How Prince’s ‘Kiss,’ ‘Cream’ Videos Created the Sex God of Erotic City

How Prince’s ‘Kiss,’ ‘Cream’ Videos Created the Sex God of Erotic City

102
0

Prince – Kiss (Official Music Video)

Like the king of music videos, Michael Jackson, Prince used the MTV era to imprint an image on a generation of music fans. Now that he’s died and we continue to analyze his impact on culture, it’s essential to recall that Prince’s mission to immortalize himself peaked with the 1986 music video “Kiss” – an event in the history of pop music sexuality.

While the record itself offered the ultimate flirty seduction song, the music video was a sexual fantasy direct from Prince’s Erotic City – the libidinal center of his imagination. It introduced music video watchers to voyeuristic pleasures similar to the swanky smut of that period’s soft-core porn and glossy men’s magazines.

Appearing as an imp (that’s what you get when you take the P off “pimp” and reserve it for your career moniker), Prince rises, erection-like, from the bottom of the screen– a black phallic silhouette penetrating the labial pink setting. He then thrusts, jabs, wriggles and struts across the empty, aroused space in movements that combine isolated solos (pop star ego-stroking) and choreographed duos involving a mysterious female partner – a bare-legged spank-bank figure whose identity is obscured in shadowy veils.

Yes, the video turns conventional, often mechanical, rock-and-roll innuendo of the sort Prince popularized with “Little Red Corvette” into a visible, sensual fact. Behind the smoochy subject of the song’s title “Kiss,” the concept here has one private and singular goal: to establish Prince as a modern sex god.

“Kiss” is perfection. Self-imagination and self-realization in one. It’s where Prince was always headed, starting with the half-naked (nude-born) image of him against a baby blue background on the cover of his debut album; the black-and-white blatancy of the mattress spring iconography on the Dirty Mind album cover; and the nearly homemade, overdressed glitz of the “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” music videos that introduced Prince to the broadcast world. In those clips, he wore a spangly purple slicker that almost seemed to get in the way of his quick steps and his aphrodisiacal career aspirations.

By streamlining Prince’s horny-pony playfulness, “Kiss” helps to elucidate his one-man sexual revolution. In “Little Red Corvette,” he batted his eyelashes more coquettishly than even the brazen avatar of rock androgyny Little Richard. Prince had borrowed Little Richard’s pompadour and made it curly but his decades-on daring also borrowed the audacity of glam rock role-reversal. Traditionally, women flirt while men seduce, but Prince did both – deviously – in that on-stage performance video. The brazenly profane lyrics and imagery in songs like “Lady Cab Driver” were the first open expression of porn-consciousness. He presented the life-force of sexuality with adolescent abandon. That accounted for much of the kick in the movie Purple Rain which classically raised teenage hormones to the level of electrifying opera. Yet, with “Kiss,” pop’s master flirt pulls back – like an assured seducer – before plunging ahead with the consummating assault.

How Princes Kiss, Cream Videos Created the Sex God of Erotic City news

It’s an ideal irony that “Kiss” was directed by a woman, fashion photographer Rebecca Blake (who also directed Prince’s later music video erotica “Cream”). At ease with Prince’s gender-fuck charade, Blake boosted its naughtiness. Prince rocks a loose, oversized leather jacket but beneath it he wears a black halter with his torso strapped-in by four large white buttons like the ones used to hold up Mickey Mouse’s shorts. And, of course, every imp needs heels. That’s the accessory bell-bottomed Prince shares with the veiled female succubus who is additionally attired in arm-length black gloves for a cunning, leather-sex touch. Blake evokes Helmut Newton’s S&M couture but the video’s “story” plays out the sex-dungeon scenarios Newton’s layouts could only depict as a series of poses.

Prince’s falsetto in “Kiss” works as a contrast to the video’s dark motifs. And what he whispers-in-our-ears – “I want to be your fantasy/ Maybe you could be mine”– is the pop-star sex-god’s motto.

As much as Prince’s feminine posturing in “Little Red Corvette” was used to disguise the raging masculine libido, the blending of sexual role-play was part the game plan that won Prince a wide audience. His mode of sexual liberation was also a process of sexual democratization and that’s another virtue Blake brought to “Kiss.”

In “Kiss,” Prince shares face time with his guitarist Wendy Melvoin, the butch musician who is visibly moved by Prince’s apologetic kiss during the title song performance of Purple Rain. Film critic Gregory Solman referred to this memorable moment as “the Prince Wince” and ever after the success of Purple Rain that gesture became a sign of star-to-fan commiseration. On screen in “Kiss,” Prince is the beseeching poet and guitar-playing Wendy is his troubadour. Their pairing indicates a shared romantic, brother-sister consciousness. This time, her wincing breaks into a big smile of satisfaction and shared amusement.

Sexual and racial communion is no small part of Prince’s Erotic City vision and may even be the All-American secret to its enduring success. That appeal has been questioned by some who take note of Prince’s frequent use of white females as sexual objects; he employed a traditional form of sexual idealizing that both transgresses and regresses. But this issue cannot be easily resolved as Prince’s second-greatest music video, “Cream” (1991) proves.

Once again, director Blake uses the rose-colored light from “Kiss”; it softens sexual imagery that, because of Prince’s roguishness, might otherwise seem garish. This time, the sex fantasy is expanded into a something resembling a Las Vegas extravaganza complete with an on-stage band and male and female chorus lines (black males, white females) prowling and prancing across the stage like cats in heat. “Cream” is part satire: Its main prop is Prince’s usual one – the phallic guitar wielded between his legs. Its secondary props are those leggy chorines, but look sharp: They’re like the frozen automata of Robert Palmer’s iconographic “Addicted to Love” music video, only these gals undulate and entice.

“Cream” offers a fantasy of sexual and racial integration. The horrible old term “miscegenation” dissolves in the quirky sinuousness of Prince’s guitar chords and the humorous, friskily choreographed interracial coupling. (“Filthy-cute,” Prince sings in a nod to T-Rex.) The women are as eager as the men, and the men move their hips provocatively, as Prince did in “Kiss.” The instrument of this sexual utopia is Prince’s artistry. So he whispers “Look up in the air/ It’s your guitar!” That’s pop music’s greatest, most liberating innuendo.

source

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY