173: Sex Shooter

Apollonia 6 (1984) / Originals (2019)
Firstly, let’s expunge the Apollonia 6 version of Sex Shooter from the record. For 35 years it was the only official release (appearing on their album, a single, and in Purple Rain) but is a pale karaoke cover of either the demo that was cleaned up and finally released in 2019, or of Vanity’s unreleased version. Vanity, God rest her soul, was never a gifted singer yet is Aretha Franklyn compared to her replacement and is helped by having Prince’s vocals buried deep in the mix like carbon steel rebar. When she left the band, Prince replaced the overtly sexual songs from Vanity 6’s sophomore album with more sensual fare that chimed better with Apollonia’s sweeter nature. Sex Shooter (a play on a six-shooter revolver) was left in, presumably because it featured in the movie, but asking us to picture Apollonia as a dangerous, love-shooting weapon was an ask too far. In her hands it was always an awkward fit. There’s only one person that can pull Sex Shooter off. It requires the androgynous power of a female lead – Prince imploring us to kiss the gun and blow him away is too on the nose, even for him – but the track needs the devouring glint in its eye that only the original Nasty Girl can provide. Hearing it makes me yearn for that second Vanity 6 album that never was.