Prince is one of those rare artists who can remain relevant without compromising his eccentric style. Though his last few albums have been less than stellar, "3121," due this week via Universal, is a

Prince is one of those rare artists who can remain relevant without compromising his eccentric style. Though his last few albums have been less than stellar, "3121," due this week via Universal, is a testament to the singer's versatility and musicianship.

The 12-track set runs the gamut from uptempo pop ("Fury") to steamy R&B ("Incense and Candles"). It also finds Prince revisiting racier themes, as on the bluesy bedroom ballad "Satisfied" and the guitar-driven "Lolita," a potential pop hit about affection for a younger woman. Live instrumentation is celebrated as usual (saxman Maceo Parker graces "Get on the Boat").

"3121" is the follow-up to 2004's "Musicology," which debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A Prince world tour is in the works but dates have yet to be announced.

Never one to back away from unusual promotions, Prince is including a limited number of "Purple Tickets" with the physical CDs, granting lucky fans access to a private performance at his Minneapolis compound, Paisley Park. Listeners who purchase the "Black Sweat" single via Apple's iTunes Music Store will also be entered to win entrance.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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