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The Beautiful Ones Reviews

The Beautiful Ones by Prince

The Beautiful Ones


3.56 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Century
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publication date: 29 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781780899176

'A triumph... The Beautiful Ones rivals the Beastie Boys Book - or even your favourite Prince song - as a masterclass in the bottling of its subject's seductive essence... his presence in this book is so strong that it's hard to believe he has really left the building' ***** MOJO

  • The TimesBook of the Year
3 stars out of 5
Will Hodgkinson
2 Nov 2019

"This is less a memoir of the singer than a lavish scrapbook"

The most revealing, certainly the best-written, section in the book is Piepenbring’s introduction. He details a similar, but even more elaborate vetting process to the one I underwent: submitting a personal statement about his relationship with Prince’s music before being put up in an unremarkable chain hotel in Chanhassen, Minnesota, until the time came to be delivered to Prince’s studio complex Paisley Park. Finally he was interviewed by Prince, who told him that funk is all about rules and that he didn’t like it when people described his music as magical. Piepenbring received familiar lectures on race, ownership and the horrors of modern pop; a letter discovered at Paisley Park has Prince railing at radio conglomerates “trying to ram Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran down our throats and we don’t like it no matter how many times they play it”. Then the young writer was sent back to the hotel and told to await further instruction.


4 stars out of 5
7 Dec 2019

"if we are only to have fragments, then these are the very best ones to have"

Everything in here is young and fresh: before the paranoia, the failed marriages, the horrific loss of his son, religious obsession and the claws of a deep drug addiction arrived. What on earth happened in the gap? As the man himself said: ‘I am something you will never comprehend.’ But this book is a fun glance, a tiny bolt from what now feels like a very distant past, and will leave you feeling nothing but huge affection for little, brilliant Skipper.

4 stars out of 5
6 Nov 2019

"The pop icon’s unfinished autobiography offers glimpses of his childlike imagination."

The Beautiful Ones was intended to be a major book. An eloquent, lengthy introduction by Dan Piepenbring, the young writer hired to co-write it, tells the story of its genesis and the original project’s abrupt cancellation after Prince’s death. It was to be an analysis of “the dismal state” of the modern music industry (Prince complains that “they keep trying to ram Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran down our throats”); it would be an instruction manual for black artists on how to reclaim their agency; a celebration of the singer’s mother; a lyrical telling of his life story, leading all the way up to his superhumanly impressive performance at the Super Bowl in 2007.

4 stars out of 5
Victoria Segal
3 Nov 2019

"These pages will only enhance the enigmatic pop star’s mystique"

There’s a clarity to these passages, annotated with Piepenbring’s notes from conversations with Prince, a record of moments that make blazing sense of the singer’s future self. He discusses the damaging effect of watching white superheroes as a black child, foreshadowing a desire for his flamboyant costumes and secret glyphs. Yet this material is painfully scant, a reminder of all that is missing. One thing is poignantly clear: towards the end of his life, he was in reflective mode, taking stock as he did with his final stripped-back Piano & A Microphone tour, cutting away the purple fog, finding what really mattered.