What does it sound like?:
1999 was Prince’s breakthrough album. Released in 1982, it was his fifth and yielded his first top ten singles, bringing him to the attention of a wider audience and giving him the platform for the mega-Michael Jackson stardom Purple Rain would bring. It marks the start of his imperial phase.
It’s a double LP. Although Prince had plenty of songs available, he fills it by extending the length of the eleven tracks, allowing his vivid, depraved imagination to roam free. He simplified the sound of its predecessors, Dirty Mind and Controversy, using mainly synthesisers and a Linn drum machine, plus some bass and electric guitars. He keeps the instrumentation tight, creating a stark, robotic, electro-funk that helped define the Detroit Sound. Afrika Bambaata’s Kraftwerk influenced Planet Rock clearly had an impact but it was the feel and tone of Blade Runner and its Vangelis soundtrack that impressed Prince most. Somewhat improbably, The Stray Cats inspired some experimentation with Rockabilly. The vocals are key. Across the album, he deploys five backing vocalists, mainly female, and shares lead vocals with two of them on the title track. However, Prince’s own singing is stunning. The textures and » Continue Reading.