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Funk - Released September 14, 2018 | Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure. With the aptly named album Piano & A Microphone 1983, it’s with the simplest devices that his art is heard. At only 25 years old, Prince had already released five albums (For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999) and was just about to release the album that would turn him into a global star, Purple Rain. The multi-instrumentalist spent his days and nights in the studio and we find him here alone at the piano for a medley of personal compositions and two covers: Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You and the gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work. Just close your eyes and you’ll find yourself alone with Prince…With his elastic voice and skilled playing, the musician from Minneapolis proves to those who doubted him that he was a true artist; both entertainer and composer, showman and improviser. His stripped back version of Purple Rain touches on the sublime and the track Strange Relationship gives an insight into the evolution of his productions, as four years later the track appeared, more muscular this time, on the album Sign o’ the Times. While Piano & A Microphone 1983 may be primarily aimed at Prince fans, novices – if there are any left – will no doubt enjoy discovering this impressive artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Funk - Released June 7, 2019 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Following the piano compositions from Piano & A Microphone 1983 released in 2018, we now have a second posthumous, princely album. Originals is centred around the 1981-1991 decade which was particularly prolific for Prince and so there is a beautiful unity throughout the album which mainly comprises of recordings of songs written for others. Rogers Nelson was first and foremost a very accomplished, versatile artist who could play all the instruments in Purple Rain just as well as he performed on stage, like his idol James Brown, for whom he composed numerous songs. He also composed songs for many other outstanding performers in the “Prince world” and among the fifteen tracks in this album are The Glamorous Life written for Sheila E, the Bangles’ Manic Monday, Martika’s Love Thy Will Be Done and You’re My Love for country crooner Kenny Rogers. With its priceless, unreleased tracks, Originals gives a sneak-peak behind the scenes of the studio in which this legendary icon produced some of the very best melodies and sang them with real panache, without really knowing what would become of them. The perfect example of this has to be Nothing Compares 2 U, the real emotional peak of this opus. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Funk - Released March 31, 1987 | Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Prince and the Revolution released the Parade album in March 1986, after which, the following Prince projects were conceived, mostly completed, and abandoned: a single LP Dream Factory, a double-LP Dream Factory, the 3-LP Crystal Ball, a musical known as either The Dawn or Dream Factory, and a single LP Camille. Finally, in March 1987, the double-LP Sign O' The Times was released, cherry-picking highlights from most of those projects and adding brand-new material. It is—even for an artist who has gone down in history as one of the most prolific pop musicians of the 20th century—an astonishing volume of work. Even more astonishing is the consistently high quality of the work. The original Sign O' The Times has long been recognized as Prince's creative zenith, garnering the sort of contemporaneous and retrospective critical admiration that very few double albums have ever claimed. But the fact that this work was the result of a 27-year-old creating at such a fast clip and such a high level is, when you stop and think about it, not just the mark of a genius at the top of his game, but something truly singular. That uniqueness may bedevil listeners of this Super Deluxe Edition. While the Sign O' The Times album itself is, of course, still an incredible work that benefits immensely from the careful remastering (this album, probably more than any other in Prince's catalog, was in dire need of it), there is no easy way to mentally process its 45 unreleased tracks. They are sequenced in chronological order of recording, which makes sense, as there really is no other simple way the Estate could have presented this work. However—believe it or not—this isn't even everything! Due to licensing restrictions and the fact that many of these tracks exist in multiple versions, there is no way this set could be comprehensive. So, while this presentation does deny listeners the chance to compile their own versions of the Dream Factory or Camille albums from the unreleased material, it also declines to provide any sort of narrative listening experience. Which is probably for the best. When, in just two years, you can go from the height of the Revolution's powers ("In A Large Room With No Light,""Soul Psychodelicide") through a collaboration with Miles Davis ("Can I Play With U?") and a run of inventive, immersive home-studio creations ("Cosmic Day") and then on to the sounds that would define Lovesexy ("The Cocoa Boys,""Walkin' in Glory"), the only story to tell is one of a prodigy at his most prodigious. With four albums' worth of unreleased material here—nearly all of which is in surprisingly solid sonic condition—your best bet is to proceed slowly, soak it all in, and find your favorites. And, if the original album and 45 unreleased tracks wasn't enough, this set also includes a handful of edits and remixes along with the two b-sides that were released contemporaneously with the album and an absolutely blazing live set from the album's European tour. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Funk - Released June 19, 1984 | Rhino - Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Funk - Released March 25, 1986 | Warner Records

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Funk - Released June 23, 2017 | Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Best New Reissue
This draped in light rerelease of Purple Rain is an opportunity to take a beautiful trip back in time… For Prince, the 1999 advent coincides with several disputes with his entourage. The pinnacle is reached when the guitarist Dez Dickerson leaves, soon replaced by Wendy Melvoin. The star goes back to work and mulls over a project even crazier than a double album: a quasi-autobiographical movie! With their head on the chopping block, his managers are tasked with finding a film without delay. Warner’s movie division is rather lukewarm and wants warranties. Prince and his ever growing family (The Revolution, The Time, Vanity 6) perform regularly at the First Avenue club and spend the rest of their time locked away in a gigantic warehouse rehearsing and taking drama and dance classes to prepare for the movie. Prince even transferred his own studio in this warehouse to record the soundtrack of his crazy project. He also sets up a mobile studio in front of the First Avenue, where he makes live recordings of other songs. In the end, Warner Studios pay up for what will probably be one of the worst movies they’ve produced so far, a dud that will however give an exuberant and awesome soundtrack: Purple Rain reaches the top of the R&B and Pop charts. Let's Go Crazy, When Doves Cry, Take Me With U, Purple Rain and I Would Die 4 U are all Princely hits that will dominate the airwaves in 1984 and 1985. His decadent funk rock and his frilled-shirted pimp style seduce the entire planet. Once again, the musician manages to mix his different foibles like a new Sly Stone. Containing pop melodies reminding of the Beatles and Hendrixian guitars with a funk groove rhythm, Purple Rain offers above all a complete revamping of these fundamentals of music… This Purple Rain Deluxe – Expanded Edition includes the remastered original album (the remastering was made in Paisley Park in 2015 with the original master tapes, and Prince supervised the whole process a few months before his passing), as well as eleven new titles, but also all the edit versions of the singles and their B sides. Taken from Prince’s numerous unreleased archives, the new tracks are true gems, like the 1983 instrumental version of Father’s Song. Some of them, like the studio version of Electric Intercourse, never even got out of Paisley Park before! Those gems have been mastered by Bernie Grundman, who worked on the original album. © MD/Qobuz
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Funk - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Funk - Released October 27, 1982 | Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
37 years since its release, what remains of Prince’s 1999? Rogers Nelson is double the trouble in this fifth studio album released in October 1982 which comprises of eleven tracks on two discs. It marked a new beginning for Prince as he left the world of minimalist electro funk behind him and entered the new era of excess, trading in his understated songs for more decadent mini-operas. His funk evolved to include pop, rock ‘n’ roll and even new wave elements, his voice enveloped in a compelling echo effect, the avant-garde rhythmic-structure full of electronic sounds with guitar parts that are out of this world. In short, the sound of Prince was well and truly reborn and would have a huge impact on the recording industry in the ‘80s. With this timeless masterpiece he finally reached the top of the charts thanks to the hits 1999, Little Red Corvette and Delirious. This Super Deluxe Edition of 1999, released in 2019, offers a completely remastered version of the original album as well as a whole range of awesome bonus material. The two discs feature 23 previously unreleased recordings with demos, promo versions, singles and a live performance from a concert on November 30 th, 1982 in Detroit. Alongside these musical gems, fans and the general public alike can enjoy an XXL version of Possessed, a full length version of Delirious and a live studio performance of International Lover with no falsetto. Perhaps most exciting of all – this 5-star remastered edition includes previously unreleased songs from Prince’s golden era in the early 1980’s! With Money Don’t Grow on Trees, Rearrange, Bold Generation, Purple Music, You’re All I Want and Vagina, the Minneapolis man lives up to his reputation as a musical genius. And just two years later with Purple Rain, the Prince of Minneapolis was crowned Prince of the whole world. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Funk - Released October 27, 1982 | Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Funk - Released March 17, 2014 | Epic

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Funk - Released July 30, 2021 | Legacy Recordings

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Broadly speaking, Prince's musical output was almost always improved when he was collaborating with musicians who kept him on his toes creatively. The man released albums' worth of superlative material that just poured directly from his brain with no intermediation. When it comes to the work he did with his bands, there is a clear difference in quality with the Revolution, the first incarnation of the New Power Generation, and 3rdeyegirl versus what he did with other lineups, which largely consisted of highly skilled but mostly personality-free players who tended to fall in line, rather than raise the stakes or add colors to the mix. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century Prince was often surrounded by highly talented musicians who were a little too in awe of his royal badness to push him into new directions. The resulting music Prince made tended toward the clinical and anodyne, including the mediocre-to-disappointing albums Planet Earth and Musicology that consisted of boring songs played expertly. Even these albums—being Prince albums, after all—managed to each have a few spectacular moments (20Ten, while among the weakest of all Prince studio outings, still contains one of his very best ballads— "Future Soul Song.") Emerging from the vault as a relic from this era is Welcome 2 America, a putative "lost album" that Prince reportedly shelved at the last minute. (Despite his estate's insistence, there is still some debate as to whether this is actually a true "lost Prince album," as it was never mastered or given artwork at the time, and Prince would often cobble together sequences of contemporaneous songs for consideration as an album. Still, given that he booked a tour with the same name and that this sequence has a distinct consistency to its vibe and lyrical approach, it's not a stretch to take the estate at its word.) Had the album been released as a follow-up to 20Ten it would have been a welcome improvement and may have even made that lazy LP seem like a discographical aberration. However, it still suffers from many of the same faults as other Prince albums released during that era; it's an album of boring songs played expertly, punctuated by a few moments of head-spinning brilliance. Positioned as "a political album," the current-events commentary here is pretty on-the-nose, lacking any of the weird nuances of The Rainbow Children or the fiery forcefulness of later tracks like "Baltimore." (There's a George H.W. Bush reference?) Only about a third of the cuts here are actually issue-oriented, with the rest treading more familiar Prince lyrical territory. "When She Comes" makes it quite clear Prince was no longer feeling constricted by his faith regarding lasciviousness. Musically it's consistent to a fault, lacking much in the way of dynamics. Relying primarily on low-key and mid tempo grooves that vary between somnambulant and autopilot, there's not a lot here for a listener to grab onto. Some songs ("Born 2 Die" especially) even sound unfinished, while others don't even feature Prince on lead vocals. Of those, a cover of Soul Asylum's "Stand Up and Be Strong" is just baffling, with vocals given over to Elisa Dease and a slick, lifeless production that makes one wonder why it was even included. "Hot Summer" is a goofy and slight pop-rock confection that, despite being one of the few tracks to bristle with any sort of energy, is almost embarrassing to listen to. Likewise, the uptempo "Yes" tries to conjure up a Family Stone-style bit of positivity, but its cloying lyrical approach—they spell out "Y! E! S!"—is a masterclass in cringe. Much better is the spare, funky rocker "Check the Record" which, despite mostly staying in the mid tempo groove of the rest of the album, is dripping with plenty of weird, Princely touches from churning organ and overdriven guitar to stacked harmonies and playful lyrics. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it's fun and a reminder that weird Prince is always the best Prince. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Funk - Released July 31, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Funk - Released December 17, 2002 | Legacy Recordings

3 stars out of 5 - "...Prince is a crack bandleader in addition to being an ace performer, and he marshals all the skills in this lean - just bass, keys and drums, with four horns - edition of the NPG..." © TiVo
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Funk - Released September 10, 1993 | Warner Records

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Funk - Released October 5, 1980 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Funk - Released April 22, 1985 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Funk - Released July 20, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Funk - Released April 20, 2004 | Legacy Recordings

Prince's star faded not long after he won emancipation from Warner Brothers in 1995, as he abandoned the mainstream so he could follow his whims however he liked. Which meant that he effectively started making records for nobody but himself, whether that meant triple-disc collections of new material or an all-instrumental smooth jazz album, and in short order, his fans started dwindling away to nothing but the hardcore, who themselves had their patience tried by such antics as Prince suing his own fanzine in the late '90s. It seemed that he was fated to permanently wander in the wilderness, making music for an ever more selective audience, until he suddenly decided in 2004 that he wanted to be back in the game, returning to the spotlight with acclaimed performances at the Grammys and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, announcing an all-hits tour, and releasing Musicology, his first major-label distributed album in five years. This flurry of activity suggests that Prince is treating this as an opportunity for a full-fledged comeback and, thankfully, he's seized this moment and delivered a vastly entertaining record. Unlike everything he's done since leaving Warner, Musicology doesn't alienate listeners; it's tight and lean, weighing in at 12 tracks and 47 minutes, yet that's still enough room for Prince to showcase his virtuoso versatility. He tries a little everything -- down and dirty funk jams, slow sensual grooves, and, happily, he revives the psychedelic pop of the mid-'80s with the deliriously catchy "Cinnamon Girl" -- but unlike on such overworked albums as Emancipation and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, it never feels like an attempt to dazzle or a series of stylistic exercises. That's because there's a clarity to his production -- dense, but never busy, proving once again that he's about the only musician who can make a one-man band sound as vibrant as a live nine-piece group -- and a focus to his writing that hasn't been heard in a long, long time. At its core, Musicology is essentially classicist Prince, as he makes a deliberate decision to play to all of his greatest strengths, but because it's been so long that he's made a record this confident and concise, it doesn't sound like a retreat. It sounds as if he's rediscovered his muse, which is quite a bit different than simply following his whims. Make no mistake, this isn't the second coming of Purple Rain or Sign 'o' the Times or even Parade -- in other words, it's not a masterpiece, more like a more confident and consistent Diamonds and Pearls without the hip-hop fixation -- but it's a strong album, one that impresses on the first listen and gets better with repeated plays. In short, it's the comeback that it was meant to be. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Funk - Released November 20, 2001 | Legacy Recordings

Billed as Prince's most controversial album -- at least by his press agency and label -- upon its release in the fall of 2001, The Rainbow Children was arguably his most curious album to date, which isn't necessarily the same thing as controversial. It could have been controversial, that's for sure, given that it follows his conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses and that it trumpets his faith, over the most elastic, jazziest backing music he's made. If Prince hadn't marginalized himself through his record company battles, multi-disc sets, and botched superstar comebacks, this could have been genuinely controversial, since people would be paying attention to what he's doing. As of 2001, nobody outside of the diehards -- those who sign up for the Paisley Park subscription service and those that will seek out an album like The Rainbow Children, which was initially only available through the Internet -- was really paying enough attention to listen to this record, since they were the only ones to sit through the cascade of arcania he turned out after his liberation from Warner. Since they're so deeply immersed in this work, they would realize that musically The Rainbow Children is his most cohesive set since The Gold Experience, and the only one to really push past his traditional limits since then (which, admittedly, is still much more imaginative). And, you know, that's really too bad, because as a musical experience, this is pretty rich, demonstrating not just that Prince knows no borders, but that his music effortlessly mutates within the course of one song, perhaps drawing from his standard book of tricks -- jazz fusion, smooth soul, lite psychedelia, hard rock, and funk general weirdness -- but always sounding unpredictable and rewarding. It's too bad, then, that the very thing that inspired the album for its creator is what will turn off even those diehards that stuck with him this long, seeking out this album -- namely, its religious views. It's not that Prince has become a Jehovah's Witness -- any objective listener really wouldn't care -- but it's that his message doesn't support the music and doesn't fit with the sounds or the approach; it's hard to shut it out, not just because the words are so prominent, but because they're delivered in so many different voices (most distracting of all, the electronically altered basso profundo voice last heard on the decidedly secular "Bob George"), often in short, two-minute songs. This becomes a little overwhelming about halfway through, when the opera comes in on "Wedding Feast," reminding us that this is indeed a concept album, then delving into three eight-minute jams to conclude the record. It all winds up as a bit much, but it doesn't erase the musical facts: this is Prince at his most focused and rewarding in a long time, since Emancipation really. Too bad nobody outside of the diehards cares at this point. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Funk - Released November 1, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Prince in the magazine
  • Prince of America
    Prince of America A true funk and soul bomb, "Welcome 2 America", the great unreleased album by the little Prince is finally out!
  • Grammys 2020: a recap
    Grammys 2020: a recap With the 62nd Grammy Awards taking place this past Sunday, let’s take a look at some standout moments of the ceremony.
  • Prince: 1999 in 2019!
    Prince: 1999 in 2019! The Minneapolis master's groundbreaking album which came out in 1982 is now being reissued in a Super Deluxe Edition in Hi-Res 24-Bit quality, with plenty of bonuses including several previously un...
  • Proof for the doubters
    Proof for the doubters Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure.