On Episode 34 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, blogger Zachary Hoskins (princesongs.org) joins me to discuss the ridiculous and bawdy closing track, “Jack U Off” from Prince’s Controversy album.
“You’ll have an instant heart attack if I jack you off”
“Jack U Off” is one of those songs in Prince’s catalog, along with “Head,” “Come,” and “18 and Over,” where Prince not only sings about sex, but its primary intent seems to make the listener uncomfortable by explicitly (sometimes with sound effects) talking about sex™.
The music is less menacing and more bouncy/catchy than on songs like “Head” or “Come,” which weirdly matches the song’s lyrics. This is not a baby-making song like so many of Prince’s more sensual ballads, but instead is a ridiculously bold statement about a world where jacking someone else off is the most desirable means to achieve sexual satisfaction. Prince was possibly on the leading edge of safer sex techniques in a pre-AIDS environment!
Prince spends the entirety of the song listing off locations that are ripe for the manual sexual stimulation of his desired conquest. These end up primarily being public places, which implies that he’s is a bit of an exhibitionist at heart. While these lines are intended to shock, they are also suitable for a good belly laugh, which I feel is also an alternate purpose for this song.
“Jack U Off’s” lyrics are notable for playing around with gender norms thanks to Prince’s odd use of the term “jack off” to describe the act of making a woman orgasm manually. Over the years, this term has been most commonly associated with male masturbation, so you can imagine the confusion and surprise that this song would drop onto the unsuspecting Rolling Stones audience in 1981. Also to note, this is the first song in Prince’s official discography that utilizes the text message shorthand, replacing the word “you” with “u.” Shame on you for thinking this song had no cultural significance!
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!