Music Review: Prince & the New Power Generation’s ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ remastered reissue is a gem

On Friday, an extensive reissue box set of the classic Prince & the New Power Generation 1991 album “Diamonds and Pearls” will be released

ByRON HARRIS Associated Press

October 25, 2023, 12:28 PM

This cover image released by NPG Records/Legacy Recordings shows “Diamonds & Pearls” by Prince & The New Power Generation. (NPG Records/Legacy Recordings via AP)

The Associated Press

The amount of music left behind by groundbreaking funkmaster Prince is, thankfully, good and voluminous. To that end, a newly remastered reissue box set, “Diamonds and Pearls Super Deluxe Edition,” offers his 13th studio album from 1991 with his backing band, The New Power Generation, once again. Out Friday, there are 47 previously unreleased tracks for Prince fans from his vaunted vault, and over two hours of live performance footage.

Sure, the lush Dolby Atmos mix of the title track “Diamonds and Pearls” is there, with its gorgeous musical swells and Prince’s soulful voice. So are a handful of other versions of the track, including a longer version and audio from live tour performances.

“Cream” is back with its salacious delivery. But better still is “Cream (N.P.G. Mix),” a version with an extra layer of stuttered percussion and a deep, melodic synth.

The unreleased tracks range from middling reworks of “Daddy Pop” and “Gett Off,” to the torchy “I Pledge Allegiance to Your Love,” a superbly slow blues scorcher with Prince soloing skillfully on the guitar throughout.

For some Prince purists, his New Power Generation backing band beginning in 1990 and leading to this 1991 album offered a bit too much polished pop, lacking some of his famed The Revolution ’s grittier approach. Regardless, Prince’s N.P.G. phase still delivered his evolving musical vision, as is evidenced here — particularly in the inclusion of real hip-hop influence: rapper Tony M is featured throughout.

The complete “Diamonds And Pearls Super Deluxe Edition” includes 75 audio tracks across seven CDs and 12 vinyl records. It also comes with a 120-page hardback book with unseen photos and essays.

All told, this massive special release is a must-have for Prince fans who have been partying like it’s 1999 since roughly 1982.

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