Gravely distressing though the circumstances may be, the chance to see (and hear) Prince’s finest moments repackaged for a new (power) generation is a cause for celebration. This week’s release of the double-disc, 40-track retrospective collection 4Ever draws from his staggering Warner Brothers back catalogue from 1978 to 1993 and includes all of the old faithfuls, as well as one or two lesser lights in the Princely firmament. You can view the full track listing here.
Yet given his penchant for the unexpected, was there space to push the envelope even further by including a few more moments of genius that lay a little off the beaten track? Why not sneak a couple of these beauties on there: lesser performing singles, vaulted relics, B-sides and almost forgotten album tracks.
Forming the middle portion of a dynamite trio that closed 1986’s Parade album, this gem of a track hardly set the world aflame when it was released as a single. Peaking at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #36 in the UK charts, you’d be fooled for thinking this was lackluster, but it was anything but. The opening off-kilter sitar, the playfully inventive intertwining of backing and lead vocals, and the Revolution in full swing make this an underappreciated classic.
 “17 Days”
To date the best compilation of Prince’s work, 1993’s The Hits/B-Sides did the sensible thing and amplified the quality of his B-sides. Often equal to—and sometimes surpassing—the respective A-sides for quality, they were proof of his tireless artistry and neverending treasure trove of songs. Nowhere is this more evident than on the B-side to the epoch defining “When Doves Cry” of 1984. With its elastic bass line, brutally heartbroken lyrics, and breezily chiming countermelody, “17 Days” was far too good to give to Apollonia 6 as was planned.
Every avid Prince fan rejoiced when it was announced that “Moonbeam Levels” would be included on 4Ever, but why stop at one nugget of solid gold, vaulted curiosity? After all, The Hits/B-Sides included 4 previously unheard songs. So, after some judicious editing of a few heinously offensive lyrics, “Extralovable” is my choice among the mythological vault treasure. As far removed from the neutered do-over that saw release in 2013, this 1982 recording is a vital, electric shock of a song. Typically sexualized lyrics, a surging funk-pop groove, and incendiary, violent guitar lines make this a cyclonic song of epic proportions.
 “Electric Chair”
Hidden away on the hastily concocted Batman soundtrack released in 1989 lies the kind of album track that reminds you of Prince’s genius all over again. The popping bass, pounding beat, and lascivious lyrics all create magic. But the star here is the wild and frenzied guitar work. Slicing through the rest of the production like a cleaver, it creates a whirlwind of a song, flattening everything in its wake. And just in case you think your favorite guitar player is better than Prince, catch the SNL 15th Anniversary performance of this song. See—you’re wrong!
 “Sometime It Snows In April”
Of all the many tributes to Prince in the wake of his passing, none hit harder than D’Angelo’s rendition of this 1986 offering from the aforementioned Parade album. While others tried and failed (come to think of it, most failed), D’Angelo’s connection to this delicate heart stopper captured the raw emotion of a broken man. Stripped back to piano and acoustic guitar, it reveals Prince as troubadour—a compellingly bereft troubadour on the brink of soul-sucking pain. It is beautiful, gut-wrenching, and so completely removed from the popular perception of Prince that it would melt even the hardest-hearted cynic.