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Soul Express Album Review

Planet Earth
(US BCS, 2006)

1) Planet Earth 2) Guitar 3) Somewhere Here On Earth 4) The One U Wanna C 5) Future Baby Mama 6) Mr) Goodnight 7) All The Midnights In The World 8) Chelsea Rodgers 9) Lion Of Judah 10) Resolution

My appreciation for Prince grows more and more as time passes. His recent act of releasing this new album free, ahead of its official release, with a popular Sunday tabloid has done nothing but increase that respect tenfold. By doing this, he shows that he wants nothing more than his music to be appreciated and distributed to as many people as possible. It was also a fantastic 'two digits rampant' up at the record comany! How many artists can get away with that and get away with it?! LOL. I was not sure, however, of what exactly to expect from “Planet Earth”. The album far exceeded any expectation I had, and indeed has garnered, for me at any rate, the most essential song that Prince has ever produced. A birds' eye view of this album sees a host of 'classic' Prince pseudo funk-rock tracks and plenty of guitar, and three essential soul tracks that rate as the very best work that this great man has ever produced. “Guitar” may be doing the business on national radio, but it is the essential “Somewhere Here On Earth” that is the scene stealer. From the very offset we are in no doubt as to the pedigree of this song. The spacey keys, the flute and the muted trumpet connect with a post-modern 'added for effect' vinyl crackle for a spine-tingling musical background, but the best is yet to come...Prince vocalises in a sweet fashion that owes more of Smokey Robinson to it than anything else. The pitching and phrasing is perfection and at once I was hypnotised by this track. This is definitely the most essential and soulful thing he has ever laid down. “Future Baby Mama” rolls along on a disjointed yet totally Isley-fied keyboard line and is a perfect vehicle for this man. Again, a definite hit for me. The lyrics are intelligent and the woven aural tapestry is rich and altogether wholesome. This is countered by the whimsical, playful and superb “Mr. Goodnight”which is 80s orientated complete with a gentle Impromp2-styled spoken / rap verse. This is Prince at his very, very best. If you have never entertained the notion of buying a Prince album, then put all convictions aside and check this out. 100% essential.
- Barry Towler

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