The song, originally recorded in 1982, officially premiered on Tuesday via a private listening party hosted by ABC News. You can hear the full thing, along with commentary from several Prince superfans, in the player below. ("Moonbeam Levels" begins at 00:44.)
According to Rolling Stone, the song was first recorded while Prince worked on his 1999 album and was later considered for his eventually scrapped 1988 project, Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic. (Not to be confused with his 1999 album, which re-worked the titled to: Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.)
Though Prince 4ever marks the first formal release of "Moonbeam Levels," the song had previously been heard on bootleg collections and was even covered by Elvis Costello at the 2013 "The Music of Prince" tribute concert at Carnegie Hall. Today, the lyrics ring even more poignant as Prince sings, "Please send all your moonbeam levels 2 me/I’m lookin' 4 a better place 2 die."
Prince 4ever was released on Tuesday via NPG and Warner Bros. Records, which has already plotted Prince's next posthumous record. A reissue of Purple Rain is expected early next year, while the labels have said that it will "arrive with a second album of previously unreleased material."
The 40-track greatest hits album comes just days after Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, took the stage at the 2016 American Music Awards to accept the Top Soundtrack award for Purple Rain on her brother's behalf. (The soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 earlier this year following the music icon's untimely death.)
"Prince defied the odds. A black teen from Minneapolis with a goal to electrify the world. He had the courage to be different," Tyka shared. "With his vision and God-given talent, he is still one of the world's most respected and loved artists, but what he told me was he wanted to be known as the world's most prolific songwriter, and with 984 titles to his credit and counting, he has done just that."