(December 1, 2019). By now you’ve heard that Prince’s estate released a monster version of his classic 1999 album – the 1982 masterpiece that sent the late artist into a pop stratosphere the following year and made him a household name forevermore.
Upon its release Friday, this blog gave the deluxe album a straight review, which you can read here. In it, I likened the original 1999 to that dirty magazine that – as a teenager – you snuck into the house and, um, read with the hopes that your parents wouldn’t catch you.
Similarly, 1999 was that album you played back in 1982/83 with the hopes that the folks wouldn’t hear what the ever-sexual Prince was actually saying.
But little did I know just how much of a comedian – natural or otherwise – Prince Rogers Nelson actually was. Much of it was manifested in the original album, in songs like “International Lover,” which, in retrospect, seems less like a serious love song and more like Prince having fun at our expense.
But some of that humor-in-song was clearly left on the chopping block, sitting in the Prince Vault and never seeing the light of day until now.
Today, DJROBBLOG has compiled what we believe are the nastiest, rawest, wittiest or most hilarious lines on 1999 (Super Deluxe Edition)…excluding live performances, of course, where anything goes.
Some are old, some are new. But none are borrowed or blue.
It’s all purple, baby, and it’s all Prince. And he couldn’t have been in rarer form with some of the zingers we’ve listed.
So scroll through and check out this list from No. 12 to No. 1 and see if you agree. And warning: parental discretion advised…there’s (very) explicit content from here on out…
Twelve. “Somebody call up the Colonel, I hear some chicken scratchin’” (from “Do Yourself a Favor”)
Heads-up: this may be the only entry on this list that doesn’t fall in the lewd or obscene category. Here, the chicken scratchin’ Prince refers to is his guitar playing, which is damn good at this point in the song. The Colonel Sanders reference may be corny, but in this context, it is still good.
Eleven. “Yes, we’re certain of it, he’s definitely masturbating” (“All the Critics Love You In New York”)
Speaking of context, here’s a line that is perhaps the least relevant to the song it graces. Thrown in as a spoken-word ad-lib near the end, we’re assuming Prince had a non-metaphorical intent with the “M” word, one you didn’t often find in pop music back in 1982.
Ten. “Don’t want reaction, I just want the act. It’s easier to give love than it is to give it back…” (“Purple Music”)
This line is more clever than it is nasty. In fact, it’s not nasty at all. It’s all in the interpretation. Here, Prince could be saying that it’s easier to love someone than to love someone in return. Or, it could have a more carnal context – as in, just let me get mine…no matter whether or not you’re satisfied.
Nine. “I got a lion in my pocket, and baby he’s ready to roar.” (“1999”)
We’re all familiar with this most famous quip from the album’s hit title track. Suggestive yes, but only for the implied reference to male genitalia. It’s tame by most standards and perhaps one of the cleaner such allusions, so radio wasn’t afraid to let this “cat” out of the bag back in 1982/83.
Eight. “THIS is for why I wasn’t born like my brother handsome and tall.” (“Lady Cab Driver”)
While the handsome part was debatable, we all know Prince was short in stature at a measly 5 feet, 2 inches tall. So we completely got it when – during the rough sex simulation in “Lady Cab Driver” – Prince took out his frustrations on an unsuspecting female motorist.
Seven. “Bitch, you think you’re special? So do I.” (“Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)”)
Prince spends much of the time in “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)” lamenting over the fact that he’s not getting the attention or treatment he thinks he deserves from a particular love interest. But at the point where he invokes the B-word, it’s suddenly unclear whether he’s agreeing with her being special, or acknowledging his own such status.
Six. “Girl you got to take me for a little ride up and down, in and out around your lake…” (“Delirious”)
No need for explanation here, just marvel at the fact that Prince could paint a picture with his lyrics like no other artist probably before or since – and get away with it. Riding metaphors and references abound on 1999 (“Little Red Corvette,” “Lady Cab Driver”), but the “lake” here is singular and direct – and it didn’t prevent “Delirious” from becoming Prince’s second top-10 hit in 1983.
Five. “Vagina was half-boy, half-girl; her hair was shorter than mine” (“Vagina”)
A girl named “Vagina” with questionable genitalia (“half-boy, half-girl”) patronizing a gay bar? In a 1982 world where such scenes were few and far between in pop music, it’s easy to see why this song never made it past the cutting-room floor until now. But in the more LGBTQ-friendly 21st century, the only thing bawdy about this song is its title.
Four. “Baby, if I don’t…your pussy puts up quite an awful fuss.” (“Possessed – 1982 Version”)
What’s important here – besides the obvious “pussy” reference – is what happens in the build-up to this line in “Possessed,” where Prince complains that he doesn’t want to hold his partner, but he must, because if he doesn’t…and you can insert the rest.
Three. “Look here Marsha, I’m not sayin’ this just to be nasty; I sincerely wanna fuck the taste out of your mouth…Can you relate?” (“Let’s Pretend We’re Married”)
No need for explanation here. But the specific “Marsha” reference is equal parts interesting and curious. Girls named Marsha around the world either cringed or swooned upon hearing their name used in such a way.
Two. “I guess I must be dumb ‘cuz you had a pocket full of horses…Trojan and some of them used.” (“Little Red Corvette”)
Remember, in 1982 people didn’t talk about condoms in songs, TV ads or even in public settings. Or maybe you don’t remember such a primitive world if you’re under, say, 45 years old. Still, Prince had no problem with it back then, while even giving free ad time to a name brand in the process. Oh, then there’s the slut-shaming factor that also doesn’t go unnoticed.
One. “If for any reason there’s a loss in cabin pressure, I will automatically drop down to apply more.” (“International Lover”)
Prince the pilot took on double duties as a flight attendant in the famous monologue that closes “International Lover,” where he turns the standard safety speech that fliers around the world hear daily into an unforgettable, metaphor-laced sex invitation that is best exhibited by this classic line. It was Prince at his most clever and it gets this blog’s vote as the wittiest, most outrageous line from 1999 (Super Deluxe Edition).
So what do you think? Agree?
Let us know by commenting below or in the blog’s social media feeds.
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.
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