478: Play

Unreleased (1990)
Doubling down on the play euphemism familiar in songs like Controversy and Play in the Sunshine, this track from the vault is a deceptive beast – summery pop with an atavistic darkness lurking within. A wolf in sheep’s beachwear. You can feel the beat physically panting as it projects an X-rated screening of The Warriors, with Prince prowling the streets, beer bottles on fingertips, howling into the night. A lupine boogie monster picking off the village’s daughters. In the second verse when the jaunty guitars and handclaps melt away leaving only an a cappella “I wanna kiss you, more or less” refrain, the raw, white-hot desire that courses through Play’s veins is exposed and a volley of “I wanna”s light up a monomaniacal internal dialogue before exploding in a snarling, skyward scream to Ishtar. Play in the Sunshine it’s not.