Five years after his death and more than a decade after he in fact recorded (but never released) the album, Prince will publish Welcome 2 America. What a huge name of the music business who did so many great hits and definitely changed the music scene in many years. A final try of his heirs to earn some more money or a really good album? I have really been curious, when I listened to the 30th July 2021 publication.
Prince – About The Artist
The civil name of Prince is Prince Rogers Nelson. He was born on 7th June 1958 in Minneapolis and died on 21st April 2016 in Chanhassen, Minnesota. His debut album For You has been released in April 1978, but only made it to the 138th spot of the US charts. His second album Prince already made it into the US Top 25, but even though his sales and popularity grew steadily, he had his global breakthrough with Purple Rain. The 1984 album topped several charts worldwide. Interestingly, the famous title track did nit make it to the top of the US single charts, but featured two songs, which reached that target, When Doves Cry and Let’s Go Crazy. Needless to say that all songs had a lot of success in other countries as well.
Prince, who in an intermediate period called himself TAFKAP (“The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”) produced 39 studio albums overall. Especially in the 1980’s he had massive success, which majorly lead to a total record sale of over 100 million units. His last US #1 album was the 2006 3121, one year later, he lead the Swiss charts with Planet Earth.
Prince – Welcome 2 America – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 54 minutes.
1. Welcome 2 America
Where everything and nothing that Google says is hip The sales tax for the following items Will be raised immediately, cigarettes We will not raise your taxes Read our lips
Here we go – the first song by Prince after his death – or the old stuff he recorded some time before his death? The title track impresses me – is it really ten years since he recorded this song? Was Prince that way ahead of his time? At least the track feels like a today’s, modern track. And it is cool. By the way, it is long as well: the song lasts 5:24 minutes – but there are multiple songs which are album five minutes or longer on this album.
2. Running Game (Son Of A Slave Master)
The sound of the second track nicely connects to the the title track. Cool, laid back, a lot of groove. Great recording.
3. Born 2 Die
Having a song called Born 2 Die in the context of his death five years ago feels a bit too spooky to me. I love about that track that it comes with a quite “classic” Prince sound. His high falsetto voice, but also a lot of soul are the key elements of the third song of the album to me.
4. 1000 Light Years From Here
The fourth song is a track about being equal, about a world without social segregation. Is it a coincidence that this topic, which has been so important to Prince, is covered by the track with the longest duration? Nice sound with a touch of summer pop.
5. Hot Summer
Summer again – the fifth track surprises with organs, but also guitar riffs. A track somewhere between rock and funk. Cool one.
6. Stand Up and B Strong
After the energy of a Hot Summer, Stand Up and B Strong is a rather slow track. If you feel that it does not have the typical Prince groove, you are right: It is in fact a cover of the 2006 song Stand Up and Be Strong by Soul Asylum. The track is very melodic and might be a favorite choice for rock or folk listeners.
7. Check The Record
There are a lot of social-critic songs on this album. In the context that the tracks have been recorded ten years ago and still feel up-to-date, they become even more powerful. However, Check The Record is a track to relax from the critical lyrics and to have fun. A funk song mixed with rock and a strong base drum rhythm leads to a unique – and enjoyable – sound.
Let’s check the record See what it say Seem like your girlfriend Was in my bed She called me first No rendezvous This sounds like drama Now what you gonna do?
8. Same Page, Different Book
Same page but a different book So much more in common if you’d only look There’s only one God (One God), whatever name we took Only matters when it comes to war What are we, what are we, what are we fighting for?
Long-time Prince fans might favor this song. The falsetto-pop rhythm with a strong R&B touch feels very familiar, even to non-die-hard fans. This one simply sounds like Prince.
9. When She Comes
How do you call that one? A reverse self-cover? Prince fans know When She Comes from his 2015 album, Hitnrun Phase Two. He reworked the track for that release, now we got to listen the original… after the cover. You understood it? Weird times!
10. 1010 (Rin Tin Tin)
Call to all the women Call to the men What could be stranger than the times we’re in? Earthquake, flood, better hurry, kin Ask the Lone Ranger Rin Tin Tin
Don’t ask me about the exact message of this song. Prince has been a mystery here and there – and 1010 (Rin Tin Tin), which again comes with a nice groove, somehow improves this though.
Is there a genre like power-gospel-rock? It would describe this track, which is less than three minutes, best. Energetic listen.
12. One Day We Will All B Free
Will that be the last Prince publication of his career? Already post-hum? Couldn’t there be a better message than One Day We Will All B(e) Free for that? A mid-tempo farewell, which deeply touches me in that context.
Prince – Welcome 2 America – Spotify
Here is Welcome 2 America on Spotify:
Prince – Welcome 2 America – My View
Every song on Welcome 2 America is a new experience. The twelve songs are such a widespread range of sounds and songs. And the ten year old tracks majorly feel so modern, so up-to-date. This is the fascinating part of Welcome 2 America. On the other hand, the experience of this album is partially that wide-spread that some songs don’t even feel like Prince track to me any more – especially in regards of the vocal presence. Thus, Welcome 2 America is a good, but not a top-notch album to me.