Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Controversy" by Prince

Song#:  0789
Date:  10/24/1981
Debut:  90
Peak:  70
Weeks:  11
Genre:  R&B, Funk

Pop Bits:  Prince Rogers Nelson signed to Warner Bros. and issued his debut album "For You" in 1978. Although not well-reviewed, the LP contained the #12 R&B hit "Soft and Wet" (#92 pop). He broke through to pop with his self-titled next album that featured the #11 "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (#1 R&B). His follow-up album "Dirty Mind" was critically hailed as a major work, but it lacked singles support with only "Uptown" going to #5 at R&B. He returned to the pop chart (and #3 R&B) with the title track to his next album, "Controversy." It was a bit of a transition album as it included songs with religious and political themes as well as his trademark graphically sexy tunes. It would be his second platinum-selling album and it set the stage for his next major work that truly turned him into a star.

ReduxReview:  Frankly, at the time I didn't even know Prince existed. So I missed all his early stuff until "1999" came out. And then like millions of others, I jumped on the bandwagon. When I did finally dig into his back catalog, this album was not a favorite. I could kind of see where he was going with it, but I just didn't think it really worked all together. "Dirty Mind" was short and focused and it really hit the mark. "Controversy" rambles a bit and tries a bit too hard. However, the one bright spot is this track. On the LP it rambles on far too long at 7+ minutes, but the single version is pretty terrific.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) At this point, Prince was still in the process of establishing himself as a major concert draw. When "Controversy" was released, his initial promotional performances were as an opening act for The Rolling Stones on some of their US stops.  2) Prince kind of became famous for using word abbreviations in song titles and lyrics as opposed to the whole words (like "4" instead of "for"). This album is where it all began with the song "Jack U Off."


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