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<i>Musicology</i> Puts Prince Back on Stage - 2004-05-13

Since the late-1980s, Prince has combined funk, R&B and rock with innovative production techniques and instrumentation. Prince's new album, Musicology, his first major-label release since 2001, marks a return to his "old school" style of R&B, sensual soul and funk rock. VOA's Bernie Bernard tells us more about the new album from Rock And Roll Hall of Fame member, Prince.

"Don't you miss the feeling music gave you back in the day?" That's the question Prince asks on the title track to his new album, Musicology. His two previous releases, The Rainbow Children and N.E.W.S. were an experiment in jazz and instrumental fusion, which were not well received by the majority of his fans. With his new CD, Prince has returned to the formula that helped break new ground in R&B and pop. That change was evident in his electrifying performance with Beyoncé Knowles, which opened the 2004 Grammy Awards ceremony earlier this year. In the 1990s, Prince had a well-publicized dispute with his record company, claiming he was a "slave" to his former label Warner Brothers. He took a self-imposed exile from the music industry, and changed his name to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. He began to release music through the Internet and on his own label. "I would ask people who want to call this a comeback, where they think I'm coming back from? They want to see me as having failed," Prince commented.

Prince's song Cinnamon Girl is about racial and ethnic differences in the post 9/11 era. Other lyrics on his Musicology album explore the war in Iraq, the Bible, numerology and the corrupting power of greed. For the past few weeks, Prince has made the CD available as a download on his new website,

NPG stands for his group, the New Power Generation. Fans who join Prince's NPG music club for $25 per year can access the Musicology Download Store, where they can buy new and previously unreleased songs, and get advance notice about concert tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

The artist recently appeared in the television special Prince: The Art of Musicology, which aired simultaneously on six different cable networks, and was recorded before an audience in New York City. Prince is currently on tour, playing tunes from Musicology as well as his classic hits. At one point in the show, he takes the stage with only an acoustic guitar, and reflects on the blues roots of his contemporary rock and soul.