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Prince Drops A Surprise New Album


We just heard about John's Stauffer's happy surprise, finding these four new photographs of Frederick Douglass after publishing his book. Now here is another one, this time for fans of Prince. Yesterday, he dropped a new album seemingly out of nowhere.


MARTIN: Now, Prince has always kept his fans wondering what he's going to do next, from writing some of the most sexually explicit songs in the pop repertoire to changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol. Here he is with another attention-getting move.


PRINCE: (Singing) Every night they meet supposed to give her his plan. She's too hot for words, too wise to tame.

MARTIN: The album is called "Hit N Run: Phase Two." As of right now, it is only available at the streaming and download site Tidal. It's the follow-up, as the title suggests, to his album "Hit N Run: Phase One," which was released in September. The album is sort of a case study of Prince's influences, like the horn-inflected soul in this song you're hearing now called "2.Y.2.D." or "2 Young To Dare." It's also got sultry slow jams, like "Look At Me, Look At U."


PRINCE: (Singing) Back and forth of an earthquake go strong and sturdy tree. I ask myself this question but still a mystery - how I'm going to keep my balance when I look at you.

MARTIN: And he's got a couple of full-on rock anthems, like "Screwdriver."


PRINCE: (Singing) We've got a long, long way to go. We might as well enjoy the view. I'm your driver, and you're my screw.

MARTIN: With this album, Prince joins a growing list of major artists who've made waves with surprise releases - D'Angelo, Beyonce, U2, Jay Z - they've all made headlines by keeping quiet about their work until they're ready to drop it on eager fans. Prince devotees will likely recognize a couple of previously-released singles like "Screwdriver" and this one.


PRINCE: (Singing) Baltimore.

MARTIN: It's a protest song he sang at a peace rally in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.


PRINCE: (Singing) Does anybody hear us pray for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? Peace is more than the absence of war. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.

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