“I want to be your lover. I want to turn you on, turn you out. All night long make you shout.”
For the longest time, the only familiarity I had with Prince’s self titled second album was from the 3 songs (“I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad”, “I Feel For You”) included on “The Hits” package that came out in ’93. I assumed those were the three must have songs so I didn’t need the full album.My own vinyl copy of the album as well as my US 7″ singles for “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad” and “Still Waiting”.
I corrected my mistake at some point later in the 90s when I started digging deeper into Prince’s back catalog but it still took years before I could appreciate the slow burner tracks such as “It’s Gonna Be Lonely” & “Still Waiting” or even appreciate “Sexy Dancer” for what it was (a pure disco track). Prince was still finding his way lyrically & thematically but with a sharper sense for what made a song a “hit” than on his debut. As a result, “Prince” hits higher highs than his debut but the themes of love & relationships still dominate the lyrical content. It’s an overall great next step for Prince and would provide him just enough clout for his next phase.
Track 1 is the first single released off the album, “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. A pretty significant chart hit (#11 on Hot 100, #1 on Hot R&B), “I Wanna Be Your Lover” is a catchy, danceable jam that is pure unadulterated pop. This was also Prince’s first official music video, showcasing his ability to play every instrument you hear on the single.
Track 2, “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad”, was the 2nd single released off “Prince” and is a more rock based R&B song that its predecessor. For whatever reason, “WYWTMSB” did not chart on the Hot 100 but it’s still remains a fan favorite for good reason. It’s an excellent song. The music video for this song is notable as the first to show Prince’s band of the era: Andre Cymone, Dez Dickerson, Bobby Z, Matt “Dr.” Fink, & Gayle Chapman.
Track 3, “Sexy Dancer”, is nothing but a good time. Its a song that was clearly meant for the club/disco as it’s lyrically simple yet musically adventurous. The best part, for me, is the piano jam towards the end of the track.
Track 4, “When We’re Dancing Close and Slow”, is the side 1 closer but also a strange and dirty song hidden as a pretty piano ballad on the surface. It’s musically less straightforward than one might expect due to the odd sound effects Prince used as well as the “ooh-oohs” vocal melodies he creates towards the end of the song.
Track 5, “With You”, is the side 2 opener on the LP version. Its a slow jam tailor made for junior proms. With You is the least musically and lyrically interesting song on the album but it’s still a decent listen. Just not super memorable.
Track 6, “Bambi”, is a hard rockin’ fan favorite with, how shall I say, interesting lyrical content. “Bambi” is the age old story of boy trying to convince a lesbian to give me, specifically Prince in this instance, a try because “it’s better with a man”.Ok then, good luck with that, Prince!
Track 7, “Still Waiting”, was the 3rd and final single released from the LP. It has a pseudo-country feel to it, which makes it more interesting that it deserves to be. Definitely not an obvious choice for a single but “Still Waiting” is a solid ballad intended to show Prince’s range.
Track 8, “I Feel For You”, is one of Prince’s most beloved non-singles of all time. Its a buoyant track with killer vocals, lyrics and keyboard riffs. Of course everyone knows the Chaka Khan version released in 1984, but no one should sleep on the original.
Track 9, “It’s Gonna Be Lonely”, is the long slow burner of a final song off “Prince”. The song is about a boy anticipating his lover leaving him, which shows off Prince’s youthful insecurity. Lonely develops an emotional wallop due to Prince’s unique vocal acrobatics towards the song’s finale. In my opinion, this is the most underrated tracks off the album and deserves way more love.
Top 5 reasons why “Prince” is a must own album.
5. “Bambi’s” rock strut
4. “I Feel For You” was always Prince’s
3. The sneaky way “It’s Gonna Be Lonely” rips your heart out
(tie) 1. The 1-2 opening punch of “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad”
My personal order of preference of “Prince” tracks from favorite to least favorite.
- Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? 5/5
- I Wanna Be Your Lover 5/5
- I Feel For You 5/5
- It’s Gonna Be Lonely 4.5/5
- Bambi 4/5
- Still Waiting 3.5/5
- Sexy Dancer 3.5/5
- When We’re Dancing Close and Slow 3/5
- With You 3/5
Overall Score: 4/5