Context – running down the clock
Having only listened to Purple Rain, I am the definition of a noob when it comes to Prince. As such, I’m constantly surprised when I hear one of his songs or albums.
Dirty Mind is no exception, with the intro to the title track coming in like an industrial track. This thick, punchy bass drum eventually gives way to something that feels more familiar/Purple Rain-y, and we’re off to the races.
This album is good. Prince doesn’t write bad songs, speaking broadly about a prolific artist based on two of his albums. I’m especially impressed with how tight the album is–there isn’t a song here that drags or detracts. Dirty Mind gets in, gets you off, then gets out at a reasonable pace. I don’t know how many songs he wrote for this album, but I imagine he left plenty on the cutting room floor, which to me is the mark of a great musician. Or producer. Or something. When Paul Thomas Anderson was asked something about how he keeps his vision tight and makes such excellent movies, he simply says “You just cut out all the bad shit.” I love that.
Burgeoning artists, let this be a lesson to you. It’s not that less is necessarily more, but realizing that not everything needs to make it into the final project is a wonderful gift to the creative spirit. Or at least to the audience. So many albums would be better if they just cut 3-5 songs and had a 30-45 minute project instead of something crossing the hour mark.
So I don’t know, if you haven’t given Prince a chance yet then this isn’t the worst place to start, but it’s no Purple Rain. If you already dig Prince then what are you doing here?