Recently signed to Columbia Records, Prince's new album , Planet Earth, was entirely written and produced by him, and the first single, 'Guitar', is an infectious slice of classic Prince poprock. A multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer, songwriter, Oscar winning composer, and multi-Grammy winning artist, Prince has sold more than 100 million records and is fearless in his pursuit of artistic challenges. This new album has amazing packaging which incorporates a lenticular cover that has to be seen to be believed!
The things you do for a buck...Controversially given away with the Mail On Sunday; this latest slab of funky, pop-flavoured pop prog from the diminutive purple one meant that your reviewer had to quit his cosy Sunday morning bed to get a copy with his pint of milk. Good job I hadn't been drinking the night before, as Prince's output has always been heady stuff for the Lord's Day.
Strangely enough the link may not be so tenuous. Prince's work still draws on the church though he's no longer in thrall to the psycho-sexual, God vs. naughty little devil act. It's now a milder mixture of righteous, groovy morality ('Planet Earth', 'Lion Of Judah') and his irrepressible desire to get down. This is a return of sorts to the sunshine pop end of the artist's output. He's back from the outer badlands of dirty funk that he roamed for so long. That's not to say that 'Chelsea Rodgers' (the name of the impish one's latest protégé and 'role model') doesn't avoid getting on the good foot. But overall Planet Earth is light in tone.
As always there are a few slow 'making-out' numbers: 'Mister Goodnight' is a slinky return to the wicked purpleness we love him for whereas 'Somewhere Here On Earth' is less successful; being rather too generic in its jazzy, R'nB loved-upness.
The rest of the album is a tasty melange of psycheledic Californian harmonies ('The One U Wanna C'), and wigged-out guitar pop ('Planet Earth', 'Resolution') all buoyed up by popping basslines. The real clunker is, unfortunately, the first single. 'Guitar', which is as unimaginative enough to veer close to sounding like pretenders to the throne, such as Lenny Kravitz. It's still got an ace guitar solo at the end though...
In fact, not since Purple Rain has he got out the axe so much (this album even sees the return of old cohorts such as Wendy, Lisa and Sheila E). It's probably a nod to a stadium career that's kept him in pesos since his recorded output became overtaken by everyone from Outkast to Timbaland, each one of whom worships at his altar. Who cares? He's still Prince, and he's still a little bit funky. --Chris Jones
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