Purple Rain may be the album that most people associate with prince, but 1999 was one of the most pivotal releases that the artist made.
The fifth album from the dance legend, 1999, was futuristic, funky, sexy, and innovative all at once. Every song on the record exhibits the savvy and style of a musician who knew exactly how sounds would work together from one moment to the next. The new Prince 1999 remastered edition is a celebration of everything that made this artist so sensational.
Back in 1982, when the original version of the album was released, people were already concerned about the upcoming change of the millennium. In his title song “1999”, Prince commented on generation to come, imagining apocalyptic nuclear annihilation from the moment the ball dropped in the year 2000. However, Prince wasn’t worried about the impending end of the world. He believed that people had to stop worrying about the future and start prioritising pleasure over fear.
The Prince 1999 super deluxe edition comes with both the original songs of 1999, remastered and enhanced, as well as a selection of vault songs that hadn’t appeared officially in any form before now. Though Prince performed a few of the extra songs live, a handful, including “Purple Music” never got the attention that they deserved.
Other vault materials on the super deluxe edition include alternative takes of previously released songs. These are a chance to see behind the scenes of the configurations that brought Prince’s music to life. The package also includes a 1982 live recording from Detroit, and a concert DVD from Houston. These video insights offer a view into how improvisational Prince’s music often was.
The fifth album from the dance legend, 1999, was futuristic, funky, sexy, and innovative all at once.
Prince 1999 super deluxe edition review: Background and inspiration
What Warner has done with the Prince 1999 remastered edition is genuinely phenomenal.
It’s the go-to purchase for any true Prince fan, offering an incredible collection of 10 LPs, a Blu-Ray DVD and more in one unique collection. If you’ve ever wished that you had the opportunity to explore some of the artefacts that had been lost in the history of Prince’s recordings, then this is the album for you. For instance, there’s an early studio version of “Possessed” featured in the boxset, which combines loose sounds from the seventies with the keyboard chaos common in the eighties.
Though the casual Prince fan probably won’t be drawn to the idea of an extra four minutes added onto the song “Delirious”, the full-length version is definitely worth checking out if you’re a die-hard Prince lover. There’s even access to one of the more unheard songs from Prince’s history, “Purple Music”, which represents one of the first times that Prince sang about his favourite colour.
Although the bonus vault music added to Prince 1999 remastered isn’t necessarily any better than the songs that came out on the original version – they’re great to have. For a true fan of Prince, the extra songs offer an insight into just how experimental the artist was during the time, and how keen he could be to try out new ideas. You’ll also get an insight into how dedicated Prince and his band were when it came to producing the right music for their fans.
Similar to the Purple Rain deluxe box set that appeared a couple of years ago, this broader look at the 1999 album highlights the true genius of Prince as a musician, as well as the diversity that he was willing to explore as an artist. The songs that originally appeared on 1999 are clearly just a snippet of what he was actually doing at the time.
By the time we finished our Prince 1999 super deluxe edition review, we were left wondering what Prince might not have recorded during his experimental phase in the 80s.
You’ll also get an insight into how dedicated Prince and his band were when it came to producing the right music for their fans.
Prince 1999 super deluxe edition review: Sound
If you’ve already heard the original Prince 1999 album, then you won’t be too surprised by what you get on the Prince 1999 super deluxe edition. The newly released update maintains many of the same songs from the original collection, with just a few added extras thrown in. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the alternate takes of the album songs were often less adventurous overall than the versions Prince eventually chose for the album. This is a great insight into how bold the musician could be.
When recording the vault tracks and alternative songs for 1999, Prince was clearly finding new sounds to experiment with. Throughout the monster collection, you’ll hear the artist pushing his voice into a range of different personalities, moving from a soft and sweet falsetto, to something almost punk-like in nature. There’s even a little experimentation with one of Prince’s first drum machines – the Linn M-1, which allowed him to record and program realistic sampled sounds faster. Today, there are still many modern pop songs that are driven by the same metronomic beats. Perhaps that’s why 1999 has held up so well over the years.
The vault music combined with the songs from 1999 reflects Prince’s incredible approach to 1980s multitasking. Prince often wrote and recorded his songs in short spaces of time, working according to moments of inspiration. There are moments of garage rock with “Yah You Know”, and rockabilly with “No Call You”, as well as various synth pop elements throughout the record.
When recording the vault tracks and alternative songs for 1999, Prince was clearly finding new sounds to experiment with.
This new edition is a celebration of everything the artist accomplished when he decided to go beyond the basic genres of pop and synth and introduce the world to something new. Everything this collection has to offer only serves to remind how much we’re crying out for another Prince.