“D.M.S.R.” by Prince (1982)

Hey you guys, I haven’t abandoned this project. About three weeks ago, I got put in an email chain by a friend looking for research materials and I ended up getting a link to the entire Cashbox Magazine archives. I realize most of you are probably not as music-nerdy as I am, so let me explain: Cashbox was Billboard’s redheaded sibling. And I’m a chart geek, at least I was up until three or four years ago when I fell completely away from giving a shit about modern pop music. At any rate, this archive is a treasure trove of chart goodness, industry news, and I’ve even found articles and pictures pertaining to people I am involved with professionally to this day-only they were a lot younger (and had more important jobs) back then. Anyway, this rabbit hole has been severe and I’ve literally cancelled social engagements to read through these magazines and catalog the charts. Eventually, that will either get old or I’ll finish reading them all. But I do want to get back to this project, so here we are with a new entry-a song by an artist you are very familiar with if you’ve been reading since the beginning. I think Prince has more than twice as many songs on this list so far as any other artist.

D=Dance

M=Music

S=Sex

R=Romance

Later stage Prince probably would’ve swapped out “romance” for “religion”, but thankfully we’re not talking about that Prince. We’re talking about 24 year old, near the peak of his powers and just about to take over the world Prince. The little man was quite fond of mission statements (“Controversy”, “Paisley Park”), and given Prince’s oeuvre to that point it was probably a little unnecessary for him to spell it out for us this particular time. But “D.M.S.R.” is a perfect dance/funk gem anyway.

In Prince’s Utopia, the police don’t have guns, and women (and I assume guys too?) can wear lingerie to a restaurant. Matter of fact, Prince urges you to “strip right down to your underwear”. No problem for me. I hate wearing pants anyway.

Prince, nodding to his expanding fan base, helpfully details instructions to white folks on how to clap on the 4 (I’ve been to enough shows to know that sometimes instructions like these are very necessary). He states that he will “try (his) best to never get bored”, and I was just about to make an obnoxious comment about Planet Earth and 20Ten that I’ll just let you infer because I’m trying not to be bitchy these days, Also, Jamie Starr is a thief. Whatever.

About Jamie Starr. This was the pseudonym Prince used in the early ‘80s for his side projects like The Time, Vanity/Apollonia 6 and Sheila E. Prince clearly wanted people to believe that Jamie was a real person, and I’m not sure why he was so hell-bent on throwing people off the trail of knowing that he was behind all those projects. There were people who actually fell for the ruse, despite the fact that you can literally hear Prince’s voice doubling the vocals on some of these records. Folks are much more savvy nowadays, there’s no way Prince would’ve been able to pass that shit by anyone in the 21st century.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice (2007):  I owe my knowledge of this song to Kanye West…or at least the article I read that mentioned Justice beating Yeezy for some MTV Video Award in Europe. Mr. West, predictably, lost his shit. Remember when that was borderline charming?

I owe my appreciation of this song to the fact that I love that European dance music sound that bubbled up when the “disco era” came to an end. Justice followed in the footsteps of Daft Punk, sure. But I can’t be mad at any song that reminds me of folks like Gino Soccio, Change, or Kano (to name a few early ‘80s acts that clearly inspired Justice). Although I don’t think any of those artists would use kids singing on the chorus of a song. “D.A.N.C.E.” is totally a roller-skating jam. I don’t roller skate, though…at least I haven’t since the mid ‘80s. So maybe the better thing to say is that “D.A.N.C.E.” would be a choice roller-skating jam for me if I was actually someone that skated!

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