Dirty Mind is the album where Prince became Prince, the artist who lived by his own rules and crossed the line more than once. Like its birthday twin, Remain in Light, Dirty Mind draws from various genres. The opening track's synth bass and keyboard riff is a far cry from the previous disco-heavy albums, but they're not even an indication of the album's sound. Over the course of 30 minutes, Prince explores new wave, blues, rock and even punk while staying true to his funk roots. The lyrics are unabashedly unrestrained and explicit, a first for someone like Prince who resorted to sexual undertones. He tells tales of a future bride sucking him off, sexual trysts with his sister (no, really), and a threesome which went all too well. On the other side, he also objects to war, laments about a past lover and takes a young dame to his ideal paradise. The duality of Prince.
In hindsight, Dirty Mind is an important album for these reasons. Overtime, Prince would hone his fusion of genres and create the Minneapolis sound, expand his lyricism and toss his inhibitions aside. Without this album, there would be no 1999, no Purple Rain, no Sign o' the Times. Prince's refusal to conform to expectations was what drew the critics, and eventually the general public, to him. Whether you classify it as a funk album or new wave album, Dirty Mind is an essential album for both genres and a must-listen. With its relatively short length, it still makes for an easy listening experience. If you can ignore the lyrics, that is.