#97 The Glamorous Life by Sheila E.
“Boys with small talk and small minds really don’t impress me in bed.” When I first heard that line at age 16 I thought it was the height of adult lyrical cleverness. It doesn’t impress me the way it did back then, but whenever I hear this Prince-written classic on the radio or it comes up on an old mix-CD I still find myself singing right along with that line and smiling just a lil bit. This single came out at the very tippy-top height of my (and everyone’s?) Purple Rain-era Prince obsession, when almost everything I listened to was written and/or produced and/or conceived and/or performed by Prince: Vanity (and eventually Apollonia) 6, The Time, The Family…but there was something about this song—its rhythmic inventiveness or Sheila E’s virtuosic drum work, Prince’s coy barely-there echo of Sheila’s lead vocal or the arch cynicism of its lyric; probably a combination of all of the above—that made this my second favorite Prince extracurricular track after Vanity 6’s incredibly salacious (and downright funky) “Nasty Girl.” Of course, at age 16, it was easy to love Sheila Escovedo: she was a real musician who also looked (and moved) like a sexy centerfold, and she would help to bring out the best in Prince’s freakness with her collabo work on “Erotic City,” one of the finest of Prince’s fecund b-sides period of the mid-80s. For a suburban music geek like me, this was like striking gold: it could be hard to find popular, women-of-color who played an instrument and turned me on at the same time. There is one thing though, as I trot down memory lane: Listening to “Glamorous Life” now, it sounds terribly fast to my ears and knees, like it was produced and created to be the dance song of choice for cokeheads everywhere—did we really dance (move? live?) that fast in the 80s?
Hear the music here: