483: Ronnie, Talk to Russia

Controversy (1981)
Prince’s political songs (Annie Christian, Sign O’ The Times…) are usually restrained, calculated affairs, coldly spoken more than sung. However Ronnie, Talk to Russia is a rockabilly nursery rhyme with gunfire and dated Cold War lyrics which thankfully explodes in a mushroom cloud before it can take the Controversy album down with it. You have to admire its chutzpah. It flies in through an open window, crashes about, upsetting furniture and decorum and just as suddenly defenestrates itself not two minutes later in a flurry of feathers and feedback. It’s the wild excitement of “There’s a dog in the playground!” There’s a whale in the Thames! A disruption that’s felt long after side two finishes, leaving you with a feeling of “what just happened?” which is an impressive achievement on an album that also features the flippant bustle of Jack U Off.