"HITnRUN Phase Two" ist das 39. Studioalbum von Prince und das letzte Album, das zu seinen Lebzeiten veröffentlicht wurde. Es erschien am 12. Dezember 2015 und damit nur drei Monate nach dem Vorgängeralbum "HITnRUN Phase One" bei seinem eigenen Label NPG Records exklusiv bei dem Musikstreaming-Dienst Tidal. Drei Tage später war das Album im iTunes Store erhältlich. Auf den beiden Konzerten am 21. Januar 2016 in den Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen konnten Besucher die CD des Albums käuflich erwerben. Auf den Konzerten seiner "Piano & A Microphone"-Tournee, die zwischen dem 16. Februar und 14. April 2016 stattfand, erhielt jeder Besucher kostenlos ein Exemplar der CD. Diese wurde ab dem 29. April 2016, also acht Tage nach dem Tod von Prince, weltweit von der Universal Music Group vertrieben.
"HITnRUN Phase Two" enthält zwölf Songs, darunter die vier Singles "XTRALOVEABLE", "ROCKNROLL LOVEAFFAIR", "SCREWDRIVER" und "BALTIMORE". Alle Singles waren vor dem Album-Release bereits als Studioversion erhältlich. Die Laufzeit des Albums beträgt genau 58 Minuten. Das Albumcover gestaltete wie das Cover des Vorgängeralbums "HITnRUN Phase One" der Kreativdirektor und Typograf Martin Hommet. Die Albumaufnahmen fanden zwischen 2010 und 2015 in den Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen statt.
"HITnRUN Phase Two" erreichte in den amerikanischen Billboard Charts posthum Platz 40 und wurde in den USA ca. 75.000 Mal verkauft. In Deutschland wurde das Album 7.500 Mal verkauft und erreichte posthum Platz 21 der deutschen Album-Charts.
HITNRUN Phase Two begins with Baltimore, Prince’s upbeat tribute to Freddie Gray whose death in police hands resulted unrest in the city, the song, good for its time when released as a standalone track over half a year earlier, this track is one of six released not only months but in most cases years earlier they are repackaged here to give more casual fans the chance to hear these songs that would have would have otherwise passed them by. Hardcore fans, however, have a longer memory. The album leads into another, and the oldest, of the rehashed songs, Rocknroll Loveaffair released 2012, and is accompanied by 2013’s Groovy Potential and the even older Xtraloveable of 2011, all are reworked and tightened for their 2015 outing, proving yet again that the never satisfied Prince is firmly of the school of George Lucas in that given the opportunity they shall forever tinker with their creations whether the outcome is right or wrong. Unlike Phase One which was recorded and put together all within a mere 90 days from conception to delivery, HITNRUN Phase Two is at the other extreme and a palpably less spontaneous affair. The result allowing too much time having to pass between their original recording and this album is its lack of cohesion and a project which feels more of a collection rather than a ‘written for’ album – this Crystal Ball than Lovesexy. Some tracks don’t fit at all; Baltimore, and most notably 2013’s Screwdriver is an odd inclusion since it is essentially a 3rdEyeGirl outtake and remains a mystery why it never appeared on Plectrumelectrum in the first place if it was still deemed worthy after all for album inclusion. Baltimore was written for at a particular time to mark a particular moment and has its presence is conspicuous for its lost poignancy this far after the circumstances of its creation. Crusade singles are better left as standalone releases, think S.S.T. and F.U.N.K. This is not to say HITNRUN Phase Two is a less worthy addition to Prince’s canon, it’s just not necessarily fresh but neither was Graffiti Bridge and so it keeps good company, yet the consequence is a loss of sense of occasion. HITNRUN Phase Two is a far cry from the urgency of Art Official Age and Phase One. Plectrumelectrum seems like an entirely forgotten project. Yet its best material are the new additions; the lively 2Y. 2D (2 Young 2 Dare) although dates from 2013 it gets its first studio release here. We then slide into Look At Me, Look At U this and Revelation both containing the mark of genuine quality. Proceedings are slowed further with the accordion flavoured When She Comes (think Satisfied) only to pick up sharply with Screwdriver – the contrast of this is so different it is not unlike turning on a light in a pitch dark room the promptitude of the light hurts the eyes. The best on the album, however, is Black Muse, a Chelsea Rodgers reboot that’s impossible to crank up loud enough to do it justice, and the old skool Look At Me, Look At U. The finale is Big City, a theatrical affair that pulls in a vast ensemble and style is the closing reminder that HITNRUN Phase Two is a hotchpotch but one which will flower even further over time when the listener is able to consider all its tracks a body of work than a herding up of the old and the new. User Comments