On Episode 45 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I welcome first time guest, Leslie Ballard, to the show to discuss “All The Critics Love U In New York” off Prince’s 1999 album. We touch on some of the early critical praise that Prince was receiving at this point in his career and how it might have fed into the cynicism evident throughout the song’s lyrics. We also attempt to dissect Prince’s repeated disdain for “hippies” and what we really think he could have been referring to. We also freely admit that we might have no clue what is truly being addressed in this track…but we try!
“They won’t say that you’re naive if you play what you believe in New York”
Buried on the 4th side of the double-LP for 1999, the penultimate track before the hilariously over-sexed “International Lover,” we get this odd-ball song that makes a serious case for Prince as a strange, esoteric musician. Super-dense, thematically speaking, “All the Critics Love U in New York” does so many things right while doing so many things wrong.
Wrong? Well, let me rephrase that somewhat. Wrong only because this is probably the least “pop” song on the entire record. It’s the hardest to understand from a lyrical standpoint, and it’s the song with the most inside references, bizarre asides, and mean-spirited jabs while smacking us with this new wave synth-pop on acid rock music. Whew, this song is truly a trip.
Leslie and I try to make heads or tails of the song’s overarching theme, which we believe to be about authenticity in the music industry and how trends can make or break an artist, talented or not. We also try to understand a little more about Prince’s need to include a bit about a cop breaking up a public masturbator and the dual meanings behind the memorable phrase “body don’t wanna quit, gotta get another hit.” It’s a deep track that confuses and beguiles but never bores.
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!