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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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 The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work.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 23, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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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Pop - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released June 19, 1984 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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R&B - Released March 25, 1986 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released October 27, 1982 | Warner Bros.

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

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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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
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R&B - Released July 30, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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
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Pop - Released September 14, 1993 | Warner Bros.

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
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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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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Pop - Released April 19, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Although Prince was never able to perform this poignant ballad on stage, which he composed in 1984 for The Family (the group and the album of the same name). Nothing Compares 2 U is still too often considered to be a song by Sinéad O 'Connor. But “we must return to Prince what belongs to Roger Nelson”, this is what is probably thought by the people who manage the patrimony of the musician under the tag “Prince Estate”. Without doubting the merit of the Irish singer, Prince probably would have had similar success, if he had released it under his name and not under one of his parallel projects that didn't garner much promotion. Just after the recording of his seventh album, Around The World In A Day, this major “musicaholic” had already laid down all the foundations for the first album of The Family, at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse Studio in Eden Prairie. It was the very first album of another project that he marketed on his label, Paisley Park Records, and far from a temporary whim, he saw the opportunity to give himself greater musical freedom. With The Family, he wanted more freedom to record more open pop songs that let him express his  jazz and classical influences… But, as often is the case, the group was never truely one and despite all of the talent of its members and contributors ( Paul “St. Paul” Peterson, vocals and keyboard, Susannah Melvoin, vocals, Eric Leeds, saxophone, Clare Fischer, orchestrations, Wendy Melvoin, guitar, Jellybean Johnson, drums, Jerome Benton, chorus, Miko Weaver, guitar and chorus, Alan Flowers, bass, Jonathan Melvoin, keyboard, Bill Carrothers, keyboard, Wally Safford, chorus and Greg Brooks, chorus), The Family did not last long after their first album and a single concert (August 13, 1985). Marketed extremely "discreetly" in the summer of 1985, the album was not even reissued when Sinéad O'Connor shot to number one in numerous countries with Nothing Compares 2 U. A song that had not even been released as a single in 1985, as Warner Bros, the record label distributing Paisley Park Records, had thought that The Screams of Passion and High Fashion had much more potential commercially. Reformed briefly in 2003 and then renamed fDeluxe, the band added four albums to their discography without ever trying to capitalize on the masterpiece, to which he was the first performer. A live version recorded with The New Power Generation, duet with Rosie Gaines, was already around in 1993 on the compilation The Hits/ The B-Sides, and Prince Estate had integrated it in 4Ever, Prince's first best of, which was posthumously released in 2016. Beyond his keyboard intro that we believe was borrowed from I am The Walrus by The Beatles, this is a studio version that we would call an "alternative" for The Family, already with its orchestral arrangements, its saxophone solo and its omnipresent choir. But more notably with the voice of Prince, as expressive and inspired as his guitar playing. A promising first taste of the famous archives that the Prince Estate has promised to unveil widely in a time frame that we hope is extremely short. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret / Qobuz
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R&B - Released December 17, 2002 | Legacy Recordings

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R&B - 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
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Pop - Released February 13, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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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
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R&B - Released May 14, 2002 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released October 14, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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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
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Pop - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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
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Pop - Released March 30, 1987 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Funk - Released June 24, 2013 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Prince in the magazine
  • 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 ...