Along with “Who would win in a fight between The Incredible Hulk and Hulk Hogan?” and “How do they get cranes on top of half built skyscrapers?” there is only one other question that seems impossible to answer: "Is there anything that would make The Mail on Sunday worth buying?"
And so, humble reader, I have decided to take it upon myself to find out if the release of Planet Earth, the new album from Prince, makes the embarrassment of taking a right wing turd of a Sunday paper to the counter and handing over money in return for it worthwhile.
You see, The Mail on Sunday (and his shows at the O2 Arena) are the only ways for the common Brit to buy Planet Earth after Prince gave the license to the newspaper in exchange for £250,000 and Columbia decided this would make releasing it in the shops a waste of time and money and pulled it from the U.K. shelves. Oh, Prince! You crazy little man with a weird obsession with the color purple, always pulling japes on the recording industry! What ever will you do next? Write “Slave” on your face?
To do this test I will be reviewing not just Planet Earth but also The Mail on Sunday, which from now on will also be italicized, and will make my conclusions at the end much like my GCSE science experiments.
Let’s start with the purchasing of the newspaper, I walked into my local shop and had to search for my paper, already things are looking grim but luckily I find a copy, though it is a little creased in the top corner. I make sure the only reason I’m buying this quasi-racist waste of trees, the album, is enclosed and meekly move to the till. From the look I got from the shopkeeper you would have thought I just shot his brother, raped his sister, drowned his kids and then ran over his mother and not just tried to buy an album. So far, it’s not looking good for Planet Earth. I get home and my housemate asks what I bought, trying to distract her I pull out a shitty glossy mag about council scum and their real lives. Alas this does not work as she spots the paper and gives me a look that I’m sure Hitler would have got if he were still alive. So far this is not worth it.
Having already suffered all of this I can finally get to the album and holy shit is it good! Title track “Planet Earth” is a lush epic that is a perfect start to any album, and as Prince croons his way through the chorus you can already see this could finally be his return to form. And when the funked up bluesy guitar solo kicks in you find yourself trapped in a world where there is only one true messiah and his name is Prince. From there it’s on to the first single “Guitar,” a song about how much Prince loves his guitar - and who wouldn’t? It’s purple and shaped like that wacky symbol he named himself, and just proves no one writes songs to strut/dance sexily to like this man. As you would expect the guitar comes to the fore on this track with a sweet riff and at times Prince just goes off on one with strange and fun guitar licks.
Meanwhile back in The Mail on Sunday, The BBC has fucked over Gordon Brown, Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan are back together (even though they deny it), and Thierry Henry’s move to Barcelona has cost him his marriage. So the standard mix of anti-BBC/Labour and celebrity reporting that no one cares about outside of the suburban stronghold of middle England.
“Somewhere Here on Earth” is the first slower ballad song on the album and it’s a real hair raising take with a superb piano piece underpinning it along with a wailing sax just low enough in the mix to not be offensive. And talking of the mix, the track is given a hiss to it, making it warmer and more loving in this day and age of overproduced soulless pop songs about love. Prince also manages to show he’s lost none of his flair for lyrics as he somehow manages to make “In this digital age / You could just page me” sound romantic. How? It really shouldn’t work but yet he makes it sound like the greatest line you could you in a club/pub/bar.
Whilst reading The Mail on Sunday I reach the celebrity column: much talk of David and Victoria, a picture of Lily Allen, something about Rod Stewart’s daughter, followed by an article about Osama Bin Laden’s daughter being married to a broke English biker. Riveting!
Sounding like an outtake from the Revolution days, “The One U Wanna C” is a fun track and is the sort of thing you could quite happily find being played in a club. Again Prince is playing the misspelling the title trick to good affect. “Future Baby Mama” slows it back down to good affect as Prince seems determined to show off all the sides to him. “Mr. Goodnight” is probably the track of the album. Featuring the frankly genius line “People all over the world call me Prince / But you can call me Mr. Goodnight” as Prince goes into full-blown seduction mode. This song is yet more proof that Prince is better at writing songs for romance than Barry White, Lionel Richie, and Slayer put together. Prince’s sultry voice, the simple soulful bassline, and the female backing singers seem to have found the way to sing in a swoon and by the time Prince whispers “I love you” even I’m giggling like a schoolgirl in the hope he’s singing to me.
Winston Churchill has an article in The Mail on Sunday about him no longer being taught in secondary schools, good work for a dead fella. Peter Hitchens is a daft racist. I saw him on Question Time and I thought he was a prat then, reading his column just confirms this. The Mail on Sunday gets all on it’s high horse in an article about opium being grow for morphine - finally the real reactionary right wing bile is being spewed, now onto the letters page!
“Chelsea Rodgers” has the bassline from the Scissor Sisters song “Filthy Gorgeous” but other than that it is nowhere near as terrible. With a scratchy, bouncy guitar riff ringing through and the regular duet with a female singer, sadly due to the lack of any details on this album I’m unable to find out who this is, makes this sound like a record from the mid to late 70’s and shows just how good Prince is at writing songs of different styles.
I love it when daft middle-aged housewives write into public forums to discuss their outrage at today’s society and the decline of morals. This week’s The Mail on Sunday features a letter about half a frog in a woman’s salad and her concern and disgust that she may have eaten the other half, a request for the death penalty to be brought back, and the required Labour bashing.
It’s a shame that “Lion of Judah” is a clone of “Money Don’t Matter 2night” because it just makes me reach for that song instead or trying to sing over the record with the real lyrics rather than something about superstars.
The supplements this week in The Mail on Sunday are pretty terrible. Why waste the time and effort and pay people to write such inane nonsense?
The album ends with “Resolution,” a very hippyish song about war and hypocrisy in today’s society. It’s an interesting way to end an album as musically it does have a definite feeling of bringing it all to a close but lyrically it seems very much like the sort of song you would throw in around the middle to make the listener think, but maybe that is the point.
All in all to pay £1.40 for a brand new album is pretty much worth it no matter what you have to do to get it. Sadly in this day and age where you can get free posters and ring tones with new albums that I got a terrible newspaper with completely bizarre views on the world is a real crying shame. I’m not to sure what the regular readers will make of Planet Earth, I however have to say that after two albums that had great starts and then fizzled out, it’s great to have Prince back with an album that you can listen to all the way through and not get bored half way through. Welcome back to form Prince! It’s been a long time coming and in true showman-like style you’ve made sure that everyone knows.
Planet Earth: 8.5
The Mail on Sunday: 1.0
Prince And The Revolution, Mein Kampf
8.5 / 10
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