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PrinceUptownLUMPENPROLETARIATNow, where I come from, we don’t let society tell us how it’s supposed to be.  Our clothes, our hair, we don’t care.  It’s all about being there.  Everybody’s going Uptown.  That’s where I wanna be.  Uptown, set your mind free…


Uptown” [1] (1980) by Prince


[1]  As the people’s open source encyclopedia deftly acknowledges:

Uptown” was the lead single in the USA to Prince‘s third album, Dirty Mind. Beginning with a lone drum intro, the track explodes into the keyboards of the chorus.  The verses feature a more prominent funk guitar than his earlier recordings.  The song evolves into more of an instrumental section toward the end, which mainly consists of guitar, bass, and drums (with an occasional keyboard riff).  The minimalist style of the song is representative of most of the Dirty Mind album.  The song addresses the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, which was the city’s hang-out spot for artists.

The song addresses prejudices and racism, referring to “Uptown” as a metaphor for an ideal place, which is free of such things.  Prince sings in the first person; and the song opens with the description of a chance meeting with an attractive woman who then asks, in an offensive way, if he is gay.  The lyrics then rail against prejudice and racism as narrow minded, and exalt in an attitude and spirit, which is free of such negativity.  It is one of Prince’s earliest efforts to blend political statements into his art.

Uptown is described as an area where one can be free to express oneself; and Prince was very fond of the concept.  The song opened the Controversy Tour and made a few live appearances after that, notably in Prince’s 2001 Hit + Run Tour.  The single was backed with “Crazy You“, from his debut album, For You.


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[22:15 PDT  28 MAY 2016]

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