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Because it would be un-Prince-like to release a new studio album without kicking up a little controversy first, the Artist Formerly Known As a Cool-Looking Symbol gave away copies ofPlanet Earthwith a British news tabloid weeks before its U.S. release. Among the reasons he shouldn't have: nobody who catches wind of the peerless funk-rock-soul he lays out on these 10 tracks--least of all longtime fans--would think twice about shelling out for it. A big chunk of the appeal is that Prince finds his way back to his guitar here. The title track, a politically right-on-time environmental rant, steers him back toward "Purple Rain" territory, as does "Lion of Judah" ("Guitar," oddly, doesn't--it's more of a straight-up, shout-it-out modern rocker). And the flirty numbers are seriously flammable: "Somewhere Here on Earth" seduces with a crackly jazz vibe, while "Mr. Goodnight" gets friendly with a refined slip of rap. Coolest of all are two tracks at cross purposes-- "Chelsea Rodgers" fuses funk with disco until it's so far off the hook it's in a heap on the floor, and "All the Midnights in the World" paints a picture of artistic maturity through piano and lyrics that lean hard on positivity. There's an elegance to it that Prince fans, no strangers to pop music that's truly sublime, won't fail to appreciate.--Tammy La Gorce
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Label:  Sony
Release Date:  July 24, 2007
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review by . April 08, 2009
Prince still sounds like he did when he was 25, and he's still interested in the same things--namely sex, God, and music. Not because he hasn't matured, just because he knew everything he wanted and/or needed to know when he was 25. At 49, he's still brilliant as any of his peers and more exciting than most of them combined. And I'm still wondering which of his lyrics are literal and which are dirty metaphors. When he sings, "I love you baby/But not like I love my guitar," is he singing about his …
Planet Earth
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