Controversy (Prince album)
Controversy is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Prince, released on October 14, 1981 by Warner Bros. Records. It was produced by Prince, written (with the exception of one track) by him, and he also performed most of the instruments on its recording. Controversy reached number three on the Billboard R&B Albums chart and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was voted the eighth best album of the year in the 1981 Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice.
|Studio album by|
|Released||October 14, 1981|
|Recorded||August 14–23, 1981|
|Studio||Uptown, Sunset Sound, Hollywood Sound|
|Singles from Controversy|
Music and lyricsEdit
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Controversy opens with the title track, which raises questions that were being asked about Prince at the time, including his race and sexuality. The song "flirts with blasphemy" by including a chant of The Lord's Prayer. "Do Me, Baby" is an "extended bump-n-grind" ballad with explicitly sexual lyrics, and "Ronnie, Talk to Russia" is a politically charged plea to President Ronald Reagan. "Private Joy" is a bouncy bubblegum pop-funk tune, "showing off Prince's lighter side", followed by "Annie Christian", which lists historical events such as the murder of African-American children in Atlanta and the death of John Lennon. The album's final song, "Jack U Off", is a synthesized rockabilly-style track.
This was the first of his albums to associate Prince with the color purple as well as the first to use sensational spelling in his song titles.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|Spin Alternative Record Guide||8/10|
|The Village Voice||A−|
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, music critic Stephen Holden wrote that "Prince's first three records were so erotically self-absorbed that they suggested the reveries of a licentious young libertine. On Controversy, that libertine proclaims unfettered sexuality as the fundamental condition of a new, more loving society than the bellicose, overtechnologized America of Ronald Reagan." He went on to say, "Despite all the contradictions and hyperbole in Prince's playboy philosophy, I still find his message refreshingly relevant."
Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic in a generally favorable review for The Village Voice, in which he wrote that its "socially conscious songs are catchy enough, but they spring from the mind of a rather confused young fellow, and while his politics get better when he sticks to his favorite subject, which is s-e-x, nothing here is as far-out and on-the-money as 'Head' or 'Sister' or the magnificent 'When You Were Mine.'"
According to Blender magazine's Keith Harris, Controversy is "Prince's first attempt to get you to love him for his mind, not just his body", as it "refines the propulsive funk of previous albums and adds treatises on religion, work, nuclear war and Abscam." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic remarked that it "continues in the same vein of new wave-tinged funk on Dirty Mind, emphasizing Prince's fascination with synthesizers and synthesizing disparate pop music genres".
All songs written by Prince, except where noted.
|3.||"Do Me, Baby" (André Cymone, Prince)||7:43|
|5.||"Ronnie, Talk to Russia"||1:58|
|8.||"Jack U Off"||3:09|
Adapted from the AllMusic credits.
|Australian Albums Chart||55|
|Dutch Albums Chart||50|
|US Billboard 200||21|
|US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||3|
|U.S. Billboard 200||55|
|US Billboard Pop Albums||59|
|US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||15|
|Controversy||U.S. Billboard Hot 100||70|
|Let's Work||U.S. Billboard Hot 100||104|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- "Prince - Discography for USA". www.discog.info. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Controversy – Prince". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- Eddy, Chuck (September 2010). "Essentials". Spin. 26 (8): 84.
- "The 1981 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 1, 1982. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- Holden, Stephen (January 21, 1982). "Controversy". Rolling Stone. No. 361. New York. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- Harris, Keith (June–July 2001). "Prince: Controversy". Blender. No. 1. New York. Archived from the original on August 20, 2004. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- Keller, Martin (April 4, 1993). "A Prince Discography". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 8, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- Browne, David; Sandow, Greg (September 21, 1990). "A decade of Prince albums". Entertainment Weekly. No. 32. New York. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
- Price, Simon (April 22, 2016). "Prince: every album rated – and ranked". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
- Brooks, Daphne (April 29, 2016). "Prince: Controversy". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Matos, Michaelangelo (2004). "Prince". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 654–57. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Weisbard, Eric (1995). "Prince". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 311–13. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
- Christgau, Robert (November 30, 1981). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- "Controversy - Prince | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Prince - Controversy".
- "Allmusic: Controversy : Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- "British album certifications – Prince – Controversy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 2, 2014. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Controversy in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American album certifications – Prince – Controversy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 2, 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
- Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.