On Episode 10 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I cover Prince’s biggest hit from the 70s, “I Wanna Be Your Lover.”
“I wanna be the only one that makes you come…running.”
I’ve moved on from Prince’s debut album, For You, and I’m now covering songs from the self-titled second album. Prince leads off the album with a banger, the smash hit, “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” This song was Prince’s first Billboard Top 40 pop hit and was thisclose to reaching the top 10, peaking at #11. It did very well on the R&B (#1) and Dance (#2) charts, proving that several core audiences were feeling this song at the time.
There are parallels between “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “In Love” off his first album from a lyrical standpoint. In both songs, Prince sings about an unrequited infatuation from the perspective of a guy down on his luck. He doesn’t have a lot of worldly possessions to offer (“I ain’t got no money…”), unlike the other men this woman is “hanging ‘round.” But, he’s going to give her something else, his love and lots of orgasms.
As the song’s title implies, he’s not her lover already. This is wish-fulfillment put to music. A declaration that he’s shooting his shot. Also, Prince totally pressures her into this decision by declaring that she’s all he’s living for. I’m not entirely sure if that statement would make a woman flee in fear or make her come…running. Which, by the way, is another creative use of sexual double entendre in the vein of “Soft and Wet,” Prince’s biggest hit off his debut.
Then he throws her, and us, a curveball by suggesting that he wants to be her brother, mother, and sister too. It’s an interesting line that might come across as creepy in an incestual way, but I just think he’s trying to express a desire to become as close to this woman as a family member can. Not necessarily the way I would express a desire to be close to someone, but it certainly makes an impression. Thankfully, Prince did not suggest he wanted to be her father. That might have been a line too far to cross. He mentions that she treats him like a child, which is the last of the family-related analogies (thankfully). Maybe it’s lines like these that help explain why he’s not her lover already.
In the episode, I bring up Prince’s cringe-worthy appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand from early 1980. This video shows him as a painfully shy young man, which matches Prince’s description of himself in the song (“I’m so shy, but with you, I just go wild.”). Prince is trying to say that while he may not make much of an impression on the surface, he’s trying to let her know that he can be someone that will make her laugh and cum with him. If only she will give him a shot.
The goal of each episode of Press Rewind is to:
- Take a track by track look at the lyrical content of Prince’s discography
- Discuss my own interpretation of each song’s lyrics
- If submitted, discuss listener’s interpretations of each song’s lyrics
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Prince’s catalog!