Beyond ‘Purple Rain’: 5 Other Prince Albums Everyone Should Own

If you own a Prince albums, it’s a good bet it’s either Come and Kamasutra, unless you’re not a weirdo, in which case, Purple Rain and/or Sign o’ the Times is what appears in your iTunes before that one song by the Proclaimers. They’re arguably his two best records, but don’t stop there. Prince has a thick di…scography, some of which is total crap, but there are a bunch of lesser known albums that are just as worthy of being in your collection as the two I already mentioned and 1999, his other top-seller.

Prince released two more albums today, Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum, but here are five others, most of which aren’t nearly as popular as Purple Rain or even Controversy, that are worth owning.

1. Dirty Mind

Prince’s first two albums aren’t without their considerable charms (For You is as smooth as Lake Minnetonka in the early morning), but the Purple One didn’t put it all together until Dirty Mind. It sounds like. Not making love, mind you, but funky, sweaty SEX. Prince, who played nearly every instrument on the album, sounds impressively self-assured for someone so young (he was only 22 years old). Is there a five-minute ode to oral sex, followed by a song about incest? Of course there is.

2. Parade

Between 1981-1985, Prince put out Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World In a Day, Parade, and Sign o’ the Times. That’s an absurdly prolific streak, and probably the time period most music fans associate him with. Yet of those albums, Parade is probably the least discussed, because it’s not the soundtrack to an iconic film, nor is it his best album (Sign) or an outright disaster (Around the World). It’s just really good and really musically adventurous, dipping into jazz and sly funk and pop and psychedelia and whatever the hell “Life Can Be So Nice” is. Don’t rain on this Parade (sorry).

3. Lovesexy

If a Prince album is only as good as its cover, then Lovesexy is clearly the best. The music’s pretty good, too. Released a year after Sign o’ the Times, and as a reaction to The Black Album being temporarily shelved a week before it was set to come out, the spiritual Lovesexy is a whole lot of high concept mumbo-jumbo about good and evil, God and Satan, pancakes and waffles, wrapped in a playfully moody, tight package. Speaking of packages *looks at album cover again*.

4. The Gold Experience

The best lines on The Gold Experience, ranked:

5. “I’m known as the player of the year/Cuz I met this girl named Pussy/At the Club International Balls.”

4. “No prostitute she, but the mayor of your brain/P*ssy Control, are u ready?”

3. “And this fool named Trick wanna stick her/Uh, talkin’ more Schick than a Bic/’Bout how he gonna make Pussy a star/If she come and sing a lick on his hit.”

2. “And the moral of this motherf*cker is/Ladies, make ’em act like they know/U are, was, and always will be P*ssy Control.”

1. “Pussy got bank in her pockets before she got d*ck in her drawers.”

I lied. Those are all actually from the same wonderful song, “Pussy Control.” Then, a few tracks later on The Gold Experience, Prince shifts gears to “The Most Beautiful Girl In the World,” the best song Boyz II Men never recorded, before changing things up again in the slick “Eye Hate U.” Prince has rarely sounded as passionate as he does here (“Endorphinmachine” is a souped-up R&B rocker), and it’s all thanks to the P*ssy Control.

5. Batman

Love Symbol Album is as inventive as the Prince symbol is unpronounceable, The Black Album was almost titled The Funk Bible for a very good reason, Emancipation is a three-disc tribute to Sandinista!-style excess, and Musicology is a 2000s return to form, but none of those albums have “Batdance” on them, therefore, the entertaining, not-as-gimmicky-as-you’d-think Batman soundtrack it is.