Prince Addresses the Social Media Age on New Song, From One of Two New Albums

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 25 2014 12:18 PM

Prince Addresses the Social Media Age on New Song, From One of Two New Albums

Prince
The song is also yet another about bathing.

Photo courtesy NPG Records

Ending his longest-ever break between albums, Prince announced this morning that he is coming back soon with not one but two full-lengths. One is titled Plectrum Electrum, which was recorded with new band 3rd Eye Girl and will feature a few previously shared tracks, including “Fixurlifeup.” The other is a solo album called Art Official Age, and it will include “The Breakdown” and “Breakfast Can Wait.” Both are due on Sept. 30.

He’s also just shared another new song from the solo LP, and—in keeping with the album’s title—it comments on the age of reality TV and social media. Perhaps inspired by his recent activity on Twitter, Prince ponders a “brand new age” with “all of our lives a stage.” And as in St. Vincent’s great “Digital Witness” from earlier this year, the lyrics have the singer pondering questions like, “Does it really even matter if it ain’t on the stage?”

On the bridge, a female voice suggests that Prince has been cryogenically frozen for decades and is just now thawing out—an image that more or less describes the very early-’80s-Prince sound of the track. Over vintage-sounding drum machines, acoustic guitars, and a typically funky bass line, Prince sings in multi-tracked harmonies about escaping this age and getting back to more old-fashioned pleasures, like “getting high on something that doesn’t require clouds.” More specifically, Prince is back to singing about the same activity he’s mused on in song after song after song after song after song: bathing with a lover. (“Every time you catch her singin’ in the shower, you should go and get a flower and rub it on her back,” he sings.) Some pleasures are timeless.

Advertisement

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.