Prince

4Ever

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4Ever, the first posthumous Prince album, arrived seven months after his April 21, 2016 death -- just in time for that year's holiday season -- and it's the first Prince hits compilation since 2006, when Rhino/Warner issued the 17-track Ultimate Prince. A better comparison, however, is the 1993 set The Hits/The B-Sides, which contained two discs of hits -- also available separately -- and a disc of otherwise unavailable flip sides. 4Ever covers this same territory, even working the B-side "Gotta Stop (Messin' About)" and the majestic 1982 outtake "Moonbeam Levels" into its 40 tracks, bypassing anything released after 1993 due to licensing reasons. This means his last Top Ten hit, 1994's "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," is absent, as are the other singles he released in the subsequent 23 years, but they're not missed as much as his own version of "I Feel for U," "Money Don't Matter 2 Night," the minor hit "Let's Pretend We're Married," or "Erotic City," "17 Days," "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore," and "Another Lonely Christmas," all B-sides that could easily have been included in a definitive compilation. This, along with the odd non-chronological sequencing, means 4Ever isn't definitive, but in terms of consumer value, it might be the best single Prince compilation because it rounds up the great majority of his '80s and early-'90s hits -- including such singles as "Let's Work," "Mountains," "Girls & Boys," and "Batdance," all absent from previous Prince compilations -- in a convenient package.

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