"My only competition is me in the past," Prince sang back in the late 1990s, on the acoustic fan-club album The Truth. But even if the Purple One hasn't put together full-album statements on the level of 1999 in some years, his talents as a one-off song generator haven't fallen beneath notice. We've collected 15 of his best recent jams in the appended playlist. Click play and see if the spare funk of 2005's "Black Sweat" isn't as catchy as the ornate-overdub funk (listen for all the different guitar parts) on 2009's "Dance 4 Me." A few songs from 2007's Planet Earth, like "The One U Wanna C," even give off a hint of Revolution-era ecstasy.
In 2013, Prince has released pile-driving rock-oriented singles like "Screwdriver" and "FIXURLIFEUP" with his new 3rdEyeGirl group. If that's not quite your speed, check the boudoir jam "Breakfast Can Wait" (the cover of which swipes the unforgettable pancake-proffering image of Dave Chappelle's Prince impersonation).
Mixed in with these and other songs is a trilogy of recent Prince guest appearances, as on "Give Em What They Love," from Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady. (In the interest of full disclosure, George Clinton released his Prince collaboration "Paradigm" in 2005, though it was recorded and bootlegged a good bit earlier. We're going with "official" release dates here.)
Prince also contributed a guitar part to "So What the Fuss," and hearing his immediately recognizable rhythm-picking next to Stevie Wonder's vocals is a pleasure you should not miss (and check out En Vogue on backup vocals, too). Who else can funk like that and cover Joni Mitchell as memorably as Prince does, on "A Case of You" (long a concert staple)? In these and other ways, the man still has no serious competition.