Welcome 2 America

Welcome 2 America

It’s hard to know what to make of the steady stream of releases to flow from Prince’s legendary vaults. On one hand, even a casual fan can marvel at the sheer scope of his output, and how he would regularly cast aside entire albums’ worth of songs that would be career highlights for any other artist. On the other hand, he was a meticulous artist with impossibly exacting standards that these songs didn’t meet for whatever now-unknowable reasons, so what does it mean to listen to them without his blessing? Welcome 2 America does not offer any immediate clues as to its pariah status. Recorded in 2010 with New Power Generation, these are fully realized funk, R&B, and rock songs, often sharp and lyrically prescient—nothing necessarily revelatory or adventurous by the measure of Prince’s own formidable canon, but far from anyone’s idea of detritus. “Yes” is a rowdy rave-up, while Prince pays tribute to fellow Minneapolis lifers with a perhaps unlikely cover of Soul Asylum’s 2006 “Stand Up and B Strong.”

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