Prince (1992) 7 12″

Guest Blogger: Randall Paske
7 12″

Very Brief:
The ‘Love Symbol’ album lost me after a decade of Prince fandom. I bought it upon its release in October 1992, as I had done for its eight predecessors, and I hated it. Aside from “Sexy M.F.”, whose release as a single had preceded the album by several months, I didn’t really like any of the songs, and some were downright irritating. The album was a fussy, unfocused, overstuffed mess, with too many songs that relied on repetitive phrases and too many poor attempts at rap. I was so disappointed that I sold it back, which would have been unthinkable in the previous decade. I kept the “Sexy M.F.” single, and I didn’t need the rest.

In hindsight, there had been clues leading to this. The embarrassingly trifling “My Name Is Prince” had already been selected as the next single from the album. (Even the NPG musicians weren’t too keen on that one, as Tommy Barbarella recently told Rolling Stone.) The previous album, ‘Diamonds & Pearls’, had found Prince chasing sales and trends, and though it had stronger, more obvious winners (“Cream”, “Money Don’t Matter 2nite”, and “Gett Off”), it also scraped bottom with annoying garbage like “Jughead” and “Push”. I let it slide at the time, but now I find it a tough listen. ‘Graffiti Bridge’ had also shown some signs of weakness, like the title track and “New Power Generation”. Quality control on Prince releases before then had been very high–many killer songs had been released only as b-sides, and even the least of his album tracks were listenable. But gradually that had changed, culminating in an album that seriously ticked me off.

After “Sexy M.F.” and “My Name Is Prince” both largely flopped in the U.S. (“Sexy M.F.” was never going to get airplay, and “My Name Is Prince” was just weak), Warner Bros. issued “7” as the album’s third single–reportedly the one they’d wanted all along. Gradually, it gained traction, peaking appropriately at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and climbing to number 3 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream chart, which measured only airplay. Though I didn’t listen to much radio at the time, I heard enough of those airplay spins that “7,” which I’d dismissed with the rest of the album, began to grow on me. When I was stuck with the radio, I began to appreciate when “7” came up in the rotation. Even with a grammatical error in the lyrics (it should be “will smite,” not “will smote”), it was much better than what surrounded it.

“7” re-entered my collection when it appeared on the tracklist of ‘The Hits/The B-Sides’ anthology. But I was still a little lost. In the years that followed, Prince changed his name and released lots of substandard albums, and I no longer possessed the enthusiasm required to follow closely, especially as obtaining his music became increasingly complicated. I bought some of his albums, but I passed on others. None of them thrilled me. I still loved the old stuff, but my completist days were over.

I’m not entirely sure what prompted it, but four or five years ago I decided to fill in the gaps and listen to everything Prince released in the years I wasn’t paying close attention. I’d long ceased to expect any consistently great albums, but thanks to my late-blooming appreciation of “7,” I knew I might find some gems. In a way, “7” taught me a new way to listen to Prince. He couldn’t sustain the greatness of his ’80s output–who could?–but that didn’t mean he couldn’t come up with a winner on occasion. I could now take pleasure in digging for buried treasure–and finding it in tracks like “Black Sweat”, “A Million Days” or “Prettyman.” And Prince surprised me in 2014 with ‘Art Official Age’, his best and most consistent album since the ’80s. I’m glad I was once again paying attention.

I went back and got another copy of the ‘Love Symbol’ album, too. My reaction to it is not universal–it is a favorite of many fans–but I still don’t like it. Though stylistically varied, it tries too hard. Besides “Sexy M.F.” and “7”, I can only really appreciate “Damn U” and “The Morning Papers”, which became the album’s other two singles–but at least that’s more than I liked in 1992. Singles aside, this album just isn’t for me.

And what about the “7” remixes? Despite being released in an era when remixing too often meant awkwardly shoving a house beat under everything, these remixes by Keith “KC” Cohen are relatively subtle. The “After 6” versions beef up the bottom end so you can rock the block, but they don’t radically alter the flow of the song. The “Mix 5” versions, which only exist on promo releases, are closer to the original but add a few little flourishes here and there. The “Acoustic” version dispenses with beats almost entirely, bringing the song’s acoustic elements to the fore. These are decent remixes, but ultimately I prefer the album version of the song. On this release, a sound effect that begins the actual album version is omitted, so the “Album Version” here is another slight variation from what you hear on the ‘Love Symbol’ album. This is also how the song appears on ‘The Hits 1’.

Prince (1992) 7 12"The Source:
Label: Paisley Park Records
Catalog#: 0-40574
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 33 1/3 RPM
Country: US
Released: 1992

Prince (1992) 7 12"The A Side:
7 (Album Version) 5:09
7 (After 6 Edit) 4:20
7 (After 6 Long Version) 5:15

The B Side:
7 (Acoustic Version) 3:54
7 (Album Edit) 4:23
2 Whom It May Concern 4:01

The Billboard Charts:

Chart Debuted Debut Pos. Peak Pos. Wks on Chart
Hot 100 11/28/92 98 7 23
Hot Black Singles 12/26/92 88 61 16

The Equipment:
Technics SL-1200MK2 Turntable
Audio Technica AT440MLa Phono Cartridge
Yamaha RX-Z1 A/V Receiver
Sony PCM-R300 DAT Deck
Turtle Beach Catalina sound card
Mustek Scan Express A3 1200 Scanner
Spin Clean Record Washer MKII

The Software:
Cool Edit Pro
Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006
Microsoft ICE

The Links:


7 12" FLAC

7 12" MP3

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Enjoy and get it on!

7 12″

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9 Responses to “Prince (1992) 7 12″”

  1. Andre says:

    This was the first song that drew my attention 2 Prince as I said in the other comment!! It’s still as good as upon first listening. Thanx 4 this. Own the cd-maxi-single, but I love the sound quality of your flac is something else!

  2. Andre says:

    I hope that promo with the mix 5 surfaces too eventually 🙂

    • djrichiep says:

      Unfortunately, I think the Mix 5 version only exists on vinyl on a UK promo 12″, and I don’t own that one.

    • Randall says:

      I might have created some confusion by referring to the Mix 5 versions. I referred to my promo CD of “7” when writing my intro, thinking erroneously that the same tracks were on the vinyl release. So I mentioned the Mix 5 versions (one of which does not appear to be on any vinyl release) and failed to mention “2 Whom It May Concern.” Oops!

  3. Flabbergast says:

    Wow, my reaction to this album was almost identical to yours. I was actually surprised to find out it is kind of a favorite of many fans. I actually liked The Gold Experience a lot better, and although I am kinder to The Love Symbol album, I still think I like it better. I was even remembering the other day how I liked Sexy MF when this album came out, but was kind of disillusioned by it being such a blatant James Brown homage. I was crazy about James and the JBs in the late 80s and early 90s, and Sly Stone too, and although I feel differently about it now, at the time I was worried that it heralded the unspeakable – uh oh, Prince is running out of ideas! I never sold my copy of Love Symbol, though, in fact I have the neato gold slipcase ‘deluxe’ version of it. I don’t believe I have heard most of these remixes and am looking forward to it, it is definitely one of the more interesting cuts to me.

    • Randall says:

      The Gold Experience is better, for sure. But I didn’t buy it back then. I hadn’t made my way back to Prince yet. It didn’t help that the only song I ever heard from it was the relatively bland “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Unlike with “7,” nothing had a chance to grow on me through exposure on the radio.

  4. 2wicky says:

    I actually do like the b-side: “2 Whom It May Concern” – Back then I bought the cd single of ‘My name is Prince’ just because the track was featured there.

  5. BearguyVA says:

    Okay… picky, picky… but I always thought the line was “…and we will SMOKE them all…” 🙂

    • Randall says:

      I think you’re right! I always misheard it as “smote” and it always bothered me, but “smoke” seems to be the correct lyric. Glad to be wrong (if a tad embarrassed).

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