179: Alphabet St

Lovesexy (1988)
Yes THAT Alphabet St. The one even folk who don’t like Prince sing along to. Don’t mistake my triple-digit listing as apathy. There’s just a lot of competition. Alphabet St is a day-glo, gangly puppy. A harlequin skeleton where every joint’s an elbow. How does it even stand upright, let alone jerk its body like a horny pony would? Being one of his most-played hits you forget just how damn weird it is. Even without the video it’s an all-syrup Super Squishee ride through kids TV, brought to you by the letters L, S and D… or W, T and F. But not G. Ingrid Chavez famously misses out the seventh letter while reciting the alphabet. On a web Q&A in the early 2000s I remember Prince being asked about the omission and his reply was Ingrid had something else on her mind. Everyone got the intended drift. But maybe what really distracted her was the sheer lunacy happening around her. Is that a cuica? Sure, why not? The 12″ version is even more chaotic and subtitled “This Is Not Music… This Is A Trip” but if this remix is any kind of trip it’s a self-indulgent one through his Fairlight synthesizer’s sound banks. Without vocals the relentless button-bashing is too masturbatury to fully love. An unreleased and more restrained part 2 is slightly better, yet both parts are infinitely preferable to what would become of Alphabet St in later live shows. The swift morph into a sped-up country hoedown is an ignoble fate to befall such a loveable rogue. Shine on you crazy cartoon diamond.