Episode 146: Lisa / Rough

On episode 146 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast, I head to Prince’s home studio in Orono, MN, where Prince recorded much of his Dirty Mind LP and a couple of unreleased gems, “Lisa” and “Rough.” Was “Lisa” written about his new keyboardist, Lisa Coleman? Was “Rough” intended for the first Time album? Listen to the episode and decide for yourself.


Lisa – The hypnotic, synthetic groove immediately sets this 1980 demo apart from the more organic disco-funk that Prince was recording in the late ’70s. A mere two years after his debut album was released, he was already experimenting with new sounds and styles that would shape his critical breakthrough, Dirty Mind. While “Lisa” did not make the final album cut, or maybe it was never even considered, there’s a lot to like here. Prince is Mr. Steal-Yo-Girl in training and isn’t taking no for an answer. Bop along to this six-minute jam, and let Prince take you to the village for a party where all the girls are hot, and the guys are as cool as January night in Minneapolis.


Rough – A rough demo, no pun intended, from mid-1980 with an interesting story after Prince put it in the vault for a few years. He gave it both The Family and Jill Jones to record for their respective Prince produced albums, but it never went anywhere else. It’s another Dirty Mind era track about a fine girl with a serious edge to her (“She’ll take your money, your self-respect, and personality”). A cleaned-up version would be nice, but what we have is a funky, quirky synth and drum jam that’s a bit of a companion piece to a tough and dangerous girl in “My Medallion,” which Prince would record decades later.

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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