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Prince’s “Planet Earth” Reviewed

2007’s Planet Earth is the one where Prince gave it away with the Sunday Mail (a UK tab) and at concerts, played the charts, and got a hit. Considered about as minor as a Prince album could possibly be , release # 34 is a pleasant and unassuming little funk album with some snazzy guitar work and some folkie protest, a touch of world peace, a parsnip of environmental razzmatazz, a little bit of lyrical tedium and a mix of fine performers. Maceo Parker is back, for one, so is Wendy , Sheila E adds drums, the entire NPG takes co-production credits and the entire enterprise is the essence of Prince and his working band providing a fine though no more than set of ten funk pop strokes in honor of this planet.

I like it. I don’t love t. The title rack has a percolating solo by Prince, who knows a thing or two about percolation, “Guitar” is funny even if the riff is DOA, “The One U Wanna C” is Prince at his most T-rex-y, a catchy sweet tooth grinner, and a couple of others have their moments. The peace mongering “Resolution” is pretty enough though the lyrics? “The problem with war is that nobody wins…” That isn’t even a tautology, it is simply and completely wrong, that’s all.

But now he is dead a year, now we are no longer in the midst of prince’s career, stretching endlessly in all directs, perhaps we can be a little kinder to the little guy and say, you know, iffy Prince is better than no prince. At the very least Prince, unlike his backing band, oozes groove from every pore. Even his simple ballad “Future baby Mama” is a little more than going through the motions, nothing peaks but nothing crevices either. “Lion Of Judah” is a really good jam, musta killed it live (if he ever played it).

Prince has had one of the lousiest post-life existences ever. As Alyson Camus noted (here), they are even making a reality series out of his family’s life without Prince. It would, undoubtedly, upset him a great deal and Planet Earth, an album that is just about the middle ground on his NPG releases, is a reminder that at his most indifferent he was light years ahead of his rotten former band members, his so called \ peers and his comically greedy family members. “all over the night they call me Prince, but you can call me Mr. Goodnight”.

Goodnight, sweet Prince.

Grade: B

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