283: Allegiance

Unreleased (1991) / Allegiance (1992)
Firstly, let’s ignore Howard Hewett’s version. In the annals of pop history Allegiance will be remembered as a bland soul track by the former Shalamar singer; an album title-track that wasn’t good enough to become a single. But as ever with these purple-penned gifts, it’s all about the original hiding in the Paisley Park vault – a demo that even with poor fidelity is leagues ahead of the recipient’s re-recording. Prince’s vocals on this unreleased gem start mid-wail like we’re jumping on a train that’s already left the station. After our hasty boarding we take a tour through the sacred realm of Sex and Salvation, and witness Prince pledge allegiance to his lover’s body which moves him in mysterious ways. It’s a popular route but the air is fresh, and Prince even fits in some on-brand gender-blurring (unless you accept the “junk” reference as solely a drug metaphor). Allegiance, as the lyrics say, is a deep blue funk but I like it. The final 30 seconds alone is anthemic enough to rally hearts and nations behind. May Howard’s version be stricken from the records and let us never speak of it again.