Diamonds and Pearls (Super Deluxe Edition) [2023 Remaster]

Diamonds and Pearls (Super Deluxe Edition) [2023 Remaster]

Prince had ended the 1980s—the decade in which he reigned supreme—on a royal high with 1989’s Batman soundtrack, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts and gave him a chart-topping single in “Batdance.” But when Prince started the 1990s with yet another soundtrack—this time for his own film, 1990’s Graffiti Bridge—it failed to recapture the glory of 1984’s Purple Rain or even 1986’s Parade: Music From the Motion Picture Under the Cherry Moon. Hoping to make his mark on the new decade, Prince reset with a new backing band, the New Power Generation—also known as the NPG—resulting in 1991’s Diamonds and Pearls, another multi-platinum jewel in his crown. Having first made made their presence felt on Graffiti Bridge—appearing on the soundtrack’s aptly titled second track, “New Power Generation”—the NPG was in full force on Diamonds and Pearls, Prince’s 13th studio album. The move marked a major departure from the sound perfected by Prince’s previous band, The Revolution. That group had helped his Purple Highness reach the pinnacle of his pop-rock powers on Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, and Parade. But the New Power Generation was an R&B-based combo incorporating elements of jazz, blues, gospel, and, most significantly, hip-hop—which Prince clearly recognized was becoming the sound of the future: The NPG’s resident rapper, Tony M., flexes his flow on tracks like “Gett Off,” which finds Prince putting some hip-hop swag in his own delivery. But Tony M. isn’t the only vocalist to share the mic with Prince on Diamonds and Pearls. Rosie Gaines duets with Prince on the sparkling title track, one of this album’s two Top 10 hits. And the NPG are in full force on the chart-topping “Cream,” which harkens back to the psych-rock era of The Revolution, but with a bluesy streak that befits Prince’s new band.

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