111: I Feel For You

Prince (1979)
Nostalgia is a poisonous drug but I find something vitalising about remembering the awkward fumbles of my salad days. Maybe the pH levels of embarrassment need to be just right: too little and you fall into a toxic, rose-tinted slump; too much and the recollections become unbearable. Several songs on Prince’s first two albums inhabit that puppy-love world, none more so than I Feel For You. With its falsetto and pre-Dirty Mind lyrics, it’s a song powered by the fluttering butterflies of youth and reminds me of a time I look back fondly on but would never want to relive. In 1984 Chaka Khan brought I Feel For You to the masses, selling millions and winning a Grammy in the process. I have no need for it in my life. Her cover has music industry fingerprints all over it and like a mother bird I reject it. Gone are the butterflies – the adolescent nerves of an undeveloped persona and sexual inexperience – and in are Mellie Mel, Stevie Wonder and some board-room approved breakdancers. Chart appeal over heart appeal. Give me an oxygenising hit of the OG every time, where I can tap into a reservoir of magic from a time where the air fizzed with a million frightening possibilities.