Remember the days when a new Prince single was a big deal? You have to go back quite a long way, but man do I miss them. I especially miss the usual reaction afterwards of picking yourself up off the floor after just having your ass kicked. See, I still get excited any time I hear Prince has something new out, but the post-listen reaction is a whole different experience from what it used to be. These days it can be any combination of beating your head against the wall in frustration, to tears of sadness at the recent mediocre output of this musical genius to resignation that he just doesn’t have it anymore.

So when Prince surprised us on Monday with a brand new song, that same old rush of excitement came over me. My body is conditioned to react that way to news of new Prince music. But then I read some fan descriptions of the tune and was scared to even listen to it, for fear of more disappointment. Curiosity got the better of me, as it always will when it comes to what the man is doing, and I checked out “Rock & Roll Love Affair”.

Let’s get this straight, put up against his classics this is a throw away track at best. But compare it to recent pap like “Hot Summer” and “Rich Friends” and this is a step in the right direction. Clearly written about current protege Andy Allo, “Rock & Roll Love Affair” is a light, breezy pop tune, originally intended to be released a few months ago, hence the summery vibe. Yes, it calls to mind “Take Me With U” mixed with the more recent “The One U Wanna C”, it is far from a groundbreaking song, and once again there is no chorus to speak of, but it ranks in the higher end of his most recent output. Not sure that is really even saying much these days but as a fan for almost 30 years, I’ll take it. I could do without the fake synth horn effects though, get some real damn horns back P.

There is no question Prince’s conversion to the Jehovah’s Witness faith has sapped his music of the raw sexuality and nasty, funky edge it once had, but it is nice to see him slip some obvious double entendres into this one. ‘If there’s some room I’d like 2 sit at your table. She said it’s tight, but I think I could fit U in’, he sings, with a perfect pause in between, where you can practically feel him winking at you. This one falls right in the middle of the road of the Prince catalog and sadly the middle of the road is where Prince seems to be stuck. I like it, but I don’t love it.

B-

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