Listening to Prince

I grew up listening to Prince’s music. Maybe I didn’t understand some of the nuances at first, which is probably a good thing since I was 11 when 1999 came out.

Later when I took on competitive cross-country and track, Prince was one of my go-to artists for training and race-day music. My Sony Walkman was my constant companion, with songs like 1999, Let’s Go Crazy, U Got the Look, and Kiss fueling many runs and races.

Flickr/Ocean Yamaha/CC by 2.0 

Prince’s work was pretty much perfect for training and racing. It had a great beat and put me in a great mood, among the many ways music can enhance sports performance according to various studies such as this one.  Music helps athletes stay “in the zone” and makes the workout itself seem easier.

Moving from sports performance to office productivity, I’m not sure Prince’s songs would be great background music for lawyering. Music with lyrics is known to be bad for language-intensive work, and Prince’s lyrics are part of what makes his music so fun. But maybe if you find yourself doing “something close to nothing,” Raspberry Beret might give you a boost.

I listened to the compilation The Very Best of Prince today during my run, in Prince’s memory. And it definitely helped. Like all of his fans expressing disbelief and sadness today, I am so sorry he’s gone.


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