Skip to content

Prince’s “1999” reviewed

1999-prince-album-cover

There are two ways to look at  Prince’s fifth album, 1999, one is how it sounded in 1982, the other how it sounds in 2016.

In 1982, it sounded like “Little Red Corvette”, a sex driven in a different way sex pop smash crossover hit, with “1999” on one side of it and “Delirious” on the other side of it, and  of the side one, career charging superstar making absolutely unsurpassed threesome. All three songs would go top ten (as would the album) and for the white crossover audience witht he possible exception of “Let’s Pretend we’re Married” didn’t exist.

In 2016, it sounds like a bait and switch and a get way drug into synth and drums funk dance grooves that you could put on any dance floor. It was a door opening in creativity that would blossom loud and wide very soon.

But either way, you don’t go out humming “Free” -a pretty good song, or “International Lover”. The next three sides are more in keeping with Controversy, though better, with huge grooves, “DMSR”, “Automatic”, the hard thrusting “Lady Cab Driver” and the wiley  bass banger “All The Critics Love You In New York”.Today, there is a relentless charge to the album, you get past the pop songs and dig in deep to the dance grooves. And overlaying it is a world view a little smarter than Controversy. The title track might sound like an invitation to party but it is actually a no nukes manifesto, and “Little Red Corvette” is a different form of feminist manifesto, where the girl’s promiscuity has Prince wondering whether he “has enough class”. It respect the girl for her sexual power, it doesn’t condemn her at all. “Delirious” is a sexual roundelay and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” more than just a come on.

It sounds better today than then because we are so used to electronic pop it doesn’t displace our ears any more, and we are used to remixes so “Automatic” -with that catchy synthline, can ride it for nine minutes and while in 1981 we might have mistaken it for “Thanks For The Pepperoni”, today it is magic funk workout with that “AUT omatic” both nonsense and filled with a promise.

Both crude and liberating, sex, war and sex is the story, or at least “Dance Music Sex Romance”, extended commentaries on each other. Meanwhile, in 1981 we didn’t quite get what we are hearing, the years deepened the innovative nature of his dance grooves, now and even today, people sound a lot like this. Yes, EDM stars have added to it, but they haven’t subtracted from it at all. This is the blueprint for modern pop.

Grade: A

Leave a Comment





Amazon_Smile_logo
LET-ME-HELP-LOGO

Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at smile.amazon.com

Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Releases 2-3-23 – 2-9-23

By Iman Lababedi | January 29, 2023 |

return to the top of country

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – January 1983 (Volume 14, Number 8)

By Steve Crawford | January 29, 2023 |

a cow with eighteen udders

Bob Marley One Love Experience At Ovation Hollywood

By Alyson Camus | January 29, 2023 |

“a journey through his life, passions, influences, and enduring legacy”

Yours truly with the true Godfather Giannini Russo who played Carlo in the original Godfather

By admin | January 28, 2023 |

the true Godfather Giannini Russo

UK Top 10 Albums 1-27-23 – 2-2-23

By Iman Lababedi | January 28, 2023 |

Has Brit rock ever been worse?

UK Top 10 Singles 1-27-23 – 2-2-23

By Iman Lababedi | January 28, 2023 |

essence de 2023

Press Releases For January, Here Are The Artists

By Alyson Camus | January 27, 2023 |

A very percussive song

The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 1-27-23 – 3-2-23 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | January 27, 2023 |

the mixes his producer Daniel Lanois didn’t like

The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 1-27-23 – 2-2-23, Rosalia’s “LLYLM”) Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | January 27, 2023 |

her best since “Milionària”

Brief Encounters: New Albums 1-20-23 – 1-26-23 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | January 26, 2023 |

dip yourself deep in sonic hellaciousness and disquiet

Scroll To Top