I’ll take this one literally: four top Prince songs, as in “four Prince songs you should check out.”
1. “The Morning Papers” (Love Symbol, 1992). A lovely horn section, crunchy solo, and the lyric “IF they pour his heart into a glass and offered it like wine” adorn this midtempo rocker that sounds exactly like what it was: a fourth single.
2. “17 Days” (“Let’s Go Crazy” b-side, 1984). The apex of Prince’s Linn drum obsession. Of course it was a b-side: he was writing shit like this for Sheila E and The Time at the rate of one a day. And why not with a melody this insinuating?
3. “Mountains” (Parade, 1986). As revolutionary as “Kiss” in its own way. How do you “do” minimalist falsetto-anchored funk and brass and multitracked vocals?
4. “Bambi” (Prince, 1979). A first draft of what he’d perfect on 1980′s “When U Were Mine,” this song lets Prince’s guitar unleash the anger that the later song sublimates in New Wave beats and synths. And there was no “he” sleeping in between the two of them.