'1999', the short version

There is little doubt of the genius of Prince's output between the years of 1980 and 198? - the end point is where it gets fuzzy, but I tend to be of the belief that his last thoroughly great and classic album was 1988's 'Lovesexy', though I suppose you could argue one in either direction. There are, of course, varying degrees of genius within genius and 1982's '1999' LP is a perfect example of this.

The 11 songs that make up the album, for the most part, are incredible. The album is frontloaded with a trio of killer pop singles, followed by a set of dirty extended funk jams. The second half is a bit weird - I understand that "Lady Cab Driver" was shocking at the time but I find it a bit silly now, and "Free" is a bit sappy for my likings. My biggest complaint with the album, though, is that the songs go on for far too long and just don't know when to quit. [Which is odd because as a rule I love Prince's 12" mixes and think even some of the longer ones could use a few extra minutes or so.] However, he hasn't quite figured out how to do that yet, and they tend to repeat the same idea over and over again for minutes on end, not really doing anything. [Example: it's a fantastic song, but does "Automatic" need to be 9 minutes? No. And a full minute-long introduction of a simple drum pattern for "Let's Pretend We're Married" is a bit much.]

So Joe and I were talking about the need for an edit of "D.M.S.R." in particular, and I knew I had read about one somewhere. Sure enough, it was on the soundtrack to "Risky Business" of all places, and investigating that led me to a fantastic bootleg from a few years ago called '7 Inch In The Computer'. It collects, as you might guess, a good chunk of Prince's 7" mixes from his first LP through to the 'Parade'-era. It misses some - the 7"s for the 'Around the World In A Day' singles were the same as the album versions so they're not there, but their b-sides are - and stops short of finishing the 'Parade'-era, leaving off "Girls and Boys". [Which might have been the same as the album version, I'm not sure.] Anyways, the intriguing part of the set for me is that it contains official edits of 9 of the 11 '1999' album tracks - no "Something In The Water [Does Not Compute]" or "International Lover", but the former is only 4 minutes to begin with and it makes sense to end the album with an extended number.

With this set - which you can find without too much work on the internet - you can create a lean, mean, 45-minute funk machine, leaving the [sometimes needlessly] overlong versions for the 12"s, where they belong. Huzzah. [I just wish the scream was at the end of "D.M.S.R." instead of a fade out, but I guess you can't have it all.]

side a:
01 1999 [edit] [3:38]
02 Little Red Corvette [edit] [3:09]
03 Delirious [edit] [2:39]
04 Let's Pretend We're Married [edit] [3:39]
05 D.M.S.R. [edit] [5:06]
06 Automatic [edit] [3:38]

side b:
01 Something In The Water [Does Not Compute] [LP version] [4:03]
02 Free [edit] [4:30]
03 Lady Cab Driver [edit] [4:59]
04 All The Critics Love U In New York [edit] [3:12]
05 International Lover [LP Version] [6:38]


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