Retrospective: Top 10 Underrated Prince Songs

By @TrueGodImmortal 

I could write an article about Prince and his music literally every day if necessary. However, I try to limit our Prince content in fear of slight overkill (that, and we can't actually post his music), but when I sat back and listened to his music recently, I realized how many great songs he's had in such a storied career. From the moment he arrived in the music industry to his last albums, Prince kept his music as fresh as can be and had a ton of classics. With 39 albums however, some songs get lost in the shuffle or don't get the credit like the huge hits. For every "Purple Rain", "When Doves Cry", "1999", or "Adore", there's a "Thieves In The Temple" that didn't get the same recognition. Well, today, I'm attempting to narrow it down to the 10 most underrated songs from the Purple One himself. This is no easy task, and some songs here might be shocking to you, if you're a big Prince fan, but for the rest of the world, these songs are slept on. Let's get into it.

10. Future Soul Song 
(20Ten, 2010)

-Probably one of his most smooth songs ever, Prince navigates over one of the most funky yet soothing beats I've ever heard him over and creates something special. It's probably the best ballad that Prince created from the later years of his career. The background vocals are harmonically pleasing, and the marriage between all the elements makes this a one of a kind song. As Prince's guitar riffs stab through the drums, there's an element of soul meets funk meets traditional R&B, which is always a treat to hear Prince bring.

9. Slow Love 
(Sign O' The Times, 1987)

-Prince's best album (it is), spawned some amazing songs like "Adore", "Strange Relationship", and more, but the hidden gem on this album is the slightly jazzy "Slow Love". As Prince waxes poetically on how the "man in the moon is smiling, because he knows what I'm thinking of", the song reaches the height of titular bliss. Where Prince excelled with this song is more in how subdued the content is, as he uses his words to paint a picture, foregoing his usual aggressive adlibs, creating what is one of his smoother songs, and one of his most relaxed songs vocally.

8. Scandalous! 
(From Batman, 1989)

-How can you not like this song? From the opening bells in the intro to the end where Prince does his usual, this song is magnificent. From the way he coasts through his verses to the oft kilter way the hook resonates, this is the best song on the criminally underrated Batman album from 1989. The lyrics are at times interesting, but that's what Prince does best. The song is provocative without being overly raunchy, and as always, that equals a win for Prince catalog wise. This was no exception.

7. Automatic 
(From 1999, Released in 1982)

-The resounding vibe on this one is amazing, as the 9 minute opus from one of his greatest albums just goes on and on. It's quite possibly the best song on "1999", as it embodies the electric sounds and magnetic genius of Prince and his music. The drums hit perfectly, the synths are impeccable and Prince swaggers all over this track like he does most of the music. If you need an example of the pure genius he was, look to a song such as this, simple in essence, but executed in the best way possible. Brilliant music as always.

6. Call My Name 
(From Musicology, 2004)

-From the moment the production begins, I was enthralled. I was captivated. Prince utilizing that loud bass drum, alongside the melodic vibe and the layering vocals made for one of my favorite all time Prince songs. One thing about my list is that while these are underrated to the rest of the world, most of these are my favorite Prince songs overall. This one is no different, as Prince manages to serenade his woman, but also drops a small bit of social commentary in the lyrics also. From top to bottom, this song is without a doubt a classic, in my opinion, and the best song to come off the Musicology album bar none.

5. I Wanna Be Your Lover 
(From Prince, 1979)

-How can one of his most known songs be underrated? Mainly because people speak of "Purple Rain", "When Doves Cry", "1999", "I Would Die 4 U", "Kiss", "Do Me, Baby", and a few others, but this is not always included with the greats and that's criminal. Featured on the sophomore album from the enigmatic star, this is one of his best moments and is honestly one of the most fun songs that he has. It's catchy, slightly soft listening, but with enough funk in it to make you want to dance. You're probably singing along to it right now as you read this. Guess what? I'm singing along as I write it. Another classic.

4. Clouds featuring Lianne La Havas 
(From Art Official Age, 2014)

-I was sleeping on this song myself, to be fair. I had vaguely listened to his new music, but hadn't been able to find most of it due to not being available on the other streaming platforms really. When the album first dropped, I was aware of this song, and didn't get a chance to fully appreciate it. About a few months before Prince passed, I was compelled to find some of his recent music (now it sticks out as an omen to me), and had to give the album a listen. I would enjoy the entire project, but this was the song that stopped me in my tracks. I kept playing it over and over. Lianne and Prince have great chemistry both lyrically and vocally, and this is such a soulful funky song, with a new age sound implemented. This is perfection.

3. The Beautiful Ones 
(From Purple Rain, 1984)

-Another one that was a part of the classic album, but tends to get lost in the shuffle amongst more known and lauded songs like the title track and "When Doves Cry". This is probably the most emotional track on the album, just going off how the vocals are structured. Prince seems to almost beg his woman for clarity, noting that the "beautiful ones, they hurt you every time", and you can feel his pain as he sings it. There is nothing that can be compared however to the end of the song, as Prince goes manic and screams out "do you want him???!!!", or "do you want me!!!!???", before ending his question with "cause I want you!!!! I gotta know! I gotta know!", and it is at this time you realize what just took place. The song is a soul pouring session and it remains my favorite song from Purple Rain. No doubt about it.

2. Erotic City 
(B-Side, 1984)

-It's almost hard to consider this underrated, but it's really slept on, because it's probably one of his 10 greatest songs ever.... and yet it doesn't get mentioned as much as it should. The funk within this song is undeniable and the way Prince structures it is nothing short of amazing. The vocals are even funky, as they not only inspire you to sing along, but will have you nodding your head along to every word as well. The simple yet slightly hook backed by a somewhat sultry female vocal is music heaven and this is a song that I could keep on repeat for hours honestly. How this was a B-Side and not on the actual album is beyond me.

1. Shhh 
(The Gold Experience, 1995)

-Originally featured on Tevin Campbell's I'm Ready album, this Prince penned classic deserved to be heard to the world over in its original form. He featured the 7 minute version of the song on his Gold Experience album in 1995, and this is honestly one of his best songs period. The lyrics are slightly raunchy, but still somewhat playful considering the tone, and this is where Prince tends to shine. The overly sexual songs of Prince tend to be a bit crass, and over the top, but songs like "Shhh", much like my favorite Prince song "Adore", work so much better because it leaves much to the imagination. The hook is pretty simple with "break it down... I don't want nobody else to hear a sound... this love is a private affair" really leading the way for seduction in the late night. Prince executed this song to perfection and if you've not heard this, or aren't that familiar with it, please check it out NOW. You will NOT be sorry that you did.

Prince has so many classics and underrated gems that it is hard to narrow it down, but I feel like this is certainly the top 10 that fit the underrated description. If you've not heard every song on this list, then do so NOW. Simple.



Popular Posts