I’ll get this out of the way before we begin. Growing up, when it came to the 1980s Prince albums, Lovesexy always ranked towards the bottom for me. It wasn’t as grandiose as, say, Purple Rain and it wasn’t as inventive as the Batman album. It just kind of existed for me.
Yes, I know the story behind it (that it was a quick, “replacement” album for the later-released The Black Album). However, it didn’t grab me like his other releases during the 1980s. It wasn’t because of the religious overtones, either. As agnostic as I sometimes come off, I’m still a pretty spiritual and religious guy; I just don’t really go to church at all. With that said, I think those overtones help save it from being a complete “throwaway” (by Prince standards).
Lovesexy has a huge rock-opera aspect about the battles between good and evil, God and Satan, heaven and hell. And it’s all swept up in a movement towards religious affirmation and love. Today, I can say it’s a cool album and helped bridge the album to Prince works like Around the World in a Day. Plus, Lovesexy contains one of my favorite Prince songs in “Alphabet Street.”
Truth be told, in these days we’re living in, it’s kind of the Prince album we need. We’re dealing with some foul things in the world and maybe we all do need more God on our side and more love to go around. I’m not getting on a soapbox or anything, but things are fudged. Additionally, I’ve seen far worse albums recorded over longer periods of time, end of story.
“Then why, Speed,” you’re probably asking after this adulation about the album, “did you consider it one of the ‘worst’ 1980s Prince albums?” For that question, I don’t really have an answer. I know, you were probably expecting a long diatribe about how as a kid and teen, I didn’t appreciate real music. But, Lovesexy just never spoke to me growing up the way that a Purple Rain or a Sign O’ The Times did. It was kind of subdued, even with its rock-opera-esque feel. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s a funky album and it’s big. But, there’s just something missing for me that keeps me from saying that it’s a legendary album.
As with Around the World in a Day, it’s not a bad album (no, not even by Prince standards). But, there’s something that isn’t really there for me. Maybe it’s that it’s so unapologetically happy and in the light of it all. It’s like Prince went to that Afterworld he described in “Let’s Go Crazy” and emerged a warrior of the light, even more so than before. That makes for some great times and awesome music. However, there, for me, was a bit of a missed opportunity in putting out/putting together Lovesexy so quickly. There could’ve been more of a discussion about the darkness and light of the world, in the way that something like Day did on songs such as “The Ladder” and “Temptation.”
Sure, we get songs from Lovesexy like “Eye No,” “Positivity,” and even “I Wish U Heaven,” which goes full gospel in some of its presentation. Those are all amazing tracks and they all embrace the light so well. I guess I just wanted more of the rock-opera elements. We know that Prince deals with duality all the time and we know that this album especially did so. However, as mentioned, there’s still an element missing that keeps me from fully embracing this album.
Overall, it’s a cool album but still doesn’t reach the heights for me of some of his other work from both the 1980s and this era of Prince. If you’re interested in the album, I’d still recommend it over something crappier. I mean, come on! It’s Prince. However, it’s definitely not one of my favorite albums, even after I have so much more respect for it as an almost thirty-year-old listener versus listening with younger ears. For those that wish to persecute me for this opinion, I wish u heaven.