The music beat has been in overdrive this week — between Avicii’s tragic death, Coachella, Beychella — and the Prince beat in particular: The run-up to today’s second anniversary of his passing was preceded by the announcement that there will be no criminal charges in his death from an accidental overdose (which resulted in the release of hundreds of police photos and a thorough but TBH TMI analysis of his addiction by the New York Times) and, more happily, the release Thursday of his original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” complete with a stellar video of rehearsal footage — the first new music to emerge from his vast, vaunted “vault” of unissued music, which his estate has been cataloging for the past several months.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that many people overlooked a link buried toward the end of the announcement of the song’s release: After news of an online pop-up store and an interactive fan-sourced site called “Prince2me” where people can post about what Prince met to them online, came the announcement of a “an immersive annotated discography website highlighting the incomparable breadth and depth of Prince’s recorded catalogue, featuring audio previews, photos, videos, quotes and editorial commentary.”
We finally had a moment to take a close look — and even by die-hard fan standards, it’s fantastic and fascinating. The site is beautifully designed (the cursor of a user’s mouse appears as a Prince-like eye on the site), and detailed but not overly so: Dozens of albums are highlighted — categorized as “Studio Albums,” “Live Albums,” Legacy Releases, Compilations and Major Albums Produced by Prince, such as Sheila E, The Time, Vanity 6, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, etc. (Anyone seeking more detailed information should check out the unofficial but highly authoritative “Prince Vault” site.) Each entry includes a concise editorial overview, song samples, credits, and — best of all — each official video released from the album. This latter category might not seem exciting for ordinary artists, but remember that Prince kept his music and videos off of YouTube for many years, employing a battery of lawyers who delivered takedown orders with impunity, meaning that in order to watch, say, the “U Got the Look” or even “When Doves Cry” videos that were ubiquitous on MTV in the 1980s, you had to find some quasi-legal Chinese website or dig up an old VHS dub. Now, dozens of them are all in one place.
And this is only the beginning: The site hints broadly that it will house some of the “mind-blowing” unreleased music that advisor Troy Carter told Variety in January will be “coming soon”: “Prince wrote hundreds of songs in his lifetime and released dozens of albums, ranging from studio recordings to live albums, compilations, and collaborations with his many affiliated groups and protégés,” the site reads. “Even with this robust catalog available, the world is only just beginning to understand the full scope of Prince’s work, which also included countless unreleased recordings. This is the start of an evolving exploration of Prince’s genius…”
On the second anniversary of his death, there are few better ways to celebrate Prince’s memory than by digging into the long-buried treasures the estate has just begun to share. Why are you still reading this article? Check it out here: https://www.princeestate.com
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