On Episode 29 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I go it alone to talk through the lyrical structure of “Do Me, Baby” from his album Controversy, as basically an eight minute sexual act put to music while also dissecting Prince’s choice to play the passive role as the song’s subject.
“You want me just as much as I want you. Let’s stop fooling around.”
Along with “When We’re Dancing Close and Slow” from Prince’s second album, “Do Me, Baby” is the prototypical baby-making Prince ballad. Released as Controversy’s third and final single in the U.S., it wasn’t a hit on any of the Billboard charts. Still, the reaction this song received when performed on the Controversy tour would certainly indicate that it was a fan favorite. Especially fans that might have had a special feeling towards the man beyond what he did for their ears.
So what makes this alleged André Cymone composition so Prince-like? How about this quick checklist of standard tropes.
Breathy falsetto? Check.
Sultry moans and squeals? Check.
Just shy of raunchy lyrics? Check.
Spoken word section? Check.
Orgasmic screams? Check
The thing is, these weren’t tropes in 1981. These were fresh concepts and intriguing performance attributes that Prince fans up to this point hadn’t heard yet.
“Do me like you’ve never done before.” He wants you to let go of your inhibitions and go with the flow with him. Can you do that? Are you comfortable enough playing the full eight-minute version in front of your parents? Your kids? A new friend that you’re not sure how they will react? Let go of your inhibitions and feel what it’s like to completely give in to this song’s sexy will.
I find it interesting that Prince does not tell his lover that he’s going to do her. He implores her to do him, instead. This declaration comes across as a bit submissive in tone and point of view, and that’s an interesting approach to songwriting that Prince doesn’t get enough credit for. The masculine approach to being in charge of every sexual encounter is cast aside in favor of Prince submitting to his woman when it comes to matters of sex. This theme of submission is one he explores again on “Automatic” from 1999. Overall, it was a very progressive stance for the time.
“Do Me, Baby” cemented Prince’s status as a premier balladeer and established a template for not only Prince’s future sexy time ballads but future soul singers for the next 20-30 years. While he may have recorded better ballads in his career, this song deserves its props for doing it first and doing it right.
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 along with any guest I may have
- If submitted, discuss listener’s interpretations of each song’s lyrics
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Prince’s catalog!