On one hand, this 28-track collection takes a pretty straightforward approach to anthologizing Prince's biggest hits. All the heaviest hitters are here, from the frothy, funky "1999" and the giddy synth-pop sunburst "Delirious" to the sui generis minimalist/modernist masterpiece "When Doves Cry" and the gospel–goes–New Jack "7." At the same time, some of Prince's highest-charting tunes are represented by extended mixes that were previously available only as 12-inch singles, and some of them lend a whole different spin to what would otherwise have been familiar songs. "Let's Go Crazy," for instance, does indeed get pretty unhinged-sounding, shifting into several wildly divergent directions. The extra synth on "Kiss" adds an almost jazz fusion feel, while "Raspberry Beret" has some appropriately psych-popppy interplay between the string section and finger cymbals. Overall, Ultimate: Prince balances between encompassing what's expected and uncovering what isn't.

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