This is Planet Earth bah bah bah!

Simon le Bon. Wanker. As everyone knows. Anyway, as everyone also knows, Prince gave away his new album free with The Mail On Sunday and we’re all up in arms about it. “We supported him when he was nothing” moaned the record shops. “We can’t name his last 2 albums” admitted the public (‘3121’ and ‘Musicology’, if you don’t count the ‘Ultimate Prince’ Warner Bros Christmas cash-in). “We just download stuff for free” said the iPod generation. “And who is this Prince anyway?”


So it is a big deal, but not that big a deal. If it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the Killers who had done this, it would have been a huge deal. Massive. But they’re signed to record companies. Prince is a one-man band in every sense. He picks and chooses who’s going to release his next record. He can do what he likes, and he did. He won’t make any money from album sales. Relatively speaking, not that much. ‘3121’ sold 82,000 copies. At £1 a sale, that’s £82000 he’s made. It probably cost him more to record etc. Next month he plays 20-odd dates in London to 20,000 folk a night, at £31.21 a ticket. That’s (quickly does mental maths) £624200 a night. After he’s paid all his overheads and stuff, he won’t be much short of making half a million a night, or £10million for the series of shows. So maybe the tax man takes a big chunk of that, but add merchandise sales on top (how much is a concert T-shirt nowadays?) and it’s easy to see he’s raking it in. His name is Prince and he is funky. And he is loaded. Everyone who bought a ticket for his London shows got a free album as well. So giving his album away to a newspaper means nothing to him. It’s been said that the Mail On Sunday gave him £250000. Small change. I also read that they sold an extra 600,000 copies on Sunday. At £1.30 a pop, that’s a tidy wee profit they’ve made. Quarter of a million is small change. But most of those ‘new’ readers won’t be back next week, or indeed any time soon until they start giving away the new U2 album for nothing.

Thing is, ‘Planet Earth’ isn’t that bad. But because it’s free, most folk’ll play it once and file it away, or bin it. If I’d bought this album, I’d be playing it over and over until all the songs sink in. The sequence of songs seems to follow a slow-fast-slow-fast order and I prefer the fast ones. The first track’s pish. It’s drippy, slushy romantic drivel and goes off into Barry Manilow’s ‘Could It Be Magic’ at some point. No matter how many plays, I’d still be skipping it. But ‘Guitar’ sounds great, even if the intro sounds like Razorlight ripping off U2’s ‘I Will Follow’. ‘The One U Wanna C’ looks and sounds like old-skool Prince, like ‘Raspberry Berry’ with extra slappy bass, and ‘Chelsea Rodgers’ is as funky as they come, all Mavis Staples vocals (I think), clipped Chic guitar and Bootsy Collins slap bass (again). ‘Lion Of Judah’ begins like my old band trying to play ‘Purple Rain’ but speeds up and sounds all the better for it. There’s the odd falsetto number that doesn’t do much for me, and the last track ‘Resolution’ sounds like it was written by a Primary 7 pupil, but overall the album’s OK. Honest! If you don’t already have it by now, you’ll find all the tracks in this folder here. Click on the + sign on the right hand side of the song title and download in the usual way. And here’s the sleeve…


Footnote. Apparently Madness will be the next one’s to do the big giveaway, with a whole album of new stuff cover mounted with The Sun. Shame on you Suggs, Chas ‘n’ co. That’s one step too far beyond.