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Forums > Prince: Music and More > I say "If I Was Your Girlfriend" is Prince's finest work in his whole career.
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Thread started 04/30/16 4:40pm

Shawy89

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I say "If I Was Your Girlfriend" is Prince's finest work in his whole career.

Lyrically speaking, it introduces a theme that no lyricist ever dealt with before, even Bob Dylan. (Probably a poet the 17th century has thought of androgyny as a way to adress a love relationship or jealousy for that matter, but not in the same fashion of Prince's discour-esque way)



Musically, it defines what 'slow jam' means. Very ahead of its time, the minimalist approach Prince took while composing the drum/bass pattern is way too creative and smart.

Again, I insist on the lyrics, and the melody, I don't know about the details of the recording, but Prince sure did a fine job. To use your high-pitched vocals in order to maintain a female persona, and find out about all the possibilities that could exist in a world where you can be your lover's girlfriend, all in one song; It's an audacious idea, very unique and raw.

So, to me, this is the Mona Lisa to Prince's inner Da Vinci. Wonderful artpiece.

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. - Buddha
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Reply #1 posted 04/30/16 4:42pm

Shawy89

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And oh, I don't know if there are any film geeks on the org, but listening to If I Was Your Girlfriend FEELS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME like watching Persona by Ingmar Bergman. That's uncanny.

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. - Buddha
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Reply #2 posted 04/30/16 4:53pm

jtfolden

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Shawy89 said:

Again, I insist on the lyrics, and the melody, I don't know about the details of the recording, but Prince sure did a fine job. To use your high-pitched vocals in order to maintain a female persona, and find out about all the possibilities that could exist in a world where you can be your lover's girlfriend, all in one song; It's an audacious idea, very unique and raw.

What's really interesting about this track, too, is that the vocal effect was an accident! wink

I do love this song, too.

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Reply #3 posted 04/30/16 5:03pm

Gustavm

jtfolden said:

Shawy89 said:

Again, I insist on the lyrics, and the melody, I don't know about the details of the recording, but Prince sure did a fine job. To use your high-pitched vocals in order to maintain a female persona, and find out about all the possibilities that could exist in a world where you can be your lover's girlfriend, all in one song; It's an audacious idea, very unique and raw.

What's really interesting about this track, too, is that the vocal effect was an accident! wink

I do love this song, too.

How was it an accident?

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Reply #4 posted 04/30/16 5:39pm

jtfolden

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Gustavm said:

jtfolden said:

What's really interesting about this track, too, is that the vocal effect was an accident! wink

I do love this song, too.

How was it an accident?

Engineer Susan Rogers stated it was a technical error on her part that led to distortion in the vocal recording. She thought Prince would rip her head off but loved it and left it as it was.

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Reply #5 posted 04/30/16 5:57pm

GottaLetitgo

Great, great song...had no business being the second single to pop radio after the title track. It was so far ahead of its time that we still are not ready for it almost 30 years later. Points for being courageous but U Got the Look was the obvious commercial track and it nearly killed the commercial momentum of this spectacular album. (For those of you who care more about the art of Prince than the charts this is a useless point and one made so many times before).

All good things they say never last...
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Reply #6 posted 04/30/16 5:59pm

maplesyrupnjam

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It just might be. I was 14 when I heard it on a late night radio show, lying in bed thinking about getting up for school in the morning lol. It blew me away, much like hearing the opening otherworldly riff to When Doves Cry.

It's still my favourite P track till this day. I'll never hear anything like it again, I suspect. I've always wondered If he made an extended version, though it's perfect as it is really.

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Reply #7 posted 04/30/16 6:03pm

OnlyNDaUsa

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just listiend to it an hour ago... love it!

No one is coming for your abortion: they just want common-sense abortion regulations: background checks, waiting periods, lifetime limits, take a class, and a small tax.
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Reply #8 posted 04/30/16 6:03pm

Eileen

Definitely in my top two. I could agree with your assertion.

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Reply #9 posted 04/30/16 6:10pm

jtfolden

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GottaLetitgo said:

Great, great song...had no business being the second single to pop radio after the title track. It was so far ahead of its time that we still are not ready for it almost 30 years later. Points for being courageous but U Got the Look was the obvious commercial track and it nearly killed the commercial momentum of this spectacular album. (For those of you who care more about the art of Prince than the charts this is a useless point and one made so many times before).

No I totally agree... Prince's single choices are often frustrating. I assume he (and perhaps those at WB) were hoping the controversial nature of the song would get it some attention and traction at radio and it failed.

The second single should have at least been Hosuequake, imo. It was blowing up at radio in several markets just after the album's release.

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Reply #10 posted 04/30/16 7:54pm

hollywooddove

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Imo, SOTT will always be his highest artistic achievement as a whole. My favorite track??? Hell, I love them all. It was as if you were traveling with a man and seeing his intimate life through his emotions. I always felt it blew PR away.
We are all so full of doody here
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Reply #11 posted 04/30/16 7:56pm

NoVideo

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It's right up there among his very best. Probably in my Top 5 to 7 for sure.

* * *

Prince's Classic Finally Expanded
The Deluxe 'Purple Rain' Reissue

http://www.popmatters.com...n-reissue/
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Reply #12 posted 04/30/16 8:28pm

DoItAllNight4U

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My favorite song ever, loved it since the very first time I heard it music woot! nod

"I was here in the beginning and I'll be here forever more"
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Reply #13 posted 04/30/16 8:49pm

alphastreet

I remember my first reaction to can I cook you breakfast? Haha
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Reply #14 posted 04/30/16 9:35pm

mtlfan

Shawy89 said:

And oh, I don't know if there are any film geeks on the org, but listening to If I Was Your Girlfriend FEELS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME like watching Persona by Ingmar Bergman. That's uncanny.

Major film buff and that's the coolest thing I read all day. There should be a mash-up. I see it now: "Would you run to me if somebody hurt you even if the somebody was me...?" There is a whole sequence like that. Of course, Prince related the line as The Way We Were. And, to an extent I agree. There is no song to sum up Prince, but all the "top ten" listicles by people who know next to nothing about Prince this week seemed to skip this track and it's absolutely essential.

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Reply #15 posted 04/30/16 9:38pm

mtlfan

Shawy89 said:

Lyrically speaking, it introduces a theme that no lyricist ever dealt with before, even Bob Dylan. (Probably a poet the 17th century has thought of androgyny as a way to adress a love relationship or jealousy for that matter, but not in the same fashion of Prince's discour-esque way)



Musically, it defines what 'slow jam' means. Very ahead of its time, the minimalist approach Prince took while composing the drum/bass pattern is way too creative and smart.

Again, I insist on the lyrics, and the melody, I don't know about the details of the recording, but Prince sure did a fine job. To use your high-pitched vocals in order to maintain a female persona, and find out about all the possibilities that could exist in a world where you can be your lover's girlfriend, all in one song; It's an audacious idea, very unique and raw.

So, to me, this is the Mona Lisa to Prince's inner Da Vinci. Wonderful artpiece.

Also, you're write about the 17th Century poet thing. Katherine Phillips.

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Reply #16 posted 04/30/16 9:45pm

itsjustaroundt
hecorner

if it isnt the 'best' .. it is right up there....

i remember being so pissed at Prince for making it the 2nd single from SOTT... it was just NOT going to fly with the masses.... the world was a MUCH MUCH MUCH different place.... but JESUS what a phenomenal song...

and you know... listening to the FINAL show in Atlanta when he does the Waiting In Vain/ IIWYGF mash up... people went APE SHIT for it... singing along to the whole thing..

who needs the charts anyway I guess.. .that song is just as powerful 30 years later... meanwhile.. go and check and see how the top 10 songs in May 1987 have held up over time...

mm hmm

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Reply #17 posted 04/30/16 9:46pm

ETHERSPIN

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I'm inclined to agree but good luck convincing people cause there is a massive pool of work and lots of his other songs had very unique ideas too.

its a transcendant idea and a kinda cool type of jealousy to have (if thats what we read into it) - hating the constructs of portions of interpersonal relationships being assigned to friends rather than romantic partners.

** do something,before we're gone , and we're just a rock where a world went wrong...**
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Reply #18 posted 05/01/16 12:15am

NorthC

The fact that it was an unusual single made him only more fascinating! It fit right into the androgynous image he had at the time. And it was a hit in Holland, I forgot how high, but it did reach the top ten as far as I know.
It's very rare that we on the org agree about anything, but we're united here!
He tries to be his girlfriend's best friend, but at the end, as the music reaches its climax, he realizes that he doesn't really want to go to the movies and cry 2gether... He just wants to bang her. A man is a man after all. Wonderful.
[Edited 5/1/16 0:16am]
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Reply #19 posted 05/01/16 3:58am

RogerRoger

jtfolden said:

Gustavm said:

How was it an accident?

Engineer Susan Rogers stated it was a technical error on her part that led to distortion in the vocal recording. She thought Prince would rip her head off but loved it and left it as it was.

Yeah the slight distortion on the vocals here and there on the album was a mistake but they kept it.

But I doubt the pitched-up vocal was a mistake too.

Distortion is not related to pitch.

.

From Susan Rogers interview:

"He would record his vocals by himself in the control room. I would set him up and then I would leave him alone and he would work entirely by himself. It was the only way he could get the performance he needed; he needed that privacy. But I made a mistake and I’d inadvertently set the preamp 10db hotter than normal so it was distorted. When he was done he would call me back into the room and have me do a rough mix or set up for something else. So he left the room and I came back in and I’m doing a rough mix and I realize the entire vocal performance is distorted and I thought, ‘oh no, I bet he hasn’t listened back to this in the speakers. He’s probably just listening in the headphones...he’s gonna come back into this room and have me killed!’ (laughing) But he didn’t mind at all and of course he heard it–he’s as sharp as they come. There’s nothing that slips past him, but he heard it but he didn’t mind. "

[Edited 5/1/16 4:06am]

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Reply #20 posted 05/01/16 4:30am

emesem

I think using the camile voice kinda kills it. . This is why the live version is so much better.

The correct answer is The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.
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Reply #21 posted 05/01/16 5:37am

chewymusic

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I've always thought IIWYG was one of, if not the best of Prince's songs.

I'll never forget the 1st time I listened to it playing the SOTT album when I was 15 y/o,

I was pretty much blown away. I totally got the lyrics right away which is not usually the case for me.

I absolutely loved that it was the 2nd single (w/ Shockadelica on the back OMG). For me it was one of the best songs on an incredible album, but I totally get how it was a marketing mistake and how the general public would not get it or like it.

I remember how at very 1st the radio was playing it a lot prob because the SOTT single was a hit (& an awesome song) and the album had just come out, but also the radio jocks making jokes during the fade about Prince 'getting a little weird here' & 'can't play that part'. And I remember it coming up in a conversation that I was a big Prince fan this girl turned to me and said oh have you heard his new song where he sounds like a girl crying?

My thought about it coming out as the 2nd single is that was directly Prince's decision based soley on the fact that he thought it was a brilliant piece of work and an incredible follow up to the SOTT single. Strictly an artistic decision as apposed to a commercial one. Now of course I realize the whole purpose & function of singles is to promote the album/current project & artist as well as additional revenue, so strictly speaking it was a mistake. My feeling though is that Prince must have felt the song's merit would speak for itself.

IIWYG really meant a lot to Prince. He played it live quite a lot over the years. He played it on Oprah. He played it regularly on his later tours. I know it's a great 'fan favorite' but yes also a total falure as a single.

It even ended up being one of the last songs in his final performance. And oh man the sound in his voice and the gusto in his delivery of that last performance of it says a lot about what that song meant to him.

"Hyperactive when I was small, Hyperactive now I'm grown, Hyperactive 'till I'm dead and gone"
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ___

"Midnight is where the day begins"
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Reply #22 posted 05/01/16 7:13am

Empress

NoVideo said:

It's right up there among his very best. Probably in my Top 5 to 7 for sure.


-- Me too. Definitely my top 5 for sure
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Reply #23 posted 05/01/16 7:31am

Aerogram

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Shawy89 said:

And oh, I don't know if there are any film geeks on the org, but listening to If I Was Your Girlfriend FEELS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME like watching Persona by Ingmar Bergman. That's uncanny.

I am a huge fan of both men.

IIWYG is Prince identifying with his girlfriend via empathy.

Persona is about two persons who almost become one and the same, but in the end the symbiosis turns out to be monstruous and they dissociate.

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Reply #24 posted 05/01/16 12:28pm

rightbluecheek

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Definitely top 5.

"No one plays the clarinet the way U play my heart"
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Reply #25 posted 05/01/16 1:50pm

luvsexy4all

is a part of it "taken" from the bros johnson song -Ill be good to you?

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Reply #26 posted 05/01/16 2:01pm

domainator2010

This is the purest declaration of love any man can make to a woman. This and Adore. Both are probably the most amazing songs ever, by ANY artist. There is no girl alive, who, if Prince came and sang this song to her, would not fall for him.

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Reply #27 posted 05/01/16 2:08pm

eelco

domainator2010 said:

This is the purest declaration of love any man can make to a woman. This and Adore. Both are probably the most amazing songs ever, by ANY artist. There is no girl alive, who, if Prince came and sang this song to her, would not fall for him.

add Forever in My Life and you've got a declaration of love towards Susannah

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Reply #28 posted 05/08/16 7:43pm

214

It's his best song for me, masterpiece

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Reply #29 posted 05/08/16 11:53pm

skipthecharade
s

NorthC said:

And it was a hit in Holland, I forgot how high, but it did reach the top ten as far as I know.

It reached nr. 16 in the Dutch Top 40 to be precise wink

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