1999 is the fifth studio album by American recording artist Prince, released on October 27, 1982, by Warner Bros. Records. It became his first album to be recorded with his band the Revolution. 1999’s critical and commercial success propelled Prince to a place in the public psyche, and marked the beginning of two years of heightened fame via his following releases. 1999 has been ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time by several publications and organizations. The music videos for both “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” received heavy rotation on MTV, making Prince one of the first black artists to be in heavy rotation on the television channel. According to the Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), “1999 may be Prince’s most influential album: Its synth-and-drum machine-heavy arrangements codified the Minneapolis sound that loomed over mid-’80s R&B and pop, not to mention the next two decades’ worth of electro, house, and techno.” It is also included on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2008, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Here are all of the 1999 songs ranked.
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11. International Lover
“Prince is synonymous with smoky silk sheets ballads, and the greatest sex ballad is International Lover, in which pilot Prince is speaking. He welcomes us aboard his plane Seduction 747, and takes us on a dramatic ride. The song boasts a wonderful relaxed piano, and a synth groove of pure sexual excitement”
“The only ballad at the album, except for the über-erotic closer. Free is an early socially conscious song of Prince’s, and not his best. It’s about freedom of speech, and being grateful for the freedom in our part of the world. Despite some nice piano, it comes off as a little bit too naive and sentimental. It feels somewhat misplaced on the album.”
“This enjoyable rockabilly number is reminiscent of some of his songs from the former albums. It has a fast, bouncy melody. The two monumental songs preceding it, puts in a shadow, but it’s always worth a listen. Often played in concerts, it seems to be a personal favorite of Prince’s.”
See more: Prince Albums Ranked
8. Lady Cab Driver
“Full-fledged funk jam with delicious guitar licks and slap bass. One of his smoothest grooves ever. The notorious sex scene in the middle of the song can’t go unnoticed. This is Prince at his nastiest and most shameless. When listening to this at my parents house, I have to turn down the volume. “And this is 4 whoever taught U how 2 kiss in designer jeans”.”
7. Let’s Pretend We’re Married
“After a long intro with hard-hitting drum machine and an acid synth, Prince playfully sings about inviting a girl to a sexual rendez-vous. The track is lustful and sexy, and have a bunch of cool synth riffs. As other songs on the album, it takes a weird and darker turn at the end, with Prince saying: “I sincerely wanna fuck the taste right outta you mouth”.
“In the context of this mainstream pop album, Automatic is of highly experimental nature. Its title is suiting, because it’s has an automatic or robotic feel to it. Its rhythmic Linn drum beat and light synths drift along for nine minutes, and the song shifts musically into a sort of feverish dream, with Prince speaking in a whiny voice (“It’s so strange, I’m more comfortable around U when I’m naked”), and a lot of sulking and crying.”
“After two artistically brilliant, but mediocre chart performing albums, Prince raised the bar with this double LP. Its title song has become on of his most played songs. Who else could have made a funky synth pop song about the atomic bomb apocalypse? A low-pitched monster voice (which was to return on many Prince songs) introduces the record, before the famous synth riff kicks in. In this exact moment, Prince steps up to the premier league. This is an instant classic. “
See more: Prince Songs Ranked
4. Little Red Corvette
“The ultimate crossover hit, known for catapulting His Royal Badness to mainstream fame. “Girl, you got an ass like I’ve never seeeeeen!!!” There are so many great moments on this pop rock gem. The verses are atmospheric and lyrically entertaining with its horse imagery (“She had a pocket full of horses/Trojans, and some of them used”).”
3. All the Critics Love U in New York
“Along with Automatic and Something in the Water, this one best represents the weirdness of the album. It is a hard drum machine-driven track, with Prince reciting the lyrics, rather than singing them. Commenting on the superficiality of the entertainment biz, the track showcases a self-confident young prince, doing his own thing musically without constraints.”
“Equipped with his bass, his funk riffs and his drum machine, Prince proclaims his mantra in life: Dance, music, sex, romance. The song is a long jam, but it never loses its spark. This is sheer fun, and one of his best party songs.”
1. Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)
“To put it simply, this is a strange track from the 1999 LP, which in turn is quite strange. Something in the Water is the best example of the greatness of the album. The experimental song is a blues disguised as a 80’s synth track. The awesome drum machine programming is dominating the bare-bone composition, which is bathed in melancholic synths and weird electronic sounds. On top of that we got the deeply passionate bluesy vocals, with Prince screaming from the top of his lungs in despair. “