Episode 38: Delirious

On Episode 38 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, Jerry Bonner (@JBonner71) and I take “Delirious” out for a little ride, up and down, in and out around it’s lake. Prince’s rockabilly style combined with the ear-worm synth hook of the year is on full display for this top 10 track off the 1999 album.

“Girl you got to take me for a little ride up and down, in and out and around your lake”

“Delirious” is Prince’s most successful attempt at mixing rockabilly with electronic-dance music if you’re basing success on popularity and ubiquity. Regardless of how successful it was on the pop charts (peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100), I am also of the opinion that this is Prince’s best rockabilly style track that he was experimenting with in the early ‘80s. Other notable tracks in a similar style are “Jack U Off,” “Horny Toad,” “You’re All I Want,” and “No Call U,” all written and recorded during the 1981-1982 timeframe.

Similar to “Little Red Corvette,” “Delirious” is filled with mixed metaphors (driving, water) as well as clever euphemisms for sex in general and, more specifically, ejaculations. It’s that earworm synth hook that typically gets stuck in most of our heads when we hear this song. Still, the lyrics are a bit underrated, maybe because the chorus is so simple (“I get delirious. Delirious. Delirious.”). Whatever the reason, the clever lines are highlighted in this episode.

The entire first verse is filled with racing metaphors to describe how a beautiful woman takes Prince to the point where he cannot properly function. 

  • Just can’t steer
  • Wheels locked in place
  • Making a pass
  • Win a race

By the second verse, Prince abandons the racing metaphors and focuses more on the ejaculatory euphemisms he expresses. She’s so hot that he physically can’t control himself.

  • So weak I can hardly stand
  • Temperature’s running hot
  • I’m going to explode

In the third and final verse, Prince returns to the racing metaphors that were expressed in verse one to tie the overarching themes of the song together.

  • I just can’t steer
  • I ain’t got no brakes

However, what he does differently at the end of this verse includes a water metaphor to describe a woman’s genitals. He wanted to play in your river on “In Love” from his debut album, but now it’s a “lake.” While the water metaphors are a theme that would stay consistent throughout his career, the rockabilly style was not something he carried on much beyond this era, and “Delirious” is the shining moment of this experiment.

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!

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