Thursday, 14 November 2013

1980 Prince - Dirty Mind

Prince, 'Drity Mind'

Info: Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1958 to parents John Nelson (himself a jazz musician) and Mattie Shaw. This cat is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor and um, specialist contortionist. He penned his first piece of work at the tender age of seven on his father's piano, prophetically entitled 'Funk Machine'. Following a turbulent childhood after his parents divorce, Prince began living with neighbours, the Anderson's, whose son Andre formed a band with Prince called Grand Central during their high school years.Prince's musical career was set in motion in earnest when Minneapolis businessman Owen Husney signed him, aged 17 and helped him record his first demo. The demo eventually caught the attention of the major record labels and Warner Brothers swept in to commit him to an initial three record contract. In 1979 Prince released his debut and eponymous album, featuring the hit single 'I Wanna Be Your Lover', which went platinum and catapulted the artist into the Billboard Charts. The following year Prince released his third record, Dirty Mind. (If all you could think of when reading that was, 'I wonder is that urban legend about Prince having his lower ribs removed to please himself true?' I'll attempt to clear it up later).

For me, on a personal level, Dirty Mind is Prince's best album and encapsulates him as an artist and person perfectly, from it's gloriously funky basslines to it's raw sexuality, particularly on songs such as 'Head' (the name speaks for itself) and unsurprisingly, title track 'Dirty Mind' with a good dose of controversial subject matter in 'Sister'. Another aspect of this album that appeals to me is the fact that I really think we see Prince at his most base in terms of character, in later years, particularly the 90's, Prince went a little bit weird, with strange name changes such as TAFKAP, and the symbol thingy, and was acting oh so mysteriously. Although short, only 8 tracks long, by the end of it you feel energised, helped along by closing track, 'Party Up', plenty of bass slapping and strong disco elements going on here, 'We don't give a damn, we just want to jam, party up party up....drink more, you're such a fucking bore' Prince proclaims, nudging us toward previously non-existent feelings of hedonism and binge-drinking.My own personal favourite track on the album is #5, 'Uptown', a monologue between a boy and a girl who asks him 'Are you gay?' which shocks him, but gets him thinking, again this has heavy layers of funk, synth and drumbeat, this is the only track on the album co-written with his old friend, Andre Anderson.

While Dirty Mind initially didn't make much of a dent on the US music charts, it was still critically acclaimed, and would eventually, in 1984, go gold. It's been described as post-disco meeting rock and I think in anyone's book, that's not something to be missed. And so, I turn to the burning question, like Richard Gere and the gerbil, did it really happen? I'm going to go with definitely not, for one main reason, having your lower ribs removed is a serious operation, and according to John E. Sherman of Weill Cornell Medical College 'while such a procedure was theoretically possible, there was no record of it in the medical literature.' <<< Science. One irate fan put it better though over on the unofficial message boards, 'Yes, he did. He also had his head removed during the Rave era, and shoved up his ass'.

Track Listing:

1. Dirty Mind
2. When You Were Mine
3. Do It All Night
4. Gotta Broken Heart Again
5. Uptown
6. Head
7. Sister
8. Party Up

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