TuneDig is an in-depth and informed conversation between two lifelong friends about the power of music — one album at a time.

In each episode, we go down the rabbit hole to spend a while in the strange world we discover. We take an honest look at creativity in all its complexity—from writing and production to history and cultural impact.

We promise you’ll learn something new every time, no matter how much you already love the album we explore.

Episode 024

Purple Rain

Prince and the Revolution

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate a precious moment. This moment in history Purple Rain made is an electric thing — it’s music at the height of music’s power, creating a space in time for everyone to be in together.

There will never be another. Y’all better live now.


Episode 024: Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain": Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Episode 024: Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain": this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

You're listening to TuneDig, a podcast from Music lovers, the premise is simple we dig into an album to discover what makes it interesting and then we dig into the crates for a vinyl copy to give away to one lucky winner. Go to TuneDig.com for your chance to win and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more info about the album that didn't make the mistake. Today, we're talking about Prince's Purple Rain.

When it comes to artists like Prince, all the people who have appreciated artists like that and their story and their timeline and their progression tend to try to help you understand how did some child who was born in some middle of nowhere, at some middle of nothing, grow up from some little baby who meant nothing and become this international superstar and try to like, trace all the threads they go between everything? And one of the things that we talked about was that it might be more helpful for Prince or in talking about Prince and his life and especially how Purple Rain impacted everything, just about literally just a seismic shift in everything that came at exactly the right moment. It's really easy for us to talk about artists being ahead of their time. Prince was right on time with Purple Rain, so right on time that it seemed to really agitate him. In later years, he was unable to literally create his own Zygi just the way he did that year, going backwards and starting with the life of the artist known as Prince. And all of his names ended at this moment, looking back now towards the beginning and seeing where a purple rain came up and how he got there kind of from the end, I think helps us maybe understand a little bit more about Prince himself, because it's really easy to categorize him in a misleading way. And one of the reasons that that's the case, I think, is it seems like he subverts expectations all the time. And I think that that's true. But I think that where it does in most cases, when people are subverting expectations, they're predicting what people will think you're going to do and then you're going to do something different and surprise them.

We were just never expecting Prince. That's why I think it's helpful to look at it kind of from the inside and go back to Purple Rain because it helps you to see that he never really lost that part of himself. He was always subverting your expectations because he never leveled out into a logical person. He was always one of the truest artists that we ever had who was also willing to engage in popular culture. He was extremely religious and yet extremely sexually provocative. Those things never change, right? He was fluid from a gender perspective. He was a part of a local scene that welcomed not only different genders, but different races, different sexual orientations. He celebrated things decades before. We know how to celebrate it. In popular society, Prince was never the kind of white and black, true or false boolean type person that we try to make artist into. And I think a lot of artists tend to become that over time they become what the culture perceives them to be and what the public wants them to be so that they can do forty seven reunion tours before they croak really slowly and no one cares anymore. Prince never stopped being prolific, never stopped recording, never stopped partying. But the story of Prince is encapsulated now. And as eerie as it is, he kicks us off in Purple Rain by talking about not letting the elevator bring us down and inevitably dies. In one, he pursued music and his heart and his passion to the very last day of his life.

In the meantime, straight down.

Take Prince is the definition, he's the textbook example of a difficult artist to get into on sheer volume alone, right. There are thousands and thousands of hours of Prince music, and that's just what's been officially released. You couple that with or you layer on all of these stories that you hear about Prince. And he's like this mythological creature, right? There's in addition to the Chapell story, there are hundreds more like them. Like every famous person has a weird thing. Prince did story, right? So he exists in the mist a little bit. And then he has what seems like a near mythological musical ability. Right. One to crank music out and to to perform it live at a blistering rate to play a show and then go play an after show and then regularly play for like eight and 10 and 12 hours in a day and then turn around and do it all again.

And it's overwhelming to begin to approach an artist like Prince, even for somebody who really loves music a lot and would consider themselves to any degree a fan of his music.

And I think we had a little trepidation because we know for like the real Prince fans how deep the rabbit hole goes and will never be, that will never approach that, partially because we weren't there for like some of these major moments. So he makes this thing Purple Rain and it is the most Zygi CDs. Yes. Things like it captures the collective consciousness in a way that few things did before or have sense. I mean, we're talking rarefied air like Beatles, Shea Stadium, Nirvana's Nevermind, like it's just a piece of pop culture.

We take for granted an artifact that you have to dig up in American history to talk about who we were, who we are now, what's different, what's the same. But my favorite thing about Prince and kind of the thing that I've discovered or rediscovered and the process of really spending a lot of time with this record in the film, again, the word that encapsulates everything about Prince to me and everything that you kind of kicked us off with is desire. This thing that he did, mixing the spiritual and the sexual, the profound and the profane, this ethic to be the best to keep cranking out music, to keep getting out the sounds that he was hearing in his head and to absolutely crush the competition, to be like no one in the minds of the people came from a strong desire, a strong work ethic. And there are all these quotes, these anecdotes about how he just had such a desire to express these high minded ideals, but to do so in a way that was going to reach the most people possible. Perhaps no one was more passionate about expressing an ideal, about the value of music. You know, you think about the Bjork line, about playing a joyous tune to free the human race from suffering like that's kind of Prince's whole M.O. And we talked about earlier this week how all roads lead to Prince with the artists we've been talking about this season. It's uncanny. It is really uncanny. Like, I don't know how we pick this assemblage of things. You don't have to go far to find influence that Prince has had on a good musician. But that idea of following your own muse and being the first you you see in Bjork, you see in Janelle Monae, you see in Queens of the Stone Age, you see in pretty much every artist. We've covered the season. And a lot of that owes a debt to Prince, who did that steadily for the whole of his adult life and made it really accessible and visible.

And that was one of the most beautiful things about him. I over I mean, do you want to? I got no money now because I'm. Check it out.

No, I thought it was a really common thing to hear and read about people describing Prince as having tremendous executive control. And what they meant by that was he has a dedication to see through his ideas a dogged determination to get a thing out the door, which separates him from 90 percent of artists automatically just finishing and delivering.

I mean, that's one of the hardest parts.

So then now you're left with the top 10 percent of artists and they all have some form of executive control. And in a lot of cases, that becomes it's delayed gratification, as in I'm willing to work on this until it's perfect. I'm dedicated to the idea itself and I'm going to see it through with Prince. One of the reasons he always subverted expectations was because his dedication was to whatever branch came up in his head. He was willing to go record it, finish it immediately, drop everything he was doing and change whatever he needed a change to get that thread out and done. So much of what we think about when it comes to delayed gratification and executive control is this trajectory of as you get older, you become more able to evaluate whether your ideas are good or not and to be able to wait for the good ideas to be fully baked. That was not Prince. Prince was prolific and that good all at the same time is like that concept of letting a thousand flowers bloom. If that never stopped for an entire life and you just end up in a garden full of millions of ideas, that somehow almost all are brilliant because you have someone who's not only extremely creative and smart, but is also matched by the musical ability to, as he would describe several times, the ability to play literally anything that was in his head.

So there are some really good books about Prince writ large and about specifically the making of Purple Rain, you recommended Allen Lights. Let's go crazy about the making of Purple Rain. That was good, especially for context leading up to like, what's the combination of factors that got us here? There's Dwayne Tootles, prince of the Purple Rain Area Studio Sessions, which is like a tome. It's like a textbook. And I've barely started making my way through that. But then there's other really interesting. The culture writer Turei made that book, I Would Die for You. And it's about this idea of princess, an icon. There are a lot of things in Prince's life that were not in his control. So I think this idea of being the master of his own destiny was about reclaiming some of that control. A lot of that plays out semiautobiographical in Purple Rain. So it's not really necessarily worth going into. But Terry has this amazing passage that kind of sums all that up for me. Prince developed every skill that would make him become a rock star. He learned how to write timeless songs and a range of genres with masterful construction. Quest Love, the drummer for The Roots, said Prince's best albums were built with a dramatic structure of Shakespearean plays.

He could sing in a unique, spellbinding way. He could play music in an unforgettable way. He was not just a guitar virtuoso, but the master of many other instruments, including drums, percussion, bass, keyboards. And he had presence and with spine tingling, sexy. That's a weird adverb thing. Legally, if you were inclined to be attracted to him and even if you weren't, he still seemed devastatingly cool. He conveyed a sense of mystery and he had an inevitability about him that left you unable to fully sum him up or feel as though you really knew him keeping you intrigued. All of this was powered by a superhuman work ethic for a person like Prince who can write thousands of songs and just kind of crank them out. Good songs are table stakes, right? You got to give the people more. You got to give them a moment. You got to give them an experience. A number of episodes ago, we talked about Childish Gambino in this idea that he's not writing an album. He's building a world like Purple Rain was the blueprint for all of that.

Artistically, there would be no Kanye West runaway. There would be no Childish Gambino tie in to his Atlanta.

There would be no probably anything about Lady Gaga like this, redefined everything about multimedia delivery at a moment when that was just starting to become a thing in order to get to and really, really the impact of the moment that happened, we have to kind of go back and lay out what all converged at that particular time, because it really was a universe alignment type moment where the singles from Purple Rain coming out, then the album, then the movie, all hitting at this one particular time where culturally summer of 84 may be right.

But there was this key that unlocked everything else that Prince did that created an opportunity for him to connect in a way that makes a record 13 times platinum in a way that converts people from this movie is going to show in one theater, because this is a super dumb idea to you're going to make tens of millions of dollars and we're going to release this is almost a thousand theaters. And I think that that key, looking back on it, was always his willingness not only to trust his own gut, but to trust the progress of society itself, because there were two things that you can look back and see that he adopted extremely quickly that enabled him to basically create those first moments. First of all, like a little later on, he would go on to become one of the earliest artists to embrace the Internet period. Literally. Prince had a website before Google was invented. As soon as there was an opportunity to leverage a new thing in society, Prince leaned into it instead of being afraid of it, instead of trying to calculate it. I even think talking about him as a marketer is really misleading and almost kind of cuts him off at the knees, which he's short enough. So we should give him his full height, right. Because he's not trying to trick you into liking what he's offering you. He's trying to meet you at at the very point where you are in this exact moment. And so the willingness to embrace the Internet is sort of an echo from his willingness to embrace the music video. We're in the eighties. MTV has just gotten started right in nineteen eighty one.

It's brand new. The entire concept of a 24/7 music channel that's now basically the world's largest radio station that also now needs visual accompaniment was scaring off a ton of people, including acts like Bruce Springsteen, who basically refused or said he was going to refuse to do anything like that until Born in the USA came out, which also came out in nineteen eighty four. God help that year. Prince was all. In the early 80s saying this isn't just the future, this is this is now he immediately started describing that he would visualize his songs as he was writing them as video and people would ask him, oh, well, that's wild. How do you conceptualize both of them at the same time? And he in the early 80s would start telling people they're not two things at the same time anymore. People see music now this is how you reach people. And so the embrace of MTV put him at the forefront of the world's largest distribution channel. And so to be able to not only embrace MTV coming out in the 80s, but then almost like drafting or surfing off of Thriller, which had just come out before that, where Michael Jackson is now making, what, a 14 minute, like, mini movie. Right. A music video. He's already pushing what a music video looks like. Imprint's is basically taking Thriller and turning it into a movie so that people can now experience Prince in theaters across the world in a totally different setting than just over the Sirio Prince was in Minneapolis at First Avenue and he was never anywhere else. Prince Arena tours were him picking up First Avenue and moving it to another location.

In bringing people into that moment, he knew what a special moment and scene that was in that really that he was the lightning rod of it. The thing that blew my mind probably the most about this record is how much of it was recorded live during a show at First Avenue. There is something special about the human experience that's captured in these moments. And there's a lot of like raw sexuality and diversity. And people are really loving life and going through life here, like there isn't electricity to this. Can we bottle that electricity? Like, you need to know the whole story about where songs this potent and this full of feeling and passion, where it all comes from, it at least needs to be said in general.

First of all, sixth studio album from Prince. This is coming on the heels of nineteen ninety nine and a series of other really awesome records that he had released 13 times platinum. Twenty four consecutive weeks. At number one, he was the first person ever to be atop the singles charts, the album charts and the movie charts at the same time. The worst thing that we can say about it is it sounds like it was produced in the 80s in 84, where the drum set has body dysmorphia. Right. And so the snare drum is the size of the bass drum and the bass drum is the size of the snare drum.

Also, you know, that's bad body dysmorphia, that it's a drum machine. Most of the time. My feelings on that have evolved. Right. I still don't like the way that a lot of it sounds.

Specifically, Darling Nikki, for a song that is the closest thing to an actual aphrodisiac that I've ever heard the song, the music behind it really sort of sells that short. And strangely enough, it took the Foo Fighters to make me realize how dynamic explosive that song could be and tell you what you did.

And we are here. I'll be out and show you no mercy, but she'll.

One of the things that cannot be said enough about Prince is that he was also surrounded by brilliant musicians, absolute geniuses who are at the top of their game, and he was very frequently giving them space to come up with ideas like the interaction in Purple Rain, the movie where he absolutely kind of refuses to listen to what Wendy and Lisa have is as they would kind of go on to say, like a cartoonish version of reality. He had really strict expectations of when it was OK to present a new idea to him because he was the master of that domain. So he seemed to push back and bristle against being handed a fully completed song. But he was frequently taking collaboration when it would happen live and they were almost militaristic in the way that they practiced. And so day after day, they would have opportunities for him to listen to a new organic thing that would come up. It's not that he was against collaboration. He actually leverage the people that he was around a lot. It's just that they never really knew from day to day whether he was just going to end up firing the band and starting over because he just followed his whims.

Everybody knows the basic tenet that, like more different ideas, will lead to more creativity and innovation. Right. You hear that in every boardroom, in every conference now to the point that it's passé.

But very few people still in 2019 are actually executing that the revolution truly lived up to its name and that that's what it was about.

And Prince had the forethought to know that like he wanted his band, he said to look like Sly and the Family Stone and Fleetwood Mac and like of mixed gender, of mixed race. A lot of people didn't find out till later of Mick's sexual orientation. But I think he implicitly knew that the more breadth of perspective you have, the better the end result is going to be. An anecdote that I love was the inspiration for the song Purple Rain, just the idea of the song Purple Rain before the chords ever started coming together. Of all the people I would have thought would have influenced Prince, it would not have been Bob Seeger. There was a when they were on the 1999 tour, the legend goes that they were like a day or two behind Seeger who was selling out arenas, and he asked his bandmates, like, what does this dude have that I don't like? How do I get an arena filled with people?

And I don't remember if it was Dr Fingar who was in the band, but somebody was basically like, he has these big sounding easy to sing, along with anthems that speak to deep, basic emotions that unite people like absolutely simplify it to the bare essence, grow bigger.

There's just such an unbelievable impossible to articulate power about the song Purple Rain.

But the idea came from seeing white artists with a white audience and just seeing how many more people he could reach if he dialed down the complexity a little and he explored new languages, new vocabulary.

And Purple Rain was the result. And that's one of the most transcendent pieces of rock and roll music in American history.

One of the things I love the most about Purple Rain is you've mentioned his inspiration for figuring out how to write this.

It was originally conceptualized as a country song that was supposed to be a duet with Stevie Nicks, and he asked her to write lyrics for it. And she was like, no, not because she didn't want to, but because she's like, I'm overwhelmed by it. Yeah, I can't be responsible because she already had such respect for him as an artist as well. Right.

Oh, three.

In this album, he started to become less of a singular artist in the way that Michael Jackson was and more of a bandleader. And so you can see him being a bandleader, not only literally in the movie during the song, but this song in specifics. He comes out and becomes the lead guitarist of his own band. But he layered these concepts that people could connect to visually and emotionally. Like, I just want to see a band and I want to see people were great at their instruments. And then I want to sing as loud as I possibly can. And that was such a brilliant move, because now here we are in a movie theater where people have not only started to hear some of the singles, but have just gone out and gotten the album that's now just become number one. And here they are in the theater singing these songs out loud as if they're at a concert.

It's amazing. And you talk about working backwards. The singles, really, truly other than Let's Go Crazy, are backloaded on the side.

The combo on the backside of when doves cry, I would die for you, baby. I'm a star. Purple Rain is like that's a monster run of songs, one that they're all in the same place and two, that they're in that sequence. Like it really does build this narrative arc.

And I saw it described a number of places as like the arc of the record from Let's Go Crazy to Purple Rain is like a religious service, like let's go crazy as a benediction. And Purple Rain is a baptism at the end. So you really, like, transcend you ascend into this higher place over the course of this record. But he sets out the intention very clearly at the beginning. And then it gets to this really interesting plateau with when doves cry and I would die for you.

So when doves cry, he wrote several songs almost overnight because it just he needed to fill a gap in this artistic idea. So basically, they had filmed a lot of purple rain. They needed everybody needs a montage. So they they needed a montage to show him, like going through emotion.

And basically they need to rush the story along. Right. And so the director has this concept, OK, we've got to do the montage. Here's what's in there. Here's what we're going to show. But we need a song for it.

Here's your challenge. Tie intergenerational drama with your parents and how that's been passed on to the negativity that you bring to your own relationships as a person in life and in love. And you're struggling with all that in your artistic ambitions and and then make it something that we can sell.

Ok, go and print says, OK, I wrote to literally the next day, OK, I wrote to you, here's one. And he plays when doves cry and then still has the forethought at that point to do something so ridiculous, like no thanks on base on this particular song. Yeah, no thanks. Miles Davis asked Prince why there wasn't a bass line in the song, and Prince said, Miles, I didn't write one. And and if you ever hear one, I'm going to fire that bass player because baselines get in the way.

Maybe. Day, maybe I'm death like my father to follow me to death, like my mother, she.

Sounds like quite amazing for a guy who came from a funk background, modern production wasn't even modern.

Production at this point is a ridiculous thing to start cutting out essential pieces of it.

That's a great point you and I have talked about over the years. What would it be like to be a kid in nineteen sixty nine and you get a copy of our You experience and you're just like, what in the hell is this. It had to be a little bit like that in 84 where you're just like, well this is obviously from one hundred years in the future.

And it was made by a beautiful, androgynous person who looks like when you take all of the most beautiful people from every race and you just make a mix of them digitally printed, like a deep fake of all of our internal manifestations of beauty continuing back to the front, basically. Then you hit darling Nikki. I think this song is one of my favorites because of how ridiculous it is that this song became the controversial thing. Have you never heard of Prince before this moment? There are. Besides, that didn't make it to this record that are basically like G spot. And he's got one line in here about somebody surprise masturbating with a magazine and a lobbyist to besides from this record, one's called Wonderful Ass and the other one's called We can fuck, like, lots of different.

Oh, yes. But let's just go somewhere, Rick.

As Legend goes, which is also backed up by apparent fact, Tipper Gore is listening to this record with her then 11 year old daughter, and there is a line about masturbation, and this bothers Tipper Gore so much that she goes on to help create an organization that then helps parents know which albums have uncouth things in them that they may not want if they are sitting and listening to these records with their children in this really specific scenario.

Also, how many times have you sat down with your mom and listen to a new record? This is like a weird scenario anyway.

The answer is one, and it's sugar was flawed in 1997. Thanks for making me bear that out.

I'll do my best to withhold general judgment about Tipper Gore's decision to push forward with this in general. But I think it highlights the expectations, again, that were subverted in this moment, because clearly, if she believed that she should know without doing any research about an artist in their past histories of music, that pop music should at all times present everyone with a non offensive piece of artistry.

There are some baked in assumptions about Pop that have never been true again since that very moment.

A girl named Mickey, I guess you could say she was a six feet man in a hotel lobby masterbating. She said that to waste some time and I couldn't resist the one with so little grass, I'd be remiss if I didn't bring up the beautiful ones because that has always been my favorite song on the record.

And I didn't realize why we're a long time somewhat stupidly being from Atlanta. There was that Rakim, the dream song, like kind of in the bass scene of the 90s in Atlanta, and it was the most beautiful girl in the world. And it had such a depth and kind of a darkness and a soulfulness that, like you really never had and other artists like kind of only aspired to.

And I only later found out, oh, it's the chorus melody.

The beautiful ones is really amazing, and it's used to great effect in the film. The moment that he shares with Apollonia out in the crowd and she's so stirred in a way just by bearing witness to the performance of the song.

So if you don't want to wade through the singles or into the album in its full context, which I would argue you don't have to, there are some records like where you kind of got to go through the whole corn maze in the order that they have directed for any of it to make sense.

This album is really great when you listen to it. On the whole, it's really super digestible, compact and packed, really density.

But you can extract any of these pieces and it's going to be a jammer.

There's just so much feel and every one of these songs and there's so much room to go into the songs further if you want. Right. Like Computer Blue is an awesome song, but keep that whole Waverton, the original one that's like 10 or 11 minutes long. That has all of the weird spoken word in it. And you have what is relatively close to a super long, weird psychedelic jam instrumental song with what we would later come to find out or provocative lyrics. But Wendy and Lisa had no idea that they were provocative lyrics. They said he just like wrote it down on a piece of paper. And would you say, is the water wet enough? And we were like, OK, we don't know what this is about. And they just said it. They're literally in a same sex relationship talking sexy on this song. And there's like, I don't know, I just think whatever Prince gave me and everyone else is reading so much into it. And, like, there's just there's so much depth to each of those because so many of these songs are super compacted versions, super dense versions of these along ideas. But whereas most artists besides are just terrible slog through type things, you don't get that with Prince.

You don't even get it if you listen to live recordings of Prince.

There was the same type of emotion through the instrument that we would get in these great moments from from Jimi Hendrix or from moments on Revolver, from Beatles or like moments of Led Zeppelin, where just like you could reach in and feel something that came out of someone's heart. Prince just like played that guitar as if he was speaking to you, which he certainly did a lot more than he actually spoke to you.

All the guitars that you mentioned made the guitar scream like they made it a force of nature. When Hendrix played, it felt like wind and rain and thunder and fire. Prince was a great spiritual successor to Hendrix, and I think he started to own that kind of identity really intentionally, where he wanted to harness all of those forces of nature and make it sing in a really human way, like his control over that sort of like gospel screamy, like reach a fever pitch with notes. He did so, so, so well. But he he had such a subtlety. You know, you you contrast the end of the let's go crazy with the extended bridge of like a purple rain where it's just the four note sequence.

He also understood when minimalism and subtlety was called for and there's just no live prince playing guitar video that I would ever not watch. He has such an articulate expression of what he's thinking and feeling through his hands on the guitar to a level that I have never seen in another artist, period.

Full stop. And he was doing this when he was in his 20s. Oh my God. Like, it takes decades of work to learn to treat an instrument like that.

Prince was doing this in his 20s while also being able to play pretty much any other instrument that he wanted when people got really sad when he was gone and everyone said there will never be another prince, like a lot of that feels like empty missives when we lose an artist that we really loved. But truly, objectively, I just can't see a scenario where there will be another prince with that combination of being so prolific, being so soulful and being able to translate a really deep well of ideas and feelings in a way that's so big and bright and bold that it can't be denied.

And in a rescue, thinking about the Minneapolis sound in the scene that Prince helped lead and create, that produced not just him, but more stay in the time and Janet Jackson and then further gave even space for a smaller punk scene. To me, the only true analogies for things like that are like, I got to go to CBS before I closed, but there was something in that room. Right? And CBS no longer exists. And even if they try to recreate it somewhere else, it will never be the thing that existed right there in that place in New York City, where everyone was in that room for exactly the same reason and never needed to be anywhere else. And we got prints from a relatively obscure part of America. Here's what's going on. Here's how we've been able to handle the fluidity of life and not judge one another and give people space to be who they are and have this moment together, like those types of of musical moments and feelings and physical places on earth. Don't come back. They're here for a time and then they go away. And just like anything else, when they die and they go away, it finally does give us the opportunity to start going. I got to be grateful for what was there and look back on it and reminisce and live vicariously. But I'll never have it again. And that's the thing that makes it precious.

Can't say enough times, man. We could all stand to live a little more like Prince.

One of the things that Prince did people might not have acknowledged or known about is he was also extremely encouraging to other artist to do what he did himself, which was trust yourself, go give people what they want because you are at the apex of what people want in this moment. It's an incredible opportunity to live in what like the stories that we get to hear come out in places like knowing that Andre 3000 was not ready to do Coachella until he got a call from Prince and Prince. Prince calls you and says, do the hits, fam do the hits. This is the last thing you expect from somebody like Prince, right? Somebody is prolific. You would expect him to say, like, don't sacrifice your artistry, don't do anything you don't want to do. And yet what Prince is saying is, I feel like I know you well enough to say what you want to do is meet people right there at that moment and do the thing that only you can do. Three stacks, go out and put on a weird jumpsuit, smile once or twice, at least try to have a good time and just play the hits and let people be there with you. And the fact that. Not only that, that happened and then that we got to see Outkast some more, but also the fact that Andre felt like he could talk about that and share that, that's what helped him really get over the edge and have that moment like that spirit of artistry, I think is what perpetuates and what will like echo through the decades from Prince is like he inspires people to be more themselves, no matter how much that actually ends up being like Prince at all.

So what it really comes down to is creating that space for other people, like whether it's a literal First Avenue and whatever the First Avenue seems like in your town and just letting other people be the full throated range of their humanity. Dearly beloved.

We are gathered here today and this thing called Go to TuneDig.com to sign up for our emails and click the link on the e-mail and we want to in on the.

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you'd love including advanced search, secure transcription and file storage, collaboration tools, world-class support, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.

(function(s,o,n,i,x) { if(s[n])return;s[n]=true; var j=o.createElement('script');j.type='text/javascript',j.async=true,j.src=i,o.head.appendChild(j); var css=o.createElement("link");css.type="text/css",css.rel="stylesheet",css.href=x,o.head.appendChild(css) })(window,document, "__sonix","//sonix.ai/widget.js","//sonix.ai/widget.css");


We’ve curated an entire year’s worth of albums to spin, one for every single day.

If you’ve listened to TuneDig, you already know these 366 picks span history, genres, and cultures. Each day presents an album that’s fundamentally different than the one that came before it, and the one that comes after.

Original "Bitches Brew" Art

To celebrate the endless creativity of Bitches Brew—and especially its famous album artwork—TuneDig partnered with two incredible Atlanta-based artists to create one-of-a-kind, handpainted gatefolds.

With the spirit of the original art in mind, each artist brought their own vision to life. These pieces will spark conversation for any jazz fan.

Each piece includes a new vinyl copy of Bitches Brew. 100% of the purchase price goes directly to the artist, so take this opportunity to support the arts in the raddest possible way.

Seriously. There’s literally only one of each. Make it yours. 😎

TuneDig Episode 53: Ravi Shankar’s “Three Ragas”

Ravi Shankar lived one of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary lives, bearing witness to—and making—history all around the world. To many (especially in the West), he personified an extraordinarily complex style of music and the cultures from which it was borne, and he worked hard to make it look easy.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 52: Alain Goraguer’s “La Planète Sauvage”

Gather ’round, sommeliers of the strange and crate-digging boogie children, for something “Strange! Frightening! Fascinating!” awaits. The soundtrack to Cannes 1973’s Jury Prize-winning film is a dazzling, surreal, avant-garde hymn to cosmic knowledge and compassion and a secret handshake among real heads. If you’re after a trip to a new dimension, here’s your one small step for man.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 51: Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”

Marvin Gaye’s well of soul power ran mighty deep, and deep into his career, he pulled up a bucket of ice-cold, silky smooth champagne called “I Want You.” Come for the lush instrumentation, vocal harmonies, and Leon Ware clinic; stay for the stories. For our return from hiatus, we observe a titan in his element, reflect on the pain that built him into one, and consider how to reconcile our feelings when complicated messengers deliver beauty to our door.

Read More


TuneDig Episode 50: Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain”

Before uniting one nation under a groove, the lysergic lords of chaos in Funkadelic harnessed wild lightning into an amulet called Maggot Brain, bestowing the bearer with raw, dark power stronger than any force known to man. Between reaching our 50th episode and coping with the “maggots in the mind” of today’s universe, it felt like the right time to free our minds. We hope y’all’s asses will follow.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 49: Alice Coltrane’s “Journey in Satchidananda”

The story of Alice Coltrane — an accomplished bebop pianist from Detroit who transcended into something far greater before walking away from public life altogether — is a glimpse into what it means to be truly free. Alice’s masterpiece "Journey in Satchidananda" is a cosmic dance that sparked creation from destruction. And in a time when we’re all desperately searching for a spark of meaning and hope, Journey abides abundantly.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 48: Heart’s “Little Queen”

Take a moment to appreciate Ann and Nancy Wilson, who kicked down the doors of rock ‘n’ roll’s boys’ club with their peerless guitar work, soaring soul vocals, and tight songcraft. 1977’s Little Queen — an oft-overlooked gem in the classic rock canon — offers a snapshot of those elements at their most urgent and pure, powered by the Wilsons’ simple motivation (as described by their producer): “It was a war.”

Read More

TuneDig Episode 47: Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra”

When you think of “electronic music,” what comes to mind may not be a genre you deeply love — hip-hop, house, new wave, or even dub reggae — but all of it owes some debt, scientifically or otherwise, to Tangerine Dream. Dig in with us as we study a prime example of the band’s brand of effortful innovation, where they patiently and persistently labored at the cutting edge of electronic technology to open a portal to new worlds in our minds.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 46: Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR”

Did you catch one of 2021’s biggest albums, or like us, did you almost overlook it? If you have any expectations of pop music, "SOUR" will likely subvert them. Teenage dream this is not; it’s an exquisitely universal portrait of a weird time to be alive.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 45: Fela Kuti’s “Expensive Shit”

The story of Fela Kuti — one of the most famous people on an *entire continent* passionately struggling to liberate power to more people — is absolutely one worth deeply knowing, regardless of whether you find yourself drawn to Afrobeat or (cringe) “world music.” But once you know it, it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Fela and Afrika 70 as their revolutionary grooves rewire your brain in magical and meaningful ways.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 44: Meshuggah’s “ObZen”

Meshuggah’s ObZen—an artifact of human creativity pushing the limits of what’s possible—will quite literally make you hear music differently. If you’re looking for a new musical adventure, and especially if you don’t think you like “heavy” or “weird” music, consider this your sign to push past your comfort zone.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 43: mewithoutYou’s “Catch For Us the Foxes”

A misunderstood wise man once said “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.” In our most personal and vulnerable episode yet, we do some seeking through the lens of songs that fill us with the bravery and sincerity to love ourselves and others fully. Dig deep with us as we fish for words about our tiny place in the universe and dance with gratitude for our ability to do so.

Read More


For lifelong headbangers and the musically curious alike, a new podcast from TuneDig is here to push your palette with aggressive, abrasive art. Each short, fast-paced episode offers (1) a new metal, punk, noise, or experimental release we recommend, (2) a related playlist we’ve curated, and (3) a heavy issue to consider and an organization doing something about it. Join us in the void.


TuneDig Episode 41: Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew”

Let’s be clear: "Bitches Brew" is a challenging record, even to some of the best musicians in the world — but all of them say it’s worth the investment. It’s the kind of trip that, even if we *could* draw a map, it wouldn’t take you there. Let go of the need for meaning and enjoy the ride with us. We can promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised where you end up.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 40: Fiona Apple’s “Tidal”

On the heels of one of 2020's most acclaimed albums — Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters — we revisited Apple’s debut Tidal and wound up working to extract ourselves from the mostly male gazes that made its reception … much different. We arrive at a question much like writer Jenn Pelly had: “People would constantly prod Fiona on how an 18-year-old could write songs as mature as these ... Why did they not ask instead how she became a genius?”

Read More

TuneDig Episode 39: Death Grips’s “The Money Store”

The modern world is accelerating beyond our control, shaping our reality in ways we can’t yet perceive or understand. Enter Death Grips, an art project capturing the chaotic energy and illustrating the absurdity of our hubris in trying to harmonize the surreal and extremely real — never more perfectly than on 2012’s prescient "The Money Store".

Read More

TuneDig Episode 38: Augustus Pablo’s “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown”

Reggae music is easy to take for granted, but its impact is underappreciated and massive — in the case of dub in particular, everyone from Radiohead to Johnny Rotten to Run-DMC owes it a debt. Augustus Pablo and King Tubby together created what’s regarded as “one of the finest examples of dub ever recorded.” Join us as we dive into the culture, history, and unique engineering experiments that made it possible.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 37: Rihanna’s “ANTI”

By every measure — sales, awards, chart-toppers, global name recognition — Rihanna is objectively as big as the Beatles ever were. In fact, ANTI is so big it’s still on the charts, a record five full years later. Take a closer look with us at “the record you make when you don’t need to sell records”, and get a taste of the true freedom that comes from focusing on your inner voice when faced with insurmountable expectations.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 36: Son House’s “Father of Folk Blues”

All American music traces back to the blues, and deep at the root sits Son House. That the recordings on "Father of Folk Blues" even exist is something of a gray area that cuts to the heart of the great American myth, but wherever you land after hearing these stories, you’ll find that what matters most is what the great Muddy Waters once said of House: “That man was the king.”

Read More

TuneDig Episode 35: Melvins’s “Stoner Witch”

The futility of describing the Melvins has stretched critics in the direction of absurd words like “Dadaist” for nearly 40 years now. They’ve belligerently flogged any attempt to pinpoint their essence simply by being themselves, but "Stoner Witch" remains a reliable mall directory for the Melvins’ vast and wild discography. Grab yourself some pretzel bites.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 34: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”

We should talk about Dolly the way we talk about Prince. Her extraordinary kindness and unique kitsch both make her universally loved, but what gets left out of the conversation is the very thing that made her famous: the music. Join in as we focus attention on the sonics and songwriting of the low-key masterpiece "Jolene".

Read More







Kyle and Cliff

BONUS TRACK: How We Got Here

We got a bunch of interesting listener feedback in our off-season, and it encouraged us to shed some light on why we do things the way we do ‘em. Also, we reflect on our first writeup, which was ... interesting.

Read More


We're Cliff (right) and Kyle (left). We’re two dudes born and raised in ATL with day jobs in tech and sustainability, respectively.

We met in middle school, and in one way or another, music’s been the thing that’s kept us close for the two decades since — whether it’s sharing and talking about new music (like this podcast, except in our texts or over beers), going to shows, or working with our favorite record stores to help them survive and thrive.

We started TuneDig as a little art project that connects us more deeply ourselves and to the world through the infinite gift of music. We hope you’ll join us for the conversations, let us know what you think, and share discoveries of your own.

More About TuneDig

TuneDig began as a little something called MusicGrid.me, which we created after realizing there was no place online to directly exchange music recommendations with your friends. Our aim was simple: to make rating albums simple, useful, and social. We got some love from places like MashableWiredEvolver.fm, and Hypebot. We managed to foster conversation between music lovers, get thousands of reviews, and meet great people.

Along the way, we realized that record stores were an essential part of the music lovers’ community. After many a conversation about how we could helpfully connect them to the people who loved them, we began helping them leverage technology to create new revenue streams and embrace streaming services without giving up what’s unique to them: expertise and curation. (Long live the counter clerk who knows exactly which record will be the right introduction to jazz fusion!)

TuneDig is our vision to connect music lovers with the music they love, because no matter how much has changed in the way we discover and enjoy music, recommendations from people you trust and respect will always be the best way to find new music you’ll dig. With this podcast, we’re channeling the spirit of trusted curation pioneered by record stores, and bringing you something to take you deeper into music you can love.