Funk, soul, rock in Prince's albums

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As the funky bass quiets down near the start of one of Prince's two new albums, a soothing female voice informs that medication has put him in "suspended animation" for 45 years.

Is the 56-year-old megastar speaking of his own career or does the song imagine his body being frozen? No matter - the voice explains that he is now "in a place that does not require time".

The themes of science fiction and timelessness - and plenty of sex - run throughout the album Art Official Age as Prince, still prolific and genre- merging four decades into his career, brings in funk, rock and soul.

Along with it, Prince is also releasing a second album: Plectrume- lectrum, a tighter and at times more hard-charging work performed with his new collaborators 3rdEyeGirl, an all-female trio.

The singer who performed 1980s hits such as Little Red Corvette, 1999 and I Would Die 4 U, recently told his hometown newspaper the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, that he was focused on albums and had little interest in singles.

"I've finally got something that is a cohesive statement," he told the newspaper, which said that Prince - true to his eccentric reputation - initiated the interview at a moment's notice by inviting a reporter to his Paisley Park studio late at night.

"I don't need to be on the radio," he was quoted as saying. "I've been on the radio all my life."

His 33rd and 34th albums - Prince's first since 20Ten was distributed four years ago for free in European newspapers - mark his return to Warner Brothers Records after one of the music industry's most famous label disputes.

When he fell out with Warner Brothers nearly 20 years ago, he wrote "slave" on his cheek to protest his contractual terms and changed his name to the unpronounceable "love symbol" as the singer - born as Prince Rogers Nelson - said the label had taken over his name.

He has now regained control over his catalogue and Warner is reissuing his classic album Purple Rain for this year's 30th anniversary.

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