415: Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)

Single (1981) / The Hits/The B Sides (1993)
The first non-album track in Prince’s discography and a regular catch with record collectors, rearing its head on the A-side of a couple of UK releases and on the flip of Let’s Work in North America. Despite it being paired with songs from Prince and Controversy it’s Dirty Mind through and through. A new wave, keyboard-driven appeal to an unrequited love who’s “messin’ about” with everybody but him, causing him to play with his “toy” so much he’s going to go blind. Gotta Stop (Messin’ About) is as sparse as its Dirty Mind compatriots but feels stiffer and more like the clenched posture of the jealous lover “sittin’ outside your door” on a stake-out. However there’s enough lo-fi fuzz, reverb and synth sweeps to loosen its hard edges. Piet Mondrian colouring outside the lines in sexual frustration.