Prince Album #3- Dirty Mind

[Going by this blog’s records, my last entry on this album was in 2012… if that’s the case, it’s been five years since I’ve heard this album… to quote Prince, that’s “A BLOODY LONG TIME”…
I blogged about Prince somewhat regularly this entire time, but as a whole, I didn’t listen to him as much between 2012 and 2014, then the two albums came out, then it waned, and earlier in 2016 I started up again…
I promise it’s not because of this album- what’s the metaphor I want to use… for the moment, I’ll say if Prince albums were cookies, my favorites would be Oreos and various varieties… Dirty Mind would be a chewy chips ahoy- I love those cookies, can binge on them really easy, but not as much as Oreos. They’re on that other level. Plus, I go through Chewies faster than Oreos because there’re less in the package- kinda like the way Dirty Mind is a short album]

Matt Thorne infuriated me within the first couple pages of the Uptown chapter of the book. Implying Prince changed keyboard players because Lisa was a “new younger model.”
But there were some anecdotes and factoids I really liked reading about.
One was talking about their set-up for “Head” live and how Lisa was just as punk as the rest of the band. Another was about a fight she and Prince had and he played a song she’s positive he wrote specifically for her and said he was sorry. The fact he wanted her as part of the band that much- that’s something special, I think.
Wendy & Lisa go hand in hand in more ways than one- can’t really talk about one without the other, but it’s nice hearing more about Prince and Lisa’s relationship.

Looking into the songs that were played live, I’m sure most of them were. “Head” especially. That was a fan crowd favorite until he stopped performing it… for obvious reason ( ..:cough: Jehovah’s Witness :cough:.. )
Dirty Mind got a lot of play- including his last ever concert… I need a minute…

When You were mine- frequent play, which is hard to argue with πŸ˜‰ one of the best on this album- maybe the best in my view… more on that later…
Do It All Night- only during this tour (maybe that explains why I had zero recollection of the music up until seconds of it starting)
Gotta Broken Heart Again- got some extra play in the 2000’s, but very little after 1981
Uptown- this has to be a regularly played one… not as often as I thought, but a good number of times
Head- okay, that’s gotta be a live concert staple… in the early 80’s, absolutely, but then he started to tease and not commit to the song… reading on princevault about it, I found about its muse. That’s always an interesting experience, finding who inspired these songs.
Sister… I wanna say… never?… it never made it out of the 80’s- last performance was in Osaka Japan… kinda crazy considering the subject matter- Dirty Mind and Lovesexy tours saw it regularly
Partyup got a number of showcases, including SNL

Which brings me to one final comment on the book I’m reading in this posting… Matt Thorne has this subtle snark I find abrasive- but that goes for anyone who makes it sound like Prince isn’t so great in general. It’s even worse coming from someone who went out of their way to do research… yet SOMEHOW he made a mistake in saying “Uptown” was performed on Saturday Night Live… “Partyup” was on SNL- I know that for sure because I saw it recently when SNL did their tribute show to him (yeah, thanks to this election and beyond, I don’t like it anymore… the last time I watched was for Ed Sheeran and the rest of the show was tough to get through before that… funny how the Grammys were the same way, but I was waiting up for the Prince tribute).

Yeah, he did his research, but not only did he not follow some leads to fruition (Gayle Chapman’s “real” reason for leaving the band was alluded to but the record wasn’t set straight)… but this is a blantant factual error that any die-hard Prince fan would be quick to reprimand him for.


Okay, for real this time…

My copies of Dirty Mind and Controversy were gifts from a prince.org user. She burnt the CD’s for me along with Disc 2 of the Ultimate set.
I heard about how this was the start of his signature sound and the two albums go together, so I expressed interest in checking them out in a random thread. She replied to me and within a couple of weeks, they were in my mailbox. [I swear, Prince has some super generous fans- I don’t directly ask for anything, but I say I’m interested in an era or whatever and they send me stuff]
Because I’m a sucker for cover art, liner notes and I wanna be legit in general- the next time I see these albums in person, I’ll buy them.
Plus, it’d be cool to one day hear the 2nd half of the album in a nice smooth loop- there’s a great transition between these tracks, but thanks to the recording being 2nd hand, a few seconds separate the tracks and breaks the flow.

I remember when I saw Prince at Paisley Park- a documentary that covered his career up until footage of the Lovesexy tour and Diamonds & Pearls. And the first footage they showed in sequence (excluding the opening with the Sign o’ the times footage) was for the Dirty Mind video.
Prince looked so weird in those days πŸ˜› I know he didn’t look back, but I wonder if he questioned his fashion choices years after that fact. But I never forgot that keyboard line.

I listened through the album and liked so much of it- easily one of the best “first listen” experiences I’ve had with any album by any artist. Lots of pleasant surprises scattered throughout.
It was so good that Controversy (with an exception or two) really dulled in comparison. Which is strange because the music is much tighter in Controversy. As if it was take 2 of Dirty Mind, but like it’s politically charged cousin.
I still don’t feel Controversy rose to that bar… but we’ll see what happens in the next week or so when I get there.

[edited out of a paragraph of me saying I might not have time to write all this in the same day– but the rest of this just flowed out of me that I had it written from stream of consciousness in 30-45 minutes]

Dirty Mind- I love the keyboard riff Dr. Fink came up with as much as the fact Prince worked an entire song around it. I could almost listen to this song with just the music on a loop and I’d love it just as much.
Love the playful delivery of the lyrics, which are straight-forward and push the envelope just enough to get your attention. The perfect song to base an album idea around. Love the raw sound of the instruments.
Supposedly this whole album was recorded at the home studio, overdubbed and adjusted in LA. Prince used to go crazy with the layered vocals and such, but on this album, he held back, only bringing out the layers for emphasis.
Here, it came in the final chorus.
Just too many great details in this one song to list them all.

When You Were Mine- ah, “New Girl” gave me some nice new memories to recall with this song. It played during Jess’s obligatory “getting dressed in Prince’s closet while he approves/disapproves outfits” scene.
It was the first pleasant surprise on this album. Never expected something so catchy and bouncy and made me smile so much. But looking at it closer, you see that it’s “Why you wanna treat me so bad” part 2… this album has a bunch of counterparts to songs from the previous album. It’s sad- the lyrics and how they are compared to the music (which is super upbeat). That conflict is confusing, but Prince’s style has plenty of that. The confusion and the conflict.
One time I went through Prince’s guitar tracks, one per album, for one day- don’t know if it was his birthday or something else, but this was my selection from this album.
This is one of those songs that was released as a single, but NEVER GETS RADIO PLAY ANYMORE. It’s one of those forgotten singles I’m sure casual music fans would love.

Do it all night- funny story: I had ZERO recollection of this song except the chorus up until seconds before the song started.
I guess the songs being in this set sequence just brought it back.
I recall it being one of my least favorites on the album- not because it’s terrible, but it’s just so ordinary compared to some of the others (never mind the first two that preceded it). The lyrics are so simplistic, not much to them. The song could be forgettable… hell, I just admitted I forgot what it sounded like.
but listening to the music exclusively- it’s kind of an important song because to me, it’s a precursor to Prince’s future sound. The bass in the main riff, it reminds me of “I could never take the place of your man.” The keyboards at the very end of the song- that invokes flashes of the 1999/Purple Rain sound and the sound he’d bring to his music throughout the 80’s.
Considering Dr. Fink did keyboards on Dirty Mind and Head, I wonder if this was Prince’s way of trying to show his “superiority”… it’s not too far-fetched. I mean, when he was at the same venue as The Time, he dreaded following them and then would blow the roof off the place.
So it sets the template for future music from him, but otherwise, it’s ordinary.

Gotta Broken Heart Again- the younger inexperienced sister of “Still waiting”- when I first heard that song, I immediately thought of this one.
Another pleasant surprise on the album- it’s so different from everything around it. It’s simplistic, but the vibe of it is unique. The performance vocally has a lot of vulnerability. The layers that come in emphasize the emotion and there’s a lot of it.
Again, I question the authenticity of it, if it came from personal experience or not. [Kinda weird how I question this and some songs from the last album, but So Blue I never did- I just don’t get into the song a lot personally because it’s repetitive in the lyrics]
but the part that always gets me… whatever drops down the staircase at the end of the song. I don’t know what made that sound effect and I almost don’t want to know- I enjoy the mystery of it.
But with that extra nuance… this song might be true to form on that emotional level.

Uptown- based around an Andre Cymone bassline, supposedly. I also heard sources say it was a song Andre wrote in full and Prince blatantly stole it. I really don’t know.
That said, the bassline is great. It paints an interesting scene. A girl shows up in Uptown, Prince approaches her, she doesn’t understand the atmosphere and the groove eventually gets her.
At times, the lyrics get hard to cipher, especially later on. The music has lots of great moments. It is FUNKY as hell. The longest song on the album, but it might run too long. For me, anyway. Once the lyrics go away, the music doesn’t do nearly enough to keep my interest, yet I never skip any song on this album.
It’s just good enough- but another song with the same concept goes out and does it so much better. This doesn’t shine quite as much.

Head- this is a confusing one for me. Sometimes when I listen to it, I’m sure if I like it or not. The main hook with the bass and the keyboards- that’s something different and interesting to listen to. I guess for me I want to say it invokes an odd vibe. Almost as if Head actually happened at the studio while this was being recorded. The sex, you can almost feel it ooze through the stereo.
The storyline is scandalous, of course. Seducing a bride on her wedding day and she married Prince instead. Darlene was the name of the girlfriend this was supposedly inspired by.
His falsetto improved a bit between the albums, but again, it’s a little too soft to hear at times.
The instrumentals in the second half are brilliant.

Sister- I can’t call this a pleasant surprise, but it was a welcome one. Head has this reputation I’d heard whispers about, but nobody mentioned this one. And it just came out of nowhere- the storyline and the cursing… I think I said “whoa!” out loud when I got to the latter.
It does so much in so little time… it’s mind-blowing.
I almost wish it was longer, but I’m glad it isn’t.
The music- I don’t know what makes all those sounds, but there’s never a dull moment.

Partyup- the SNL performance was better… I mean, it’s a good song (either stolen from Morris Day, written by Morris Day, traded to Prince in exchange for a record deal… one of those things)… but I just don’t get into it all that much.
Maybe I just don’t like Prince getting political because it’s off the beaten path. It’s not his specialty by any means.
The music is funky as anything by The Time- more like it’s a precursor to that whole sound and vibe.
The lyrics, I tend to sleep on…

Speaking of sleep… got all this down [the actual album discussion part] within 45 minutes… I’m dying. I gotta get to bed.

Nothing like a good stream of consciousness to discuss Prince.
I’ll add my peach and black commentary (on their commentary) tomorrow.

***
I see a pattern developing- I do some opening comments, I go mental on the book I’m reading about Prince, then my album review, the Peach & Black section and where I make my rating.

Peach & Black did another great podcast of this one- lots of fun moments.
And one moment where the guys were having a little too much fun and laughing way too hard. You know things are bad when Captain is the only sane one in the room trying to get things back on track. In general, he’s the type of guy who doesn’t sugarcoat anything. If he loves something, he will have a full-on fanboy moment. If he hates something, you can hear it coming almost a mile away sometimes. But it’s always entertaining.
Basically, we got towards the end of the track by track- between Head or Sister, I think, and too many innuendos came about and MC started laughing and the others slowly joined him. The dynamic in the room changed so quickly I had to rewind 30 seconds.

Captain never had a full-out “I just don’t like it that much” type of moment… the closest he got to that was calling track 4 “meh.”
I figured it was only a matter of time, though. We’re on the same page for a bit and that all changes πŸ˜›
He had a full-out fanboy moment over “when you were mine”… and I can’t blame him. I have a feeling I’m going to give that track a 10 because I’ve always loved it. He started in saying how people who’ve listened know he loves pop (according to the reoccurring sample of the Peach & Black introduction- “I love 80’s rubbish pop”- which he said during the Planet Earth review… go figure, right?).
But he said it was the perfect pop song, so good he couldn’t detract from it in any way.
He also said at a point “where’s THAT guy?”- talking about how he doesn’t go great bass lines anymore. MC tried to rein him in, adding Prince hadn’t done an album in 4 years… this was early in 2014.

Some other interesting comments…
Toejam is always the musical theory guy. He knows the different chords and notes and such and has played them live. Here, it seemed like everyone but MC knows something about the various notes and such- or he’s just not the one to volunteer that information. His pocket is the overview of the song, advocating for songs the others don’t quite get, and even offering possible insight (still thinking about the last album review where he said certain songs had to have come from a personal place).
For me, at the opening of this podcast, Player emerged as the musical historian of the group. He was talking about how 1980 saw the fall of disco and how everyone turned against it as a whole and how Prince’s career would be so different if his sound didn’t change. He also namedropped bands like Blondie where you hear the similarity in sound. He might have been the one that said the New Romantic era was on the rise. Anyway, I was really impressed- I didn’t know all that about that particular time.

The reviews for nearly all the songs were very positive, which is a sign of a great album. They all fangasmed over Dr. Fink’s synth solo in “Head”- they just couldn’t get enough of it. Yeah, listening to it again, it is completely mental.

I forget which song, but there was one that made things kinda interesting… history has shown me that when a track divides the panel, it’s either Captain vs. everyone else, MC vs. everyone else, or Captain/Player vs. MC/Toejam.
One track had MC/Player vs. Captain/Toejam… it was kinda nuts… Gotta Broken Heart Again, I think that was it.
They talked about how Prince still spelled “you” properly in “When you were mine”- and then by track 4, “there goes the spelling”… immediately after that, I thought about the “Guitar” lyric “I’ll write a letter when I learn how to spell”

when they finally got around to it (once they calmed down), “Sister” was an interesting conversation.
they said how shocking it was, maybe it was done for shock value… but brought up an interesting point- what if it was released today? It wouldn’t go over well- especially now when there are more support groups for victims of incest.
you can’t help but wonder if it’s autobiographical, although “Papa” was the same type of deal.
But what springs to mind for me, and I could be off in the timeline… but it made me think of the time where Prince was staying with his dad, but he got kicked out of the house because he kept having girls over. and he was on a payphone begging his sister to help get him back in the house, she said to talk to their dad, and even after that, he wasn’t allowed to return home. [This is directly from his interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1985- but off the top of my head, I don’t know how old he was at the time, but this album came out way after that].

They kinda joked that “Partyup” was like an anti-war anthem too little too late- cuz it sounds like a protest against Vietnam.

So I get to the end and they start going into shout-outs… I’m like “wait a minute, what about the score?”… I wait through all of them… one I follow on Twitter- NightEtheral- saying how he’s such a fan of their stuff where he’s laughing out loud in public and people look at him weird.
I tweeted about listening to this podcast and we had a short conversation about it- we both laughed about our experiences.
Seriously, I have to cover my mouth sometimes to stop from bursting out laughing at work listening to them.
Lately, I’ve been listening to some of them at the end of work and taking them with me on the ride home. It’s especially good for those real laugh out loud moments.

Anyway- long story short- they never did the scoring… I was so disappointed πŸ˜›
I just look forward to it a lot, seeing where everyone falls on the albums, but they often come to consensus.
I don’t know what happened- whether laughing at the innuendos distracted them and they completely forgot… or if this was just an album too good to give a score… perfectly possible… but still disappointed.

I swear there was one more comment I wanted to make… and I can’t remember what it was πŸ˜› there’s so much in this album…
oh yeah, it was talking about the vocals in “Dirty Mind”- how they start so soft and he comes out guns blazing at the end- and how that might be intentional.
They mentioned the lyrics at the end of “when you were mine” and saying how Prince kinda turns into a stalker- I actually had that same thought when I listened to this album on Monday πŸ˜› it’s a bit of a twist, isn’t it?

Toejam also made a comment worth going into- he said how he likes when albums are very cohesive, where it’s the same set-up of instruments on every song.
I don’t know if I prefer that type or the various eclectic ones. It depends on the actual album.
I think I might be in the same boat with him because with these types of albums, you can just float and chill with them.

Okay, now for that hard part…
doing the math πŸ˜›
I have a gut feeling this is going to be a high scoring album.

Dirty Mind-
technical merit- 4.5 [great song overall- love the music, simple but effective lyrics, good structure, take half a point off for the vocals]
components- 4 [it’s not one of my top favorites, but it’s certainly higher than average]
8.5

When You Were Mine- yeah, Captain said it, it’s the perfect pop song.
I listened to the album today- the third time this week… and this was one of the few songs I fully engaged in… I love it more each time I listen to it, but I also don’t want to overdo it.
So… technical merit is 5 because it’s a perfectly structured song- also love how he says the titular lyric differently every time. It makes things less predictable and keeps you on your toes.
And yeah, it’s the song I look forward to most on this album, so… yeah- perfect 10.

Do it all night- MC made a comment how this song is kinda underrated… it might be… but considering my personal experience…
let’s see- the music is great, the lyrics are so-so, the vocals are kinda low, it’s structured well… hmm… taking all this into account, it’s a 3 technically- I gotta give it a little extra for it being a precursor to Prince’s future sound.
Components score- another 3- I’m not over the moon for it, but it has some good moments in it.
6

Gotta Broken Heart Again-
I mean, this song isn’t fantastic “blow-your-head-off” amazing… but I still enjoy it a lot.
Technically- I’ll give it 3.5 (one or two vocals are hard to hear… I think Player lodged a couple complaints that the vocals were kinda low in the mix throughout the album).
Components- 3.5- it’s slightly better than average
7

Uptown-
It’s technically brilliant- I had to google the lyrics, though (and Drake’s lyrics come out first for uptown… which is a huge disappointment- not just cuz it’s Prince, but dammit- he came first and this is one of his anthems)… my point is that the lyrics are hard to hear at times, I still don’t know what most of them are. But the message still comes through, so that should count for something- 4.5
components… yeah, I’m not personally crazy about this song. It’s good- I never skip it or anything on this album because its overall structure is so strong… 3
7.5

Head-
again, the vocals… that’s the one thing bringing it down.. 4.5… another technically brilliant track and it’s extremely unique to Prince.
Components- I don’t personally get super into it… but I do like it. 3.5
8

Sister-
WHOA… again, the vocals are so low sometimes that I don’t pick out the lyrics… reading them out now, they really are nasty… the first verse about her not wearing underwear and the reason why… again, whoa…
then later it sounds like their relationship has some S&M connotations. There was something about a whip and he dropped two quick MF bombs.
Structurally sound, insane lyrics, great music… I’ll give a technical score of 4.
Components… uhh… it’s an awkward song to review. I like it a lot, but it’s not great to sing to or really share with people. It’ll give 3
7

Partyup-
I thought listening to it- the lyric “Revolutionary Rock-n-roll”… I wonder if that’s how Prince came up with the band’s name- The Revolution… hmm…
technically- the music is its stand-out feature. It runs a little long towards the end. And the lyrics are… I guess, meh. It starts out really good, but the second half…
This is going to be hard to score… one point for music, half point for lyrics, decent vocal- half point, half point for the overall structure… 3
Components- uh… 2.5
total of 5.5

yeah, this album kinda went downhill, didn’t it? Okay, time for the math.

When you were mine- 10
Dirty Mind- 8.5
Head- 8
Uptown- 7.5
Gotta Broken Heart again- 7
Sister- 7
Do it all night- 6
Partyup- 5.5

59.5/ points possible, which is 80- 74.4- out of 10, it’s 7.4

Ok, that’s kinda disappointing… it starts out great, kinda tapers off, builds and falls off at the end.

On another note, I listened to The Time’s album… or started to… right after this album ended today and it’s a smooth transition. The only thing kinda is the emphasis on the synths. That wasn’t there before. At least not that present.

So, so far, the albums rank as follows:

Prince- 7.6
Dirty Mind- 7.4
For You- 6.2

As for my favorite songs that I’ll take with me to my top 100 or so Prince songs-

When You Were Mine
Dirty Mind
Head

man, I wonder if I’ll ever give out a score higher than a 7… I really hope so :/ that’d be awkward.
It’d be crazier if Controversy scored higher, but I don’t see that happening- considering some of the tracks for consideration. It’s another album I find stronger in the first half than the second.

But I’ll get there sometime next week… hopefully.

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