Episode 13: When We’re Dancing Close and Slow

On Episode 13 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I get real intimate with the super-sexy ballad “When We’re Dancing Close and Slow.”

“Can’t you feel my love touching you?”

“When We’re Dancing Close and Slow” is the most sexually explicit song in Prince’s discography up to this point. There were plenty of innuendoes found on songs like “In Love” and “Soft and Wet,” but this track ups the ante on the naughty lyrics scale. The song isn’t dirty in the same way that songs like “Head,” “Lady Cab Driver,” or “Darling Nikki” were, but instead, Prince uses deep sincerity to express dirty thoughts that go through men’s minds as they are dancing with someone they are strongly attracted to.

It’s a ballad that closes the first side of the self-titled album that expresses intimacy in an almost uncomfortable way. If the song was designed to be played at middle-school dances, Prince badly missed the mark. Any responsible adult with two working ears would not approve of this song being played at any dance sponsored by a school.

The song starts strongly as a radio-friendly ballad, with Prince’s gentle piano playing over an acoustic guitar. The first verse is also very PG in its description of a slow dance experience for the uninitiated. I envision Prince describing a prom or other teenage dance, wanting to be alone with his girlfriend with the knowledge that they are surrounded by their peers and the adults chaperoning the event. Not an ideal way to show intimacy, but also a little exciting.

When Prince declares in the second verse that a “sex-related fantasy is all that my mind can see,” it comes off as an awkward, almost laughably blunt line. I can’t imagine it being too appealing to anyone he might be dancing with if he verbalizes these thoughts in this way. There are certainly other ways that a man can tell a woman that he wants to have sex with her without saying anything, especially not something so straightforward.

In the third and final verse of the song, he paints a picture of two people dancing so closely that his partner can feel his physical sign of the arousal from being so close. He also mentions that he “want(s) to come inside of you,” which can be interpreted as an even more intimate way of expressing a sexual desire. Whether that’s a turn on or a turn off will depend on who’s receiving such an admission.

Coming off the heels of the hyped-up sexuality of “Sexy Dancer” on the previous track, one could listen to these two songs as companions for two people attracted to each other on the dancefloor. The sexy dance acts as a form of mating call. Still, the DJ throws on a slow jam once that song ends-a moment to cool down your body temperature in one way, only to amp up the temperature in a completely different manner. The sexual tension built up over the past two songs has crescendoed into an orgasmic finale for this erotic lullaby. 

A more mature performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 15, 2013.

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!

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