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4.7 out of 5 stars37
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 October 2003
1999 was the first Prince album I ever listened to. Back when I was around 11 years old I made a tape to listen to in the car whilst on holiday. On one side was Madonna's True Blue, the other was Prince's 1999. As I had only 45 minutes to play with some hasty editing had to be done: Automatic was shortened to about 3 and a half minutes; Lady Cab Driver was fortuitously edited to just before the moment when Prince repays his willing chauffeur (I'm not sure my parents would have approved!); I think Free may have been culled and Warner Bros UK helpfully decided not to even include DMSR on the original British CD release!
One week and around 10 hearings later, I, my parents and my brothers had become Prince fans. Over the course of the next five years I went out and bought just about everything there was to own for a Prince devotee.
So what was on the album that would influence just about every album I have brought ever since?
The title track is a classic even if familiarity has seen its shine wane a little. Thankfully the full-length album version is played seldomly enough for the final three minutes to be fresh.
Little Red Corvette was a catchy rock song about cars (I liked cars a lot, that appealed to me) until I became a few years older and realised what a Pocket full of horses / Trojan and some of them used, meant and then Little Red Corvette became a dirty catchy rock song (I liked dirty a lot, it appealed to me even more...)
Delirious featured the cutest catchiest high pitch synth melody and pacey beat which hooked me from the first listen. Again it seemed to be about cars, which I liked even more!
Let's Pretend We're Married seemed to be an innocent, but catchy, song about playing Mummies and Daddies. Thankfully the road noise whilst being driven on holiday drowned out Prince's wish list near the end of the song.
Then to be honest not much of the album appealed to me back then, with the exception of my personally edited Lady Cab Driver, which was yet another song about cars - fantastic!
Many years and countless playings later the album still ranks as one of my favourites.
The first five tracks, with the welcome addition of the fantastic DMSR rank amongst the best opening sequences to an album ever. Automatic, at 9 minutes is still too long for me but, is an interesting synth workout where Prince shows that he, at the time, was on the cutting edge of what was possible with the equipment of 1982. And with advancing age, one has learnt to appreciate the wonderful Something in the Water (Does Not Compute), the anthemic Free and the gloriously camp, tongue in cheek album finale International Lover. Even All the Critics Love U In New York appears to have improved with age.
This isn't my favourite Prince album - it is somewhere in the top five - but it will always have a special place in my heart as I can safely say that my life would not have been the same had I not heard it all those years ago.
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on 19 November 2003
In my opinion '1999' will always remain Prince's best album.
I mean don't get me wrong, 'Sign 'O' The Times' is a masterpiece, but it can't match '1999' it terms of sheer brilliance, and it is only Prince's 1987 album that contains as many outstanding tracks as this record.
Containing 11 tracks (basically an average albums worth of material) Prince manages to sustain a 70 minute running time by extended the majority of the tracks into impressive funk-jams filled with grinding keyboard-lines and interspersed with some of Prince's blistering rhythm guitar work.
Prince's previous album (Controversy) was the blueprint for the 'Minneapolis sound', here is where you can find the full effect. Deep bass, multi-layered keyboard-lines and synthesisers replacing common horns; this was his royal badness at the top of his game, and it's hard to believe at times that every single instrument you hear on the album comes from him.
It's hard to pick the most impressive tracks when near-every track is a standout, but the the title track still generates the kind of excitement you can only get from listening to a Prince song. Utilising a brilliant rhythm track due to the imaginative drum-programming the title cut is an excellent party anthem that (like most of the album) packs a terrific punch.
The other two singles from the album ('Little Red Corvette' and 'Delirious') are equally as impressive. 'LRC' opens with a simple yet beautfiful synthline and leads into what is still, probably, Prince's greatest pop song. 'Delirious' is a lovely little, rockabilly tinged track with, quite possibly, the catchiest keyboard hook ever.
After the commercial dominance of the opening 3 songs you go into darker territory with 'Let's Pretend We're Married'; a relentless, pumping track with pulsing synthesisers that runs at an incredible pace.
Quite a shocker the song is...particularly the last 3 minutes.
More impressive then any of the previous songs though is 'D.M.S.R', that's Dance,Music,Sex,Romance for the non-Prince fanatics out there, an outstanding track which uses another excellent synth hook and a funky rhythm guitar lick to great effect, u don't so much as hear the funk u FEEL it.
Equally as impressive is 'Automatic' - a phenomenal synth-pop-rock number that contains some wonderful keyboard work throughout its 9 minute+ duration.
The masterpiece of the album though is probably 'Something In The Water (does not compute).
Containing what is still Prince's best drum programming ever, the track is curiously a ballad that is funky, it is an incredibly thoughtful piece and the emotions Prince goes through in the song are fascinating.
I won't dwell on all the songs, (i'd be here all day heaping praise) but it would be a crime not to mention 'Lady Cab Driver'.
The second pure-funk song on the album, the song contains some excellent guitar work towards the end of the track and an incredible chicken-scratch guitar lick.
The song concludes with a quite wonderful synth-versus-guitar battle.
Even the tracks I haven't mentioned are superb, and I urge anyone to buy this album. As a Prince fan it's a absolute neccessity, and still remains one of the greatest albums ever.
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The first three tracks form an electrifying sequence: from the pulsating 1999 through the rocking Little Red Corvette and into the hypnotic Delirious. The disturbingly prophetic words of 1999 gives me the chills but Little Red Corvette soon cures that, and halfway through the uplifting Delirious rapture may result! This is a powerhouse song sequence, on a par with Donna Summer's legendary The Midnight Shift/Queen For A Day/Now I Need You on the original vinyl of her album Once Upon a Time.

Because of such gems, one tends to overlook the fact that tracks like Let's Pretend We're Married and DMSR are brilliant too. Automatic is a long atmospheric piece with lovely female vocal and an impressive instrumental ending. Free is compelling in the interplay between Prince's falsetto and the backing vocals, another song loaded with meaning: "Be glad that U are free, free to change your mind/Free to go most anywhere anytime/Be glad that U are free, there's many a man who's not/So don't sleep until your guilty, cause sinners all are we/There are others doin' far worse than us/So be glad that you are free." It's pure gospel, and a rousing number too.

Prince's music is such a seamless blend of so many styles, that it's hard to single out particular influences. But to me, on this album he's like a more urgent and full-bodied Chic! There's that same elegant tension in the beat, but Prince has eschewed Chic's minimalism for the full power of Rock and R&B. This is very noticeable on the bouncy Lady Cab Driver, but elsewhere too.

Putting styles aside, 1999 is spectacular by any measure. The melodies, arrangements, lyrics, the playing and his voice all are superb, and the mix sets new standards in sonic perfection. I lost track of Prince's career the last decade but listening to this album again was pure joy.
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on 16 May 2001
While hits such as the title track and "Little Red Corvette" are what attracts people to buy this album, it has many other great songs as well. The anthemic "Free" builds nicely to a lighter-waving finalle, and the extended funk track "Lady Cab Driver" is excellent. My personal favourite however, is the quirky "Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)", thanks to it's strange atonal backing and impassioned vocals. Throughout the vocals are very powerful, and the music very interesting, even if you're wary of the synthesised 80s sound. An excellent album.
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on 11 February 2016
'Mommy, why does everybody have a bomb?'
Not the plaintive cry of Jeremy Corbyn, but the closing lines of the title track of this crazily good album of 1982.

The range of styles attempted and mastered by Prince on this disc is impressive, but the quality of his music is mindblowing.
Featuring 11 of the best tracks he has ever written, 1999 starts with the all out party of the apocalyptic title track, moves on to the sordid pop thrills of Little Red Corvette, progresses through techno (DMSR), funk (Automatic), rock (Delirious), soul (all of them), before ending with the out and out mentalism of International Lover.

No other artist could make a pretty ridiculous metaphor (Good evening/ This is your pilot Prince speaking/ You are flying aboard the Seduction 747/ And this plane is fully equipped with anything your body desires) last a full 6 minutes 37 seconds without making the listener either burst out laughing or jump up, turn the CD player off, and hurl the album out of the window.
It is to Prince's credit that one actually wishes that the song were longer.

He is a God among men.
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on 15 February 2009
All killer no filler! Nice to have D.M.S.R. restored to the CD version (why was it removed in the first place*?**)

Just listened to this for first time in about 15 years!! It's lost none of its sparkle though the title track has been played to death and I find myself skipping to play from track 2......though that's taking nothing away from it..I won't bore you with a lengthy tome about the album. A forgotten classic no less with great funk and soul from a certified genius!
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on 22 March 2001
An excellent album, nearly a five star but for a few mediocre tracks. The title track is amazing, as are "Little Red Corvette" and the lighter-waving "Free". My favourite track has to be "Lady Cab Driver", for the funky synth and guitar segment towards the end. "International Lover" is Prince at his playful, love-god best, and "Something In The Water" is a very unique sounding grower.
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on 15 October 2013
While all of his previous 4 efforts had their merits, especially the new wave pop of Dirty Mind, this was the beginning
of his classic run (1982-1988) where he astounded fans and critics alike. It includes 2 of his most famous songs in 1999 and
Little Red Corvette, both brilliant. Also the infectious Delirious rounds off Side 1. Things take quite a dramatic dark turn from then
on. The pounding techno beats of Let's Pretend We're Married, paired with a filthy lyric is Prince at his best. Also the pure funk of Lady Cab Driver,
the downright weirdness of Something In The Water and All The Critics Love U In New York, and the fine balled International Lover, are all top
notch Prince. Deep album cuts. The album is not perfect though, D.M.S.R and Automatic although worthy songs, are stretched out way too long, and
could of done being half the length. Closing Side 3, the ballad Free is one of Prince's most ordinary ballads, and comes up short of ballads he'd written on his previous albums such as Crazy You and Gotta Broken Heart Again. 1999 is an essential part of any Prince fans collection, and he wouldn't get as dark again until The Black Album in 1987.
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on 26 December 2009
Prince is very famous, so no introduction is necessary. 1999 was his semi-prophetic album pre-dating Purple Rain, boasting three of his best tracks (which are, coincidentally, the first three tracks, and also the first three singles, in track order). This album was probably the album that placed Prince on the map of funk - his previous efforts lacked the infections synth lines or catchy choruses that 1999 (the album) boasted. The first song kicks off with the words 'i wont hurt you, i only want you to have some fun' - setting the tone for the following songs perfectly. 1999 is a funky, synth and wah-soaked song featuring the immortal line 'tonight i'm gunna party like it's 1999'. The groove and tempo is dropped down a notch for 'little red corvette' - a sincere love song where the metaphorical red corvette represents a beautiful, but self-destructive, woman. The following song, Delirious, has one of the catchiest synth hooks i have heard. Following a rough 12-bar blues structure, Delirious is a fun, bouncy piece that has to be listened to to be described. The first three songs have got to be the highlights of this album, but that isn't saying that the following tracks are terrible - D.M.S.R., automatic and international lover being my favourites.

Buy this album with purple rain and sign o' the times for a very favorable first impression of prince.
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on 5 August 2001
With "Sign O' The Times" this is Prince's true masterpiece!
From the apocalyptic disco funk of the title track with its infectious synthline and distinctive three way split vocal you know your in for a special ride!
This segues into one of my favourites of all time "Little Red Corvette". This is a supreme pop song, how infectious is that hook! How haunting are those opening synths! :)
Next up was the catchy Rockabilly of "Delirious" which goes into the X-Rated "Lets Pretend We're Married".
Other highlights on this consistent album include the funk chant of "DMSR", "Free" (The blueprint for "Purple Rain"), Funky guitar led "Lady Cab Driver" and the class ballad "International Lover" (Prince ballads have always been very consistent since "Do Me Baby").
Throughout the album the use of the experimental Linn Drum machine gives it a very unique sound, coupled with his distinctive synthlines, Prince's "Minneapolis Sound" was truly in effect! Sales wise it fared well on the back of success of "Little Red Corvette" (A big part in black artists getting on MTV).
This initial break through allowed the mega-stardom of "Purple Rain" to follow but artistically this album outdoes even that in my opinion.
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