Jul 122010
 

Prince 2010 (NPG Records Promo 2010)

Back in 2007 Prince stunned the music world by snubbing record shops and the conventional channels for releasing music by giving his album Planet Earth, an exclusive UK only release (at that point in time) as a free CD in the Mail on Sunday. This album was eventually given a more conventional world wide release via a tie in with Columbia records but not in the UK where Columbia refused to later distribute it (1)

Well three years on and Prince has decided to more extensively give a new album away. This time the release vehicle in the UK and Ireland is the Daily Mirror newspaper and a string of other publications in Europe (2). However whether this album on Prince’s own label NPG records also gets a more conventional release in the future remains to be seen. I guess for some the question will be, should it ?

Over recent years Prince has taken to task the way music and particularly his music has been made available via You Tube, I Tunes and via downloading in general and he has decided to combat this by trying to restrict the use of his material on the net. However a quick check while writing this review shows that his music is still very much available via You Tube and I Tunes to name just a few on line sources for music; so I do wonder just how successful he has been in this campaign. (4) However regardless of the availability of his back catalogue on line, this new release is to date, so far, not available on line to download.

This new album features the instrumental talents of Prince, Liz Warfield, Elisa Dease and Shelby J on background vocals with Maceo Parker, Greg Boyer and Ray Monteiro on Horns.

The new album features 10 songs in total, with the tenth being a hidden track (number 77) and only coming into play after 68 extra 5 second blank tracks pass. Overall album length is 46 mins 12 seconds.

Overall the album is somewhat similar throughout, with only a few tracks standing out from the others, which is a shame.

Track one Compassion could have been taken from a musical or be an out-take from Purple Rain and despite interesting lyrics is overall quite a weak track.

Beginning Endlessly suffers from a slight lack of light and shade tonally as the track is dominated by an annoying keyboard back drop which just does not allow the track to ebb and flow well. However despite saying that it is overall quite enjoyable but could have been better.

Future soul Song is a beautifully delicate track of the type I particularly like with some very nice interplay between Prince’s guitar, keyboards and backing vocals.

Sticky Like Glue is a really nice slice of late 70’s early 80’s styled funk.

Act of God is an up-tempo track decrying the current financial crisis in the USA caused by the Sub Prime mortgage crisis and is a critique of those who call an act of mans stupidity an act of God.

Lavaux is short and sweet.

Walk in Sand is a delicate sweet love song which nicely blends into track eight Sea of Everything which meanders lazily along for its 3 mins 49 seconds and never quite goes anywhere.

Track Nine Everyone Loves Me is back into twee musical territory and would be a pretty poor way to end the album but luckily tack 77 comes along and saves the day.

This heavy slice of funk Lay it Down ? starts with a Queenesqe We are the Champions style bass and drum intro before sliding into a heavy Spice Girls vibe, think We are the Champions meets Wannabe and you wont be too far wrong.

Overall sound quality is quite good with only a little compression and loudness issues present, though musically it is lacking in light and shade as too many of the songs have a very similar sound and musical structure.

Stand out songs on this album are in short supply with Future Song Soul, Sticky like Glue, Walk in Sand and Lay it Down being the only real stars here but despite saying that we have heard similar from Prince before and done better.

This album is hardly essential Prince (no doubt dedicated Prince fans will disagree with my views) and while it is a nice album, it hardly sets new standards and in my opinion falls short of the last Prince album I bought a few years ago Musicology. As a freebie though it is an acceptable present, so thank you Prince.

However if I had actually bought this album I would feel short changed and a tad disappointed. In my opinion this album overall is somewhat lacklustre affair and comes across to me as an exercise in treading water, rather than the creative race Prince albums used yo be. It is mostly lacking that spark and energy that made many earlier Prince albums a veritable tour de force and something to look forward too.

Come on Prince we all know you can do better. Does anyone remember Diamonds and Pearls ?….. never mind his other classic albums.

Neil

Performance 6

Sound quality 7.5

System used….

Moon Andromeda Cd Player, Meridian G02 Balanced Pre-Amplifier, Music Reference RM200 Amplifier, Anthony Gallo Ref 3.1 Speakers. Signal Cabling Atlas Marvos xlr to xlr, and Atlas Marvos Speaker cable. Mains leads Audience AU24 and Analysis Plus Power Oval 2. Equipment Tables used Clearlight Audio Aspekt Rack and Mana Floor Amplifier platform.

NB The copyright of the album art belong with the original publisher.

© Text Copyright 2010 Adventures in High Fidelity Audio.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Earth_(album)

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20Ten

(3)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/7874307/Prince-the-internets-completely-over.html

(4) http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/prince/id155814

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