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05 April 2024

Rare Prince B-Side Shared To Celebrate 20 Years Of ‘Musicology’

Prince performing at Madison Square Gardens, NYC, on his Musicology tour, 1 June 2005
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The rare Prince track, United States Of Division, has been shared to celebrate two decades of his album Musicology.

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The 2004 recording was initially offered as a virtual B-side download for Cinnamon Girl exclusively from Prince’s NPG Music Club and eventually as a non-LP bonus track for the UK CD single of Cinnamon Girl, but has not been distributed via streaming services until now.

United States Of Division is a powerful protest song that sees Prince boldly confronting the social and political issues that plague the US to this day. Over a percussive backbeat and slinking bassline colored by synths and horn stabs, Prince laments the state of a fractured nation: “How far from heaven must we go? / Before the winds of change will blow and show / This world how it’s supposed to be / Land of peace and harmony.” Released in the midst of the US war in Iraq, United States Of Division serves as a potent reminder of Prince’s often underappreciated passion for social commentary.

The new spotlight on this song also celebrates the 20th anniversary of Prince’s landmark Musicology Live 2004ever tour, a remarkable run of shows that saw the trendsetting star distributing copies of his most recent album Musicology to thousands of concert attendees along the tour route. On Prince’s request, the tour featured reasonable ticket prices that encouraged fans young and old to attend shows.

In an archival interview clip from the Musicology era, Prince described how his creative process had changed at this stage in his career: “This record… remember it’s made by someone who’s been there and back. Hopefully people feel that and listen to it with that set of ears. Music is music ultimately. If it makes you feel good? Cool.”

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