The top, ummm, we’ll see how many Prince songs.

I figure this’ll spark more debate and bring out those Prince.org people that once said I wasn’t a Prince fan because I didn’t think he’d put out much worth a damn between Diamonds and Pearls and Musicology. If they’ve convinced themselves that I’m wrong on that, they’ll have to take that up with whatever deity they acknowledge.

Okay, I really don’t know how many songs I’m gonna put on this, and I know I’m gonna miss about twenty. Point ’em out…that’s the fun of this.

And before I get too deep, think about this–Warner Bros. put out a boxed set in, I think, ’94, with 56 songs, and they still missed a grip, the way I see it.

25. She’s Always in My Hair
If you’ve only heard the D’Angelo cover, you’re really being cheated. On this version, you can actually understand the damn words. See, what I dig here is the simple wordplay. “Even if I hit the wrong note/she’s always in my boat…” Not complex, but says so much.

24. Erotic City
Really, how the hell was this a B-side??? And who was gettin’ this buckwild in 1984?

23. The Marrying Kind
Favorite line–“She’s gonna miss you at first/but then she’s gonna buy me things.” Shawty yay-yuh!

22. Another Lonely Christmas
I’d strongly recommend that you not drink that many banana daiquiris. I know he was depressed, but depressed and violently hungover’s a bad mix. Trust me, I know.

21. Let’s Go Crazy
How badly do you think Mick and Keith wish they had written this one? But how ill would this have been with Bill and Charlie playing the rhythms?

20. Uptown
It’s really hard to describe this one. Just be sure, if you listen to it for the first time, to get the full five minute version on “Dirty Mind,” not that abbreviated bullshit on “The Hits.”

19. I Can’t Make U Love Me
Bonnie Raitt cover. There’s a lesson to be learned in this joint, though. Fellas, you’ll never change her mind. Ever. If she’s leaving, just hope she dropped breadcrumbs.

18. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
Again, gotta get the full version with the bridge after the guitar solo. “I asked her if she wanted dance/and she said all she wanted was a good man and wanted to know/if I thought I was qualified.” You know, I started meeting more and more of those folks as I got older. Hence, I don’t go to clubs no more.

17. The Beautiful Ones
Do you want him? Or do you want me? Cuz I want you–yes, you. No, not you. That’s right, you.

16. Anotherloverholeinyohead
These days, I’m really into great vocal arrangements. Just really does it for me. Plus, is there anyone that hasn’t lived this one in one form or another? Nothin’ like an ingrate to sour you on the world.

15. Thieves in the Temple
Look for the 12″ version. About nine minutes long, I think. The key here is understanding what it’s actually about. I’ve got my theory, which I co-opted from Tayari. The 12″ version actually proves that she was right, but you can try to guess with the short version. I’d love to hear theory, if you’ve got one. I realize not everyone kills time like I do, just thinking about music all the time.

14. Shhh
Really, I’d probably prefer to put “I Hate U” on here, but that whole “sex as punishment” thing sits funny with me. No, it doesn’t sit funny’ it’s a fuckin’ problem. And yes, I have gotten to the point where I can separate Prince’s version from Tevin Campbell’s. Gotta do that to dig this one.

13. Pop Life
“Sign O The Times” covers more ground and is written better, but man, that damn bass line on “Pop Life” is a neck jerker. Pause, Aden.

12. Let’s Work
Okay, the major criticism of the Controversy album is that it sounds too much like Dirty Mind, which is a legit criticism. It’s kinda like when the Brat (not Da Brat) called Marvin’s I Want You “Let’s Get It On (Some More).” And “Let’s Work” definitely sounds like a re-work of “Partyup,” but it’s so much better and it was the first really clear indication that Prince was becoming a monster on the bass. At that point, I believe he’d been playing the bass for all of three years. Definitely no more than five.

And this line has spawned a lot of vulgarity. “I’m gonna love you ’til you’re soft and wet/hard dick and bubble gum is all you get.” Yep, this was released in 1981.

11. 777-9311
What, you think Morris really did this? Please. This is a Prince record. Honestly, I should have it higher, but it’s technically not a Prince record.

10. Ballad of Dorothy Parker
“Her favorite song, she said, was Joni/’Help me, I think I’m fall..’/brrrring/phone rings/she say’s ‘who-‘/’-ever’s calling/can’t be as cute as you’/right then and there I knew I was through.” I’ll never write anything that good. Ever. And fuck what you heard, I’m pretty good at this writing thing.

9. Power Fantastic
That whole song–from the vocals to the flutes–was recorded in one take. Dead serious.

8. When You Were Mine
This really is a simp anthem, I have to say. Let’s put it like this–bone another man in my bed and not change the sheets if you want. I got folks that’ll bail me out of jail.

7. Do U Lie
Really, there’s no good reason I put this up this high. None. I just really like it. Maybe I respect the gangsta of using an accordion. Maybe it’s because of my notorious refusal to believe any compliment anyone gives me, which has led me to echo much of this song.

6. Adore
If you don’t know, there’s nothing I can tell you. There just isn’t. And yes, I’m certain outrage is coming from putting this so low.

5. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
The B-side to 1999, which leads me to believe that’s the best A/B single ever. Better than “Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane” and “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” and whatever else you can dig up. The only competition, IMO, is Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “The Show/La-Di-Da-Di.”

If you’ve only heard the Alicia Keys version of “How Come…,” I feel bad for you. You can hear on Prince’s version exactly what the mood on this song is supposed to be. It’s just him in a room, tapping his feet, playing the piano with no one around. Unreal.

4. When 2 R in Love
Easily his sexiest song, which is like calling one of Jordan’s dunks his most acrobatic. Actually worked better on Lovesexy than on the record it was originally on, The Black Album.

3. Little Red Corvette
Always loved this one, but it took on a whole new resonance with me when I saw him play this accompanied only by an acoustic guitar on the “Musicology” tour. As smokin’ and vulgar as this is, it can just as easily be flipped into something tender enough to sing around a fuckin’ campfire. And write this down–without this song, “Purple Rain” never hits theaters. Is that a good or bad thing? Not sure.

2. If I Was Your Girlfriend
“If I was your one and only friend/would you run to me if somebody hurt you/even if that somebody was me?” Another one where you’ve gotta peep the full version. Put “The Hits” down!

1. When Doves Cry
See, here’s one of the interesting things about Prince. He’s actually able to get his better, more groundbreaking stuff on the radio, and he gets people to really dig those tracks. Dude, this song doesn’t have a bass line. The lyrics are bizarrely cryptic. They didn’t even give this a concert scene in “Purple Rain.” However, it is his “Billie Jean,” much like “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is the Stones’ “Hey Jude.” “Doves” and “Billie Jean” are both perfectly produced, spooky, ambiguous…and Prince and Mike managed to get us to like the songs a lot. Why? Because they’re just that dope.

I missed so many, and I’d change the order of this if I did it again after lunch. Here are a few I probably should have put on there somewhere.

Actually, no. I just listed about fifty of them, and I could have thought of fifty more. What y’all got?

Comments

  1. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker is on my list of the greatest of all time. There’s definitely something to be said for a man who can sing with, and about emotion so unashamedly. If I Was Your Girlfriend, proves what we all know, Prince is a total schizophrenic, but in the most beautiful way. BTW, if you’re in the NY area, you should make it a point to check out one of DJ Spinna’s Soul Slam parties, it’s Prince vs. Michael Jackson all night long! His Wonderfull Stevie Wonder party is nothing to be fucked with either. Check them out at: keistar.com

  2. Great list:) I would have put “She’s Always In My Hair” a little higher…okay, a lot higher. And no mention of Tambourine? Long days, lonely nights/2 bad we’re not allowed 2 scream/
    Guess that I’ll stay at home/All alone and play my tamborine”…ignored! I think “She Loves Me 4 Me” deserves an honorable mention for being the only listenable song off of The Rainbow Children.

  3. When Doves Cry(Ginuwine recording notwithstanding- and I HATE that version….Prince is sexy, G is like an obscene phone call)is my fave of all time.

    But Wanna be your Lover is probably my second fave of all time…if nothing else, because my mama played that record cleaning the house on Saturdays, and no matter when I am, if I hear that song, I’m kinda happy. I know folks are gonna be like, that isn’t the BEST, but whateva…those were the heels and a purple thong and a trench coat days.

    ….and he had the best hair- women get weaves to have hair that moves like that. I wish I knew his hairstylist.

    Anal statement coming–the trench, thong, and heels were on the cover of Dirty Mind. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” predates that by about a year. Yes, I’m an orafice.

  4. When Doves Cry(Ginuwine recording notwithstanding- and I HATE that version….Prince is sexy, G is like an obscene phone call)is my fave of all time.

    But Wanna be your Lover is probably my second fave of all time…if nothing else, because my mama played that record cleaning the house on Saturdays, and no matter when I am, if I hear that song, I’m kinda happy. I know folks are gonna be like, that isn’t the BEST, but whateva…those were the heels and a purple thong and a trench coat days.

    ….and he had the best hair- women get weaves to have hair that moves like that. I wish I knew his hairstylist.

    Anal statement coming–the trench, thong, and heels were on the cover of Dirty Mind. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” predates that by about a year. Yes, I’m an orafice.

  5. Man, I used to work with Keistar and the MJ vs. Prince parties. Those gatherings were serious, folks was really dressin up like MJ and Prince…we would have to kick folks out the party, its 6am, the party is over, go home!

    Forever in my life is a prayer.

    I’m 6’4″. If I gotta dress like Prince to kick it, I’ll pass.

  6. Man, I used to work with Keistar and the MJ vs. Prince parties. Those gatherings were serious, folks was really dressin up like MJ and Prince…we would have to kick folks out the party, its 6am, the party is over, go home!

    Forever in my life is a prayer.

    I’m 6’4″. If I gotta dress like Prince to kick it, I’ll pass.

  7. You do not have to dress like Prince or MJ to be down. You know some folks always have to be extra with theirs. Trust, I will not be breaking out the Vanity 6 wears in public anytime soon.

  8. I would like to thank you for throwing my whole day off. I will likely be spending today seeing how cheap I can recoup my fairly exhaustive Prince collection that i lost in the divorce. Might even suck it up and go see if I can…ahem..steal it off the net.

    A cursory…very cursory top 5

    1. When Doves Cry (extended remix)
    2. Erotic City
    3. Adore
    4. Baby I’m a Star (my own personal theme song)
    5. Housequake

    “Baby, I’m a Star” is unreal, the perfect expression of every self-indulgent bone in my body and what I’ll be hummin’ at my high school reunion at all those that wasn’t tryin to gimme no love. I must say this, though–you seem to have married a woman with great tastes, but you shoulda hid those albums before the lawyers got involved. Safe deposit box, Swiss account, something. Or just go break into her–your?–house and get the shit back.

  9. I would like to thank you for throwing my whole day off. I will likely be spending today seeing how cheap I can recoup my fairly exhaustive Prince collection that i lost in the divorce. Might even suck it up and go see if I can…ahem..steal it off the net.

    A cursory…very cursory top 5

    1. When Doves Cry (extended remix)
    2. Erotic City
    3. Adore
    4. Baby I’m a Star (my own personal theme song)
    5. Housequake

    “Baby, I’m a Star” is unreal, the perfect expression of every self-indulgent bone in my body and what I’ll be hummin’ at my high school reunion at all those that wasn’t tryin to gimme no love. I must say this, though–you seem to have married a woman with great tastes, but you shoulda hid those albums before the lawyers got involved. Safe deposit box, Swiss account, something. Or just go break into her–your?–house and get the shit back.

  10. Even though it didn’t make this list and shouldn’t have, I gotta special place in my heart for ‘International Lover’, not only cuz Bomani introduced me to it when we were kids, but for that fact that Prince is crooning the line “My plaaaaane’s parked right outside, baby!”, which was some hardcore pimp shit to say years before the bling-bling era…

    He also said that, “in the event of overexcitement, your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device.” Double playa points for those two lines.

  11. Even though it didn’t make this list and shouldn’t have, I gotta special place in my heart for ‘International Lover’, not only cuz Bomani introduced me to it when we were kids, but for that fact that Prince is crooning the line “My plaaaaane’s parked right outside, baby!”, which was some hardcore pimp shit to say years before the bling-bling era…

    He also said that, “in the event of overexcitement, your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device.” Double playa points for those two lines.

  12. There are so many Prince songs that I love, that my list would be hella long. His lyrics are untouchable. Funny you should mention Uptown, though. I always did love the defiant feeling of that song….

    Now where I come from
    We don’t let society tell us how it’s supposed 2 be
    Our clothes, our hair, we don’t care
    It’s all about being there

  13. There are so many Prince songs that I love, that my list would be hella long. His lyrics are untouchable. Funny you should mention Uptown, though. I always did love the defiant feeling of that song….

    Now where I come from
    We don’t let society tell us how it’s supposed 2 be
    Our clothes, our hair, we don’t care
    It’s all about being there

  14. A wise man once said…you can pick your battles..and you can pick your nose, But if given the choice…pick your battles and just keep the boogies in ya nose.

    Divorce is ugly enough. I can BUY/STEAL Prince music. You cannot purchase a cordial relationship with your ex. I got off easy all things considered. Ultra liberal visitation…good day-to-day relationship and no court ordered child-support (although what I CHOOSE to pay keeps the pockets on E)…and most of all…Freedom.

    Yeah, you win. And I really mean that.

  15. A wise man once said…you can pick your battles..and you can pick your nose, But if given the choice…pick your battles and just keep the boogies in ya nose.

    Divorce is ugly enough. I can BUY/STEAL Prince music. You cannot purchase a cordial relationship with your ex. I got off easy all things considered. Ultra liberal visitation…good day-to-day relationship and no court ordered child-support (although what I CHOOSE to pay keeps the pockets on E)…and most of all…Freedom.

    Yeah, you win. And I really mean that.

  16. oh and before I forget…

    You can burn up my clothes…smash up my ride…(well, maybe not the ride)

    -Adore

    and just HOW ABSURD does the Prince vs MJ arguments seem NOW?

  17. I Would Die for You has always been one of my sleeper favorites. I still remember when I finally sat down and absorbed what he was saying…There’s no question in my mind who won the MJ vs. Prince debate.

    In fairness to the quasi-King, his list will never look like Prince’s because he didn’t–and doesn’t–produce at such a voluminous rate. Mike’s top ten will be right on par with Prince’s. What makes Prince so cool, though, is the variance you’ll have with the top ten because of his versatility. I do agree, though, that it’s a no-brainer. Gotta be fair Mike, though.

  18. I’m not that serious of a prince enthusiast but what happened to “The Most Beautiful Girl In the World”? It should at least have gotten a honorable mention.

  19. I’m not that serious of a prince enthusiast but what happened to “The Most Beautiful Girl In the World”? It should at least have gotten a honorable mention.

  20. Prince is my sh*t, but I must admit that I haven’t truly felt his stuff for years. Darling Nikki, Raspberry Berret, Sign of the Times, Kis, there is too many to name. Cool post by the way..

    HumanityCritic: Pissing off sore losers one blogroll at a time:

  21. My favorite is How come U don’t call me? It is popular, but it also has a certain obscurity to it that makes it a useful tool for apporaching the ladies.

    I actually used the exact words in the beginning verse on an unsuspecting victim:

    I see your picture beside my bed, I still remember all the things you said…

    The funny/sad thing is that it actually worked.

    A sleeper pick: I Wanna Be Your Lover

    I ain’t got no money, I ain’t like them other guys you hang around. It’s kind of funny, cause they always seem to let you down.

    Dem is some classic lyrics.

  22. My favorite is How come U don’t call me? It is popular, but it also has a certain obscurity to it that makes it a useful tool for apporaching the ladies.

    I actually used the exact words in the beginning verse on an unsuspecting victim:

    I see your picture beside my bed, I still remember all the things you said…

    The funny/sad thing is that it actually worked.

    A sleeper pick: I Wanna Be Your Lover

    I ain’t got no money, I ain’t like them other guys you hang around. It’s kind of funny, cause they always seem to let you down.

    Dem is some classic lyrics.

  23. OK … how could I not comment on a list like this?

    Right now I’m locked in The Vault.
    All I can think of is “Extraordinary.”

    OY!

    Anyway, if that isn’t on your “top prince” list, listen to it and it will be!

    Gentlemen, play that and mean it for your woman, and you will never be cold.

    JadaKaye has announced her candidacy for the Ben/Kirk Red Stripe Reader of the Month Award.

  24. Wow… no “Purple Rain”? One of my fave songs of all time… at one point, I wanted it played at my funeral…

    and I know “I Hate U” was released during his “less creative” years… but that song is an automatic classic…

    But for real, just looking at your list and thinking about the missing songs… Prince is… just no words to decribe… dude is amazing.

    For real, I may have to do songs 26-50 next week, if not later today.

  25. Wow… no “Purple Rain”? One of my fave songs of all time… at one point, I wanted it played at my funeral…

    and I know “I Hate U” was released during his “less creative” years… but that song is an automatic classic…

    But for real, just looking at your list and thinking about the missing songs… Prince is… just no words to decribe… dude is amazing.

    For real, I may have to do songs 26-50 next week, if not later today.

  26. My knowledge of Prince songs isn’t as deep as yours but I love “Let’s go crazy,” it makes me happy at my job. A feat that only EWF, Anthony Hamilton, Kanye West and a random 2001 mix cd with soca on it seem to do lately.

  27. My knowledge of Prince songs isn’t as deep as yours but I love “Let’s go crazy,” it makes me happy at my job. A feat that only EWF, Anthony Hamilton, Kanye West and a random 2001 mix cd with soca on it seem to do lately.

  28. Wow, I am quite impressed with your list, but I couldn’t help but notice that “Seven” and “Diamonds and Pearls” were not listed. Very powerful songs, I get to feeling pretty invincible after listening to them. And they take me back…. Prince really is a genius at keeping you guessing. After all, how many songs can YOU think of that use the triangle as a major instrument and still keep you rockin’ (“Seven”)?

    7…ehhh. “Diamonds and Pearls” is dope, but probably somewhere between 26-50. Tried too hard to be pop on that one. Yeah, 26-50 will probably be coming next week.

  29. Wow, I am quite impressed with your list, but I couldn’t help but notice that “Seven” and “Diamonds and Pearls” were not listed. Very powerful songs, I get to feeling pretty invincible after listening to them. And they take me back…. Prince really is a genius at keeping you guessing. After all, how many songs can YOU think of that use the triangle as a major instrument and still keep you rockin’ (“Seven”)?

    7…ehhh. “Diamonds and Pearls” is dope, but probably somewhere between 26-50. Tried too hard to be pop on that one. Yeah, 26-50 will probably be coming next week.

  30. Speaking of missing songs — I’ve been waiting forever for Warner, Princ, or somebody to put out a collection all the 12 inches and B-Sides. I don’t understand why they haven’t done that yet.

    Josie would know better than me, but I’m pretty sure Prince owns the catalog now. That would make this on him. It’s a great idea, though.

  31. Speaking of missing songs — I’ve been waiting forever for Warner, Princ, or somebody to put out a collection all the 12 inches and B-Sides. I don’t understand why they haven’t done that yet.

    Josie would know better than me, but I’m pretty sure Prince owns the catalog now. That would make this on him. It’s a great idea, though.

  32. I am a first time poster and I love your site!
    I guess Prince just brings out the ninth grader in me. Soft and Wet, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Head, Darling Nikki, Controversy, Erotic City,Lady Cab Driver, Nasty Girl (you added 777, so give me this 🙂 ), The Glamorous Life (same argument), and of course Private Joy. There was a difference for me between the high school Prince (1980-83), the college Prince, and the adult Prince.

  33. I am a first time poster and I love your site!
    I guess Prince just brings out the ninth grader in me. Soft and Wet, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Head, Darling Nikki, Controversy, Erotic City,Lady Cab Driver, Nasty Girl (you added 777, so give me this 🙂 ), The Glamorous Life (same argument), and of course Private Joy. There was a difference for me between the high school Prince (1980-83), the college Prince, and the adult Prince.

  34. What about Insatiable? Scandalous? Rasberry Beret? Let’s Go Crazy/Baby I’m A Star (you can’t separate ’em)? Nothing Compares to You? (damn I’d never let Prince write a song for me cause when he reclaims it, he kills it, and ain’t no bringing it back after that)…

    And could there be any more perfect lyric than “if God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’d still see/love’s too weak to define just what you mean to me”?

  35. What about Insatiable? Scandalous? Rasberry Beret? Let’s Go Crazy/Baby I’m A Star (you can’t separate ’em)? Nothing Compares to You? (damn I’d never let Prince write a song for me cause when he reclaims it, he kills it, and ain’t no bringing it back after that)…

    And could there be any more perfect lyric than “if God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’d still see/love’s too weak to define just what you mean to me”?

Leave a Reply