Prince, pop's royal son, is back


Prince has broken his longest-ever recording drought by releasing two new albums Tuesday.

And like always, he's doing it his way.

He's the prolific and enigmatic musician who ruled the airwaves in the '80s and '90s, and as CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports, he's pushing the envelope and extending his reign over pop music.

Plectrumelectrum album
Plectrumelectrum album 3rdEyeGirl

The eccentric artist released "Art Official Age," a solo album of new material, and "Plectrumelectrum," a collaboration with his new girl group, 3rdEyeGirl.

The pair marks the 56-year-old musician's first U.S. release since 2009.

"I would say both records are quintessential Prince records because you have one that captures the rock side that everybody's been kind of wanting since the '80s that he kind of diverted from a little bit, and then you have the other that really captures the soul parties, the sort of R&B sound that he was doing," Rolling Stone writer Kory Grow said.

The ever elusive Prince has done very few interviews or appearances to promote the albums.

Instead, he is cashing in on his inherent mystery and a strategic roll-out of new songs via his Twitter and YouTube pages.

Since breaking onto the scene in 1978, Prince has kept a close connection to his hometown, Minneapolis.

In 1989, "Rolling Stone" declared, "Perhaps more than any other artist, Prince called the tune for pop music in the '80s, imprinting his Minneapolis sound on an entire generation of musicians, both black and white."

In June, he held a listening party for his new material and invited friend and local music critic, Jon Bream.

In typical Prince fashion, there were a few surprises.

"There were members of Prince's band, a couple of road managers, a couple of people working, husbands of two of the women in 3rdEyeGirl, and me... but no Prince," Minneapolis Star Tribune pop reporter Jon Bream said. "And so we got to listen to Prince's album, but he was not in the room. I think it was just a case that he wanted to try out the album on me."

But that wasn't entirely the purpose.

"And what it really amounted to was a focus group," Bream said. "I later found out that he was probably in the other room, watching everything I did and how I reacted to the music.

A master of control when it comes to all aspects of his image, Prince's new music -- and his mystique -- keep him firmly in place as pop's royal son.

"Prince likes to keep people guessing, and even though you hear phrases like classic Prince solo record or classic band record, it's one of those things that you have to hear for yourself to have a handle on what they are and it's always exciting and full of surprises," Grow said.

Prince will hold a live streaming album release party Tuesday through Live Nation and Yahoo.

The event will give an inside look at his studio complex, Paisley Park, in Chanhassen, Minnesota.