Top 25 Albums of 2013 – #7: PRINCE – THE 2013 COLLECTION (A CD-R OF HIS BEST 2013 SINGLE RELEASES)…

prince the 2013 collection mp3

Yes, this is kind of cheating. I don’t care. It’s my list. I have had two different configurations of songs burned to CD-R this year, both arranged for most effective playback funkiness.
My most current configuration is called “The 2013 Collection”. Coupled with a cover photo culled from a fashion magazine that had Prince with his new afro, the title seemed like the name of both a CD and a fashion line. I played this “album” just as much as, if not more than many of my own purchased CDs. And since I got tired of waiting for Prince to release any of these songs on an album, I did it… for me. Chances are by the time he releases an album (rumored to be early 2014 but don’t hold your breath) he will be completely over these songs and have forgotten about them. I couldn’t let that happen.

My track list is as follows:
Extraloveable Reloaded / Fixurlifeup / Groovy Potential / Rock & Roll Love Affair (Remix 7) / Ain’t Gonna Miss U When Ur Gone / Breakfast Can Wait / Screwdriver / Boyfriend / That Girl Thang / Boomstratus / Let’s Go Crazy Reloaded / Octopus Heart / Menstrual Cycle / Rock & Roll Love Affair (Original Extended) / Screwdriver (Remix)

(Yes, “Da Bourgeoisie” is missing because it came out after I made this. It will have to wait possibly for volume 2.)

Below is an article I recently wrote summing up the progression of these songs throughout the year:

Prince 4059 4x6low

It has been a *very* exciting and fruitful year for Prince fans. Within the course of a year he has gone from his famous quote “the internet is dead” to quickly learning exactly why the internet is not dead and how he can use it to his advantage. With Prince having one of the biggest cases of musical ADHD in history, he records songs on a whim. Some of those songs end up being some of his best-loved. The main reason for this is easy. He’s at his best when he isn’t trying too hard. He’s most enjoyable when just relaxes and lets the creativity flow. But in the past couple decades he has always been at odds with himself. On one hand he has been trying to drive a point home that his past is the past and it’s all about now, and that he’s grown as a musician, almost shaming us fans for liking what made us like him to begin with because it’s so juvenile. On the other hand he has certain urges and ideas that always boil beneath the surface no matter how hard he tries to stop them. Prince is both a sexual and spiritual being. The mix of the two and the complexities that arise from it make him a fascinating person.
Prince became an outspoken Jehovah’s Witness around 2000/2001. When this happened Prince vowed to himself and his fans he would no longer use curse words in his music. He cited that this had to do with his new mentor and fellow JW follower, musician Larry Graham being unable to bring his children to a Prince show. But not only did the “nasty” classic songs like “Erotic City”, “Sexy MF”, “Head” and “Darling Nikki” go away, Prince’s sexual side became extremely muted in his songs. His lyrics started containing lyrical bursts about his newfound religion that were confusing to many, and sometimes sounded like he himself was confused about the ideas as he reguritated many of them into his lrics. When a song did come along like 3121‘s “Lolita”, it was about how he is a good boy now and he can’t do that, and how fun the forbidden fruits could be… but he could never do that now. Even his limited free release 20Ten, while being a step forward and less “trying too hard”, still suffered from this. While it was a good album, and had some spirited moments like “Laydown” and “Sticky Like Glue”, it still showed a weird conflict between Prince being the spiritual adult with a soapbox and a captive audience to listen to him, and the sexual Prince of old trying to peek through the cracks but then holding back as he was too afraid to let the monster back out.
After 20Ten things stayed quiet. Aside from a sporadic single “Extraloveable” in 2011 and a few leaked rehearsal tracks, things stayed quiet. Then out from under the radar in December last year came a new single and video, “Rock and Roll Love Affair“, released on a small imprint called Purple Music. It was laid back, bouncy, and not layered in a ton of vocal tracks like what had become the norm. It was simple, and it was enjoyable. As we now know it is hard for any musician over 35 no matter how celebrated to get in the pop charts again, this song actually deserved at least a place on VH1.
Then after a couple of months of quiet came a “lyric video” on Vimeo.com (rather than the usual YouTube) for a song called “Screwdriver“. While the song did not curse, the song was actually sexual, without being crude, with a chorus “I’m your driver, you’re my screw”. In the darkened background of the video behind the lyric graphics there was Prince in a knit cap (unusual) and a band of three women rockers. It sounded fresh! The song was catchy and fun and it rocked! Could this be the start of something great?
As I’ve chronicled *HERE* earlier this year at great length, a mysterious YouTube account popped up with the name 3rdEyeGirl. While at first Prince denied in his Billboard article that he was behind it (mmmhmm sure Jamie Starr!) it became obvious quickly. Before long a new website appeared called 3RDEYEGIRL.COM. New artwork appeared with Prince in a “hush” pose. But most importantly, new music immediately started popping up for purchase on this site. The tracks were 88 cents, and in most cases, you were provided with a CD-resolution wave file rather than an MP3. Those expecting the tracks to be substandard toss-offs were surprised. There was a revved up live-take style remix of “Screwdriver” that out-partied the original. And the first gem, “Breakfast Can Wait“. The song was perfect for a quiet seductive morning, laid back and recalling old school Prince like “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”. It never curses, but it sure would charm someone out of their clothes and into being late for work. Prince found it… that balance between the old and new. Also added over a couple days’ time were “That Girl Thang“, an acoustic falsetto song that found him pining over a mystery girl for the first time in a while. It recalled the soft sounds of his 1978 debut For You. At the same time we were given “Boyfriend“. The funk is strong on this song. There’s a great drum machine beat that is far more thought out than just hitting a button and using the autoplay beat (see most of MPLSound), but also there are horns. Prince’s horn section was always the touch that put many of his 80s songs over the top, and it does the trick here. And again, he’s not trying to hard. It was listed as “demo” but that’s just the thing. It doesn’t need anything else.
Over the next couple months Prince did start introducing his new girl group 3rdEyeGirl to the public by means of late night TV performances and awards shows. Eventually they did a series of concerts that received great reviews. His new band was more than just three girls he wanted to get in bed with and signed as a favor. They were pushing him creatively. And they were also getting him in touch with his past the right way, by relaxing and having fun.
And then the flood happened. “The internet is dead” was turned on its ear. Finding new Prince songs became a purple easter egg hunt. There was an unofficial Vimeo account that posted some early material including a rehearsal of a reimagined hard rock Jimi-style “Let’s Go Crazy Reloaded“. The band without Prince’s name attached posted the track “Live Out Loud” and sold the track on he official 3EG site, and soon came another great track called “Fixurlifeup“. This one was touted as an actual single release and sold on iTunes and Amazon. And for the first time, Prince started up a YouTube account. While at first he would post videos and then frustratingly yank them off again, the 3rdEyeGirl channel on YouTube still houses “Fixurlifeup” (since then Prince has a second account also called PrinceVevo). Prince was slightly preachy in this song, but this was for once justified with “be yourself” lyrics with lines like “A girl with a guitar is twelve times better than another crazy band of boys”. Performances highlighted the girls, the music and the lyrics rather than Prince, and he seemed all to happy with that for once.

prince2

After a couple of months of hearing little except album release rumors, possibly an album called Plectrum Electrum, the album never came to pass. there was even a listening party which provided reports that the album was an instrumental rock album rather than anything like the new pop songs. I would find out later that two tracks from this project were released to Soundcloud with strange names like “Octopus Heart” and “Menstrual Cycle“. They are instrumental jams drenched in the jazzy psychedelic feel of Band Of Gypsies era Jimi Hendrix. But then it got quiet for a month or two. Then one day I decide to check for updates in June, and a new song “Ain’t Gonna Miss U When Ur Gone” was released on 3EG. If one is to take the lyrics literally, it is possible these were about Mayte, his former and first wife, being on a reality show and talking about their time together. The old Prince started coming out. As us longtime fans know, when Prince’s pride and ego are bruised, he starts dumping it into song and it makes for non-bland lyrics and music. The spiteful side of old Prince started coming out again. At the end he starts semi-rapping in “Bob George” voice about “your rubber ta-ta’s” and “take your bourgie ___ and be gone” with a sound effect censoring the word “ass”. It didn’t even matter. The song was good. Also at this time Prince revamped his song “Extraloveable” into “Extraloveable Reloaded“. The original 1982 demo had been rewritten in 2011 and released as an mp3-only single that went almost unnoticed. He took that version, erased the rap section by Andy Allo that was a bit out-of-place (a la “Hot Wit U” with Eve from 1999’s Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic), and instead spruced the song up with a horn section that recalled the Prince of old. It was the touch that made it feel like a brand new song and gave it some needed energy.
Not long after, Prince released another new song on 3EG, and like with “AGMUWUG”, put up a teaser on YouTube. “Groovy Potential” is by far one of the most interesting songs Prince has put out in a long time. the song is fairly long, laid back and has a funky classic r&b feel. It even feels a bit spacey at times. It’s sexy. The keyboards, all of the instrumentation have a very classic feel, yet not a forced feel. *THIS* is what I would love to be hearing Prince do more of. He’s just having fun here. He’s not trying to re-invent the wheel. He’s just trying to smooth talk a lady.
In September, Prince decided to publicly relaunch “Breakfast Can Wait“, this time with a music video that did not feature himself, but instead was directed by a newcomer Danielle Curiel, featuring her dressed as drag-Prince, and a Bring It On style dance-off. Bring The Breakfast On perhaps? But now the song was released to iTunes and Amazon, complete with a cover featuring Dave Chappelle dressed as Prince from his famous spoof… holding a plate of pancakes. WhwhwWHAT?!? Prince is actually showing us his sense of humor? About himself? Well consider me shocked! About a month later Prince released a remix EP titled, yes… The Breakfast Experience. However for once these weren’t dated house dance remixes that sounded about a decade late. These were actually good. I think Prince is relearning the art of musical subtlety.
This bring us to his latest track. Now jumping back into the controversial, Prince released his newest track “Da Bourgeoisie” via…drumroll.. Twitter message! Prince now has a Twitter feed! The track is more or less a stripped down rehearsal jam of a newly churned out song. The track brought a lot of controversy though due to the lyrics, which portray Prince’s pride being heavily bruised when he realizes that a woman he is after is bisexual but leans towards women. Just like on 1979’s “Bambi”, Prince still cannot understand why a woman would want to be with a woman over being with him. However, where some have pointed out the way he sounds disgusted at this fact, I look at the song as being more in the moment of Prince’s gut reaction of feeling betrayed and hurt and doesn’t hold back. In some ways yes it could be considered homophobic. He really is scared the lesbians are taking his girl from him. Personally I think years of isolated life have kept him from having a true understanding of people. But just the same, the song is honest. Just like with “Bambi” it’s mildly amusing to see someone just not get it and be scorned in this way. I sure wonder what Wendy and Lisa think of this one. On November 26th, the audio was posted to YouTube:

So with this momentum and flurry of new music that branches out in several directions this year, I am even more excited to see what 2014 holds. A recent twitter-based “interview” mentioned plans for an album in the new year featuring “Fixurlifeup”. In any case, Prince is far from being down for the count. As long as he remembers to relax and have fun.

Here are the places these songs can still be found (or *were* found if they are now gone):

Extraloveable Reloaded” (Released June 2013)
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/products/extraloveable-reloaded

Fixurlifeup” (Released May 16, 2013)
AMAZON – CLICK HERE
YouTube Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u91IeitvQIU

Groovy Potential” (Released August 13, 2013)
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/products/groovy-potential
YouTube Audio Teaser – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpgpxJ7qodA

Rock & Roll Love Affair (Remix 7)” (Released February 2013)
No longer available – was available on version 1 of 3rdeyegirl.com before it was renovated this summer.

Ain’t Gonna Miss U When Ur Gone” (Released June 19, 2013)
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/collections/music/products/aint-gonna-miss-u-when-ur-gone
YouTube Audio teaser – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nkwFtBu13I

Breakfast Can Wait” (Originally Released February 2013 – Wide release September 3, 2013)
AMAZON – CLICK HERE
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/products/breakfast-can-wait
YouTube Full Music Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHbyNrGXpAA
YouTube Behind The Scenes of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMWwwZB33Jo

Screwdriver” (Released February 4, 2013)
AMAZON – CLICK HERE

Boyfriend” (Demo) (Released February 2013)
No longer available – was available on version 1 of 3rdeyegirl.com before it was renovated this summer.
Reposted in video form in lesser quality at – http://www.frequency.com/video/prince-boyfriend-demo-2013/79443011

That Girl Thang” (Released February 2013)
No longer available – was available on version 1 of 3rdeyegirl.com before it was renovated this summer.
Reposted in video form at – http://www.frequency.com/video/prince-that-girl-thang-demo-2013/80071539

Boomstratus” (Posted April 2013)
VIMEO (Video Only) – http://vimeo.com/63298251

Let’s Go Crazy Reloaded” (Posted April 2013)
VIMEO (Audio Only) – http://vimeo.com/63025947

Octopus Heart” (Posted July 2013)
SOUNDCLOUD – https://soundcloud.com/3eg/octopusheart

Menstrual Cycle” (Posted July 2013)
SOUNDCLOUD – https://soundcloud.com/3eg/menstrualcycle

Rock & Roll Love Affair (Original Extended Mix)” (Released December 2012)
AMAZON – CLICK HERE

Screwdriver Remix” (Released February 2013)
No longer available – was available on version 1 of 3rdeyegirl.com before it was renovated this summer.

Live Out Loud” (Released February 2013)
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/products/live-out-loud-v1 (Video only – Audio no longer available)

Da Bourgeoisie” (Released November 18th, 2013)
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/products/da-bougeousie

The Breakfast Experience” Remix EP (Released October 24, 2013)
3RDEYEGIRL.COM – http://3rdeyetunes.com/products/the-breakfast-experience

Plectrum Electrum (Clip)” (Posted March 2013)
Vimeo Video Only – http://vimeo.com/61739791

Here are some of the videos:
“Screwdriver”:

“Breakfast Can Wait”:

“Fixurlifeup”:

You can get some of the singles on MP3 and physical formats from Amazon below (including a “Rock & Roll Love Affair” picture disc):
Breakfast Can Wait MP3 | The Breakfast Experience MP3 | Fixurlifeup MP3 | Screwdriver MP3 | Rock and Roll Love Affair Remixes MP3 | Rock & Roll Love Affair Remixes CD (Import) | Rock and Roll Love Affair PICTURE DISC VINYL!

Prince 4 © 2013 FFJM - Marc Ducrest

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3 comments

  1. […] Random Access Memories 6.  Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action 7.  Prince – The 2013 Collection (A CD-R of his 2013 Singles and one-off releases) 8.  Grouplove – Spreading Rumours 9.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor 10. Nine Inch Nails […]

  2. […] of new funk jams and slow songs. Some disappeared quickly, others didn’t. As you can see in an article I wrote last year, there were easily enough songs to easily fill up a CD. After the success of a single release and […]

  3. […] of new funk jams and slow songs. Some disappeared quickly, others didn’t. As you can see in an article I wrote last year, there were easily enough songs to easily fill up a CD. After the success of a single release and […]

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