on December 30, 1999
"Dirty Mind" sets the tone for the rest of Prince's unparalleled career. In fact, most people think it's his first album. It might as well have been because, despite his impressive first 2 LP's (For You and Prince), he really got recognized for the image he crafted through his music. But it's the great music that makes this album endure, for it created the "Prince sound."
The minimalist approach to this LP is its hallmark. Stripped of all pretensions and indulgences,and centered around funk guitar and synths, it is one of the tightest -- and raunchiest -- Prince LP's. What really makes this LP are 4 all-time classic Prince songs: the title track, the outstanding "When You Were Mine," "Do It All Night," and "Uptown." They are the heart and soul of a great LP. Unfortunately, radio wasn't as liberal as it is now, but I'd like to think this LP contributed to more adventurous music in all genres. If not for this album, would Madonna, 2 Live Crew, Nine Inch Nails, etc. even gotten radio play? Maybe not.
This is an essential 80's record, an essential Prince record, and an undisputed classic. Buy it.
on November 29, 2005
Let's face it... Prince's albums up through Sign 'O the Times are brilliant. Dirty Mind in particular ranks as one of his very best (some would say his very best). Unlike many pop albums this is not merely a collection of songs, i.e. some radio hits and a bunch of filler. This album works organically as a whole, i.e. each track is integral to the album. Every track is excellent and the production and sound is very stripped back and "raw". This is pure pop/funk genius. Probably my favorite Prince album after Purple Rain and just above Controversy. Essential= Get it!
on March 21, 2001
If you are a true Prince fan, for whom every single album release is a must-have, you would likely say this is ABSOLUTELY THE BEST Prince album, ever! Your only complaint would likely be that the running-time of the album is far too short.
If you are a casual admirer of Prince, or some avid music collector, you'd probably look to Purple Rain or Sign 'O The Times.
I am a true blue Prince fan who owns every single Prince album in CD format, and vinyl format until the death of the vinyl.
Dirty Mind was recorded in 1980, and it was way ahead of its time, lyrically and musically. The production work is incomparable. I would not single out any track for mention as it would only do injustice to the other 7 tracks. My CD collection stands at around 600 today, and this is my most prized-possession.
on April 2, 2002
Prince signed his contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1978 at the age of 19. His debut album FOR YOU took 4 months to record & ate up all the advance money Prince had been given by Warners. The album wasn't a success, for the single "Soft & Wet" was just too suggestive for pop radio, although on the R&B charts, it was more successful. His 1979 self-titled second album was recorded in only 6 weeks & finally indicated that this kid from Minneapolis was someone to keep an eye on. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" was his first major hit, but the album proved Prince was still discovering his footing this early on.
Then comes 1980. Prince, now 22, must have thought "I've broken through commercially. Why not show the world what I can really do?". And indeed he did! DIRTY MIND was not only the most provocative record released up to that time, but it firmly showed Prince had a grander musical vision in mind & this was the start of it.
Musically, DIRTY MIND is probably Prince's barest, most organic album (excluding the fabled BLACK ALBUM), which is logical considering the album is about a subject where "getting bare" is a requirement. The title track opens things up with an undulating rhythm as infectious as a porno movie & is sung in the falsetto voice that Prince utilized on much of his early work (so his music could be easily covered by other artists & made their own; just look at Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You"). Released as a single, it naturally didn't do well because the subject was just too risky for top 40.
"When You Were Mine" is another catchy favorite that harkens back to the British Invasion sound of the 1960s. Cyndi Lauper later covered this song wonderfully on her 1984 album SHE'S SO UNUSUAL. "Do It All Night" is a party-call-to-arms that doesn't beg you to get up & dance, it orders you to! Who can deny the invitation? "Gotta Broken Heart Again" is the only ballad on the album & ends a bit soon at only 2:13. It would have been nice to see more to this song.
The second half is one long suite where each song segues into the other. "Uptown" is another song that begs the listener to get up & move, the same with the self-explanatory "Head". That song proves that even if the subject may seem objectionable to some, the rhythm is practially inescapable. "Sister" deals with another taboo subject before closing out with one last funk workout "Partyup". But there's more to this song than just getting up to dance. The misunderstood political subtext of "1999" is hinted at on "Partyup" with its insistence that as long as the world gets up & dances, there'll be no need for war or any violence. The closing chant on this song further drives this point home.
DIRTY MIND may have been an appropriate title, for even though Prince had proved himself as a hitmaker with his previous album, his excursion into unspeakable territory no doubt colored people's perception of this obviously-talented but questionable artist. Throughout the 1980s, Prince would be named as one example of pop music being made unsafe for children's ears & an album like DIRTY MIND only proved that point. Then again, the album wasn't intended for children in the first place. Prince was all about breaking down barriers & singing about things other pop stars wouldn't dare to discuss. In the case of DIRTY MIND, it was mission accomplished. Prince was more than a hitmaker, he was now offically an artist & trendsetter. Simply put, pop music would never be the same.
on March 30, 2006
Dirty Mind is, without a doubt, the best album the little guy has ever put out. A 40 minute tour de force, to the uneducated elitist it sounds like a mess of shallow lyrics and Casio keyboard demos. However, open your heart to the album and you'll soon grow to love it and wonder why Prince doesn't sing in falsetto more.
It's interesting that once of the most accessible and danceable albums I've ever heard is in fact an ode to perversion and just general sketchiness. With song topics from relations with his sister to coercing a virgin on her wedding day for fellatio, Prince is in full horn dog mode here, folks. However, the album seems to harness the power of that raging sexuality and put it to a beat, creating music that would be a guilty pleasure if it weren't so darn good.
Instantly shifting into gear, the album starts with the title track, a robotic funk workout that might be the greatest song Prince has ever recorded, if you ask me. Slowly building upon itself, the song develops into layers and layers of pounding synthesizer beats, Prince crooning every note in his highest voice possible. The two other highlights of the album are 'Head' and 'When You Were Mine', the former an infectious disco funk beat, the latter a new wave/bubblegum rocker.
As Prince's production values grew along with his fanbase, he will probably never record anything else like Dirty Mind. Almost brilliant in it's minimalist nature, the album has a stripped down nature that no popoular musician would have the guts to make today. A short, yet sweet collection of 8 songs, it is essential that any fan of Prince, nay, fan of contemporary music in general has it in their collection.
1999, Purple Rain, Around The World In A Day, Sign 'O' The Times, and Diamonds And Pearls are among the essential albums of Prince's career, but none of that would have come to be if it hadn't been for his top-notch third album, Dirty Mind. If he hadn't made this album, he would've gone on as a second-rate Stevie Wonder or Rick James and that would mean no Purple Rain movie, no psychedelic pop genre album of Around The World In A Day, no Batman soundtrack, etc.
The title track sets the pace with its funky pulsing beat and synthesizer. The pace picks up with "When You Were Mine" a post-relationship evaluation. Prince was an easygoing guy in this relationship and as a result, the one who got the shaft. He does criticize her in that she "didn't have the decency to change the sheets" and even invited the guy she was fooling around with, who was "sleeping inbetween the two of us." At the end, he spends his time "following him whenever he's with you." The poor guy! Cyndi Lauper covered this on She's So Unusual, and I have to favour the original version.
"Gotta Broken Heart Again" is a sad number about a guy who's not only lost his girl but has no money because he spent it on "the longest phone call" trying to get her back. Vintage Prince heartbreak song.
Things get funky again with the danceable "Uptown" where he turns down a pass from a girl who accuses him of being gay. He quickly turns the tables by saying, "No, are you?" and lists her as a "mixed up victim of society." Uptown is a place where one can set one's mind free by getting down.
"Head" and "Sister" would make Tipper Gore's hair stand on end. The first is about oral sex, with Lisa Coleman sharing vocal duties. Never mind that the girl in the song is a virgin on her way to the altar. Morning, noon, and night, huh? Okay. It's still maintains its funk beat.
The second is an adrenalized burst of a song about (gasp!) incest. It lasts less than a minute but it tells how the protagonist got sexually initiated. And Prince waited till his next album to call it Controversy? THIS is where the controversy started.
The anti-war rant "Partyup" makes this one of my favourites. Given a choice between a party or a war, even an introverted shrinking violet like me would choose the party. The final chant goes "You're gonna hafta fight your own d--n war/'Cause we don't wanna fight no more!" Prince and company, you tell those boys at the Pentagon!
This was one of the first albums to carry a warning label given the subject matter. The trouble was, that scared potential buyers. And what about the picture of him reclining on a sofa, wearing long coat, bikini briefs, and leg-warmers, with the painted song titles on the wall behind him? It went gold upon its initial release. It's probably gone multi-platinum by now
Dirty Mind also introduced Prince fans to keyboardist Lisa Coleman, who came out in Purple Rain and later teamed up with guitarist Wendy Melvoin for three albums. This was also the last album with Andre Cymone, Prince's childhood friend, whose influence was being lessened as Prince concentrated power around himself.
This is the most crucial and pivotal album in Prince's career and although it only has eight songs, is essential for students of the Purple One.
on June 30, 2001
Seemingly tired of the implied naughty sexuality of the first two albums Prince went all out to shock on his third, giving listeners an insight into his "Dirty Mind". Prince was clearly not going to be a MOR average artist.
From the suggestive album cover (Prince in bikini briefs against bed springs) he left the listener in no doubt to what the album theme would be...
And this proved the case. Aside from the political statement "Party Up" (Allegedly written by The Time frontman Morris Day), the anti-establishment "Uptown" and the tender ballad "Gotta Broken Heart Again", it was all sex fuelled relations from there on in. The synth-pop title track opens the album with a clear indication of his future manifesto. Sex would play big a big part of Prince's music for years to come yet.
Songs like "Head" (A story of ....) and "Sister" (...) set out to shock from the start. But when the music's this fresh and challenging who was arguing! Well the "Moral Majority" were for one. ;)
It was the Beatle-esque pop perfection of "When You Were Mine" that is my undoubted highlight and arguably his best song to date. It was later covered by Cyndi Lauper.
By very nature of the topics covered Prince limited his potential fanbase here. So although not as big a seller as the former more commercial based album, Prince declared his will to experiment and push boundaries dramatically.
Rough and raw sounding as it is, this remains one of mine and many other Prince fans favourite albums.
on April 23, 2016
This purchase was a replacement for me. My original went "missing" many years ago. SO glad that I bought Dirty Mind again. My heart aches at this writing as Prince died 2 days ago. Please, please, please buy Dirty Mind if you've never had the pleasure of seeing/hearing Prince's music. You will not be disappointed. We lost a legend and an icon Thursday, April 21st.
on October 30, 2004
For such a brilliant musician (and 26 years after his debut, there can be no doubt of his pop mastery), Prince has been a mighty inconsistent album artist. Undoubtedly some of this owes to the fact that he's got too many ideas - genius can be unruly. But beyond that, what hampers the greatness of many of his best-known and best-received efforts for a college student born the same year "1999" was released is that the oft-brilliant songs are mired in '80s production gunk. Seminal though it may be, the "Purple Rain" soundtrack is so drenched in processing and outmoded digital echo that, on first listen, it barely sounds musical at all. Prince may have been ahead of his time, but few artists have been so much OF their era that the greatness of their work is discernible only through repeated exposure.
"Dirty Mind" is comprised of recordings originally intended as a demo, and as such it is remarkably free of the aforementioned excesses. At barely a half-hour in length, there's hardly room for the flab that pads many of his later full-lengths. What you're left with is a prime slice of knotty, minimalist, RAUNCHY funk rock. Listen to "Head" and "Sister" in particular and you'll be amazed that Warner Bros. had the guts to put this out in 1980, a good half-decade before the rise of hardcore rap and the PMRC's campaign to put warning stickers on albums.
After two unsuccessful tries with "Purple Rain" and the much-beloved double album "Sign O' the Times," I finally came around to Prince with "Dirty Mind". Aside from synth solos on the title track and "Head", he plays every instrument on the record, and the stripped-down production just bolsters the shock of his knockout chops. Prince would emerge as a major star two years later with "1999," but in my opinion this is his best album. The most effective demonstrations of his genius outside of this record are the compilations "The Hits/The B-Sides" and the unfortunately out-of-print rarities collection "Crystal Ball," which can be had pretty darn cheap as a used item considering it's 3 CDs long (4 with the 'bonus disc', actually). Why he's been unable to make a record that's great start to finish in the last quarter century is beyond me, but if you're curious about the little guy "Dirty Mind" or the hits collection are fine starting points.
on May 31, 2003
While "For You" sounds immature and "Prince" offers a tease of things to come, Prince did not release a truly representative album until 1980's "Dirty Mind."
At the age of 22, Prince boldly went where no musician had gone before (or consequently has gone since). An unabashed tale of exhaustive raunch, "Dirty Mind" is the album where Prince became a freak. From the thumping bass line of the title track, Prince seduces the listener into the bonanza that follows. "If you got the time," Prince offers, "I'll give you some money to buy a dirty mind" in his signature falsetto.
What follows is the rock classic "When You Were Mine," whose status as a gem is ascertained by its inclusion on "The Hits/B-Sides" despite not being a single. The bizarre love triangle of the song is only a prelude to what is to follow.
"Do It All Night" is a straight-forward come-on, while "Gotta Broken Heart Again" offers the album's only hint of vulnerability.
The second side opens with Prince's first true masterpiece, "Uptown." While a geographic reference, "Uptown" transcends to become an abstract utopia of sexual and racial harmony- "black, white, puerto rican, everybody's just a-freakin'" he proclaims.
The next two songs form the core of the controversy that surrounded the album. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown are tame imitators of the vulgar display of sexual prowess detailed in "Head," in which Prince coaxes a virgin on her wedding day to give him oral sex, and "Sister," in which Prince details the fictitious libidinous accounts with his much older sister.
The album closes with a preview of what was to come. "Partyup" offers social commentary which became more prevalent on "Controversy." It closes with a rhyme not dissimilar to the "People call me rude..." chant on "Controversy," which offers a clue as to why the two albums are so often linked.
"Dirty Mind" is an uninhibited landmark of music that encapsulates the emergence of a superstar who would provide classic material for decades to come.