Prince dropped two albums this week. And they're good, we promise.
Any Prince fans out there? The artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince has just released not one but two albums – his “first official solo album” since 2010, Art Official Age (get it?)and the joint project with his female-driven warmup act, 3rdEyeGirl. The second album is called Plectrum Electrum and works in direct opposite to the futuristic sound of Art Official Age. Plectrum Electrum pays dutiful homage to the vintage sound of the rock trio, with Prince’s meticulous production adding the final layer of polish.
Prince is so down with the business, he's dropping the albums two at a time.
The link between the two albums is complicated and ambiguous, so pay attention. Art Official Age is credited as “recorded with” Chris James, a producer who has made dance music with Deadmau5 and others, and Joshua A.M. Welton, a producer and songwriter from Illinois. Mr. Welton is married to Hannah Ford Welton, the drummer in 3rdEyeGirl, and has played keyboards on their tour.
Both albums come across as concept pieces, with Art Official Age ripping through electronic dance music sounds, with the occasional verse about “a place in heaven far off in the future.” Amid the hectic synths and four-on-the-floor dance beats, the occasional soft-spoken interludes remind us that this is, in fact, Prince and he is about ten levels over it. The album returns to classic Prince staples – the theme is slow seduction and quick dance beats, with long-term romance playing a more central role than ever. Both albums are now available on iTunes.