Musings in the Dark: Prince's Legacy: #10


Prince's Legacy: #10

#10: Controversy

Controversy dropped in 1981.  The title track is my favorite, followed by “Let’s Work,” “Do Me, Baby” and “Sexuality.”  I loved “Controversy” because it introduced me to concepts and ideas that my young mind could not fathom.  Also, the beat and synthesizers…come on now!  The song was about all the questions people were raising (or starting rumors) about Prince himself.   “Am I black or white/am I straight or gay…do I believe in God/do I believe in me…?”  

And my interpretation of the entire track is that Prince felt that it was no one’s damned business if he believed in God, if he was straight, gay, bisexual, or whatever.  We’re all human, we are who we are and in the end, what difference does it all make?  The extended cut includes a portion of the Lord’s Prayer, which people thought at the time was blasphemous…or, shall we say, controversial.  He ends the cut by saying we’re all just the same and basically, fuck outta here with all that human hypocrisy. 

30+ years later, not much has changed on the human hypocrisy front.  Again, shades of otherworldliness from His Purple Majesty.

“Let’s Work” is, shall we say, the shit.  Back when my cousins used to have house parties (and I would sneak downstairs and watch) and whoever was on the turntables dropped this track, everybody would be on the floor, getting their entire jam on.  That bassline and that beat, and of course Prince singing about his particular definition of work…classic track!!  *sigh* The house party era passed me by.

“Do Me, Baby” is one of those jams that is responsible for the birth of a lot of children and no one will tell me different.  To hear a man singing about a woman putting it down on him sexually was new and different to my ears; felt like it should have been done in reverse.  Melisa Morgan did a remake in the mid-80s, and while it was good and sounded “right” to my female ears, nothing beats Prince’s original.  Simple, classy, and sexy.  You could still get pregnant off it.

“Sexuality” was a fun song for me just because I liked the beat.  I never tried to make sense of what Prince was singing about, simply because I had to keep the volume low whenever I was able to play it.  Of course if my parents knew I was listening, I would have got in so much trouble…even if I didn’t know what the fuck was going on.  I just liked dancing to Prince’s funky beats and singing the chorus.

When you compare the album to later efforts, Controversy was only eight tracks long and ran about 40 minutes total.  Shit, can you even do that now and have the album be any good as well as influential?  I doubt it.

Controversy peaked at #3 on BillBoard’s Top R&B Albums.

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