Prince lets his freak flag fly on “Neurotic Lover’s Bedroom,” the song he recorded after receiving a drum machine as a gift from his new manager. On episode 141 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I’ll be diving into the depravity alone, no spotter on standby, to help me navigate the kinky side of Prince’s teenage mind. Let’s rock!
“Multifaceted sex devices blow your mind from every angle. Have you ever tried the Lotus position while being strangled?”
How freaky can you get? How many debauched shenanigans can one person drum (no pun intended) up? In the case of 19-year-old Prince, quite a bit. Maybe we saw this coming when looking back at his Anderson home demos, “Don’t You Wanna Ride?” and “Rock Me, Lover.” Still, neither song could prepare listeners for the sadomasochistic depravity in this 6+ minute drum machine and psychedelic guitar feedback-based experiment.
I call this song an experiment for two reasons.
- Prince’s new manager, Owen Husney, bought him a brand-new toy – a drum machine. No, it wasn’t a Linn-LM1, but it was a drum machine nonetheless. Prince’s earliest demos were drum-free affairs, focusing on vocals, guitar, and piano. For a one-man band, a drum machine was a godsend. Prince could record music, incorporating drum sounds that he could fill in later with live drums if he so chose. What to do if you’re a young musician practicing the craft of creating a song with your new toy? How about writing a throw-away song where you intentionally incorporate inappropriate themes to ensure it never sees the light of day?
- The lyrics. I mean, come on. Don’t even try to convince me that Prince thought verses that mention the Lotus position, sex devices, and auto-erotic asphyxiation had any other purpose beyond the thought process of “let’s fuck around on this cool new device.” The fact that this song wasn’t trashed shortly after its creation is a minor miracle in and of itself. But if you’re considering where Prince’s head (again, no pun intended) was at in 1977 (and 1978, 1979, 1980, etc.), writing a shockingly absurd sex jam that went beyond the boundaries of good taste should not be surprising.
“Neurotic Lover’s Bedroom” is one of those songs that you’re happy exists because it shows us that Prince didn’t wake up one day in 1980 and decide he was going to write a song about fucking his sister. Prince was a boundary pusher from the jump. Even if he was not interested in pushing boundaries in a public format in 1977, he was still writing freaky jams and playfully parodying his P-Funk heroes.
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!