The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball

4/11/2005

Prince - "If I Was Your Girlfriend"

This is the weirdest song in my entire CD collection. Time for it to be song o' the day, no?

When Prince goes for some gender-bending, it ends up undecipherable gerder contortionism. The song is "performed" by an alter ego, "Camille," billed as a new female vocalist "discovered" by His Purpleness. Here's how the allmusic site describes "Camille's" vocals on "If I Was Your Girlfriend":

The album credited the song's lead vocal to Camille, reported before Sign o' the Times' release to be a newly discovered female vocalist whose debut album Prince was preparing; of course, Camille turned out to be Prince singing in a high-pitched voice that was later sped up and altered electronically.

You want gender-bending? Boy George and Ru Paul can only dream of these contortions. The song is sung by a man. Pretending to be a woman. Singing a song from a male perspective. About his girlfriend. Only not "girlfriend" in the dating sense, but in the best-female-friend sense. Except two-thirds of the way through the song. Where he/she wants to help her pick out her clothes. Before they "go out." Which could be innocent. "Go out" could means friends. Doesn't have to be a date. But then he wants to give her a bath. And kiss her "down there," "where it counts." Which we know what he's referring to.

This isn't gender confusion; it's gender James Joyce. Is it boy/girl? Is it girl/boy? Is it lesbian? Is it two lesbians wanting to be boy/girl? Is it boy/girl wanting to be lesbian? Is it boy/boy? Is it boy/boy wanting to be lesbian? Does Prince - I mean, "Camille" - even know?

On its original LP release, "If I Was Your Girlfriend" was on "side three" of Sign O' the Times, an LP I was slow to warm to. My problem always was the title track, the lamest of all Top Ten singles in Prince's extraordinary career. While the rest of the disc(s) is timeless Prince, the title track is "topical," which meant it was dated seconds after it was recorded. Sign is tought to find on the cheap. Alldirect.com lists it for $16.70. Like everything Prince released from that 10-year interval from 1983 (1999) to 1992 (the unpronounce-able, unspell-able squiggly-symbol album), it is essential. Buy it, please.
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