Dirty Mind is Prince’s breakout album that defined him as an artist. Not as a studio-polished as his previous two releases, the sound and lyrics are more raw and abrasive. Melding new-wave, funk, punk, and R&B into a new type of dance music, it’s all new- mood, decade, and Prince. The title track, “Dirty Mind”, has a pulsing beat and Prince sings in high falsetto while harmonizing with himself in a lower voice, a technique used on many of his best hits. “When You Were Mine” is the unquestioned best track on the album. A song about a past lover who is with someone new, everything gels in this from the keyboard and clean guitar reoccurring melody to the on-point backing vocals. With it’s slap funk bass lines and catchy keyboard 4-note lines, “Do It All Night”, hooks you even before Prince starts singing. The second half beings with the funky “Uptown”, a tribute to Minneapolis’ open artistic community. A keyboard wash that is out of this world (and sounds reminiscent to one used the 70’s cartoon Superfriends) takes us to“Head”, another groove-based song dealing with a soon to be bride and oral sex. If you thought he was pushing boundaries with that subject matter, Prince goes warp-speed with the gritty punk influenced “Sister”. Clocking in at a minute and half, he weaves a story that would make E.L. James blush. There’s no way to write off the lyrics as metaphors as he hammers it in with lines like “incest is everything it’s said to be” and “Oh, motherf***er she’s a brotherf***er, can’t you understand.” After that brief jolting interruption, the album closes with the dance jam, “Partyup”. With an album running for just over thirty minutes, it’s a fast ride with a sexually-fixated musical artist. You can point to Dirty Mind as launching pad for the first era of Prince’s career, setting up such classic albums as 1999 and arguably one of the best albums ever made, Purple Rain.
- Dirty Mind (4:13)
- When You Were Mine (3:46)
- Do It All Night (3:41)
- Gotta Broken Heart Again (2:16)
- Uptown (5:29)
- Head (4:41)
- Sister (1:31)
- Partyup (4:22)
Recorded in Prince’s home studio in Minneapolis, instead of Los Angeles, the album doesn’t have the “shine” that Prince had, but that’s makes Dirty Mind so different and appealing. It can take adjusting to the processed drums and synths that are prominent in the “Minneapolis Sound”, but The 192kHz/24-bit FLAC from HDtracks (also available in 92kHz/24-bit FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, and WAV) captures the first shot of a new sub-genre of pop music and this is the best it has sounded. The first two tracks really shine as does the guitar in “Sister”. Although the vocal break late in “Do It All Night” doesn’t come across as clean as some on Prince, it still is a rewind moment to hear. Occasionally his trademark high-falsetto tones can get lost in the mix, but only for a split second. The guitar work and background vocals on “When You Were Mine” sound as though he’s in the room with you: amazingly clean, clear, and natural.
A high-resolution PDF of the front cover art is all that we get.
The Definitive Word
Dirty Mind is not only the start of eighties Prince, it’s the beginning of the “Minneapolis Sound” that would help make Janet Jackson and the producing team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — to name a few — mainstays of the next-gen of the entertainment industry. A landmark pop album that helped to make Prince a trendsetter for the rest of the decade and later career, HDtracks makes it possible to experience one of the Top 100 Albums of the 1980’s lists, and number 206 out of 500 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Greatest Albums of All Time in a fine high-resolution, lossless format.