What a lovely day for Prince fans. A long lost Prince album, Welcome To America, has been released. Since his untimely death in 2016, his estate has opened up the vaults of music by the prolific and insanely talented artist for bits and pieces of music. Welcome To America, initially made in 2010, feels as timeless as just about anything created by Prince.
It was initially started by Prince as just instrument tracks, but then a slew of other musicians joined the recording process with people like Shelby J. (for Johnson), Liv Warfield and Elisa Fiorillo all sharing harmonies and leads, which you will notice right away, plus Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, Morris Hayes on keyboards and Chris Coleman on drums.
The title track takes a dark tone with a harsh view of the US, with its tech overlords, broken education systems and addictions to devices, which has only gotten worse. It follows with “Running Game (Son Of A Slave Master)” a critique of the wealth inequality in the US and how business interests run the country over the average citizen.
These were all issues that were problems in 2010, but feel just as important in 2021. Being Prince, he doesn’t just stay on the important issues of the day and the issues that still plague us today. He does allow himself to be a little more positive, reveling in a woman’s body and her ecstasy as only he could. He eventually ends with some positivity with “Yes” and One Day We Will Be Free” that acknowledges the problems of the day, but there is hope for the future. “We will all be free (Oh, yes we will, yes we will) / One day, one day (One day, one glorious day),” they repeat in the final refrain on the final track.
The deluxe edition of Welcome 2 America also contains a Blu-ray of Prince’s April 28th, 2011 concert at The Forum in L.A where he performed the LP. It is always bittersweet to hear “new” music from Prince knowing what could have been, but this album is as prescient as ever from one of the true greats.