Something Else! sneak peek: Prince, "RNR Affair" (2012)

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There’s still no announcement of a new album, but Prince — who last issued a full-length original project in 2010 — has released a new single to tide fans over.

A breezy pop confection, “RNR Affair” is very much in the style of his mid-1980s work on Around the World in the Day — right down to its sun-flecked theme of “two people in love with nothin’ but the road ahead.” It’s been issued under the pseudonym Andre Crabtree the III, which recalls his Lovesexy project (where that name appears), not to mention Prince’s infamous symbol-named days.

The tune arrives in advance of Prince’s forthcoming pair of concerts at Chicago’s United Center, to be held September 24-25, 2012. The track premiered on Chicago’s I Heart Radio. Both Chicago concerts benefit the non-profit Rebuild the Dream, a grass-roots economic development non-profit started by Van Jones that hopes to mobilize everyday people to rebuild communities.

In all, Prince has produced 11 albums since 2001, including a trio of albums in both 2003 and 2004, but has been silent since releasing 20Ten in ’10. Ten of his 30 albums have gone platinum, even as Prince has claimed seven Grammy Awards.

104.3 MYfm in Chicago is playing “RNR Affair” every hour, on the hour, through Prince’s appearance at the United Center.

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Prince. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

PRINCE – 20TEN (2010): Prince, on “20Ten,” sounds like his old self again. The one you used to go buy. That starts with “Compassion,” this thunderous, ass-shaking opener, in the style of every Prince album that mattered back in the day. “Beginning Endlessly,” firing off with a titanic keyboard riff reminiscent of Yarbrough and Peoples’ “Don’t Stop the Music,” then flows seamlessly afterward. In the space of a few minutes, the prickly, sometimes stupifyingly uncommercial Prince has embraced an old-school futurist sound and this jaunty stance that everyone would be forgiven for forgetting. Once upon a time, you’re reminded, nobody was more creative inside the staccato regimen of a drum machine. Once upon a time, a long time ago. Yet on “20Ten” it sounds, at least to my ear, like Prince is having fun. How long have we been waiting for that?

ONE TRACK MIND: PRINCE, “LUST U ALWAYS” (1982): A track called “Lust U Always” from Prince’s 1999 album-era vaults has emerged online. Check it out here! It’s pure, old-school nasty-ass Prince, circa 1982, with lyrics like these: “My body reeks with lust, I will rape you if i must.” The previously unreleased tune was apparently offered to Robert Palmer, but — perhaps unsurprisingly — the late singer turned it down. At one point, around 2000, “Lust U Always” was also reportedly set to become part of the fan-voted 17-track Crystal Ball 2 outtakes project, a follow up to the similarly themed initial 1998 release, but the album never saw the light of day.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: SONGS WE STILL LOVE BY PRINCE: OK, there was the symbol thing. And the awful attempts at hip-hop phrasing. And the Sheena Easton thing. And the using of a certain ubiquitous letter of the alphabet (“Take Me With U,” “I Would Die for U,” “U Got the Look,” “I Wish U Heaven,” “Nothing Compares 2 U,” so on) in the songs. And the spoken-word thing on The Gold Experience. And the complete redo of Purple Rain — your band versus the Time? Again? — for the narrative portions of his Sign O’ The Times concert film. Yet, even after all of this, there are these earworm Prince tunes that just stick with us. For that, and maybe for that only, we forgive. Bless our hearts, we forgive …

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