Prince‘s new song, “HARDROCKLOVER,” opens not with the expected thunderous riff, but a minimalist synth pulse. The singer-guitarist surveys the hazy scene at a party, “in between this waking life and R.E.M.” – but when the title lover walks in the room, the track erupts with psychedelic wah-wah, funky slap-bass and Prince moaning in a squeaky falsetto.
“Sade and Babyface / R&B ain’t got no place,” he sings. “Put some hard rock on / You better cover your ears ’cause you’re ’bout to hear a woman just scream.”
“HARDROCKLOVER,” a collaboration with his backing band 3rdEyeGirl, is the third standalone track for the singer this year. In March, he debuted “What If?”, a heavy reworking of a Christian song by Nichole Nordeman, ahead of his spontaneous “Hit and Run” dates in Louisville, Kentucky.
Two months later, he posted the dreamy pop-rock protest tune “Baltimore,” recorded in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death and the subsequent riots in the Maryland city. “Does anybody hear us pray? / For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray,” Prince sings on the track. “Peace is more than the absence of war.”
The musician performed the song – along with his usual quota of classics – days later in a surprise, two-and-a-half-hour Baltimore set dubbed “Rally 4 Peace.” The epic event featured appearances from Miguel, Doug E. Fresh, Estelle and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.