This is what I’m talking about. When I started the Daily Prince blog my goal was – and still is – to share my love for the Prince songs that others may have missed. Yeah, it’s fun when a song like “When Doves Cry” or “1999” shows up on my list, but you’ve all heard those before. I’m more excited to write about songs like yesterday’s “Future Baby Mama” or today’s song, “Lolita.” These late-career Prince songs that have been in rotation for over a decade that you’ve probably never heard. Pop music forgot about Prince sometime around the turn of the century and he just kept making amazing music anyway.
“Lolita” was recorded by Prince in 2005. It was the second track on his criminally underrated 2006 album 3121. “Lolita” is the kind of song that sounds like a pop radio hit the second you press play, so I can’t believe it wasn’t released as a single. Musically it feels like a throwback to some of Prince’s 1980’s work. All of the elements are there. Tight drum programming. Keyboards and guitar. The sound of the keyboards immediately let you know this is an old school jam. At this point in his career Prince was a devout Jehovah’s Witness, so it’s not nasty lyrically like his early work. The message might actually surprise you. A fine young lady is in to Prince and he’s telling her she’s sweet, but she can’t hang. He’s letting her know he could still wear it out, but she’s not making a cheater out of Prince. A far cry lyrically from the music of his hey day, but it’s still a fun vocal performance. It’s not difficult to imagine Prince in his mid-40’s rejecting women half his age with that signature smirk on his face.
It doesn’t matter if the message is from the 1980’s or 2000’s, the funk is still the same. Prince had a thought-provoking quote about how the funk lives in the gaps between the noise and this song is a great example. The syncopation in the beat and the way the keyboard drops out on the four every other measure leaves me hanging every time. Then the keyboard jumps back in on the one, but that gap feels like it hangs 1/32nd too long. Add Prince’s guitar work and we’ve got ourselves another funk masterpiece.
“Lolita” and the entire 3121 album are just more proof that Prince was still throwing heat well in to the 2000’s. It’s a fun party track and leaves me nodding my head every time I hear it. Let’s keep up this nice little run of late-career greats we have going tomorrow.