After a lengthy and bitter feud that infamously resulted in “the artist formerly known as” (because you can’t pronounce a symbol), Prince and Warner have kissed and made up. It was on the Warner Bros Records label that Prince released some of his best material, including ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Sign O The Times’ and his soundtrack to Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’. But when Warner refused to allow him to release his music more frequently and own his original master tapes, he labelled himself a slave.
Somehow, both parties have put aside their differences and allowed Prince to retake control of those precious masters. And lo and behold, 2014 just so happens to be the twentieth anniversary of ‘Purple Rain’, just in time for a fancy deluxe re-release and some extra marketing for his forthcoming album ‘Plectrum Electrum’. Coincidence? I think not.
Still, you can’t begrudge the legend if it means he can release more music – just like he’s done here with The Breakdown, the first track to be released under the Warner Bros label. “This could be the saddest story ever told”, he begins, lamenting a lost relationship – perhaps that with Warner. There’s a distinctly 90s feel beginning with softly chiming chords and a cooing falsetto, perhaps in a nod to his big 90s ballad The Most Beautiful Girl In The World. The beat soon drops though into a slow jam of pizzicato strings, space age effects and an increasingly manic and high-pitched vocal that reaches an almost orgasmic peak in the final third.
Now all we need is one more miracle. One I daren’t say. One that begins with G and ends in bury…
Listen: The Breakdown is available now.