Prince released a protest song this week, Baltimore, a song dedicated to the memory of Freddie Gray. As with most things prince, the song is melodic and danceable, so much so that I have read and heard some criticism of the legitimacy of a protest song being something that one can dance to?! haters always gonna hate!! I think this song actually is a bit of a departure for Prince. He has done protest before, but usually under the umbrella of wicked funk and spaced out guitars, creating this space where all can come--a funky party where everyone can dance and hear protest with a wink. Not so with Baltimore. This song names the location and the victim(s) Michael Brown and Freddie Gray up front and finds The Purple One being much more direct and even leading a chant in the mid-section, not the "we shall overcome" of the Civil Rights era protests but "no justice, no peace" a much more contemporary and vulnerable comment which emerged in the 1980s. The song gets more intense as it comes to an end, rock and roll joined by gospel-voices, the sunny sound gives way to something a little more fierce--there is statement here, a protest song for 2015.