“Ultimate Prince” Reviewed
2006’s album #33, the greatest hits package Ultimate Prince, reason for being is the second CD, the dance remixes. CD # 1 is a hardly unique run through the hits, not thorough enough to please even Warner Brother era fans. CD # 2 is all dance remixes of Prince hits, all a little dated in 2017 –I expected them to be funkier, more about the rhythm than House-y beatmaster programmed sounds.
Not that a single song here is less than great, it is all ace Prince, all worth your time. However, on the first album there are two songs off 1999 and three songs off Diamonds and Pearls so there is a sense wherein the choices could have been choicer. Only one song from Dirty Mind, nothing from For You, one track off Sign O’ The Times, nothing from Graffiti Bridge. The greatest hits album isn’t really there.
So it is up to the Dance Mix album to make it better and it doesn’t, the crisp clean “Kiss” doesn’t lend itself to an extended mix: its earnestness dissipates as it extends itself. This is true of ha;f the songs here… I am not sure why the extended dance mixes don’t quite work, certainly if anybody should be capable of handling a long mix with beats and counter beats and layers upon layers, it is Prince. If all he had done with, say, “Pop Life’ was loop it, well, wouldn’t that be enough? It sags a little when he gets clever in the middle.
Not all the dance mixes are nothing much, the intro to “Hot Thing” is hot and “Cream” is jizzy, “She’s Always In My Hair” storms through and, well, that’s it for the must owns if you don’t. Otherwise, the album doesn’t go far enough in any direction, it is anemic as a greatest hits and not dance enough as a dance album, it is the sort of thing Madonna brought out in the late 1990s when she was off her feed.
It is hard to be hard on an album, even if it is a greatest hits, where the first ten songs are relentlessly brilliant. Not one of them isn’t the best song you’ve ever heard and while you are wishing there was more, because, trust me, there is miles more to choose from, it is all very undeniable pop funk strokes of the first order. Even so, Ultimate Prince is a mediocre compilation.