The Paisley Trail: My Journey with Prince to 1999 and Back

Originally Posted March 3, 2011

I’ve been living in Minneapolis for almost a year now and just realized that I haven’t been fully appreciating the city’s greatest powerhouse. I’m not talking about Target, Best Buy, 3M or any other monster corporation. I’m talking about the heir to the throne of funk – Prince. For 30 years, Prince Rogers Nelson has been making sweet, dirty love to the ears of Minnesotans through the magic of a guitar shaped like a cloverleaf highway intersection. It’s time to sit down and really dig into the royal lyrics spawned from his purple majesty’s pen.


Track 1: “I Wanna Be Your Lover”

“I wanna be the only one you come for

I wanna be your brother

I wanna be your mother and your sister, too”

Prince somehow manages to take what was a completely innocent song about filthy sex between a hobo and a respectable young lady and turns it into a track about incest. Oh, Prince…


Track 2: 1999

“My mind says prepare 2 fight

So if I gotta die, I’m gonna listen 2 my body 2night…

I got a lion in my pocket and, baby, he’s ready 2 roar”

In the single greatest Y2K song ever recorded, The Purple Yoda advises us to prepare for the apocalypse by having an elephant gun handy in case Simba shows up in our pants and tries to chomp our nuts off.


Track 3: Little Red Corvette

“I guess I must be dumb

‘Cuz you had a pocket full of horses

Trojan and some of them used”

Here’s a song about Prince wanting to find a love that’s gonna last. Well, Prince, I know hindsight is 20/20 but do you think that just maybe not only is this girl not looking for anything serious, but that she might be bat-shit crazy because she’s carrying around other men’s semen in little plastic baggies?


Track 4: When Doves Cry

“Why do we scream at each other?

This is what it sounds like

When doves cry”

Dear Lord, if I ever come across a manically depressed turtledove on Christmas Eve and his tears sound like a domestic dispute between Ike and Tina Turner, I’m just going to off myself right then and there. What hope would we possibly have for Yuletide cheer?


Track 5: Let’s Go Crazy

“Let’s go crazy

Let’s get nuts

Let’s look 4 the purple banana

‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!”

I consider myself a smart man; I usually understand metaphors. But the more I read this lyric, the more I think Prince just meant it literally. Let’s completely lose our sanity and search for a discolored, phallic fruit until someone from the asylum puts us on a truck and locks us up like Slingblade.


Track 6: Purple Rain

“Purple rain, purple rain

If you know what I’m singin’ about up here, come on raise your hand

Purple rain, purple rain”

No hands? Nobody? Don’t be shy. Nobody? Ok, next song.


Track 7: I Would Die 4 You

“No need 2 worry

No need 2 cry

I’m your messiah and you’re the reason why”

I know you said there’s no need 2 worry, but I can’t help but be a little panicked if my messiah is the same guy that recently told me to lose my marbles and go search for a purple banana.


Track 8: Raspberry Beret

“She wasn’t 2 bright

But I could tell when she kissed me

She knew how 2 get her kicks”

Nothing like a dumb slut to anchor a romantic story about doing it in a barn in front of a bunch of confused horses. Well, at least we learned that not everyone in a beret is a gay French man. Way to break down those ugly walls of bigoted stereotypes, Prince!


So what have I learned from this quest through the royal gardens of Prince’s back catalog? Well, one – this guy is nuts. Clearly. Two, and most importantly – regardless of what comes out of this tiny sextraterrestrial’s mouth, it makes me want to dance. Bare minimum do some slow bumpin’ and grindin’ on a dumb floozy at the corner bar.