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Pop - Released June 7, 2019 | Rhino - Warner Records

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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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Pop - Released September 14, 2018 | Warner Records

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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 The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work.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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R&B - Released November 29, 2019 | Warner Records

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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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Pop - Released June 19, 1984 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released June 23, 2017 | Warner Records

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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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R&B - Released March 25, 1986 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

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

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With Dirty Mind, Prince had established a wild fusion of funk, rock, new wave, and soul that signaled he was an original, maverick talent, but it failed to win him a large audience. After delivering the sound-alike album, Controversy, Prince revamped his sound and delivered the double album 1999. Where his earlier albums had been a fusion of organic and electronic sounds, 1999 was constructed almost entirely on synthesizers by Prince himself. Naturally, the effect was slightly more mechanical and robotic than his previous work and strongly recalled the electro-funk experiments of several underground funk and hip-hop artists at the time. Prince had also constructed an album dominated by computer funk, but he didn't simply rely on the extended instrumental grooves to carry the album -- he didn't have to when his songwriting was improving by leaps and bounds. The first side of the record contained all of the hit singles, and, unsurprisingly, they were the ones that contained the least amount of electronics. "1999" parties to the apocalypse with a P-Funk groove much tighter than anything George Clinton ever did, "Little Red Corvette" is pure pop, and "Delirious" takes rockabilly riffs into the computer age. After that opening salvo, all the rules go out the window -- "Let's Pretend We're Married" is a salacious extended lust letter, "Free" is an elegiac anthem, "All the Critics Love U in New York" is a vicious attack at hipsters, and "Lady Cab Driver," with its notorious bridge, is the culmination of all of his sexual fantasies. Sure, Prince stretches out a bit too much over the course of 1999, but the result is a stunning display of raw talent, not wallowing indulgence. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released March 17, 2014 | Epic

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Funk - Released May 15, 2020 | Warner Records

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R&B - Released July 30, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Records

Even geniuses (maybe especially geniuses) are taken for granted, not seen as geniuses, or only appreciated in small doses. Which is a grandiose way of saying that, no matter how partisans may complain, there are many listeners out there that don't want to delve into the deliriously rich catalog of Prince and would rather spend time with a single disc of all the hits -- especially since the first singles compilation was botched, spread too thin over two discs and sequenced as if it were on shuffle play. That doesn't mean that 2001's The Very Best of Prince is perfect, even if it is a better hits overview than its predecessor. First of all, Prince had so many hits, and so many of them were so good, that 17 tracks couldn't possibly summarize everything great. After all, this doesn't have Top Ten hits like "Delirious," "Pop Life," "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," or "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (or the number one "Batdance," for that matter, continuing Batman being unofficially written out of his discography), nor does it have such great second-tier hits as "Take Me With U" and "Mountains," or B-sides like "Irresistible Bitch" and "Erotic City," let alone album tracks. What is here are the big songs -- "1999," "Little Red Corvette," "When Doves Cry," "Kiss," and so on -- all presented in their single edits. And, frankly, that's enough to make this a dynamite collection, perfect for those that just want one Prince disc, and a good, solid listen of some of his best. Besides, this trumps both Hits discs by including "Money Don't Matter 2 Night," his best single never to reach the Top 10. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released September 13, 2019 | Legacy Recordings

One of the more rare and odder items in the Prince discography, The Versace Experience: Prelude 2 Gold was intended as a promotional cassette to be distributed at the Versace runway show at Paris Fashion Week in July 1995. The event was held a mere two months before the September release of The Gold Experience, and the cassette was designed to promote the new record without undercutting it. The album has exclusive remixes of three of the four singles from The Gold Experience -- "Eye Hate U," "Gold," and "P Control," with the actual hit "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" left off, likely because it was over a year old at that point -- and they ground an album that runs swiftly through excerpts of album tracks, snippets of songs from both the New Power Generation and Madhouse, half-formed instrumentals, and Prince gravely intoning "Versace" at random moments. With its Public Enemy samples, fashion fetishism, loopy funk, and smooth soul, The Versace Experience is very much an artifact of its time, and while the period flair makes it interesting, it's only mildly interesting. At its core, The Versace Experience is a promo tape, designed to hype an album that had yet to hit stores. Listening to it decades after the promotional cycle came to a close relegates it to little more than a curiosity. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released August 17, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

Prince's post-Warner catalog -- the records he made for NPG and elsewhere, beginning with 1995's The Gold Experience -- was a mess while he was alive, due to his tendency to hop from label to label, along with his aversion to digital downloads and streaming. Two years after his tragic death in 2016, his catalog began to take shape in the digital realm, thanks to a deal Sony Legacy struck with the Prince Estate. In August 2018, 23 albums Prince released between 1995 and 2010 appeared on all services, and along with them came the double-disc compilation Anthology: 1995-2010. Frankly, this kind of compilation was badly needed. Once he freed himself from Warner, Prince recorded so prolifically that even diehards had a hard time keeping track. Anthology: 1995-2010 provides a way to navigate this vast catalog. Even at 37 tracks, Anthology can't help but miss excellent moments, such as the supple '70s soul covers he scattered throughout his albums and, sadly, his last big hit, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," which is absent due to legal reasons. Set this aside, and Anthology shows how Prince turned himself into a clever stylist in the last act of his career, often returning to the funk, pop, and especially soul that he used as primary sources during his glory days in the '80s. Instead of splicing this all together, Prince preferred to jump from style to style during his NPG recordings, but having these sprawling recordings condensed to a compilation highlights not just his versatility, but how his sense of craft never failed him. This is invaluable for the curious, but even the dedicated who listened to the albums upon release but never revisited them should find this enlightening. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 14, 1993 | Warner Records

While it isn't a truly comprehensive set, Prince's singles collection does contain most of his biggest hits. The two volumes are available separately or packaged together with a third disc of B-sides; apart from the glorious "Erotic City," the flip sides are only of interest to devoted fans. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul - Released April 17, 2020 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released March 30, 1987 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released February 13, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Neither For You nor Prince was adequate preparation for the full-blown masterpiece of Prince's third album, Dirty Mind. Recorded in his home studio, with Prince playing nearly every instrument, Dirty Mind is a stunning, audacious amalgam of funk, new wave, R&B, and pop, fueled by grinningly salacious sex and the desire to shock. Where other pop musicians suggested sex in lewd double-entendres, Prince left nothing to hide -- before its release, no other rock or funk record was ever quite as explicit as Dirty Mind, with its gleeful tales of oral sex, threesomes, and even incest. Certainly, it opened the doors for countless sexually explicit albums, but to reduce its impact to mere profanity is too reductive -- the music of Dirty Mind is as shocking as its graphic language, bending styles and breaking rules with little regard for fixed genres. Basing the album on a harder, rock-oriented beat more than before, Prince tries everything -- there's pure new wave pop ("When You Were Mine"), soulful crooning ("Gotta Broken Heart Again"), robotic funk ("Dirty Mind"), rock & roll ("Sister"), sultry funk ("Head," "Do It All Night"), and relentless dance jams ("Uptown," "Partyup"), all in the space of half an hour. It's a breathtaking, visionary album, and its fusion of synthesizers, rock rhythms, and funk set the style for much of the urban soul and funk of the early '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

Upon leaving Warner Brothers in 1996, Prince agreed to let the label release a collection of unreleased recordings from his legendary prodigious vaults at some point in the future. Warner unveiled that collection, unimaginatively titled The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, in the summer of 1999. Instead of an official release for several of Prince's legendary songs though, The Vault is a brief collection (under 40 minutes) of ten songs, recorded between 1985 and 1994 according to the liner notes -- though they all feel like Graffiti Bridge (or maybe Symbol) outtakes. That's not a complaint, actually. There's a wonderful carefree feeling to the record, heavy on jazz and light funk, constantly swinging, and nearly always engaging. Only the title track has the necessary weight to announce itself as a major addition to his official catalog, but that doesn't matter since the songs are all enjoyable. After all, it's hard not to be impressed with Prince's songcraft or the casually sophisticated flair to the musicianship throughout the album. That might not be what most observers expected from The Vault, but consider this -- of these ten songs, eight tracks have never been heavily bootlegged before. That means that even some hardcore followers may not have heard all of this material, which is noteworthy in itself. But the nicest thing about the compilation is that even though it's a minor addition to his catalog, it holds together as an album better than Come or Chaos & Disorder, the two other Warner-era odds-and-ends collections, or even the tossed-off New Power Soul. It's an unassuming, jazzy little record that's damn near irresistible. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released December 17, 2002 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released October 14, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Controversy continues in the same vein of new wave-tinged funk on Dirty Mind, emphasizing Prince's fascination with synthesizers and synthesizing disparate pop music genres. It is also more ambitious than its predecessor, attempting to tackle social protest ("Controversy," "Ronnie, Talk to Russia," "Annie Christian") along with sex songs ("Jack U Off," "Sexuality"), and it tries hard to bring funk to a rock audience and vice versa. Even with all of Prince's ambitions, the music on Controversy doesn't represent a significant breakthrough from Dirty Mind, and it is often considerably less catchy and memorable. Nevertheless, Prince's talents as musician make the record enjoyable, even if it isn't as compelling as most of his catalog. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Artist

Prince in the magazine
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  • 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.
  • The Qobuz Minute #22
    The Qobuz Minute #22 Presented by Barry Moore, The Qobuz Minute sweeps you away to the 4 corners of the musical universe to bring you an eclectic mix of today's brightest talents. Jazz, Electro, Classical, World music ...