Prince Sees the World in Black and White in ‘The Same December': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
"For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return," reads Genesis 3:19 in the King James version of the Bible. Prince puts a slight twist on that concept to show that there's no point in being a hater on "The Same December," a track from 1996's Chaos and Disorder.
Prince laid out the premise almost like a child's fairy tale: "Once was this ball with a line straight down the middle / One side was black and the other one white / And they both understood so little / That they spent their whole lives tryin' 2 tell each other what time it was / When all along it did not matter what either said." In the chorus he delivers the moral: "U only love when your soul remembers / We all come from the same December / And in the end, that's where we'll go."
The concept is hammered home via the song's charmingly low-budget video. New Power Generation keyboardists Tommy Barbarella and Morris Hayes, with black and white greasepaint on their faces, get into an argument. Prince comes between them, decked out in a skintight white-and-black outfit with "Slave" and the Love Symbol he was using as his name written on his face, and the men go back to their instruments. He's also wearing a top hat which, when shown in silhouette, evokes Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who is bi-racial. Later, Mayte appears as an angel.
And given that this was in the middle of his fight with Warner Bros., Prince can't help but take a shot at his label with the video's subplot. An executive presents Prince with a lifetime contract, which Prince, wearing sunglasses, immediately regrets upon signing. Later, as the man is counting all the money he's made, Prince shows up at his office with a couple of henchmen in tow, and they proceed to bust up the joint and drag the executive out the front door. Victorious, Prince celebrates in his typical fashion, with numerous women reaching out to him from the foot of the stage.