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Prince, 4Ever (2016)

It took a little over seven months but here we are with Prince’s first posthumous release, a 40-track compilation called: 4Ever.

Usually I am a little cynical when it comes to a project like this; I know there is obvious money to be made on an artist’s passing. Take a look at David Bowie, and although I mean no disrespect to him because I thought he was a true artist, releasing Legacy, his second retrospective in two years, come on!

At least with Prince as it is bittersweet to see this compilation, it has been a decade since his last greatest hits package. Honestly, we were going to get a new compilation sooner or later.

4Ever’s 39 tracks span from 1978 to 1993, arguably his creative and commercial zenith of his career. The standards like, Let’s Go Crazy, When Doves Cry, 1999, Head, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Little Red Corvette, Kiss, Cream, Raspberry Barrett & of course Purple Rain are on this release as well as some lesser known singles that actually are making their début on a Prince compilation. Finally, songs like Mountains, Boys & Girls, Batdance & Paisley Park are given their just due. Now, what really makes this compilation so special is that Prince fans get their first taste of one of the tracks from his infamous vault. This one, called Moonbeam Levels. It’s a great mid-tempo song that was originally recorded in 1982 during sessions for the 1999 album.

Prince recorded music at a prolific rate and leaving behind so much martial, it is heartbreaking to hear that all his music from 1993 onward was omitted from this project because of licensing issues. It is simply unacceptable. The powers that be should have waited a little longer to get the rights to Prince’s entire catalogue. Then 4Ever could have been expanded to a three or even a deluxe four-disc edition that would include material from his 90’s and millennium albums. It’s a real disappointment that Prince’s smash hit, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, isn’t on here.

My other issue with 4Ever, is that except for Purple Rain, single edits are used rather than the full-length album version of the songs. The album versions of When Doves Cry and Let’s Go Crazy are essential listening, and should have been kept to their original running time. Also, altering the opening speech of Let’s Go Crazy is unforgivable.

Still 4Ever does pack in 20 songs on each disc, giving the listener a decent overview of one of the greats. Had the powers that be would waited a little longer, this could have been the quintessential greatest hits package in my opinion and because it was the first release since his untimely death, it should have been.

If you are new to Prince then, 4Ever is very good starting point, but long time fans may have issues with the edited versions of the songs. All in all, though, it’s still a good release but I am sure it could have been so much more.

You can purchase Prince4ever here at the Aroundtable store.

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