Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prince: His Best Albums

Prince's albums up until the mid-90's are uniformly strong.  As the 2000's were ushered in, Prince's records all had a few good cuts, but were lacking the originality we came to expect from his early days.  I hope someone will release a compilation of Prince's late 00's work.

So, my own list is top heavy with the classic stuff.

Dirty Mind
Purple Rain
Sign O' The Times

Every music fan should have the above 5 in their collection.  These are Prince's best albums and show his depth better than anything:  Funk, Rock, Pop, Soul, Gospel and any other genre he was inventing.

Very Good
Around The World In A Day
Diamonds and Pearls
Love Symbol Album
Gold Experience
Black Album

Controversy followed Dirty Mind in 1981 and was seen as being less daring than that album, but still has some great moments.  Same fate for Around The World In A Day which followed Purple Rain. But today it stands as a neat stylistic departure.   Lovesexy from 1988, had a great, overlooked hit "Alphabet Street".  Diamonds and Pearls (1991) was sort of a comeback album chartwise, as it was released after the terrible movie Graffiti Bridge.  It has Prince's last #1 single, "Cream". The Love Symbol Album followed and was one of his funkiest albums. Gold Experience contains Prince's last big Top 40 hit, the #3 "Most Beautiful Girl In The World".   Both it and Emancipation released in the mid-90's and kind of forgotten today. Finally, the Black Album, recorded in 1987 but not released until 1994 was to be the followup to Sign O' The Times but shelved at the last minute.  It became a big bootleg album for years.  It's a good album, not a classic, but full of odd songs.

Graffiti Bridge
Prince (1979)
Crystal Ball
Chaos and Disorder
Art Official Age

If some of the titles don't seem obscure to you, then you are as much a die-hard as me.  For most, a lot of these were completely forgotten by even curious Prince fans. The latest album on this list is 2014's Art Official Age.  I'm kind of fond of the Batman album.  All have their moments, and again I hope someone compiles a latter day Prince compilation.

Greatest Hits Sets
Hits/B-Sides  (1993)
Very Best Of  (2001)
Ultimate  (2006)
4Ever (2016)

4Ever was released after Prince died and is the best of the bunch, even though it stops at 1993.  None of the others contain anything post-1993.  Very Best Of is a single disc, Hits/B-Sides a triple and Ultimate/4Ever are double discs.  Ultimate has a few 12" mixes for collectors.

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