Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Prince - 1999 (1982)


Prince has always been hit-or-miss with me but the hits more than make up for the misses. This album is no different. Overall, I prefer the first half of the CD to the second half, but make no mistake, this must be heard on CD so there's no break. Like most double albums, this would have made an unbelievable single LP, but artists gonna art. Seriously, what else sounded anything like this in 1982? In my little world, the answer to that question would have been "nothing." And Prince did most all of it himself and was only 24 years old? Unreal.

The album currently sits at 163 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame which is funny since The Recording Academy didn't show it much love at the time of release. It also was placed in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die with a snarky review that calls Janet Jackson's Control album a carbon copy of 1999. Good call.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: it peaked at #9 upon initial release. However, it later peaked at #7 on May 14, 2016 following Prince's death in April. It also made the 2016 year-end chart at #200.
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #4
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #6

Tracks: Without question, the title track is the best thing here and I probably liked Little Red Corvette the first hundred times I heard it. Prince invented the genre of computer-synth-dance-blues with Let's Pretend We're Married (which should have charted higher) and Delirious; the latter makes me think of the hilarious Eddie Murphy special of the same name although there's no connection between the two that I'm aware of.  I also dig D.M.S.R., Free, and Lady Cab Driver (which contains the best guitar work on the album).

The second best song from the album, How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?, was inexplicably relegated to b-side status and didn't even make the dang thing.  It would have made a heckuva an album closer or could have been swapped out with the filler of Something In The Water (Does Not Compute) or All The Critics Love U In New York. As it is, I'll have to settle for spinning my 45 (don't mind if I do).

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: My buddy Jim had this double LP set and I recorded the tunes I liked on one side of a C-60 cassette. Other than the title track, I have no idea what tracks I preferred back then. Said tape was only played in the Markmobile as the obscenities would not have gone over well in my house.



Previously revisited for the blog:
Musicology (2004)
N.E.W.S. (2003)
The Hits 2 (1993)
Around The World In A Day (1985)
Music from Purple Rain (1984)

3 comments:

  1. 1999 easily makes my top 5 Prince albums. I had it on vinyl and CD, and I love it from start to finish

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    1. When you, Mark and I individually ranked our wildly divergent favorite albums from 1982 way back in 2013 and 2014, you, Sir, placed 1999 atop your list while Mark said it was his 32nd favorite album that year and I slotted only two albums higher than 1999.

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  2. For me, 1999 easily ranks as one of Prince's three best overall long players. After Purple Rain, it is the album I'd most like to hear in a remastered, expanded version.

    You mentioned the slow burnin' b-side "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" which was also officially released on a 1983 abbreviated cassette iteration of the album in Europe but 1982 was Prince's first major prolific year in the studio, with nearly sixty tracks known to exist, including the 1999, Vanity 6, and What Time Is It? albums. Among the other standout tracks recorded during that period are first takes of later releases like "Raspberry Beret", "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man", "Strange Relationship" and "Moonbeam Levels".

    There are even reports that the album that was eventually released as 1999 existed in an early configuration without both the title track and "Little Red Corvette", the final two tracks recorded for the album in early August 1982.

    Thanks for posting your review.

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