On Episode 42 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, Josh Norman from The Mountains & the Sea podcast joins me discuss the lyrics (and delivery!) of melancholy, sparse and emotionally fraught track, “Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)” from Prince’s 5th album, 1999.
“You think you’re special? Well, so do I.”
Prince’s relationship woes from “Automatic” bleed into the next track on the 1999 album, “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute), and we’re in for an emotionally harrowing journey. The song is stark and cold-sounding with the opening Linn drum program and its robotic synth line, which sounds like it could be coming from R2-D2. This cold musical landscape is perfectly suited for a track that explores the depths of relationship despair resulting from feeling used and abused. In the song, Prince tries to comprehend and communicate how someone as cute as he is, with legs as great as his, could be treated so poorly by his woman. While those are only superficial traits, the point is made that he considers himself to be a worthy mate, but he’s not treated like an equal. This treatment causes him to lash out in a manner that can best be described as pleading.
In this episode, Josh and I dissect the emotional trauma that Prince is going through in what sounds to us like an emotionally abusive relationship. Despite giving her everything, you can tell on this song that he’s gone off the deep end – reaching a breaking point of sorts. He even resorts to calling this woman a “bitch” (“Bitch, you think you’re special? Well, so do I.”) to emphasize how angry and helpless he feels. While this name-calling may sound harsh, I feel like Prince is only venting to himself, alone in his bedroom and to the eavesdropping listeners. The woman will never hear these gripes because he’s resigned to continue loving her unconditionally (“I do love you. I do. Or else I wouldn’t go through all the things I do.”) It’s a sad coda for one of the most gripping songs on the album.
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!