Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Earworm Weekly: "Let's Pretend We're Married" By Prince

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM

I've been avoiding writing about Prince for weeks, partly in overcompensation. Left to my druthers, I could probably pen a year's worth of Prince memorial earworm columns easily. Whether you all would read them, though, would be another matter. Nonetheless, a number of factors combined to entrench “Let's Pretend We're Married” in my head this week — though if I'm honest, it's actually been my own personal background music for a month solid and counting.
First, the BET Awards put on a doozy of a tribute Sunday night, reminding all of us how deep Prince's catalog really is, and how powerful. Nobody sang “Let's Pretend We're Married” per se as part of their set, but that's no surprise. It was released as a single off the 1999 album, but the B-side, “Irresistible Bitch,” got almost as much airplay, though neither broke into the Top 25. It's a fine song, but not one of his all-time greats (though it does contain one of Prince's top 10 screams at about 4:09).

Second, I am planning a wedding this summer. I am at the point where I'm starting to order table linens and counting cupcakes and things, so it's natural that, as a hardcore Prince fan, this song would be prominent in my mind at the moment. It also helps that I might not actually be able to legally consummate my relationship before the ceremony and reception, thanks to state and county bureaucracies, overly particular judges, and similar snags. The party will be on regardless; we'll just “pretend we're married” until the paperwork goes through.

It's worth noting, too, that this week marked the first annual anniversary of marriage equality in the U.S. Once upon a time, legally speaking, same-sex couples had to pretend we were married. Now we don't have to. Hooray!

I love this song because it so neatly reverses the usual stereotypes about married sex. You know, the ones where sex with your spouse is boring, pallid, and routine. Here, Prince wants to pretend we're married so we can “do it all night.” Seven years' worth of doing it all night, to be precise. Probably every night, too. Despite his (well-deserved) libidinous reputation, Prince's catalog always reflected a desire for long-term relationships over one-night stands. And, yes, marriage. He seems to have proposed to a long string of women over time – more than once, while simultaneously dating them. See: Sheila E. and Suzannah Melvoin, Nona Gaye and Mayte. He was married and divorced, twice. So was I, more or less. Third time's the charm.

“Let's Pretend We're Married” also has one of the dirtiest lines in Prince's entire 38-plus-year recording history. “I'm not just saying this to be nasty,” he purrs, “I sincerely want to fuck the taste out of your mouth. Can you relate?” There's talking dirty, and then there's Olympic-class talking dirty. Gold medal to Prince, in perpetuity and in memoriam, amen.
  • Pin It

Tags: ,

About The Author

Lori Selke


Showing 1-1 of 1


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"