Daily Prince 9/13/20: Dig U Better Dead

It’s been nearly five months, but we’ve finally gotten our first track from 1996’s Chaos and Disorder. Let’s go back to 1996 for a minute…

I’ve mentioned several times on this site that I grew up a Prince fan. Chaos and Disorder was where Prince lost me for a while…and I never even heard the album. I dug some stuff on Diamonds and Pearls and The Love Symbol, but not nearly as much as his older stuff. To be honest, I didn’t even know of the existence of Come when it was released in 1994. I never heard it on the radio or saw it on MTV. It was released right before I was familiar with the internet, so streaming was not a thing. I heard a few singles from The Gold Experience and was unimpressed. Then I heard about Chaos and Disorder, but was immediately turned off by the rumor I heard that it was throwaway music that Prince gave Warner Brothers to get out of his contract. When I saw the CD itself I thought, “That’s it, I give up. Prince isn’t even trying anymore.” The album cover is a visual representation of the title: chaotic and disorderly.

A few years ago I stopped by Rock N’ Roll Land, one of our local record stores, and they had just gotten some Prince CDs. Chaos and Disorder was in the stack and I grabbed it. 20 years later I was finally hearing the album. As it turns out, I gave up on Prince before hearing a surprisingly solid album. Certainly better than I expected based on what I had heard. I mean, it’s not Purple Rain, but I enjoy it. In 2019 the Prince Estate issued it on vinyl and I spin it more frequently than I even expected before I bought it. It’s good on vinyl because it’s consistent from start to finish for the most part. There’s some good work on the album and a few songs that I include in my Apple Music Prince mixes. Unfortunately, “Dig U Better Dead” is not one of them.

“Dig U Better Dead” has an early-90’s hip hop beat. It feels like it could be a Poison-era Bell Biv DeVoe song. If you ignore Prince’s vocals you can actually sing the lyrics to “Dope” along with it instead. The beats are that similar. The problem is, “Dope” is a lot more fun. The music has an uneasy, minor vibe with a bass line that reminds me of the sound that reminds of the music that plays when Jaws is about to attack. Also, what’s fun about a song that opens with Prince repeating the line, “Dig you better dead, I’d dig you better dead?” I did some research on the song to see if my understanding of the lyrics jibes with the internet. The jury is out. I’ll give you my brief interpretation. First, take a look at some of these lyrics yourself:

Somebody said “In life there’s always peaks and valleys,
And if you’re lost they won’t show you the way”
That same somebody said “I’d dig you better dead
But I’d much rather see if your God is what you say, say, say”

This song is not Prince telling someone that he’d dig them better dead. He’s singing about people who tell him that they’d dig him better dead. This is yet another 1990’s Prince song aimed at the haters. To sum up, the song has an early-90’s dance beat along with a bitter message. Those two things just don’t add up to anything I want to listen to on repeat.

We haven’t had the strongest weekend here at Daily Prince. The mid-1990’s are my least favorite era of Prince music. There’s good work in there, for sure, but it’s a lot more hit or miss than the rest of his career. “Dig U Better Dead” is a forgettable song buried at the end of an album that likely didn’t get Prince’s full attention and effort. Despite that, it’s an enjoyable album, but this song is not the reason why.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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