Dirty Mind – Prince (1980)

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“Dirty Mind” is the third studio album released by the late singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Prince Rogers Nelson.

The death of Prince was certainly significant for me given that I have been listening to his music for as long as I have been on this earth.

I love that Prince never stopped. He never went away and there is a plethora of music over four decades that you can sink your teeth into.

I decided to review his third album “Dirty Mind” first and I will go through many of the others as the weeks and months go on.

This is the album where Prince goes from a sensual love man to something more. The lyrical content frees itself of any inhibitions and the revealing cover of the album makes an early statement that you will be required to let yourself go.

Now obviously as albums move on Prince delves more into the white rock style of music and fuses that with soul and funk. “Dirty Mind” is a little bit of a transition album in the fact that it keeps funkier elements of the previous two album with some excellent baselines pounding though many of the tracks.

Whilst the album’s content may be suggestive the music is still light and not hard or alienating like some of Prince’s tracks can perhaps be. What is clever is that when he is saying the most filthy things it comes across as almost sweet when it is anything but.

The album kicks off with the title track “Dirty Mind” which starts with a pounding synth beat. Lyrically Prince is quite upfront about his desire for this woman and he is confessing that he has dirty mind. He remains oddly sensual and never forceful as he asks this woman to let him lay her down.

I love the way he has no embarrassment about what he wants but at the same time doesn’t actually expect anything as he seems aware that not everyone is going to be into what he is into.

Every single instrument is played by Prince and this is the same for every track on the album. Despite him doing this the song is not cold and carries a feeling as though it was a band playing together. A really strong opening track.

“When Your Were Mine” sounds so fun and light yet the subject is one of heartbreak and loss. Prince is laying it all out as he reminisces about this girl he was with and is speaking to her directly. He is aware she is going with another guy and even makes reference to them all being in the same bed together – but he doesn’t care, he just wants her to love him no matter what.

“Do It All Night” is a funky uptempo frenzy as Prince hits home his more direct message on the album. This song is fun and fresh. It’s relentless in it’s message which is simply he wants to “Do It All Night”. Yes, this sounds shallow and some would believe these lyrics are hollow but this is what Prince is trying to get at – he wants to be direct and obvious.

The fact he is so honest in expressing his feeling and inner emotions should not be frowned upon but celebrated.

“Gotta Broken Heart Again” is such a cool track. It’s Prince the soul man coming back for an appearance. He lays this down over a simple tune as he takes from that 60’s brand of Soul music. His voice is perfect and he sounds so damn good.

Despite being a bit of a sex fiend Prince knows how to convey the emotion of love and this is exactly what he does on this track.

Track 5 is “Uptown”. My favourite song on this album and my favourite Prince song of all time. Yes, I just said that. It has been my favourite for many a year and it is one of those songs that never gets old.

“Uptown” is a funk frenzy and Prince hits every point I love in a song. The tune itself is so infectious I have had to play it three times whilst reviewing this album as I fucking love it.

Baby didn’t say too much
She said, “Are you gay?”
Kinda took me by surprise
I didn’t know what to do
I just looked her in her eyes
And I said, “No, are u?”

The whole structure of the song is a mixture of soul, rock and just plain old story telling.

It’s funny because when I talk about how much I like this song I have to stop and take stock of what has happened a couple of weeks ago with Prince passing away. Whilst I didn’t know the man and any grief could well be construed as being manufactured by the media I still believe something that was in my life is now gone and this is what music and musicians can do to you.

“Head”  is the most controversial song on the album. It tells the tale of Prince meeting this girls who is just about to get married but wanting to have sex with her, but as she is in her wedding gown she agrees to just give him head instead.This song is filty, dirty, and vulger but I have no shame is saying I love it. It’s murky, but sexy, it’s abohrrant but exhilarating.

Whilst I said that “Head” was the most controversial song on the album the fact is the next song “Sister” is a straight up song about incest. He is 16 years old and his sister is showing him everything. The content of the lyrics is so wrong yet almost quite funny:

Showed me where it’s supposed to go
A blow job doesn’t mean blow
Incest is everything it’s said to be

“Dirty Mind” closes with the track “Party Up”. Like “Uptown” this song is more of a fun party anthem. It’s funky, its one of those relentless dance numbers that would immediately make anyone move.

 

This album whilst not massive in it’s scale of production is again Prince finding his feet in the musical word and starting to become the unique innovative artist we would see over the next few albums.

But without “Dirty Mind” those foundations would not be there. This album is sexy, funny, funky and just that little but naughty.

 

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