114: Sister

Dirty Mind (1980)
Has any artist had a swifter, more extreme makeover between two albums? Twelve months ago Prince was riding a white Pegasus through a soft-focus meadow and now he’s posing in a flasher mac and bikini briefs amid monochrome urban squalor. Pop pin-up to punk pervert in the blink of an eye. The music on Dirty Mind has evolved less abruptly and sits snugly as a transition between Prince and Controversy, but the lyrics on one track tell us 80s Prince is not like 70s Prince. Sister sees the shock value get ramped up from its previous vanilla “ooh, a lesbian, nudge, nudge” setting to “holy shit, that’s horrific, dude why would anyone sing that?!” A one-inch punch of a song that in its 90 seconds has more twists and turns than a four-hour opera. Flash fiction set to power chords. Head may also raise the outrage stakes but has sounded tame ever since Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax infiltrated the charts. Sister is as taboo-breaking and as genuinely shocking today as it was almost 40 years ago. Prince at his most punk.