73: Chelsea Rodgers

Planet Earth (2007)
On my commute into work, I often walk down an alley used as an after-hours toilet by late-night revellers and the homeless. Two-thirds of the way down, the strong odour of urine and premium-strength lager gets replaced by an aroma of freshly-baked croissants pumped out of a bakery’s vent. It only lasts a few seconds before returning to the previous stench of urban squalor but this momentary olfactory oasis is my favourite smell in the world. What would barely register in its expected setting gets heightened by contrast. It reminds me of one of Prince’s best disco-funk tune sitting in the midst of one of his worst albums. That’s not completely fair to Planet Earth. Many of the songs aren’t bad, they just don’t trouble the business end of this list but if I were to ever compile Prince’s 500 worst songs, All the Midnights in the World and Resolution would be shoe-ins for a top 10 finish. In between these two troughs stands Chelsea Rodgers, a club banger which, in a juster world, would be the standard issue floor-filler for every High Street DJ. Its choppy bass licks are reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Around the World and probably a thousand disco songs before it – including CHIC, making some fans wonder if Chelsea is Niles Rodgers’ daughter. My favourite conspiracy theory is she’s the love child of Prince and Sheila E. The model purported to be her does resemble the two former lovers, and would be the right age. But if they wanted this kept under wraps it would be a pretty ballsy double-bluff to collaborate on and release a promotional single all about her, while parading her face to the world via its accompanying video. Donning a surname that’s a typo of Prince’s middle name would be one extra level of too-obvious-to-be-true subterfuge too. No, the evidence points to a reality far more boring. She’s a model and fashion designer called Chelsea Smith who faded into obscurity after this brief flare-up of fame. However, vocalist Shelby J, the real star of this song, rose in Prince’s orbit, appearing on his next three lps and now has a debut album under her belt. Go ahead now Shelby! Go ahead now!