Released in May of 1998, Lovesexy was recorded in a symbolic 7 weeks, reportedly after Prince experienced something of an epiphany upon the Warner Bros. pressing of what was to be “The Funk Bible”; a response to criticism citing that the Purple One had become too pop oriented. In direct contrast to The Black Album, Lovesexy was an indeed an antithesis to its predecessor which was recalled only a week before its scheduled release. Prince went so far as to subliminally apologize for his “negativity” in The Black Album by embedding the split-second message of “DON’T BUY THE BLACK ALBUM. I’M SORRY” within the Alphabet Street music video; Lovesexy’s first single.
For most Prince fans, the release of Lovesexy itself was a polarizing event. In full affirmation of Prince’s Christianity at the time, the album conveyed in no uncertain terms; the theme of Love is GodGod is Love. (The term here is presented back-to-back without spacing in my interpretation of the “mirrored” or interchangeable value of the statement.) Prince pulled no punches in expounding upon the contrast between good and evil, or in Purple terms, Lovesexy vs. Spooky Electric. The message is undoubtedly clear throughout the album, most evident in the opening track of “Eye Know”, “Anna Stesia” and the album’s conclusion of “Positivity”.
Released during the height of Hip Hop and the likes of N.W.A., Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane, Prince fans came down on both sides of either acceptance of Prince’s embrace of his spirituality or the disenchantment of what was now a Purple pulpit. For the latter, many of his fan base ran for cover in response to public scorn of the album cover, depicting Prince nude in somewhat feminine fashion. (Ironically, it was reported that retailers often wrapped the album cover in plain black in order to avoid offending their casual clientele.) Like me, others I’m sure found themselves in the uncomfortable lurch of having to defend their fandom in light of such a controversial statement from our self proclaimed musical genius. This surely marked the submergence of the Prince “closet fan”.
The “genius” itself, however – is that the musicality of the album actually served as a perfect conduit for his message. I’m happy to report that the 25th anniversary of Lovesexy has led me to re-examine the creation and with time comes maturity. I’ve listened again with new ears and have come away with a greater appreciation to what I believe is Prince’s prophetic expression, and one that his legacy simply cannot do without.
With that, I’ll leave the listener to his or her own personal interpretation but with our podcasting aid which includes live performances and rehearsals of the Lovesexy songs, including a couple of outtakes that were recorded in the same vein but remain unreleased.
Peace and Love2tha9s..