Los Angeles’ rock radio station Indie 103 was “summoned” to Prince’s home this past week to preview his new album. According to the station’s “Mr. Shovel,” Prince “wants nothing to do with record labels, so he’s meeting with people to figure out how to operate at his level without a record label.” Following a long conversation with the Purple Rain star, the radio reps were played the new album in Prince’s home entertainment theater. “It’s heavy, rockin’, and our enthusiasm was immediate,” Mr. Shovel said. Prince permitted the station preview a few of the new songs, so that’s where we were today at 3 p.m.
The album kicks off with an explosive, four-minute instrumental before launching into the first song that was played on the radio — Prince covering Tommy James & the Shondells’ “Crimson & Clover,” with the Purple One altering the lyrics as he’s been known to do for covers. Keeping with the original, the vocals sound like Prince is submerged under water. Things deviate at the chorus, however, as Prince belts out the “ooh baby, I think I love you” part of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”
“Colonized Mind” is another laid-back guitar joint — it seems like Prince wants people to stop dancing and just chill. More aquatic layering on Prince’s voice as he sings politicized lyrics along the lines of, “Did you know your record deal was another way for ‘The Man’ to steal.” Yeah, we don’t think Prince wants anything to do with record labels. The guitar solo is killer, out-guitaring the entirety of Planet Earth‘s “Guitar,” before the chorus returns.
“Wall of Berlin” brings more guitar virtuosity. If he’s aiming to make an album similar to Side C of Electric Ladyland, he’s off to a good start. The songs also sound more intimate, like the Artist recorded these songs without any Revolution and New Power Generation behind him. “4ever” is the ballad, with Prince busting out the piano before being joined by backup singers. It’s not “Free,” “Ballad of Dorothy Parker” or “Sometimes It Snows In April,” but it’s still a solid, latter-day Prince slow dance as he ruminates about marriage and being with someone, well, 4ever.
And that’s all we get. For now, at least. Again, according to the DJs, Prince’s new album is finished and he’s just looking for a non-record label vessel in which to release it. We’ll keep you posted in what promises to be a busy year for Prince.