Prince, N-E-W-S
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday: Prince, N-E-W-S

Prince had validated his legacy as that DUDE numerous times by the time his instrumental album N-E-W-S hit the NPG club on May 26th, 2003, before arriving in stores on July 29th, 2003. N-E-W-S was Prince’s twenty-seventh studio album and his second instrumental album. N-E-W-S was an acronym for North, East, West, and South. Never one to pigeonhole himself, N-E-W-S finds Prince dabbling heavily into jazz fusion.

Containing only four tracks that run fourteen minutes each, N-E-W-S is a very eccentric offering. I remember purchasing the album at the age of twenty-two, but I didn’t fully grasp the instrumentation. I would revisit the album again three years later, during my first deployment in the United States Air Force, as a coping mechanism. At the age of 41 and with everything going on with the Tyre Nichols video, I decided to play the album again to bring positive energy into my life.

Since there’s no actual singing on the record, the best way to describe this album is mood music. I’ve heard that the intent behind N-E-W-S was a jam session, and that’s the vibe I got. With “North,” I got a vibe of funk. “East” gave off cinematic vibes. “West” starts a bit as a ballad before going back into the funk, and the closing number, “South,” puts me in the mindset of wanting to 2 Step.

N-E-W-S isn’t for all tastes, but You will enjoy this project from Prince the musician and his band a lot more if you avoid expectations and simply take in the joy of hearing them play.

 

Final Grade: B

N-E-W-S is available on all streaming platforms.

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