Sex In Prince's Little Red Corvette

1072 words - 4 pages

1980’s pop star Prince Rogers Nelson, better known by his pseudonym, ‘Prince’ is a recording artist whose image and songs are perceived as provocative and explicit. Prince’s songs, such as ‘Kiss’, ‘Soft and Wet’ and ‘Head’ were viewed with controversy, as the topic of sex in the 80s was not as openly accepted and direct as it is in present day media. Released in 1983, ‘Little Red Corvette’ was Prince’s first song to make Top 10 charts in the US. It can be argued that the song’s denotation describes an overly sexualized woman whom Prince feels is ruining her life with her promiscuity. The topic of sex is softened and disguises the explicit nature of the song, making it subjective to the individual listener so people are able to interpret the song in their own way based on existing knowledge. The lyrics can be interpreted differently according to age of the listener, for instance, a mother between the ages of 30-50 years old and her daughter around the age of 10-15 years old, both living in the USA during the 1980s. Both mother and daughter will have opposing thoughts on the sexual metaphors and euphemisms that raise the topic of sexual influence, awareness and knowledge, and the effect they actually have on the listener.

In circa 1980s USA, attitudes towards sex were mixed. Two decades earlier the sexual revolution and women’s rights movement, fueling sexual freedom, lead to the 70s where casual sex was widely accepted. As a result, the 80s brought increased teen pregnancy rates and most significantly, the AIDS pandemic that sparked realization of the consequences of sex, and prompted safer sex. In ‘Little Red Corvette’, Prince warns the woman, “baby you’re much too fast” and that she might “run your little red corvette right to the ground”, metaphorically describing her promiscuity and body. Although the song does talk about a sexual rendezvous, the warning tone given off by these lyrics is evidence Prince is worried about the woman, reflecting the more careful and aware attitude toward sex in the 80s. The mother, raised more conservatively during the 1930s – 1950s would have more uptight views on sex, reflecting her parents’ generation’s ideas; sex should only occur between man and woman after marriage. However, living in a time where sexual expression was growing, it is possible that she more readily accepts sex than the generation before her. Thus, due to the wary tone and metaphors veiling sex, she can relate to the content of the song without being too offended or uncomfortable. Her daughter, born around 1965 – 1970 would be growing up in the midst of growing sexual acceptance. Although quite undeveloped at 10-15, her views on sex will be more open but heedful due to fear of AIDS and other sexual consequences, which she will learn about through school, her peers and the media. Upon hearing this song at this age, however, she will probably not realize the sexual connotation.

Prince uses an allusion to Greek mythology that continues as a...

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