WHO IS HE? The artist formerly known as Prince Rogers Nelson, The Artist, The Kid, TAFKAP, a unisex squiggle and several other pseudonyms. More importantly, His Purpleness was also quite rightly known as one of the most creative, prolific, innovative and flamboyant musicians of his generation.
WHAT IS THIS? His estate’s latest (and perhaps greatest) vault-raiding release since Prince’s untimely death from an opioid overdose in April 2016. This Super Deluxe reissue of the diminutive genius’s 1982 blockbuster augments the original 11-song double album with a whopping 66 bonus cuts — including two discs of rare and previously unreleased tracks, along with B-sides, extended dance mixes, 7″ edits, mono versions, alternate takes, and two live performances (one on DVD) from shortly after the album’s release.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The funky mother lode. And then some. The remastered old tracks sound crisp and clear, the plethora of assorted mixes — while basically inessential — thankfully don’t go too far down the rabbit hole, the live recordings showcase his beloved backing band The Revolution and the newly unearthed cuts are nothing short of a treasure trove.
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? 1999: Party On.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With a truly dedicated and patient Prince fan — the entire set takes about seven hours to get through.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Comprehensive, futuristic, innovative, rebellious, funky, freaky, provocative, dramatic, sensual, irrepressible.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? You can’t top classics like 1999, Little Red Corvette and Delirious — but long-buried gems like the sexy Feel U Up, the trans anthem Vagina, the new wave workout Turn It Up, the ’50s-inspired ditty You’re All I Want, the funky jam Possessed, the four-on-the-floor synth-rocker Yah, You Know, the wiry Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got and the power-pop Teacher, Teacher (not the Rockpile song) are well worth the price of admission.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘I didn’t think it was possible to make 1999 any better. Looks like I was wrong.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? Obviously, only an obsessed fanatic is going to sit through seven hours of Prince more than once. Even so, there are enough treats and nuggets and gems scattered throughout these discs to ensure that the set will see plenty of action.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A COLOUR, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Several different shades of purple to match Prince’s various moods, of course.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? The CD/DVD box will set you back about $85, which is far cheaper than the $300 vinyl version — but if those are too steep for your budget, the two-disc Deluxe Edition (which includes 18 of the alternate mixes) is a measly $22.