Friday, 17 May 2013

Cassette experiment day 76 - Prince '1999'

You know when your football team destroys the opposition in the first half then re-emerges for the second half only to sit on their 3-0 lead, conserve their energy and coast to a comfortable 3-0 victory? I don't - I support Sunderland, I can't even remember the last time we were 3-0 up.

I can very much relate to being on the other end of it though.

Ultimately we’re talking about an impressive win, but don't you just sometimes wish the same stops could be pulled out in the second half as were used in the first. Matches like that are often the most memorable of all.

Our cassette today, Prince's breakthrough '1999' has one of the most impressive side 1s you could ever wish for. Title track '1999' seems unbeatable, until it blends seamlessly into the classic track that was the one that probably broke Prince to a worldwide audience, 'Little Red Corvette'. Frantic electronic masterpiece ‘Delirious’ is then followed wonderfully by ‘Let’s pretend we’re married’. Originally released as a double album, this was inexplicably truncated for single album release, with 'D.M.S.R.', the eight minute penultimate track on side 1 (and a fantastic lesson in ‘groove’ for bands like Daft Punk) being one of the tracks chosen for the chop. Side 1 finishes peacefully and inspirationally with ‘Free’, one of the diminutive genius’ many understated classics.

Side 2 has its moments too, but there's nothing here to match anything on side 1 (unlike the vinyl version, the cassette version features the fantastic 'Free' at the end of side 1 rather than being part way through side 2). It feels very much like Prince is sitting on the comfortable lead that he built up on side 1, although he does manage a very strong finish, in ‘Fergie time’ with ‘International lover’, in which he seems to manage to be both coy and exceedingly brash at the same time.

‘Lady cab driver’ put me off taking a taxi for a very long time. Like a few of the other tunes here you shouldn’t really play it to your Granny (if you have one (or two)).

And, lest we forget, this was released 17 years before the actual 1999.

Label – Warner Bros. Records
Year – 1982
Please don't forget (as if I've been giving you the chance to!) that you can still get 'The Great Cassette Experiment - The first 40 days' on your kindle by following the link below;

For the 'Princely' sum of 99 pence.

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