At some point in the haze of despondency that followed Prince’s death in April 2016, I had an idea. I’d been a fan of Prince since, conservatively speaking, around 2003 (but more accurately, since I was in the womb). I’d even tasked myself a few times with slogging through the entirety of his considerable discography; and, give or take a few bootlegs and Internet-only releases, I’d listened to everything at least once. But one thing I’d never done was go through and really consider every song, in depth, from beginning to end. And in the wake of his passing, as I tried to come to grips with the very notion of a world without Prince, somehow such a long and painstaking project held a strange kind of appeal.

So that’s what this blog is about. It’s one part extended act of mourning, one part writing exercise, and one part research project to fill the void of my abandoned graduate studies. I call it dance / music / sex / romance after the 1982 track from Prince’s 1999, which is as concise and accurate a statement of purpose as I’ve ever seen an artist make about their work. I always thought it would be a great title for a career-spanning, thematically-organized compilation, along the same lines as Johnny Cash’s Love, God, Murder–though Prince obviously would have wanted God in there, too.

The concept behind d / m / s / r owes an all-too-obvious debt to Chris O’Leary’s (excellent!) chronological David Bowie blog, Pushing Ahead of the Dame–though, in my defense, divergent writing styles and the nature of the respective artists we’re covering means that my project will inevitably take off in different directions than his. Finally, while I’m making caveats, I might as well also admit up front that I have no privileged knowledge of Prince beyond what I’ve read and listened to, and even the extent of that is certainly dwarfed by some of the mavens elsewhere on the Intenet. There are, unquestionably, people more qualified to write this blog than I; to the best of my knowledge, however, I’m the only one crazy/stupid enough to actually be doing it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this project. And if you like what you see here, check out some of my other writing–some of it also about Prince!–at Dystopian Dance Party.

– Zach Hoskins, June 2016