Prince's "Big" 2013 continued today with the surprise unveiling of a second new website, this one offering new music to download. His fans have been begging for this option since the NPG Music Club shut down, so here is hoping this is the start of much bigger plans to sell his music directly to the fan base. While 20pr1nc3.com now sits as black as the cover of the Black Album with a "Coming Soon" promise, 3rdeyegirl.com went live early this morning.
As expected, the site was overloaded with traffic as soon as word started spreading it was live via Dr. Funkenberry's website and many of Prince's band members on Twitter. Prince's fan base is ravenous as soon as there is mention of new music being available, thankfully I didn't get word about the site until the bugs were worked out. Purchasing the songs, up as digital downloads for 88 cents each, could not have been easier. It literally took me two minutes to enter my information, pay and download the four tracks that were offered today. No hoops to jump through, no mazes to solve, simple, quick and easy and that is all most fans want.
As it is set-up now, the site is very simple but it doesn't need to be much more than that. As long as it functions properly in delivering new music, I don't need anything else and I think most fans would concur. My only gripe, and it's a small one, is not all the songs are available in lossless format. Hopefully this will change as it simply needs to be an option going forward and there will be no complaining from me if the lossless option costs a little bit more. I will pay more for lossless sound files. In the meantime, let's take a look at what is currently up for sale on 3rdeyegirl.com.
"Screwdriver" - This is the new 'single' as it was just released Monday via all the usual online avenues, iTunes, Amazon, etc. The benefit of the 3rdeyegirl.com version is this is a lossless WAV file instead of an MP3. As for the song, it's incredibly catchy and one of the best singles Prince has put out in ages. Now, diehards were originally going gaga when a short rehearsal video was posted on YouTube of this track with Prince and his new, all female backing band rocking out, but that excitement seemed to dissipate when a snippet of this studio version was later shared. Once again, it seemed Prince had held back on a studio version from the all-out, stripped down, raw rock of the rehearsal version. Think of the SNL performance of "Fury" versus the studio version that appeared on 3121. But, now that the full length track is out, I don't see as big a discrepancy. But for those still not happy, we move on to the next track.
"Screwdriver" (Remix) - Over two minutes longer than the original version, this is less a remix and more a completely re-recorded, harder take on the song. It's as if Prince saw some of the criticism thrown at the studio version and said, 'OK then, you want rawer and more guitar? Check this out." There is certainly a lot more guitar prevalent here, it's stripped of some of the more poppy elements of the original and it makes for a great 'alternate take' on the song. This is currently only available as an MP3 on the site, but is a must have.
"Rock and Roll Love Affair" (Remix 7) - This version of Prince's last single was also originally shared on YouTube via the 3rdEyeGirl channel, but it is nice to have available for purchase. I wasn't too moved by this mix at first, but upon further listen, I think I now prefer it to the original. It just sounds more 'Princely', I like the bassline, and it is a nice improvement on the song. I did not have the disdain for the original that a number of long time fans seemed to have, so like "Screwdriver" it is nice to have a quality alternate version of the song.
"Breakfast Can Wait" - I'm saving the best for last here as this track has had numerous diehards gushing on Twitter all day, including no less an authority than super-fan Questlove. This one reminds me of something from the 3121 period, in fact, I can see it as the vibe Prince was going for on "Incense And Candles", but this time he nails it with a far superior song. That bass popping, the drum pattern, his vocal work, the lyrics, this song just has that laid back, smooth, sexy vibe that no one can do quite like Prince when he is on. And make no mistake, he is ON this time. I even dig the crazy sped up vocals in the last minute, I mean this is Prince who has played with vocal effects his whole career. Think Camille on speed, it shouldn't make sense, yet it just adds to the funky groove the whole song has.
Again, here is hoping this is just the beginning. His fans would love nothing more than to give their money directly to Prince for new music, and being greedy, some vault material distributed this way would be nice too. And here is a continued call for his recent run of shows at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis to be released in this manner. We know these were recorded as soundboard samples have been shared on YouTube by 3rdEyeGirl. With a bootleg set surely on the horizon, what an opportunity to beat the bootleggers by releasing far superior quality documents of six historic shows in Prince's career. Say $20 per show with the option to purchase all six for $100, giving a discount to those who want everything. Today was a great start, let's see how deep Prince is willing to go in 2013 with getting his music to his fans.
Make sure to visit 3rdeyegirl.com and purchase this new music from Prince.