Prince’s official music video for ‘Face Down,’ off of “Emancipation”
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About the track:
The video for “Face Down” is a comical send-up of haters, critics, and Prince’s former self, with extras and members of Prince’s band attending a dramatized funeral for the purple icon. The song was written shortly after the release of 1995’s The Gold Experience, which was the first album that Prince released under his unpronounceable symbol, and the video speaks to the major transformations that were taking place during that period as he declared that the artist known as Prince was now “dead.”
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As Prince’s longtime keyboardist Morris Hayes recalled, the song was inspired by a critic’s negative review of The Gold Experience album. “For the most part we had really good reviews, but we got this one scathing review… for whatever reason, this particular one kinda bothered him,” Hayes recalled in an interview with GQ. “I said, ‘You know what, Prince — they can kiss my ass. As a matter of fact, when we die they can bury us facedown and they can kiss our ass on the way out.’ I said all of this stuff, I went on a cussing tirade, and he just died laughing. And two days later he plays me this song, ‘Face Down.’”
Hayes also said that “Face Down” was one of Prince’s last songs to include excessive swearing. Although the artist was always eager to explore spirituality in his work, in the late 1990s Prince would enter one of his most explicitly religious periods as he converted to the Jehovah’s Witness faith and stopped swearing on stage and in his private life.
“Face Down” was included on the artist’s first post-Warner Bros. release, Emancipation, in the fall of 1996, and was intended to be one of the album’s commercial singles — although the company that handled the release of Emancipation, EMI, was massively reorganized that same year and the single was never properly released.
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