ABC unveiled “Moonbeam Levels” during a listening party at New York City’s Cutting Room Studios, with the song beginning at the 45-second mark above. Recorded in 1982 while working on 1999, “Moonbeam Levels” is vintage Prince, a stomping R&B ballad filled with striving piano, rousing guitar riffs and ecstatic vocal wails. But despite the musical gusto of “Moonbeam Levels,” the song has a somber undercurrent, with Prince singing, “Please send all your moonbeam levels to me/ I’m looking for a better place to die.”
After recording the track, Prince considered “Moonbeam Levels” for an album he began working on in 1988, Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic, that was ultimately scrapped (he later tweaked the title for his 1999 record, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic). While the track has been previously bootlegged, it is now officially available on Prince 4ever, a 40-song greatest hits collection out today, November 22nd.
While “Moonbeam Levels” and Prince 4ever mark the first Prince recordings released since his death on April 21st, the musician’s vault already has a follow-up planned: A deluxe reissue of Purple Rain that will include a second album of previously unreleased material. The record is expected to arrive early next year.