Monday, November 28, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: PRINCE - 4EVER
This is what has been missing for the Prince fan since his death, especially the ones who want to get a lot of hits, more than the basics. It's a 40-track collection from his Warner Bros. years (or "Slave" time, and he once famously wrote on his forehead), from the start of his career as a wonderboy, until '93, when he went on his own, and not coincidentally, pretty much stopped having hits. Then there was that whole symbol-for-a-name thing, but that was later. This is the 1999-Purple Rain-Kiss years.
Oh, and so much more than that. Hopefully you'll stick around for a few more tracks, since he had a glorious run of singles, and shouldn't be remembered for just a handful. As this set shows, Prince had a great way to mix heavy grooves and solid rock, impossible to resist dance floor tracks, and hooks on top of all that. Pretty naughty too; he made Madonna look like a, ahem, virgin.
Amazingly, 40 tracks doesn't even cover all the singles he released although all the big hits are here. I'm a bit miffed that they chose to release the single edits for several cuts, as we miss lots of the best parts of songs. Plus, we all knew the long versions anyway, from the videos, not the radio. Nobody wants a shorter version of Little Red Corvette, that thing can play all night for my money. There will be lots of songs you'll either have forgotten, or not even noticed over the years, especially the pre-1999 (the song, not the year) material, back when he really displayed that dirty mind -- his first single was called Soft and Wet, for goodness sake. Then there are the later tracks you never hear anymore, such as 87's fabulous I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man, from the mostly-amazing Sign O' The Times album. Unfortunately it also included the annoying Sheena Easton duet U Got The Look, also included on this.
Prince made a major misstep in 1986, trying to do another movie to follow Purple Rain's massive success, the dire Under The Cherry Moon. At least the music from it was tremendous, including Kiss. But he jumped the shark with the Batman soundtrack, and the public started to smell weirdness, never a good thing. He had more moments of glory along the way, and I'll argue that his last studio album, Hit n Run Phase Two was one of his very best ever, back to glory years. There's apparently a vault of gold waiting to be shared, and we do get one previously-unreleased cut here, a very interesting 1982 song called Moonbeam Levels, which certainly doesn't sound like the 1999 album stuff made at the same time. It's more like Diamonds and Pearls, which is sequenced next to it on this set. I'm looking forward to more discoveries, but in the meantime, let's enjoy Raspberry Beret again. It's my fave.