Sunday, April 24, 2016

On the turntable this Sunday...Dirty Mind

Dirty Mind is the third studio album by American recording artist Prince. It was released on October 8, 1980 by Warner Bros. Records. The album is the follow-up to his commercially successful second album Prince (1979). It was produced, arranged and composed primarily by Prince in his home studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The album debuted at number 63 on the US Billboard 200 chart (peaking at number 45), and earned widespread acclaim from music critics. On June 6, 1984, it was certified gold in shipments by the Recording Industry Association of AmericaPitchfork Media ranked Dirty Mind number 87 on its list of the Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 206 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  Slant Magazine listed the album at #53 on its list of the "Best Albums of the 1980s".

Dirty Mind was recorded primarily in Prince's home studio throughout 1980, with several of the songs being cut within one night and thus having a sparse, demo-like quality. The opening title track was released as a single, and described as "robotic funk". "When You Were Mine", notably covered by Cyndi Lauper, is "pure new wave pop" about a woman who has left Prince and his realization of his love for her only afterwards. Both "Do It All Night" and "Head" (the latter sexually explicit and detailing a chance meeting with a bride-to-be) are "sultry funk", while "Gotta Broken Heart Again" is the only ballad on the record and is described as "soulful crooning". The song "Sister", only 90 seconds long, is rock-influenced and has incestual tones. "Uptown" and "Partyup" are "relentless dance jams";"Uptown" was released as a Top 5 Dance and R&B hit single in late-1980 and "Partyup" was performed live on Saturday Night Live in 1981. The two songs have anti-judgment and anti-war messages.

The album received highly positive reviews. According to Ken Tucker from Rolling Stone magazine, "Prince's first two collections established him as a doe-eyed romantic. Nothing could have prepared us for the liberating lewdness of Dirty Mind. Dirty Mind jolts with the unsettling tension that arises from rubbing complex erotic wordplay against clean, simple melodies. Across this ELECTRIC surface glides Prince's graceful quaver, tossing off lyrics with an exhilarating breathlessness. He takes the sweet romanticism of Smokey Robinson and combines it with the powerful vulgate poetry of Richard Pryor. The result is cool music dealing with hot emotions. At its best, Dirty Mind is positively filthy."

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic describes the album as "stunning, audacious amalgam of funk, new wave, R&B, and pop, fueled by grinningly salacious sex and the desire to shock" and that it "set the style for much of the urban soul and funk of the early '80s."

According to The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), "Dirty Mind remains one of the most radical 180-degree turns in pop history." Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times described the music from the album as "confident and highly danceable blend of post-disco funk and tasty, hard-line rock". Prince's songwriting contains prominently sexual lyrics.  Keith Harris of Blender characterizes its songs as "confessions of a sex junkie" with "new-wave funk".

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