Surprise Prince EP 'Deliverance' drops Friday -- hear the title track now

This fall 2012 publicity photo provided by Rogers and Cowan shows musician Prince performing in concert in Chicago.

This fall 2012 publicity photo provided by Rogers and Cowan shows musician Prince performing in concert in Chicago. ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

We knew there'd be tributes to Prince around the Twin Cities and the rest of the world on the first anniversary of his death. But we didn't expect to be hearing from the late genius himself. 

On Tuesday night, the Vancouver, Washington, indie label RMA announced that it would release Deliverance, a six-song EP of unreleased Prince recordings, on Friday, April 21.

You can pre-order the EP here, but you don't have to wait till Friday to hear the title track. Look, there it is, right below this sentence.

 After a few quick spins, I gotta say "Deliverance" sounds pretty good: bluesy guitar intro, gospel harmonies, A-grade solo, impassioned falsetto, "Katrina levees" reference. But I don't need to tell you that -- you just listened to it. Why are there even music critics anymore?

Prince wrote and produced these six tracks between 2006 and 2008 with engineer Ian Boxill, who completed and mixed them after Prince's death. Four of the tracks -- "I Am" (probably not a Neil Diamond cover), "Touch Me" (probably not a Doors cover), "Sunrise Sunset" (probably not the Fiddler on the Roof jam), and "No One Else" (almost certainly a Weezer cover) -- are movements in of what's troublingly dubbed the "Man Opera."

In a statement, Boxill said, "Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public. When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that's what Prince would have wanted."

UPDATE: You might want to hurry up and listen to that track while you still can. As reported by KTSP, and elaborated upon here by the Current's Jay Gabler, Paisley Park and Prince's estate had already filed a suit seeking to prevent Boxill from releasing this material even before last night's announcement.

The suit claims that Boxill signed a contract with Prince granting the artist all rights to any recordings they worked on together. The engineer's refusal to return the recordings in his possession, his plans to release them, and even his public statements regarding them all violated the terms of their agreement, according to the suit.

No word yet on when a ruling will be issued on the request for an injunction. The suit values the recordings at $75,000.

Deliverance Track List
1. "Deliverance"
2. "I Am"
3. "Touch Me"
4. "Sunrise Sunset"
5. "No One Else"
6. "I Am" (extended)