It’s September 18, 2020, which means it’s only one week until the Sign O’ the Times Super Deluxe Edition arrives at your local record store. I know the 2nd Record Store Day Drop is coming on the following day, but I might get up early and wait outside The Exclusive Company here in Green Bay because I’m more excited for this box set than anything coming on RSD. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some RSD, but the one album I’d get up early for this year – Double Image: Rare Miles From the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions – isn’t coming until the October drop. It doesn’t excite me nearly as much as a 13 LP + 1 DVD box set of Prince in his prime. I will be standing at the door when they open The Exclusive Company at 10:00 AM next Friday, which means I’ll be back at my house spinning it by 10:15. In case you’re wondering, hell yes I took the day off.
Today’s song comes from the Prince Estate’s last Super Deluxe Edition. It’s been ten months since we were blessed with the Super Deluxe 1999. My concept of time is so warped at this point, you could convince me that November 29, 2019, was last week or ten years ago and I’d believe you. This quarantine shit is getting old. That album had two discs (four LPs) of vault material recorded between November of 1981 and January of 1983. Right in the middle of it you’ll find “If It’ll Make U Happy.” It was recorded in April of 1982 by Prince featuring Dez Dickerson on guitar and backup vocals.
This song doesn’t exactly fit with the kind of music that made Prince popular in the early-80’s. It doesn’t do much to take advantage of his unparalleled skill, either. “If It’ll Make U Happy” has a breezy Caribbean vibe and some enjoyable harmonizing courtesy of Prince and Dez. It’s the opposite of yesterday’s song. While “Lady Cab Driver” is eight minutes long the groove is always evolving and it keeps you interested throughout. At four minutes long “If It’ll Make U Happy” gets monotonous quickly and might actually benefit from being a minute shorter.
Apparently Prince fans agree. At Prince’s annual celebration at Paisley Park in 2000, fans were given an opportunity to vote on which vault tracks they’d like to see included on his Crystal Ball Volume II project. 22 tracks were listed and 17 were chosen by the fans. “If It’ll Make U Happy” was one of the five that were not chosen. Of course, Crystal Ball Volume II doesn’t exist because the project was abandoned, so none of this matters. Instead, the song waited until 2019 – 37 years after it was recorded – to finally see the light of day.
“If It’ll Make U Happy” isn’t a bad song, but I would call it one of the weaker songs of the 23 vault tracks that were released on the 1999 Super Deluxe Edition. It would’ve been cool to see Prince and Dez do some more Hall & Oates-esque duets, but this song is a weak representation of their capabilities.