Saturday, August 04, 2007

Planet Earth

There isn’t much that’s very…ahem!...revolutionary (heh, see what I did there?) about Prince’s newest album, Planet Earth. Even with contributions from stalwarts like Wendy & Lisa and Sheila E., there isn’t any new ground broken with this disc. This is not to say that it’s bad…it’s not but, like his last couple of discs, it feels like the artist who is once again known as Prince is content to stay in a holding pattern with his music. It seems strange to finish hearing a CD from Prince and find yourself saying something like “well, it’s okay…”

But then perhaps it’s time to stop waiting for him to come up with something on the artistic level of 1999, Purple Rain, or Sign o’ the Times and just enjoy the music he’s making these days without judging it against his past achievements. That is, of course, easier said than done, but I’ll give it a shot.

The opening track, the title song, has the epic sweep of “Purple Rain”, complete with soaring vocals and guitar runs, with a “save the planet” message (a subject revisited later on the rocker “Lion of Judah”.) “Guitar”, the first single, is a mildly engaging mid-tempo rocker that proclaims love for the titular instrument. And that is followed with a sweet, jazzy ballad “Somewhere Here on Earth”.

The disc sort of ambles along amiably from there: there’s some sly rapping on the gently-bawdy “Mr. Goodnight”, a potent slice of funk with “Chelsea Rodgers”, and the lovely pop balladry of “All the Midnights in the World”. All in all, the 10 tracks entertain well enough but they don't really linger long once they've stopped playing.

It’s not a great CD but…well…it’s okay…

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