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4.4 out of 5 stars
31
4.4 out of 5 stars
Controversy
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 9 March 2006
I have to say, I don't understand how anyone could give this album a poor review - it's a classic! Okay, so the reliance on synthesizers dates it somewhat, but isn't that how pop music works? Can anyone honestly say that Sgt. Pepper's sounds as fresh now as it did back in the day? Of course not. Forget the production,listen to the songs and experience an artist at work.
Controversy finds Prince in something of a transitional phase, making a deliberate step away from the heavily R&B rooted sound of his earlier works towards the "whiter" rock sound of 1999 and Purple Rain. Whereas before he had sung exclusively falsetto, His Royal Badness really begins to stretch out as a vocalist on this album. It also features Prince's first use of the Linn LM1 drum machine that would become an important part of his trademark sound throughout the rest of the 80's. The title track is great funk/rock number led by the purple one's tighter than tight rhythm guitar. "Do Me Baby" remains one of his best seduction numbers and "Annie Christian" shows he was never afraid to experiment.
The subject matter of much of the album is summed up by the second track, "Sexuality". According to Prince, "Sexuality is all we'll ever need" - well it served him well at least. Much of the lyrics are rather silly and far less contoversial than Prince seemed to think. In fact, even in the early 80's we'd heard it all before. The fact that he believed it would be shocking may show just how conservative Prince really is. Daft rhymes aside, this is a funky, fun (and slightly eratic) album that would make a worthy addition to any collection. So shut up already, damn.
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on 5 August 2001
Although lacking the overall class of 1980's "Dirty Mind" there are two classic moments on this album that make it a worthwhile sequel.
1. The opening title track in which he talks of people's perception of him (The last album had generated many questions) remains one of my all time favourite Prince songs to this day, it is the blueprint of the "Minneapolis Sound" (Synths, dynamic bass, scratch guitar etc) and given the freedom to jam on the extended album version here it is all the more impressive.
2. Also here is the classic Prince ballad "Do Me Baby", which was the beginning of the trademark Prince ballad and formed the basis of future tour de forces like "Adore".
The rest of the material contains some nice moments like the disco funk work out of "Lets Work" and is pleasant enough. However aside from the two classic tracks aforementioned the album overall is more of a three star rating but the the title track and Do Me Baby's five star perfection result in a four.
This album performed as a nice stepping stone to the masterpiece that is "1999".
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on 2 August 2006
'Controversy' - Original Release Date: 14 October 1981

Controversy, Prince's fourth album, and the very last one before Prince became an international superstar.

Controversy sits between two giants in the Prince catalogue: The ground-breaking collection of Punk Funk demos, 'Dirty Mind', and the explosive, electronic exotica of the double LP, '1999'. For this reason it is often over-looked by fans and critics a like, something I'd like to make a tiny-step in the way of re-addressing here.

Criticised for not being as raw as, Dirty Mind, and not as expansive and commercial as 1999, Controversy is again a snap-shot of Prince pushing himself as an artist. After touring Europe with Dirty Mind, Prince was clearly influenced by the New Wave and Synth acts over there at the time: Soft Cell, Gary Newman and The Human League for example.

The title track opens with a hypnotic proto-House 4/4 beat, and lyrics that give Prince's side of the story concerning the media attention he received for the graphic sexual lyrics and striking, non-conformist image unveiled on his previous album.

This leads straight into the bristling 'Sexuality', a utopian New Wave manifesto for life in the 80s. The original vinyl side A closes with the lengthy ballad, 'Do Me, Baby', which became a template for many of Prince's future lascivious seduction numbers, and ends with an entirely over-the-top and unintentionally hilarious portion that should make you grimace and grin in equal measures, and over-emphatically

sing along to in years to come.

The original Side B opens with the perky power-pop of 'Private Joy', Prince's first use of the Linn drum machine that would become such a staple of his sound in the 80s.

Next up, is one of Prince's most universally loathed and/or disregarded tracks, the entirely dated and lightweight New Wave Rockabilly anti-Cold War statement, 'Ronnie, Talk 2 Russia' - Now, I ADORE this track - it has a fantastic Punk-ish urgency that is rarely shown in Prince's work, and the silly, over-simplistic lyrics are endearing in their naivety, it's a fantastic snapshot of early 80s Cold War paranoia, and was made for singing along to at full-volume in a fast car. Besides, it makes a brilliant introduction to 'Let's Work', which itself serves a similar purpose to 'Head' on the previous album, Dirty Mind, in that it's a straight up Funk work-out that is there to tell his audience that he is still capable of everything that made them dig him so much before, but he's into trying new things too and they should try and dig that too, because trying new things out is good for - Music that initially scares or repulses you is no bad thing!

The final two tracks are typical of the juxtaposition the album finds itself, sitting between Dirty Mind and 1999: 'Annie Christian' is a fantastically bleak guitar-fuelled, New Wave number that points forward beautifully to the amazing synth-landscapes of the 1999 album, where as the closing rockabilly number, 'Jack U Off', looks back to the unveiled smutty shock-tactics of 'Dirty Mind'.

Controversy: The most under-rated of Prince's 80s albums in my opinion, and in spite of, maybe because of that, my favourite.
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on 17 July 2016
The musical great it was an issue with the vinyl, brought & returned 3 copies all with the same issue, gave up in the end!! 😐
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on 21 February 2001
As if in response to criticism towards the androgynously sexual theme of its predecessor Dirty Mind, Prince's fourth album (Controversy, '81) is quite often seen as a personal response to an unfair attack. The title track alone lyrically epitomizes this fuss. Yet despite various personal statements here and there...., the album manages to deliver a small yet ingeniously experimental handfull of confidence, with stylistic diversity that would become a trademark Prince idiosyncrasy in years to come. From the contageous grooving pop-funk riffs of 'Controversy' and the dynamic, impulsive kinetics of 'Lets Work' to the sexually sweet and seductively melodious 'Do Me Baby' - the latter often thought of as one of his finest ballads - this album is a fine example of an early Prince discovering the multiple facets of his musical abilities. Although by no means his strongest album, elements of Controversy smell of a raw fundamental Prince style that is only occassionaly revisited in subsequent albums.
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on 1 May 2016
Got my music download but never received my cd!!
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on 20 July 2001
Im sort of unsure about this album. Not as good as its predecessor "Dirty Mind" or by no means its succesor "1999". A few excellent Prince songs and one or two turkeys. However the album is worth buying just for the sublime "Do Me Baby" and the stomping funky dance tune "Lets Work". These two are my favourites and one or two others caught my eye, but with the album having only 8 tracks, I would prefer every one to be good. Instead we get two fantastic tracks, a few catchy numbers and the inevitable few that arent worth the electricity used to play them. "Ronnie Talk To Russia" and "Annie Christian" are possibly two of the worst Prince tracks ever and they're both on the same album! Strictly one for the collector I think.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 November 2002
This lovely slab of funky pop-rock succeeds in the risque songs like Jack U Off, Sexuality and the sensual ballad Do Me Baby but doesn’t do it for me when it comes to politics, as in the title track, Ronnie Talk to Russia or Annie Christian, although these last-mentioned aren’t dismal failures either, since they’re saved by the beat. The secret of this early period Prince was the urgency in the songs, a type of nervous tension reflected perfectly in the mix of urban styles and his voice. He created and refined a brilliant blend of dance and rock that went down well in both the disco and the lounge. Controversy is not usually highly acclaimed by the critics, but to my ears all the Prince magic is here, and it has aged remarkably well.
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on 14 February 2013
This product was bought for my partner as he is a huge fan, and being a huge fan he enjoyed it very much, and was glad to have it as part of his collection.
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another wonderful trip down memory lane. I love prince's eighties stuff, I fell in love with his music as I was coming out of the closet and my shell.
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