Prince had intended to follow-up Sign 'O' the Times with the Black Album. But a week before its scheduled December 1987 release date, he pulled the record. Six months later, Lovesexy came out.

The reason was due to a complete change of mindset for Prince. "I was very angry a lot of the time back then," he told Rolling Stone in 1990, "and that was reflected in that album. I suddenly realized that we can die at any moment, and we'd be judged by the last thing we left behind. I didn't want that angry, bitter thing to be the last thing. I learned from that album, but I don't want to go back."

How far away was Lovesexy from the darkness of the Black Album? Prince defined its portmanteau title as "The feeling you get when you fall in love ... not with a boy or girl but with the heavens above." That happier vibe was reflected in "Alphabet Street," its hit single, while the spiritual side most effectively found a home on "Anna Stesia."

"Lovesexy" fell somewhere in between the two, with the breezy late-'80s funk of the former meeting the lyrical concerns of the latter. "This feeling's so good in every single way / I want it morning, noon and night of every day / And if by chance I can not have it, I can't say / But with it I know heaven's just a kiss away," he sings on the chorus.

Granted, he could just as easily have been referring to sex there, and the dirty talk at the end shows that it was still heavily on his mind. Still, much of the best R&B is about balancing the sacred and the profane. But the positivity -- also the name of Lovesexy's closer -- found on the record was proof that the darkness of the Black Album was mostly behind Prince.

"I feel good most of the time, and I like to express that by writing from joy," he told Rolling Stone. "I still do write from anger sometimes, like in 'Thieves in the Temple.' But I don't like to. It's not a place to live."


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