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Rock - Released October 16, 2020 | Warner Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Best New Reissue
More than a quarter-century after Tom Petty's Wildflowers was first released, it can finally be heard the way the singer-songwriter intended. When he turned in 25 songs, hoping for a double album, Warner Bros. asked him to pare it down to one. But just three years past his death, his family and Heartbreakers bandmates Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell (technically a solo release, Wildflowers features most of the band) have restored the record to its original glory and added in a trove of home demos, alternate takes and live tracks—some 70 songs in all. Produced by Rick Rubin while Petty's decades-old marriage was crumbling and he was reportedly battling heroin addiction, the 1994 release remains one of the all-time great break-up records; heard all together, the extended LP (the All The Rest part is produced Petty's longtime engineer Ryan Ulyate) Petty is a deeper devastating beauty. "New" tracks like the Byrds-y "Leave Virginia Alone," tender "Something Could Happen" and psychedelic Beatles-meets-Wall of Sound "Somewhere Under Heaven" are a comfortable coda to classics such as "You Don't Know How It Feels" and "It's Good to Be King." Extra track "Hope You Never" is a gorgeous, direct complement to old favorite "Only a Broken Heart." As perfect as the original album has always played, it's hard to imagine not including the swaying After the Gold Rush-esque "Hung Up & Overdue" (with backing vocals by Beach Boy Carl Wilson) or sunny, jangling "California" (which also shows up in a demo version, with a telling extra verse: "Don’t forgive my past/ I forgive my enemy/ Don’t know if it lasts/ Gotta just wait and see"). Dig into the home recordings, and it's an even bigger mystery why the harmonica-inflected "There Goes Angela" and plaintive "There's a Break in the Rain (Have Love Will Travel)" weren't contenders over, say, the Celtic-flavored "Don't Fade on Me." Chalk part of that first-listen awe up to the intimacy of these solo demos, which also cast a new, revelatory light on the gently folksy title track and "You Don't Know How It Feels." Live non-album favorites "Girl on LSD" and "Drivin' Down to Georgia" are captured here, along with a blistering "Honey Bee" and lovely takes on "You Wreck Me" and "Crawling Back to You." Tench has recalled Petty calling Wildflowers "the best record we ever made." Now it's even better. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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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