Minneapolis, Minnesota

Uptown by Prince

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She's just a crazy, crazy, crazy
Little mixed up dame
She's just a victim of society
And all it's games Read full Lyrics
"Uptown" refers to the still popular cultural district of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is partially defined by the fact that it's centered at the Uptown Theatre. Prince, the artist behind this song who is now known for his very long history of success and controversy in the music industry, released "Uptown" on his third album, Dirty Mind, in 1980.

This song speaks of his experience and love for Uptown, describing it as the place where he wants to be. He paints a rather glorious, albeit hedonistic picture of a popular and sociable get-together in a place where free thinkers can relish in nights of fun and pleasure (evident in the lines "Good times were rolling all night" and "We do whatever we please"). Uptown is still famous today as a vibrant area predominantly occupied by the youth and known as a welcoming place for various cultural strains and people of all sexual orientations. It is still a prevalent hub for artists, musicians, hippies, 'hipsters' and 'yuppies' where restaurants, bars, theatres and galleries are particularly frequented at nights and on weekends.

Uptown Minneapolis<br>Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jsalita/33700635033/" target="_blank">Jenny Salita</a>, via Flickr, CC 2.0Uptown Minneapolis
Photo: Jenny Salita, via Flickr, CC 2.0
Prince speaks of this girl in his song, a stranger to him and, it seems, a stranger to Uptown and its principles, too. He describes her as a victim of society and playing games. Further to which he hints at society's issues of racial discrimination and a general lack of acceptance to anything out of the perceived "norm." Prince references downtown as narrow-minded and heading nowhere, a place where people are judged by their clothes, appearance and sexuality. It has been considered that Prince used Uptown as a concept for a more idealistic world where racism and hatred don't exist, and that this song is one of his earliest efforts to integrate political statements into his music. He also uses several lines to implore his listeners to "come to Uptown" - to join this concept of a world free of segregation and discrimination where people can openly express themselves in whichever way they choose.

c'mon, c'mon, you
you have to, you gotta go

Dirty Mind showcased Prince's successful trademark of prominently sexual lyrics and incorporating elements of funk, dance and rock in his music. He has received many awards over the years, including Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. Prince also pioneered the "Minneapolis sound," which is a mixture of funk, rock, pop, R and B, and New Wave, and has since influenced many other artists. He recorded Dirty Mind in his own studio and "Uptown" reached the No. 5 spot on both the Billboard Dance and Hot Soul Singles charts.

Being able to look at Prince and his song "Uptown" from so many years since its release, we can see how deep his love and relationship goes with its setting, as he has continued to show his love for Minneapolis in more recent years. In 2010 he wrote a song inspired by watching a Minnesota Vikings football game, and a month later he premiered the song on a Minnesota based radio station.

And on his birthday in 2007, after performing three shows in "uptown," the day was (unofficially) pronounced Prince Day. Given Prince's propensity for glitz, we're sure the birthday cake was extravagant.

Karen Blackwell
June 13, 2015
Thanks to Kim Martin for the Songplace suggestion
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