Acclaimed Albums – 1999 by Prince

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 83/250Title: 1999
Artist: Prince
Year: 1982
Position: #209

As of writing this (as in prior to this year’s update to the list) 1999 sits at #199 on the albums list (boo! It moved down!). One of those strange coincidences that I love, but know that it will probably no longer exist by the time I get to publishing this. C’est la vie eh?

Anyway, I am now landed square at the feet of my first Prince album. Up until now I have had very little exposure to him outside of his appearance on New Girl and the rather infamous reference to fingerprints on Animaniacs. I am not a complete troglodyte, however. Going into this I have heard ‘1999’ and ‘The Most Beautiful Girl In The World’. I guess I would include’Fallinlove2nite’ too, but that appears to have been a song only used in New Girl.

The main thing that strikes me is – man, there are an awful lot of synths in here. The opening of the first track (‘1999’) really does pave the way for the rest of the album. Then you have ‘Automatic’ and ‘Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)’ opening up the second half the album as a way to completely cement the synth-pop agenda.

Then he zags with ‘Free’, a piano and guitar driven ballad of patriotism. He shifts again, this time into funk on ‘Lady Cab Driver’.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that 1999 is not an album where you want to try and pigeon-hole Prince. I mean, it is Prince after all. Pigeon-holing him is a rather fruitless exercise. Still, despite the fact that this album veers around the block touching synths, rock and funk as it passes there is no mistaking that this is a pop album at the core.

What I am the most surprised in, however, is the sheer sexuality on this album. I mean, the ‘orgasm noises’ on ‘Lady Cab Driver’, the album is dripping with it at points. The whole point of ‘Little Red Corvette’ is that it is about a one-night stand. Comparing this to the Prince that came into my consciousness, aka Jehovah’s Witness Price, it feels weird.

On the whole, 1999 feels so incredibly eighties. Not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it is really nice to have this as a contrast to all the albums I have been doing recently. However, when it comes to timelessness, it is no Ramones.


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