NME.COM hears new Prince album

'Planet Earth' gets our initial verdict

Prince kicked up a storm of controversy when he decided to release his 24th studio album ‘Planet Earth’ through a national Sunday newspaper.

Unveiled as a covermount CD with the Mail On Sunday today (July 15), the giveaway has led the UK arm of his record label, Sony BMG, to shelve its plans to release the LP.

NME.COM has heard the album which has caused a stir in the music industry and here’s our initial reaction:

‘Planet Earth’

Prince‘s answer to Live Earth, this eco-driven opening ballad sees the Artist Formerly Known As contemplating the future of mankind over gentle piano strings before the track swerves into a fully fledged gospel song. Referencing Barry Manilow‘s ‘Could It Be Magic’, Prince eventually closes the track with a bombastic guitar solo.

‘Guitar’

The album’s first single sees Prince treading more familiar pop territory on this bouncy distant cousin of 1986 classic ‘Kiss’. Smattered with a swaggering guitar riff which borrows heavily from U2‘s ‘I Will Follow’, the catchy chorus sees the singer confessing: “I love you babe/But not like I love my guitar.”

‘Somewhere Here On Earth’

Driven by gentle piano strings and a seductive saxophone, Prince turns on the charm for this late night jazz piece. Played over the sound of crackling vinyl, the singer’s high pitched vocals eventually break into the booming line: “Do you want to do this at yours or my place?”.

‘The One U Wanna C’

The album’s catchiest number is also the first to feature former backing singers Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman from Prince‘s former band The Revolution. Led by a funky bassline, a hip swinging country belter emerges on what is likely to be a future single.

‘Future Baby Mamma’

Back in ballad territory, Prince serves up an R&B slow jam which has been doing the rounds on the net for the last three weeks. Relying on his powers of persuasion once again, the singer whispers: “I’m going to make you happy baby/Happier than ever/You know what? If you ever need a hand, call me and I’ll help because I got you/Wherever you want to go”.

‘Mr Goodnight’

Keeping with the R&B theme, the pop star turns his hand to rap as he reveals his new moniker ‘Mr Goodnight’. Again the singer focuses on whisking his lover away, only this time in the lavish surroundings of his “limousine” and “private jet”.

‘All The Midnights In The World’

Jangly piano ballad which clocks in as the album’s shortest track at just two minutes and 21 seconds.

‘Chelsea Rodgers’

Backed by a brass section and funky bassline this 70s disco club banger sees Prince‘s backing singer Shelby J taking up the lead vocals on a tune about a mysterious model.

‘Lion Of Judah’

This melancholic power ballad finds Prince in vengeful mood as he grows deeply suspicious of his lover’s motives. Melvoin and Coleman team up with the pop star for a final outing as he spits the harsh lyrics: “Like the Lion Of Judah I strike my enemies down,” over shimmering guitar licks.

‘Resolution’

A jangly closer, sees Prince coming full circle on his world views, this time ruing war and mankind’s inability to rectify past mistakes. “Dropping bombs on each other/In the act of saving face”, he croons before he asks: “Tell me now people how is that a resolution?”.