It’s a new month, but we’re still on the same album we wrote about yesterday. The Daily Prince Song Randomizer wants me to stay in 1978, which is appropriate since it seems like real life has been standing still for 40 years.
The issue I’m going to have with writing about Prince’s 1978 debut, For You, moving forward is that I’ve already tackled my two favorite songs on the album: “Soft and Wet” and “Crazy You.” I don’t want to overly criticize For You because I wasn’t there. This album was probably the shit when it was released…I was two years old at the time. For You was completely produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Prince, who was still a teenager when all of this work took place. It’s a phenomenal feat for anyone, especially a kid. In 2020 it sound dated. The most dated album in Prince’s collection, which makes sense because it’s also the oldest. Much of the album has a disco vibe to it, which is understandable for the era.
“Baby” does not even have a hint of disco, but still has that 1970’s sound to it that I can’t describe, I just know it when I hear it. It’s a tender slow jam with some surprisingly heavy lyrical content for a teenager. Prince was only 18 when he wrote it. While the title of the song is “Baby” throughout most of it you’re given the impression that the baby he’s referring to is his girlfriend. He continues to ask questions like, “Baby, what are we gonna do? Should we get married right away?” It becomes more evident as the song progresses that the title of the song has two meanings. Prince erases any doubt in the final line of the song when he sings, “I hope our baby has eyes just like yours.” Prince must’ve liked the song because he included it on the B-side of his 1980 single “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” from his second album, Prince.
As I listen to this song now I can’t help but think that it’s surprising as hell that the story being told in this song never actually happened to Prince. At the time “Baby” was released Prince said that the song was not written from personal experience, but from stories that friends had told him. As the years went by, though, and Prince established himself as someone who could seemingly get any girl in any city he chose, it’s a surprise to me that there wasn’t one mistake along the way. Perhaps there was and I’m just incredibly naive. According to the internet Prince has children out there, but according to the internet a lot of shit is true that isn’t. I’ll choose to ignore anecdotal evidence that appears on sketchy websites. Of course, there is the heartbreaking story of his son, Amiir, who he had with Mayte Garcia in 1996 while they were married, but that’s not what this song was about. This is about an unplanned pregnancy, and Prince must’ve been rocking multiple condoms simultaneously to dodge that bullet over the course of his legendary career.
In the end, “Baby” is a nice song, but it’s not what I want to hear when I’m listening to Prince. If I’m listening to music from the 1970’s I’m going for soul or funk, and this song has little, if any, of those things. While I recommend you give it a listen to hear it for yourself, I’m not about to add it to one of my Prince playlists.