Day 4: ‘Controversy’
Prince loves to start things with a bang: just chuck the hit at the front so everyone can get it out their system and settle down (or not) for the rest of the ride. As you expect with Prince at the helm it’s a fun (and I imagine slippery) one.
I’m guessing I wasn’t the only person to pick up on a few sex references building up in his repertoire, and ‘Controversy’ is an album that appears to both address and mock the fallout. One thing about these lyrics is that they wouldn’t fit well in many other people’s mouths: you would struggle to borrow them for a bit of pub chat, I urge you to give it a try. Take ‘Jack U Off’ for example, where Prince offers to masturbate the listener nearly 20 times before generously offering to let you “jack” him off, which I suspect was the plan all along.
I did a quick search online for Prince impersonators because if anyone can recite his sexually charged poetry, it’s people pretending to be him. The first hit is ‘Mark A’ who seems like he’s spent more time in tabloids (as part of promotions, including Woolwich Bank - are banks sexy?) and even had an appearance in Birds of a Feather, than actually performing. If he tried to “jack” someone off while opening a Starbucks I’m sure the client work would dry up.
Despite the usual spray of bodily fluids, Prince also has time to chat a bit of politics, a lot in fact. “Ronnie, Talk To Russia” covers domestic and international politics to a rocking beat. I don’t know if Regan was a fan but I don’t see any tension between Russia and the US anymore, so, job done.
Music-wise the title track (and single) is an amazing mix of slinky-funk guitars, stomping beat and squelching synths, and probably makes my top three Prince songs of all time: it’s fucking ace. Despite this, and a few interesting moments (sex and politics), the album does feel it is a bit propped up by the opener. This was actually the toughest album so far to pick a new track from, but I’ve settled on ‘Private Joy’, because it’s a rare treat of bouncing innocent fun; and it even manages to fit in a tiny bit of guitar noodling. It would fit well as the montage music for a couple in the early throws of getting together, or maybe just a fun dance routine.
Album rating: 7.9/10
Playlist so far:
When You Were Mine
Why You Want To Hurt Me So Bad