1999 is the fifth album released by Prince. It was released on October 27, 1982 and was his first top ten album on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. The album peaked at number 9 and became the fifth best-selling album of 1983. This album is the last of the raw and dirty Prince funk sound. Yes, he was still “dirty” afterwards but never this raw. From the sexually charged LITTLE RED CORVETTE and DELIRIOUS; the F the rules party anthem DMSR, the “activity” that takes place about halfway thru both LADY CAB DRIVER and INTERNATIONAL LOVER his sound was never quite the same after this. It all seems so effortless and not forced. This Prince at his synth pop/funk nasty best. Even the album cover is raunchy. Don’t believe me check out the 1 in the 1999. Although he would reach the apex of stardom 2 years later the nastiness was all mostly but gone. On a side note at age 11 in February 83 to be exact the first time I wore my tour shirt (the album cover) to school I got in trouble. I cannot imagine why!
LITTLE RED CORVETTE
First off let me break some hearts. LITTLE RED CORVETTE song is NOT about a car. More on that later. Released as the second single on February 9th, 1983 this is the song that pushed Prince into the superstar stratosphere. The song was also his first to reach the top 10 in the U.S., peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Because of the rock aspects of the song, it was also his first single to perform better on the pop chart than the R&B chart. The song is one of his most popular and Prince still performs the song. In the song Prince tells the story of a one-night stand he has with a woman. The lyrics are a prime example of Prince’s tongue-in-cheek nastiness that he would become known for. How in the world did the lyrics “I guess I must be dumb cause you had a pocket full of horses, Trojan and some of them used” get past censors in 1982? I mentioned earlier that this song is not about a car. The Little Red Corvette in question is in this case, the woman’s private area. Proof can be found in the lyrics “Move over baby, gimme the keys. I'm gonna try to tame your little red love machine”. Not to subtle in my opinion.
Released as the third single from the album DELIRIOUS continues the sexually charged lyrics that were present in the previous single. The song has rockabilly style which is featured in several songs Prince recorded around this time. The theme of this song is quite simple. “I get delirious whenever you're near” sings Prince in the opening line to the song. Once again Prince amps up the innuendo with the not so subtle lyrics “My temperature’s running hot. Baby you got 2 stop. Cuz if you don't I'm gonna explode and girl I got a lot.” It is also of note that Prince continues the driving/sex metaphor used in the previous song. Is there any question what Prince means when he sings “You're just 2 much 2 take. I can't stop I ain't got no brakes. Girl you gotta take me 4 a little ride up and down in and out and around your lake”. The lake in question is not a body of water I assure you. The song is dirtier than one would think but with its bouncy Linn Drum programming and catchy keyboard lead line the listener is too busy grooving to notice.
LET’S PRETEND WE’RE MARRIED
Prince was on a roll in 1982 and 1983. This track was the 4th and final single released from the album. Out of all the singles it ranks 10 out of 10 on the nasty meter, although the offending parts are not present on the single version. The song consists mainly of keyboards and drum machines, along with Prince's vocals. It is best described as 80’s synth pop. The throbbing beat gives the song a primal feel that matches the lyrics .The scenario present in the song; Prince’s girlfriend has left him and he is seeking another female to take her place “Excuse me but I need a mouth like yours 2 help me forget the girl that just walked out my door” sings Prince. Why do you just need her mouth Prince? Later he tells her “My girl's gone and she don't care at all and if she did, so what? C'mon baby, let's b-b-ball.” He is not talking about a friendly game basketball. However that pales in comparison to what are the dirtiest lyrics on the album and features the namesake of the article. Prince on the verge of begging says in a spoken voice “I wanna fuck you so bad it hurts, it hurts, it hurts I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna fuck you Yeah, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna fuck you Look here Marsha, I'm not sayin' this just 2 be nasty, I sincerely wanna fuck the taste out of your mouth… Can you relate?” At this point in his career when he says is not trying to be nasty, you believed him. It just seemed to roll off the tongue. It was part of who he was back then. Prince seems to justify this to the female and the audience with another spoken/rap portion. “Whatever you heard about me is true. I change the rules and do what I wanna do.” This was certainly true of Prince at the time. He was a trailblazer and a rule breaker. He continues “I'm in love with God, he's the only way, 'cuz you and I know we gotta die some day.” Once again Prince shocks and surprises his audience with his spiritulness. You would not think that this guy of all people believed in God, though he did address this on his previous album and song CONTROVERSY. “If you think I'm crazy, you're probably right but I'm gonna have fun every motherfuckin' night. If you like 2 fight, you're a double-drag fool. I'm goin' 2 another life, how 'bout you?” This can be viewed as Prince’s manifesto at the time though it’s inclusion on this track seems out of place, it might have been more appropriate and fitting on the next track.
This is not necessarily a dirty track but it is one of the best representations of both the Minneapolis Sound and Prince’s F.U. carefree attitude that he has at the time. It is the funkiest song on the album by far and is on the short list for funkiest Prince track of all time! It is the party track of the album with its call and response sing along chorus. This song is about having fun, the Prince way. “Girl it ain't no use, you might as well get loose Work your body like a whore”, Prince sings to his female listeners. Later he says to them “Shake it like you just don't care. Never mind your friends, girl it ain't no sin 2 strip right down 2 your underwear. “ But remember it’s all in fun he reminds the listeners “Screw the masses We only want 2 have some fun (Have some fun)I say do whatever we want, wear lingerie 2 a restaurant “ It’s a shame that those who purchased the album on cd did not have the original vinyl or cassette released did not have this song. According to Princevault.com “When CD technology was created and albums were released on CD, D.M.S.R. was left off the initial releases of 1999 as the time limit on CDs. As CD capacities increased, however, the track was added to the track list again”
At 9 minutes and 28 seconds AUTOMATIC is the longest. The song deals with the devotion and dedication Prince has with his lover Oh and there is a bit of sadomasochism thrown in for good measure. The opening lines of “U ask me if I love U, it's automatic 'Cuz every time U leave me, I die, that's automatic 2. U ask me 2 forgive U, when U know, I'm just an addict” gives you an idea of how Prince feels about his woman. However the song is very low on the nasty meter. When telling his lover things he will do for her he states “I'll go down on U all night long, it's automatic.” “You will?” his lover asks. “Yes I will babe” Prince coyly responds. There is no way to misinterpret those lyrics. Toward the end of the song the female says to Prince “I remember how U kissed me not with your lips but with your soul. With U I'm never bored, talk 2 me some more. I can hear U, I'm going 2 have 2 torture U now.” A promotional music video was produced for the song, which features band mates Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones whipping Prince in a simulated S&M session. The video was not released to television only dance clubs but can be found online.
LADY CAB DRIVER
Bolstered by a funky rhythm guitar and a Linn LM-1 drum beat, LADY CAB DRIVER is the second funkiest song on the album behind DMSR. Prince is lonely and looking for companionship. “Lady cab driver - Can U take me 4 a ride? Don't know where I'm goin' 'cuz I don't know where I've been” Prince sings innocently enough. However things take a turn towards raunchy when Prince and the cab driver engage in apparent sexual intercourse while Prince says the following while we hear the cab driver moaning in delight.
This is 4 the cab U have 2 drive 4 no money at all
This is 4 why I wasn't born like my brother, handsome and tall
This is 4 politicians who r bored and believe in war
This - Yeah, that's 4 me, that's who that 1's 4
This is 4 discrimination and egotists who think supreme
And this is 4 whoever taught U how 2 kiss in designer jeans
That 1's 4- That 1's 4- 4 U have 2 live
This 1's 4 the rich, not all of 'em, just the greedy -
The ones that don't know how 2 give
This 1's 4 Yosemite Sam and the tourists at Disneyland
And this 1- ooh! Yeah - That's the 1.
That's 4- that's 4 the- the creator of man
This is 4 the sun, the moon, the stars, the tourists at Disneyland
This is 4 the ocean, the sea, the shore
This is 4- and that's 4 U, and that's who that 1's 4
This is 4 the women, so beautifully complex
This 1's 4 love without sex
This is 4 the wind that blows no matter how fast or slow
Apparently Prince had a great deal of pent up aggression and takes it out on the cab driver, much to her delight. At the completion of this segment we hear the sounds of those old time bells going off. Any guesses as to what that means?
Prince is also known for his slow jams and INTERNATIONAL LOVER is the lone ballad and the album closer on the album. The song was originally written for The Time to be sung by Morris Day for their WHAT TIME IS IT? album. Prince reclaimed the song to use on 1999 instead. Although I can imagine Morris doing this song it is more suited for Prince. For the third time on the album Prince uses a mode of transportation metaphor for sex “I know it's hard to believe but this body here is free tonight. Your very own first class flight. My plane's parked right outside, baby. Don't you wanna go for a ride?” sings Prince in full seduction mode. Of course Prince ups the raunchy factor by singing "Baby, maybe if you're good girl I'll introduce you to my ride. Don't you wanna come….. inside? That pause is all you need to know Prince’s real intentions. He also used a very similar delivery in his first hit single 1979’s I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER by singing “I wanna be the only one that makes you come…..running” Unlike in LITTLE RED CORVETTE, Prince is able to extend the metaphor to its full potential with the following spoken word section.
Good evening. This is your pilot Prince speaking
You are flying aboard the Seduction 747
And this plane is fully equipped with anything your body desires
If for any reason there is a loss in cabin pressure
I will automatically drop down to apply more
To activate the flow of excitement
Extinguish all clothing materials and pull my body close to yours
Place my lips over your mouth, and kiss, kiss, normally
In the event there is overexcitement
Your seat cushion maybe used as a flotation device
We ask that you please observe the "No Letting Go" sign
I anticipate a few turbulences along the way
We are now making our final approach to Satisfaction
Please bring your lips, your arms, your hips
Into the upright and locked position
We’re landing Can you feel it? Can you feel it?
Welcome to Satisfaction
Please remain awake until the aircraft has come to a complete stop
Thank you for flying Prince International
Remember, next time you fly, fly the International Lover
Since this is he umm climax to the album to say that Prince closes the album off with a bang is not an understatement. On another side note, this song was featured on the 1999 tour, which I saw at the tender age of 11. This was song was acted out in front my young and innocent eyes. See the pic below.
According to the Rolling Stone Album Guide, "1999 may be Prince's most influential album: Its synth-and-drum machine-heavy arrangements codified the Minneapolis sound that loomed over mid-'80s R&B and pop, not to mention the next two decades' worth of electro, house, and techno” The raunchiness of the album is also its legacy. Of course Prince would go on to write more raunchy songs. DARLIN NIKKI, EROTIC CITY, SEXY MF, and COME quickly come to mind but this is the last time that the majority of the songs on an album are this raw. Despite The 1999 album was Prince at his unapologetic nastiness and he was not just saying things just to be nasty.
|Entry Date||Peak Position||Weeks in Chart|
|USA: Billboard Top LP's & Tapes||20 Nov. 1982||9||153|
|USA: Billboard Black LPs||20 Nov. 1982||4||93|
1999/B Side--HOW COME U DON'T CALL ME ANYMORE ? (#12 US, #4 US R&B, #25 UK)
LITTLE RED CORVETTER (#6 US, #15 US R&B, #54 UK)
DELIRIOUS/B Side---HORNY TOAD (#8 US, #18 US R&B)
LET'S PRETEND WE'RE MARRIED/B Side---IRRESISTIBLE BITCH (#52 US, #55 US R&B)