In a sense we at Stereogum have been partying like it’s 1999 all year, what with our ample content on 20-year music anniversaries. Now, as we near the end of that particular nostalgia circuit, it’s time to do it properly, as imagined by Prince Rogers Nelson back in 1982.
The latest collection of songs Prince’s estate has exhumed from the Paisley Park vault is an assortment of outtakes from his breakthrough fifth LP, assembled into reissues of both deluxe and super deluxe vintage. Whereas the deluxe reissue pairs a remaster of the original 11-track masterpiece with a second disc of B-sides and promo mixes, the super deluxe 1999 tacks on three more CDs’ worth of music (or six more records if you buy the 10xLP vinyl version), including 35 previously unreleased tracks.
What does all that unreleased music comprise? There are two CDs of material from the vault, some of it alternate versions of existing tracks (like a pleasingly raw and ragged “Irresistible Bitch”), some of it widely bootlegged but never officially unveiled (like the finger-snapping pop delight “Yah, U Know”). The fifth CD presents full live audio from Prince & The Revolution’s midnight show November 30, 1982 in Detroit. The physical edition also comes with a DVD featuring full footage of their show December 29, 1982 in Houston.
In other words, it’s the sort of package that might turn a casual Prince fan into an obsessive, one that people who already worship Price will happily delve into. Do that below.
The 1999 reissues are out now on Warner Bros.