218: Cindy C

The Black Album (1987)
Well here he goes again, falling in love with the face in a magazine, but this is no normal love letter – what elevates Cindy C is the extremes it’s pushed to. Enough eyebrows would have been raised if Prince had left this as a three-verse indecent proposal to Cindy Crawford. But as usual he goes further and the randy devil is in the details. First Prince plies her with booze: elderberry wine and whatever concoction his mixologist Sheila E serves up (listen to her making a percussion cocktail ninety seconds in). Then in the third verse Wendy tears into the supermodel in the right-channel “…she can’t even walk in those shoes… she can’t even dance…” So far, so restrained, and if Prince had plumped for the conventional fade-out at four minutes Ms Crawford could sleep easier. But there’s a fourth verse where a discordant guitar darkens the mood and Prince launches into a spoken verse about her “furry melting thing” awaiting him. This is immediately followed up by him going full-deranged, yelling “what’s the matter with meeeee” while the right-channel voice becomes a justly horrified Cindy. After that plunge into psychosis, the bubblegum chaser of Cat’s verse seems incongruous. Prince was unaware she had lifted the rap from JM Silk’s house tune Music is the Key, and only found out when he initially reused it for Positivity. It was probably best left where Cat found it but at least it lightens the mood. Cindy C is the only Black Album song Prince never played live, suggesting it may hold a particular embarrassment. Or maybe he was sparing the subject’s blushes. Either way, the only times he used the word savoir-faire again on record, was on the spiritually cleansing I No and 7.