Prince’s fifth album, 1999, was released in 1982 and was the first to have the band The Revolution play on it. For many mainstream rock fans, this would be the first time they came across Prince and his brand of rock/funk/pop/soul. A one-night stand is detailed on his first top ten hit, “Little Red Corvette”. The sleek rocker has a great female vocal from Lisa Coleman whose brief vocal adds texture to the “ride it to the ground” lyric. While the original release of single “1999” stalled high in the charts, the ubiquitous new year’s eve track is one of Prince’s, and pop music’s, most popular songs. The infectious party anthem sees a shared vocal between Prince and other members of The Revolution who sing of bombs and destruction over the punchy drum track.
Upbeat third single “Delirious” has a squiggly keyboard line before the darker and harder beat of “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” appears. The original album was a double vinyl release which allowed Prince to stretch out on funk tracks such as “D.M.S.R.”, the crisp beat of “Automatic”, and rock guitar of “Lady Cab Driver”. For fans of pop music, the album 1999 is front loaded with the hits coming fast and furious. However, for those wanting to explore further, the funk workouts at the end of the disc all ride a fabulous groove that rarely outstay their welcome.
The second disc on this release features various promo mixes and B-sides. Your love of it will depend on how much you want to listen to several versions of the album tracks with only minor differences from the originals. It is a bonus to have the 7” versions of “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” that immediately jump into the track vs. the album versions. Of the three B-sides, the soulful “How Come U Don’t Love Me Anymore” from the “1999” single is the pick.
1999 – 10/10
Second disc – 8/10