Prince - Planet Earth (2007)

Prince
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In many parts of the world, he's the reigning king of popular music -- with only one contending icon now more well-known for his legal woes than his thriller-like serenades. He was once referred to as simply The Artist, but his name is Prince.

This legend has released what is (arguably) the 26th studio album of a career that has spanned a full three decades. In normal fashion, Planet Earth is truly a sign of the times. In 1995, Prince declared himself a ‘slave' to the record industry, but he's a free man now.  So in a way it is not surprising that, despite signing a traditional contract for US distribution with Columbia/Sony BMG Records, Prince still showed defiance in his method of marketing and promoting by teaming  with the UK's The Mail to offer Planet Earth free to all readers of that newspaper's  Sunday edition.

In many parts of the world, he's the reigning king of popular music -- with only one contending icon now more well-known for his legal woes than his thriller-like serenades. He was once referred to as simply The Artist, but his name is Prince.

This legend has released what is (arguably) the 26th studio album of a career that has spanned a full three decades. In normal fashion, Planet Earth is truly a sign of the times. In 1995, Prince declared himself a ‘slave' to the record industry, but he's a free man now.  So in a way it is not surprising that, despite signing a traditional contract for US distribution with Columbia/Sony BMG Records, Prince still showed defiance in his method of marketing and promoting by teaming  with the UK's The Mail to offer Planet Earth free to all readers of that newspaper's  Sunday edition.

"Imagine all the planet earth in the palm of your hand." This opening lyric preps the stage for a 10-track set of purposeful genre-bending signature sounds. There's not much here by way of the unexpected except possibly the rap skills Prince displays on "Mr. Goodnight."

For an artist who's done it all, it's difficult to tell if Prince is being experimental on Planet Earth or revisiting some of his past accomplishments. Either way, it's a gratifying album that further establishes his royal ranking. He's shown music lovers that one can creatively build a versatile and successful sound and not adhere to the confines of a particular category or genre. For instance, "The One U Wanna C" is a headbanger complete with thrashing cymbals and an accelerating electric guitar. "Future Baby Mama," on the other hand, is a quiet storm favorite along with the jazz and R&B-infused love ballad "Somewhere Here On Earth." Prince also humorously confesses his undying and incomparable love for -- what else -- his "Guitar."  He proclaims, "I love ya baby, but not like I love my guitar!"

This album will challenge one's beliefs, challenge one to make a late night phone call, and challenge one to just have a good time. It sets the standard of excellence that few modern artists match. No one can dispute that his genius has profoundly influenced a number of today's rising music superstars like Ne-Yo, Alicia Keys, Usher, and R. Kelly. Planet Earth is a clear indication of a style that's often imitated yet never duplicated. He's been called a virtuoso and a psycho, but his name is Prince.

By Akim Bryant

 
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