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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Axe is back - Some Structure and Plenty of Enjoy
Three albums at once?? Well he has done it before, more than once. So is it stretching it too thin? Well I would say not. I'll admit I have not heard the Bria Valente effort but as for the rest ....

The first album is 'Lotusflow3r' and has a 'real' rhythm section comprising of old hands including the drummer Michael Bland. There is definitely a rock feel...
Published on 21 April 2009 by J Mark

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bitterly disappointing
I've been a Prince fan since 1983 / 1984, seeing him play live nine times so far, and simply put he's one of the most incredible artists we've ever seen. However, since around 1990 he's been in something of a decline, reaching its nadir with "Emancipation", but over the last few years he's showed signs of improvement. Although none of them were great, "Musicology",...
Published on 14 May 2009 by Peter Lee


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Axe is back - Some Structure and Plenty of Enjoy, 21 April 2009
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
Three albums at once?? Well he has done it before, more than once. So is it stretching it too thin? Well I would say not. I'll admit I have not heard the Bria Valente effort but as for the rest ....

The first album is 'Lotusflow3r' and has a 'real' rhythm section comprising of old hands including the drummer Michael Bland. There is definitely a rock feel to many of these tracks and yes Prince gives his guitar a good going over. Standouts include the last 4 tracks, especially '$' (keep your feet still if you can) and 'Dreamer', probably the most Hendrix he has ever been, though I maintain Carlos Santana is Prince's main guitar influence. The cover of 'Crimson and Clover' has a cheeky reference to 'Wild Thing' by the Troggs and it works. In fact there is little not to like, '77 Beverly Place' sounds like something out of an Italian film, a bit bizarre maybe but I think it's a refresher, bit like a warm towel before enjoying the dessert. A real good effort this and would work very well as an album in its own right.

MPLSound brings back the Linn Drum machine and features more of Prince's 'traditional' sound, albeit updated. This does not work quite so well, it's a bit overlong in places, especially early on but the tunes are solid at worse and cracking at times. My favourites are probably 'U're gonna C me', an update of his 'One Night Alone' album track with some lovely string quartet which makes it the better version, 'Here' a dreamy mid-tempo effort that floats effortlessly and 'Ol' Skool', a 7 minute plus effort with some wicked lyrics about the state of the world, especially the US. The album finishes with 'No More Candy for U', which has a great rift and sounds like something from the Dirty Mind/Controversy period with stabbing keyboard and funky bass slaps, lovely !!!

So plenty of 'experts' saying this lot is missing this or does not have that. I really thing some people make up their mind before they hear these things, even the self proclaimed 'life long' Prince fans. Well huhh to you cause you seem to expect something that is not going to happen. If Prince gives an 80's lick you complain he is not modern enough. If he does something different you say he is weird and if he tries being modern (whatever that means) he is simply copying cos he is out of ideas. Get a life and enjoy this cos its worth it OK !!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Very Best of Prince, 26 April 2009
By 
Mr. Steven W. Downey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
This album could have been subtitled 'The Very Best of Prince' as he has picked every diverse musical sound that has graced his albums over the last 30 years and put all the best elements into 3 new albums here.
There is plenty of 80's style pop/funk on the MPLSound album, also a bit of the psychodelic on Lotusflow3r reminding us of his mid 80's psychodelic phase.
Lotusflow3r is also quite a guitar album with many tracks sitting happily alongside Purple Rain or Sign O' The Times.
He doesn't always unleash full guitar solos on records but he does here, particularly letting his 'Jimi Hendrix' out on 'Dreamer'.
In the late 90's with the Emancipation album he changed styles once again to a modern R'n'B sound. This he has bought to life again here on the 3rd disc Elixir sung by Bria Valente.
There are even tracks on Lotusflow3r that remind us of his early 2000's jazz and instrumental albums.
I have personally enjoyed all of his albums over the last few years but this one certainly stands out above the rest. For me this is his best album since 2001's The Rainbow Children.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second coming, 7 May 2009
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
Ive been a fan for 25 years and i can honestly say the new Lotus and MPL sound cd is the best he has put out since Lovesexy. These albums far out class even Diamonds & Pearls and the symbol album and the very mediocre and irritating 'Most beautiful girl in the world', one of his biggest hits, where i feel he started to lose it. 'Come' in the midnineties had its moments but i generally was'nt impressed by 90's Prince other than 'I Hate U which was a great track. I am into the more edgier Prince - i love his early beats - the Linn drum machine in all its glory - the voice manipulation- the screeches- the moans and the sighs to me they are Prince's trademark, i also have a love for his guitar playing and although we heard moments on his previous album Planet Earth, on Lotus Flower we have it bigtime. 'Wall of Berlin' has'nt been off my stereo- that tune has a serious geeeettttaaahhh workout....i thought i had gone to heaven. The same for the song Dreamer. '77 Beverley Park sounds like it should be the soundtrack for an Italian gangster movie and 'Love Like Jazz' could have been put on the middle of the Parade album in 1986.
MPL sound has beats that will rip your face off - we have claps that remind us of the intro to Sign o the Times - we have jiggs that remind us of the track "Delirious" we also hear 'Shockadelica' voice manipulation.. its a vast collection of old school purple beats and i am loving it. What do people expect...you are never going to get a "Doves Cry or a Purple Rain again. I personally think the album tracks and b-sides far outweighed his singles anyway..My favourite Prince albums are Dirty Mind, 1999 and Sign o the Times so this will give you a heads up on the style of Prince i love. The R'N'B and Rap stuff he was spewing out just does'nt do it for me. After listening to Planet Earth , Lotus Flower & MPL Sound i can honestly say this is the Second Coming and its just what i need at this time of my life...when i hear them old school prurple sounds it takes me back to a time when i had no responsibilities, i was young and having fun..this man is like medicine for my soul. Thanks Prince for repaying all the faith i put in you and rewarding my patience. I thought you was gone for good. The purple one is truly back
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Return To Basics!, 10 May 2009
By 
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
Lotusflow3r and MPLSound is the 25th official release from Prince which consists of 21 new songs recorded by the master and showcasing his latest protigee Bria Valente with 'Elixr'

An instrumental 'From The Lotus' sets us on our way, as if welcoming us to his wonderful world of colour and vision, which reminded me of some segmants of 'She Spoke To Me'
All the songs merge together as if the album is a concept peice, what is evident is that his love of the guitar shines through, 'Boom' is a great rocky number with solo's reminiscent to 'Let's Go Crazy'.
'Crimson & Clover' incorporates the famous hook from The Troggs 'Wild Thing' and goes on to have another stunning solo. The fact that he self taught himself how to play 26 individual instruments leaves me amazed and full of admiration.
'4Ever' sounds like something from 'The Gold Experience' and rolls along in typical fashion. 'Colonized Mind' is probably my favourite song so far from numerous listens, a slow rock/blues ballad with again great guitar and vocal harmonisation from Prince and his backing singers.
'Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful' is an old song reworked with some excellent horns and thumping bass.
'Love Like Jazz' is pleasant enough and reaffirms belief that his main influence, Hendrix asside, is Carlos Santana.
'77 Beverly Park' is an instrumental that has an Italian flavour, you get an image of flamenco musicians serenading you at a dinner table and is a little confusing to why it's been included.
'Wall Of Berlin' is another nod towards Santana with Prince indulging in some brilliant guitar jamming with his assembled musicians.
'$' is quirky like a lot of Prince tunes with a pretty impressive bass line and drum sequence which for some reason reminds me of the obsure hit 'The Pushbike Song' by The Mixtures! I just wanted to keep singing "you look so pretty, as you were rolling along"!
This track eventually fades to bring us Prince in full Hendrix mode, 'Dreamer' has all the hooks of 'Crosstown Traffic' and 'Voodoo Chile' included and moulded into a Prince classic, by far one of his best songs this decade.
'Back To The Lotus' is another instrumental closing track which borrows slightly from N.E.W.S an album of intrumental jams released in 2003.

Considering it's been 25 years since the release of Purple Rain it's only fitting that Prince has recorded some of his lateset songs with the now famous Linn Drum machine. 'The Beautiful Ones' 'When Doves Cry' & 'Raspberry Beret' to name a few have that legendary sound.

MPLSound opens with probably the best song on here '(There'll Never Be)Another Like Me' which is quite true, I think we are witnessing at the moment a true musical genius in the prime of his career. The sheer volume of music he has produced and written not only for himself is simply staggering.
'Chocolate Box' brings his sound right upto present day with a tune similar to 'Suburbia' by Rhianna.
As the album progresses the songs diminish in quality for me hence the reason for 4 stars. 'Dance 4 Me' 'Ol Skool Company' & 'No More Candy 4 U' are standard Prince fodder and nothing special. 'U're Gonna See Me' is a reworking of a song from his 'One Night Alone' after show shows and 'Better With Time' is a predictable slow ballad that has always been a bane of contention for me, only a few have been really good. 'Here' is a little dull and dosn't really do much to enhance the overall product. 'Valentina' is the saving grace of MPLSound, a great song pure and simple.

As a Prince fan I bought this for Prince material and not his new protigee Bria Valente, having listened to it, she has an excellent voice and looks stunning, so no change from Mayte, Appolonia & Shiela E really!

Shop around for this, it will cost you $77 on the Lotusflow3r website, I found my copy on amazon.com for about 15 which to me is a bargain.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bitterly disappointing, 14 May 2009
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
I've been a Prince fan since 1983 / 1984, seeing him play live nine times so far, and simply put he's one of the most incredible artists we've ever seen. However, since around 1990 he's been in something of a decline, reaching its nadir with "Emancipation", but over the last few years he's showed signs of improvement. Although none of them were great, "Musicology", "3121" and "Planet Earth" showed some signs of life, and so the news that he was releasing a 3CD set was actually fairly promising, rather than something to dread.

Within the cheap, cardboard sleeve you will find three CDs, but no booklet. The three disks are all very different...

"Lotusflow3r" is the "rock" disk. It begins weakly with "From the Lotus", a jazzy instrumental (there is a fair bit of jazz on this album), then the plodding "Boom". Prince has clearly returned to the guitar with this album, but sadly the songs themselves just aren't that good. Yes, there are some decent moments ("4Ever" is enjoyable; "Colonized Mind" is alright; "$" is bouncy and entertaining, and "Dreamer" is the best thing he's done in years, although it is basically a retread of "Voodoo Chile" by Jimi Hendrix) but the poor tracks outweigh the good. Particularly weak moments include the opening and closing instrumentals, and "Love Like Jazz", which sounds like the theme from a bad sitcom from the 1960s.

The second disk is a miscalculation. For me, Prince has always been best when he's been himself, treading his own path, doing things which defy simple explanation, making sounds which seem bizarre (for example, some of the curious interjections in the likes of the "Purple Rain" and "Lovesexy" albums) and constantly redefining himself. He's never gone back over old ground before, but with "MPLSound" he's returned to his early 1980s sound of synthesizers and drum machines. It's a very cold and sparse album due to the instrumentation, and the songs are very, very weak indeed. The best track is probably the closing "No More Candy 4U" but this is marred by its lyrics, which are rather hostile, particularly towards critics and fans who claim he's not as good as he was (whoops - looks like I'm in trouble then), and the music is a rehash of "Jack U Off" from the "Controversy" album.

The third, and weakest, disk is "Elixer", a collection of staggeringly bland R&B tracks sung by a lady called Bria Valente. One cannot help but imagine that Prince had invested in her for some reason (could it be that she is attractive?), wrote a set of songs for her, and the only way he could get anybody to release it was to bundle it with his latest album. It's all very nice, and the kind of thing you could maybe imagine somebody putting on as background music, but it is extremely weak as an album. Having listened to it once, I very much doubt I'll listen to it again.

It should be noted that in America, this album was released to be distributed in the shops of a single chain and cost around $12. If the price was similar over here I'd say it was worth buying, but it is absolutely, definitely not worth paying 30 for this. The songs may well sound tremendous when he eventually plays them live, but on record it's a hugely disappointing collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Purple Patch, 21 Oct 2010
By 
yangtze (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
Lotusflower the album is mindblowingly good by anyone's standards, and worth a 5 star review and the asking price. If you consider Bria's album and MPLSound as bonus material, and they're both 5-star good in their own right, you'll soon want to add a sixth star to this package. Superb stuff, standing proudly alongside Lovesexy and the Black album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 28 Aug 2009
By 
J. Howse "Jase" (oxford, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
As a fan of Prince for many years i a new prince album is always a welcome event. Some of his stuff recently hasn't overly impressed me until Planet Earth the free album given away at the concert and with a news paper. But this 3 album set hits me and had me grinning ear to ear. Its funky, soulful, rocky. Prince known for his little amount of covers slips in a cover of the Bee Gees Crimson and Clover which also includes Wild Thing by the Troggs but with an added brilliant Prince guitar solo. Fantastic album, both of them the rince ones.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Typically Prince...., 25 May 2009
By 
Philip Lewis - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
This is a three-CD set containing two albums of new music by Prince and one by the impressivley gorgeous Bria Valente.

If Prince had taken the best tracks off Lotusflow3r and MPLSound and mashed them together, he would have made his best album since Sign O' the Times. But, typically Prince, he puts out a three CD set and lets his fans pick though everything.

So, first we have MPLSound, which is probably the best Prince album since Lovesexy. All linn drums and meaty 80's synths, Prince is having more fun here than he has for a long time. The pure pop joy of 'Here', the old school funk grooves of 'Ol Skool Company' and the more bluesy 'Valentina', the dirty dance-pop of 'Chocolate Box', the high-octane vocals of Camille on 'Dance 4 Me', the pure abandon of 'No More Candy 4 U' - everything you need to know about Prince is right here on this disc. And it's a joy to hear. I haven't stopped listening to this disc since I bought it three weeks ago. It's a very 'complete' Prince album, and one that no true Prince fan will want to be without.

Lotusflow3r has been touted as Prince's "return to the guitar" album, but if you're expecting 'Purple Rain' style Hendrix-influenced workouts (as I was after reading the reviews) then you'll be sorely disappointed. Perhaps it's this disappointment which leads to me be less enamoured by this disc than I am of MPLSound.

'Boom' would fit perfectly onto 'Around the World in a Day' (not my favourite Prince album), but the opening and closing instrumentals just strike me as self-indulgent. In amongst these tracks however, there are some true jewels. 'Dreamer' is a contender for best song on the set - Hendrix-styled funk rock that reminds you of just how good Prince can be when he lives up to all those Hendrix comparisons he had to put up with when he first strapped on his guitar and rocked out. 'Crimson & Clover' is a nice light & fluffy mid-tempo Prince ballad which is more typical of his use of the guitar throughout Lotusflow3r - there's also a nice cheeky wink to the Troggs 'Wild Thing' in the song. 'Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful' is a feelgood 'Rainbow Children'-era funk workout that wears it's love of James Brown on it's sleeve. 'S' is uptempo jazzy pop par excellance - it's hard not to listen to this without getting a smile on your face. But the rest of the album contains too much filler for me, and Prince fans who've bought everything he's put out over the last 20 years or so have plenty of that in our collections already.

Finally we come to Elixir, the Bria Valente disc. I think Prince has done a grave dis-service to both his fans and to Bria by including this album in this set. Bria is a not-outstanding but perfectly adequate RnB singer who sings songs exactly as you'd expect. She would be better off battling it out with the other pretenders to Beyonce's crown, amongst whom she would probably find an appreciative fanbase. I've listened to the disc twice (which is at least once more than most people buying this set), but I bought the set to hear the Prince stuff. Like most Prince fans, it's not a disc I intend to listen to again. It could make a particularly attractive coaster though......no offence Bria, you're just not my cup of tea.

So there we have it - Prince's latest offering undoubtedly contains his best set of music for years, but it could have been so much more. As a lifelong Prince fan I'm quite used to this, and hoping that his 21 nights in London had energised him into making music for the masses was it seems a dream too far. What we do have though is one disc that is worth owning for the diamonds in the rough (Lotusflow3r) and his best disc for about 20 years (MLPSound).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lotusflow3r Review, 29 Jun 2009
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
For those who think of the 80s classics such as Purple Rain and Kiss when they think of Prince, probably won't be too bothered by this latest 3 disc release. To those who are aware of the genre-defying, immaculate live artist and musician that is Prince, Lotusflow3r will be welcomed with open arms. This is finally the record where Prince unleashes his Hendrix inspired guitar sound across a whole album, or is it? Anyone who has heard the lead single Crimson & Clover would surely rush out and buy the album, and anything else Prince related they can get their hands on. This fusion of the Tommy James hit and Wild Thing, is the best and most sweetest sounding track you'll hear this year. The vocals are relaxed and sublime, the drums oozing with a jamming rhythm, and the cherry on the top is the minute-and-a-half long guitar solo outro, think Hendrix on Bold as Love.
Unfortunately, what we do not get is an album full of this sound, but rather half an album. If you take Crimson & Clover, Wall of Berlin, Boom, Colonized Mind and Dreamer, you have the opening of what would be an incredible rock and blues record. Colonized Mind follows a three chord pattern played in the Hendrix Stratocaster style, that builds to an all out rock climax. Dreamer is a modern day voodoo child, with a foot tapping, head nodding bass rhythm. Wall of Berlin, in reference to the opening track on Musicology, starts with what could be the best drum intro ever, and ends with another trademark live Prince jam-out.
However, despite apparently having hundreds of tracks in reserve, the rest of the album is essentially lightweight filler. Two tracks can be struck off for the needless and unmotivating intro/outro lotusflow3r tracks, whilst `Love Like Jazz' and `77 Berlin Park' appear dull when contrasted with penultimate track `Dreamer'. In closing, the peaks on this record are as high as anything he's done previously, it's just a shame that once again you'd have to compare a Prince album to the football team that is carried by a couple of star players.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prince blooms with the set of a lifetime, but Bria Valente dissapoints, 13 May 2009
This review is from: Lotusflow3r (Audio CD)
The two prince cd's are without a doubt his finest work since the 80s. While there are no radio friendly hits, this album is so beautifully crafted and written, you are in no doubt that Prince is an artist at the very top of his game.

Lotus Flower sounds to me like an extended Jam session that works as a single piece of music. I find it hard to enjoy individual tracks as it is structured and paced like a musical journey, one that you never want to end and can become utterly absorbed in. It has some of his more sensual lyrics and I think this is truly a 'sexy' album. No swearing, no crude dialogue, just plenty of sensual imagery created through the environment that Prince envelopes around the listener. The first three tracks are quite laid back funk, with the middle section of 4ever to Beverly Park having a really smooth disco feel. I am so pleased he is still trying new things, some of the string arrangments on the middle tracks are fantastic.

MPLsound is typical of recent Prince offerings and is in the R&B style of Planet Earth and 3121. U're Gonna C Me is the initial stand out track but what gives this album such longevity is Prince's trademark charisma. His personality shines through on this set, with plenty of his trademark dry wit and humour. Ol' skool company is a great example with Prince damning the current state of the world and saying hey, sometimes you need to get in touch with an old friend to feel fresh positive vibes.

Hearing these two albums endorses such a notion and it is simply a must buy for Prince fans, or anyone else who cares about good music. I would give it five stars, except the third disc, an album by another Prince protege, Bria Valente is perhaps the most boring I have ever heard in my life. I was waiting for a good track, but it is just so bland there is simply nothing to say. If Prince had sung some of these tracks then they would be given so much more energy, but Bria just sucks any life out of them. So for me it is a classic, 2 disc Prince album with a free drinks coaster!
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Lotusflow3r by Prince (Audio CD - 2009)
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