, was least accessible, most frustrating, the moments of euphoria – from the concert rushes to the thrill of seeking out bootlegs and the mild disappointment of the head-scratch albums through to some of the best, well known stories about Prince’s music curiosity and the enigma.
Exploring key moments and albums, unpacking certain songs and periods, Greenman is thorough and wise. But he’s writing this with one hand on the hankie still, a very public display of grieving celebrity, celebrating – and grieving – genius; the end of a lunatic run where Prince was seemingly always ‘on’, forever working. We know now that was finite and Greenman explores the sadness (and hypocrisy) around Prince’s closeted drug use – so as much as this is a dribbling fan’s account it’s not written without awareness.
One of the best and smartest books about Prince I’ve read – it doubles too as an account of the power of fandom and the reasons to celebrate getting caught up in pop-culture, in music. In that sense Prince’s passing doesn’t stop a fascination with the music and Greenman may help you to tunnel back in, to find the music – or find the nuance within the music – to make a fresh approach to the bamboozling and brilliant worlds of music that one man created across four and a half decades.