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Prince releases Freddie Gray protest song ‘Baltimore’

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 5/9/2015 Jim Farber

In this Feb. 8, 2015 file photo, Prince presents the award for album of the year at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. © John Shearer/Invision/AP In this Feb. 8, 2015 file photo, Prince presents the award for album of the year at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Prince released his much-anticipated protest song about “Baltimore” on Saturday — one day before his scheduled “Rally 4 Peace” concert in that troubled city.

Oddly, the music he wrote to match his socio-political message could barely be more breezy.

Contrasting lyrics inspired by the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent riots in Baltimore, Prince’s like-named song has the light, pop-rock panache of hits like “Raspberry Beret.”

It’s catchy — in this case, to a fault. Listeners may have trouble putting together its sober lyrics with the sometimes flighty tune, enlivened by several rousing guitar solos.

“Nobody got in nobody’s way/So I guess you could say it was a good day/at least a little better than the day in Baltimore,” Prince sings.

“Does anybody hear us pray?/for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray/Peace is more than the absence of war,” reads part of the second verse.

Later, the song includes the repeated refrain, “If there ain’t no justice/then there ain’t no peace.”

Prince recorded the song on April 30 at his Paisley Park Studios, playing every instrument himself.

In an interview with My Fox Twin Cities, Prince explained that the Freddie Gray incident — along with recent health issues for the star’s idol Joni Mitchell — inspired his piece.

“With everything going on...I had a lot to get out,” Prince said.

His “Rally 4 Peace” benefit show will take place Sunday night at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena.

The audio portion will stream in its entirely on Jay Z’s new Tidal service. Proceeds from the show will benefit various Baltimore youth charities.

Jfarber@nydailynews.com

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