118: The Screams of Passion

The Family (1985) / Girl 6 (1996)
The 1996 soundtrack album Girl 6 doesn’t receive much love and it’s not hard to see why. You already own over half if Parade, Sign o’ the Times and The Hits/The B-sides are in your collection, and out of its trio of previously-unreleased songs there’s only one stand-out: She Spoke 2 Me, a track soon eclipsed by an unedited release on The Vault three years later. To me though this album was a gateway portal into a new dimension of the Prince universe. At the time I thought Sheila E and Sheena Easton were the same person and that Vanity 6 and The Family was probably something to do with the film. Little did I know Nasty Girl and The Screams of Passion would become my white rabbit ride into the realm of the Prince protégé. Along with A Love Bizarre they remain my favourite tracks from that world (I either imprinted on them or Spike Lee cherry-picked the best) and the albums they’re from are still regularly on my turntable. The Family’s debut (and only lp under that band name) may be better known for housing the first released version of Nothing Compares 2 U but Sinéad, Prince and Rosie all do it better. The Screams of Passion is their high water mark. A demo exists with Prince on vocals, but for once the released version is superior. A dizzying, headboard-rocking strings-and-screams-fest that was too raunchy for the album’s printed lyrics which primly replace the word vulva with velvet. It’s one of those songs best heard horizontal. And alone. Nowadays, the Girl 6 album has outlived its purpose – I don’t think I’ve listened to it in almost twenty years – but bringing The Screams of Passion into my life is a kindness I’ll never forget.