I guess there will be two dates for Prince fans to always count on the corporations to release new music. The month of his death, and the month of his birthday. How tasteful!
What seems now to be the rule and not the exception since the Purple One’s death, for whatever reason “The Vault” seems to be where they are getting the “new” music from. By new I’m not talking about fully finished songs, but demos. “The Vault” held all kinds of Prince media whether audio or visual, analogue, cassettes to digital, finished videos and other things that never saw the light of day while he was living. I think he preferred it this way, especially with the demos or songs he would sometimes throw in there that weren’t finished, but thought maybe at a later time he could use it for something, or he could always go back and finish when and if he felt like.
Two very big problems seem to continually exist with the posthumous releases. One, there have been a lot of complaints about noises(hisses) in regards to the albums that contain largely demo (not fully engineered and final versions of songs) or unfinished tracks. The reason for this is both age, and the fact a lot was damaged in physically moving the vault from Minnesota to Los Angeles. Again I will never ever, understand that move as the vault was specifically designed for it’s housing in Minnesota, and to just move something that large, cross country without damaging anything that could be altered or warped by weather etc. seemed like a very big gamble in everything remaining in the same condition it was.
Outside of the problematic treatment of the media from the vault, is the continual release and promotion of songs that are literally just demos, and the repackaging of albums that have already been released but thematically and/or artistically things being passed off as “limited” or “collectors items” just because Sony (a.k.a.Legacy Records) patented a specific purple color they seem to like to use on every vinyl they have released or re-released posthumously. As big of a fan as I may be, I have been less than thrilled with the choices the various companies, business heads and estate has been making as far as what they are choosing to release, and when they are releasing it and have voted with my dollar by not spending it on anything that has been released or in some cases re-released. For the collectors out there honestly. at this point if you have an extensive bootleg collection, especially spanning his entire career most likely you have at the very minimum better audio quality, with the exception of the Purple Rain re-release that was overseen and engineered by the man himself.
“Piano and a Microphone 1983” met with complaints of audio quality and that it sounded no better than already circulating bootlegs of songs from that era in the Prince Bootleg Market. This next release on his birthday (worldwide June 21st) Will be titled “Originals”. No I am not joking, this is what the suits thought would be a good idea to release, specifically on his birthday month.
Like “Piano and a Microphone 1983”, “Originals” is another collection of demos, being packaged and sold under the guise of new music, when it is literally demos of songs that Prince recorded, wrote, produced etc. that eventually went to other artists Paisley Park affiliated or not. Streaming wise, Tidal seems to have first dibs and a exclusive two week window to stream the music before it’s physically released and able to be streamed on other platforms. The album will be released both on Cd and Vinyl. Track listing is below, along with who the song was later actually recorded by in parantheses.
1. “Sex Shooter” (Apollonia 6)
2. “Jungle Love” (The Time)
3. “Manic Monday” (The Bangles)
4. “Noon Rendezvous” (Sheila E.)
5. “Make-Up” (Vanity 6)
6. “100 MPH” (Mazarati)
7. “You’re My Love” (Kenny Rogers)
8. “Holly Rock” (Sheila E.)
9. “Baby, You’re a Trip” (Jill Jones)
10. “The Glamorous Life” (Sheila E.)
11. “Gigolos Get Lonely Too” (The Time)
12. “Love… Thy Will Be Done” (Martika)
13. “Dear Michaelangelo” (Sheila E.)
14. “Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me?” (Taja Sevelle)
15. “Nothing Compares 2 U” (The Family)
I haven’t found the artwork for the album as of yet, despite my very low expectations because of essentially the fumbling of all his posthumously released works outside of the Prince Purple Rain deluxe/remaster that he was alive to oversee and control, all of this looks to me as a poorly executed cash grab by people more worried about squeezing every last possible cent out of “The Vault” and his estate and saying to hell with taste and what Prince’s Legacy Vinyl and otherwise deserve. While Prince hated that his music was so widely bootlegged, at least the fans were able to artistically mirror, or actually produce bootlegs that audio quality, and even in visual quality in a lot of cases, that seem to surpass the posthumous releases, despite all the money and material the corporations have at their disposal.