The Prince Estate has revealed that the late icon’s shelved 2010 album Welcome 2 America will be the next LP freed from Paisley Park’s vault.
Arriving July 30th, Welcome 2 America features 11 Prince originals as well as a cover of Soul Asylum’s “Stand Up and B Strong”. The Purple One recorded the LP with the 2011-era New Power Generation, featuring bassist Tal Wilkenfeld; drummer Chris Coleman; keyboardist/co-producer Morris Hayes; and singers Shelby J, Liv Warfield, and Elisa Fiorillo. Jason Agel served as engineer for the sessions at Paisley Park Studios.
The songs have never officially been released save for one-off radio premieres or a handful of webcasts, although Prince was also known to perform some of them live. Thematically, the tracks take a political stance, making comments on the state of the country and the proliferation of social media.
“The world is fraught with misin4mation. George Orwell’s vision of the future is here,” Prince said in a 2021 statement, via the Estate. “We need 2 remain steadfast in faith in the trying times ahead.”
As a first listen, The Prince Estate has unearthed the effort’s title track. The five-and-a-half minute soulful spoken word number plays out almost like the opening track of a beat poet musical. “Welcome to America,” Prince begins, “where you can fail at your job, get fired, rehired/ And get a $700 billion tip.” Take a listen ahead.
Though the album was shelved for mysterious reasons, Prince did embark on the “Welcome 2 America Tour” in 2011, culminating in the historic 21 Nite Stand at the Forum in Inglewood, California. A Blu-ray concert film from one of those residency gigs is included in the Welcome 2 America deluxe edition. Songs on that April 28th setlist included hits like “1999”, “Kiss”, “Little Red Corvette”, and “Purple Rain”, as well as covers of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel my Love”, Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, and the finale performance of Roxy Music’s “More Than This”.
Housed in a luxe gold-foil package, the Welcome 2 America Deluxe Edition also collects a 32-page companion book and an embossed vellum envelope holding ephemera such as reproductions of concert tickets, setlists, and more. There’s also a limited edition 2xLP gold vinyl version, and all vinyl editions feature a Side D etching. In addition, the official Prince Store is offering an exclusive “Welcome 2 America” 7-inch single backed with a live version of the song from the May 14th 21 Nite Stand show.
Find the full setlist and deluxe packaging under the “Welcome 2 America” stream below. Pre-orders are available now.
News of Welcome 2 America follows the Prince Estate’s release of the Sign O’ the Times Deluxe Edition back in the fall. To mark the 5th anniversary of Prince’s passing, the Estate will place his ashes on display at Paisley Park on April 21st, when visitors will be welcomed for free.
Welcome 2 America Artwork:
Welcome 2 America Tracklist:
01. Welcome 2 America
02. Running Game (Son of a Slave Master)
03. Born 2 Die
04. 1000 Light Years from Here
05. Hot Summer
06. Stand Up and B Strong (Soul Asylum cover)
07. Check the Record
08. Same Page, Different Book
09. When She Comes
10. 1010 (Rin Tin Tin)
12. One Day We Will All B Free
Welcome 2 America (Live at The Forum, April 28, 2011) Blu-ray Tracklist:
01. Joy in Repetition
02. Brown Skin (India.Arie cover)
03. 17 Days
06. Theme from “Which Way Is Up” (Stargard cover)
07. What Have You Done For Me Lately (Janet Jackson cover)
09. Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
10. Misty Blue (Eddy Arnold cover)
11. Let’s Go Crazy
14. Little Red Corvette
15. Purple Rain
16. The Bird (The Time cover – Prince composition)
17. Jungle Love (The Time cover – Prince composition)
18. A Love Bizarre (Sheila E. cover – Prince composition)
20. Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry cover)
21. Inglewood Swinging (cover of Kool & the Gang’s “Hollywood Swinging”)
22. Fantastic Voyage (Lakeside cover)
23. More Than This (Roxy Music cover)