165: Moonbeam Levels

Unreleased (1982) / 4Ever (2016)
Prince’s first vault item to be released posthumously was 1982’s Moonbeam Levels, a much-loved song used to hoodwink fans into buying yet another greatest hits compilation. Although picking a popular bootleg already illicitly owned by many may not be the effective dangled carrot Warner Bros envisaged. Written during Prince’s 1999 era, the lyrics are naturally concerned with death, destruction, and nuclear fallout. They describe a Cold War Chicken Little wanting to be beamed out of this life and into “a better place to die”. Sounds depressing but the music is anything but. The only thing that could beat it is if the moon goddess Selene herself descended from the heavens with her silver chariot’s tape deck blasting out the soundtrack to a dream Elliott Smith once had.