On Episode 100 (!!!) of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, writer Zachary Hoskins (princesongs.org) returns to the show to talk about the toxic mess that is “Strange Relationship” from the Sign O’ the Times album. Prince’s lines cut sharp and deep, but the amount of self-reflection and awareness that comes through in the lyrics shows vulnerability and maybe, just maybe, growth? Listen and decide for yourself.
“I didn’t like the way you were, so I had to make you mine.”
Toxic relationship 101: starring Prince and (possibly, likely) Vanity. While it’s not fair to paint Prince as a monster after listening to this song and absorbing the lyrics about a man who is in an unhealthy relationship with a woman and what his faults are for this (“I seem to get a kick out of doing you cold.”), it’s difficult not to. Despite the lyrics being some of Prince’s most personal and self-reflective, the song sat unreleased for years before he finally found a suitable venue. We know he had this song written to some extent in 1983. The Piano and a Microphone ’83 recording proves this—a couple of leaked soundcheck and rehearsal performances of “Strange Relationship” circulated from 1984. Then we got the version that Prince asked Wendy & Lisa to work on in 1985 on last year’s Sign o’ the Times Super Deluxe Edition. It’s a great song; you just need to separate the art from the artist to truly enjoy it if you believe there to be some truth to the words.
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!