“Black Sweat” by Prince (2006)

1) This is the 10th Prince-performed song included on this list. Michael Jackson has five. No other artist has more than three. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that we’re only one full letter into the alphabet at this point. I think we all already know who’s going to end up with the most songs here.

2) “Black Sweat” was the last Prince single that didn’t feel like “just another Prince song”. It wasn’t a “change-your-molecular-structure” song like, say, “When Doves Cry”. But it was solid second-tier genius Prince. Not bad for a guy who was then approaching his fifth decade of making records.

3) After the full-band sound of Musicology, “Black Sweat” found Prince returning to his sparse, syntheizer-dominated sound for the first time in years. In the 21st century, Pharrell Williams redesigned minimalism, and I feel like “Black Sweat” was Prince comin’ for Skateboard P in some kinda way.

4) While ostensibly about dancing, “Black Sweat” was the sexiest song Prince recorded in the 21st century. From the coquettish way he delivers the opening line (”I don’t want to take my clothes off/But I do”) to the James Brown scream/exorcism that closes the song, “Black Sweat” pounds and bangs like the best porn.

5) Although Prince sings most of “Black Sweat” in falsetto, it’s one of his most masculine songs. Prince is addressing himself in the first verse, and then turns his attention not to a girl specifically, but to that girl’s dude. When Prince issues a warning to “take your woman and hide”, it’s a warning that it would probably be in your best interests to heed.

6) My favorite GIF of all time:


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