Lovesexy is the tenth studio album by American recording artist Prince. It was released on May 10, 1988 by Paisley Park Records and Warner Bros. Records. Lovesexy was issued as a substitute record after the release of the infamous The Black Album had been suddenly cancelled. The Black Album and Lovesexy almost act as companion pieces, sharing the song "When 2 R in Love", but are nearly opposite in theme. The album was recorded in just seven weeks, from mid-December 1987 to late January 1988, at Prince's new Paisley Park Records, and most of the album is a solo effort from Prince, with a few exceptions. The opening track, "Eye No", was recorded with the full band (Miko Weaver on guitar, Levi Seacer, Jr. on bass, Doctor Fink and Boni Boyer on keyboards, Eric Leeds on saxophone, Atlanta Bliss on trumpet andSheila E. on drums). Sheila E., in fact, plays drums on several tracks and sings backup, along with Boyer. Leeds and Bliss provide horns on most tracks, and Ingrid Chavez provides the intro to "Eye No". As opposed to the LP release, early CDcopies of Lovesexy have the entire album in sequence as a single track, so the album is heard in the context of a continuous sequence, though some later editions have it as nine separate tracks.
Contents[edit | edit source]
- 2 Critical reception
- 3 Track listing
- 4 Personnel
- 5 Charts
- 6 Singles and Hot 100 chart placings
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
Music[edit | edit source]
The theme of the album is the struggle between good and evil, or "Camille" and "Spooky Electric", respectively. God andSatan, virtue and sin (although, with the Gemini character that he developed in 1989, these "sides" may also represent "ego and alter-ego"), the perennial themes of Prince's work, finally truly mix as Prince climaxes to "Love is God, God is Love, Girls and Boys love God above", in the song, "Anna Stesia".
Prince refers to Lovesexy as a gospel album. It opens with a sermon of sorts; "Eye No", a positive energetic track advising people to be free from their vices and to reject Satan, and affirming his belief in God, while using his bully pulpit to encourage the listener to do the same. "Eye No" is a reworking of a song called "The Ball" from the unreleased Crystal Ball. The song ends with a scale of horns and a segue of conversations (originally recorded on "Eye No"'s original version "The Ball" which segued into another song; the "conversations", or background party ambience, was later used on the Graffiti Bridge album as a segue between "We Can Funk" and "Joy in Repetition") leading to the album's biggest-selling single, "Alphabet St.", which mixes dance music, rock and rap along with playful lyrics about sex, braggadocio, and the heavenly state of feeling "lovesexy". Next is "Glam Slam", a busy dance track which features Prince's full band. It speaks to the uplifting interlude between Prince and a woman, and how, when he was down, she lifted him. It also praises the woman's love and sense of humanity. The song ends with an almost classical music string solo (performed on keyboard). Ending side one of the vinyl release is "Anna Stesia", a heartfelt confessional number divulging various sins of the flesh, and ends with Prince promising to dedicate his life and music to God.
Side two opens with the machine gun-like pace of "Dance On", which lambastes negative aspects of society, somewhat akin to "Sign "☮" the Times". The title track follows, described by Prince as "The feeling you get when you fall in love...not with a boy or girl but with the heavens above," and it is another energetic dance track; the "Good News" indeed Prince extols its virtues graphically and then he and Cat Glover share an orgasm, both using sped up Camille-like vocals, going from Prince's voice to Cat's. This leads into the surviving The Black Album track, "When 2 R in Love", a sex-infused ballad. Next is the almost sparse, but uplifting "I Wish U Heaven", which says that no matter what controversy or opposition one may bring, the end result is still wishing your enemy the best. It follows a Biblical proverb about "blessing those that curse you, loving those that hate you, for it heaps hot coals on their heads". The last track is "Positivity", which echoes the theme of "Dance On". It extols the virtues of staying positive, while asking the listener to examine examples of negativity and negative aspects of the world; overlooking the quick thrill and pushing toward being positive throughout it. The song continuously asks the question "Have you had your plus sign today?" The vocals are sung, but the bridge and extended portions are more of a spoken rap type style that Prince had started to display as early as "All the Critics Love U in New York", in 1982. The song ends with sounds of water rushing and a river over keyboard chords. This final song was later given to Mavis Staples for her 1991 album, The Voice.
Critical reception[edit | edit source]
|Entertainment Weekly||B |
|Robert Christgau||B+ |
The cover (based on a photo by Jean Baptiste Mondino) caused some controversy upon release as it depicts Prince in the nude. Some record stores refused to stock it or wrapped the album in black, ironically, as Lovesexy was issued as a replacement for the hastily withdrawn The Black Album, which had an achromatic black cover.
Lovesexy was Prince's least successful album since 1982, the album failed to break the top 10, only got certified Gold and spent just 21 weeks on the US Billboard 200. While "Alphabet St." managed to crack the top 10, it did not make a lasting impression and the subsequent two single releases failed to chart on the Hot 100 . The situation in the United Kingdom was more positive, where the album debuted at #1 and all the singles became top 40 hits.
The album was accompanied by the critically acclaimed Lovesexy World Tour, of which the Dortmund show in Germany was released on video cassette and laser disc. It was also televised (with a short delay for editorial purposes) on the British Channel 4, the broadcast contained various camera shots than the ones used in the officially released video, which was released a year later in 1989.
Track listing[edit | edit source]
All songs written and composed by Prince.
|7.||"When 2 R in Love"||4:01|
|8.||"I Wish U Heaven"||2:43|
- The opening to "Eye No" contains a sample from a Roger Limb track "Passing Clouds", created at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop released in 1971 on the Out of this World album.
- The early edition of the Compact Disc features all content on a single track. Some later editions featured nine separate tracks.
Personnel[edit | edit source]
- Sheila E. - drums (1, 2, 3, 8), drums and backing vocals (5, 9)
- Boni Boyer - keyboards (1), backing vocals (4, 9)
- Dr. Fink - keyboards (1)
- Miko Weaver - guitar (1)
- Levi Seacer, Jr. - bass (1)
- Eric Leeds - saxophone (1, 2, 9)
- Atlanta Bliss - trumpet (1, 2, 9)
- Ingrid Chavez - spoken intro (1)
- Cat Glover - rap (2), backing vocals (4)
- All other vocals and instruments performed by Prince.
Charts[edit | edit source]
|US Billboard 200||11|
|US Billboard R&B Albums||5|
|UK Albums Chart||1|
Singles and Hot 100 chart placings[edit | edit source]
- "Alphabet St." (#8 US, #3 US R&B, #9 UK)
- "Alphabet St. – part 1" – 7" version only
- "Alphabet St. – part 2" – 7" version only
- "Alphabet St." – 12" version only
- "Alphabet St. – This is not music, this is a trip" – 12" version only
- "Glam Slam" (#44 US R&B, #29 UK)
- "Glam Slam" — 7" version only
- "Glam Slam (Remix)" — 12" version only
- "I Wish U Heaven" (#18 US R&B, #24 UK)
- "I Wish U Heaven" — 7" version only
- "I Wish U Heaven (Part 1, 2 and 3)" — 12" version only
- "Scarlet Pussy"