412: Data Bank

Unreleased (1986) / Pandemonium (1990)
This was recorded by The Time for their fourth album but completely outshone by the unreleased Prince and the Revolution original. Data Bank (or Pretty Face as my Italian Chocolate Box bootleg mistitles it) is a jackhammer funk thumper, heavily influenced by Cameo’s I Just Want To Be and featuring a synth motif that sounds like a phone number being punched in. It inhabits the same world as Movie Star, another song penned that year with Morris Day in mind, and includes that title in the lyrics along with the same character’s mannerisms. Prince assuming the role of a playboy Don Quixote on a quest for phone numbers, constantly thwarted by the gap between his high-living delusions and impoverished reality. I love how it descends into chaos with him pretending to lose control of the band, screaming “I didn’t call the horns” and “I didn’t call that either”, before saying he quits and instructing his engineer to fade it out when the band doesn’t stop at his request. I don’t know what happened to it during it’s Time conversion but the playfulness got lost in translation, along with its comedic lesson in hubris. As Prince says in both Movie Star and Data Bank “Oh that’s dog!”