20Ten review by Prince

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  • Released: Jul 10, 2010
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.8 (17 votes)
Prince: 20Ten

Sound — 8
Given the exclusivity of this album (tentatively released in England, Scotland and Germany only), the nature of it's release (free give-away within newspapers) and the controversy surrounding it (Prince's declaration of the Internet being dead) it's fair to say that both Prince's fans and detractors are waiting with baited breath to either worship his return to form or attack. Lesser musicians may have cracked under the pressure, but this is Prince; ever the showman, he managed to cause a stir and create a solid album that will remind all why he made it big in the first place.

Put simply, this is textbook Prince; that may sound like a criticism, but after years of filed experimentation and lacklustre song writing, it couldn't be a more refreshing thing to hear. As ever, Prince manages to defy real classification, skipping from genre to genre in single tracks, melding his trademark grinding drum machine loops with synths, the occasional searing guitar solo such as that on "Beginning Endlessly" and a sense of style and flair that, in all fairness, he did first.

Lyrics — 7
This area perhaps lets Prince down, if only slightly; it would be hard to say that Prince has really progressed in the lyrical department. Lyrics still consist of harsh juxtapositions between crude innuendo's and romantic gestures, with the odd politically-charged line thrown in for good measure, as if he just feels it's the right thing to do. But really, what more does anyone want from a pop album? To put things in perspective, it's about as enlightening lyrically as anything in the charts right now. Fans won't complain, and (generally) those looking for intelligent, thought-provoking words wouldn't have looked here in the first place. Thankfully the vocals themselves are as good as ever, with a 52-year-old Prince still able to hit all the right notes, never relying on one vocal style for too long; falsetto, breathy whispers and cheeky, tongue-in-cheek lyrics manage pull this one back.

Overall Impression — 8
As stated before, this album has certainly garnered more attention than many like it, and thankfully it packs the goods to meet that hype. There are better places to start for the uninitiated, and in years to come this will still be overshadowed by "Purple Rain" and "Sign O' The Times" but for those fans who've watched album after album be churned out, with seemingly little regard for what the fans want ("N.E.W.S" was hardly one for the pop lovers out there), this is undoubtedly the return to form we were all hoping for. If Prince sticks to his plans to not release this in shops or online, it's highly likely that many people won't ever hear this album... That would be a shame; here we have the perfect example of The Purple One doing what he loves, and what made us love him in the first place.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MT in Austin
    I think Prince is upset that everyone but the artists are benefiting from the internet (iTunes, Amazon, WalMart). I don't think his problem is with file sharing as much as industry leeches. That's been his beef, uh tofu, for many years including those before the internet took off.
    been a Prince fan for many years and to say that this new album is a return to form when he was not out of form is a cliche that is thrown out everytime he releases anything these days. I'm always reading about how he has churned out albums and how anything released after the symbol album has lacked any substance. If you are talking about commercial success being the way to judge a piece of work then the message has been misunderstood. During this time Prince showed amazing versatility, by exploring different musical genres and proving that he is an amazingly talented musician. Chaos and Disorder, Planet Earth, 3121, Gold, Emancipation, N.E.W.S, The Rainbow Children, Lotus Flower, Crystal Ball, Rave are all excellent examples. Often the phrase "liked by the fans" is used, meaning that only a true fan would enjoy these albums. If you choose to like material by how many units it shifts, stick to your top 40. I would suggest when it comes to Prince to get over the Purple Rain era and give all the other stuff a listen, there are moments of pure genius and unparalleled musicianship contained within
    Lol, what's the point of distributing it for free if you're mad at the internet for, well, distributing it for free? Well, Prince is Prince. Hope I'll hear the album.
    I think Prince is just very protective of his music. He has a beastly team of giga-lawyers working around the clock to get his stuff off of Youtube and torrent networks. I think he's trying to say that it's okay to take it if it's offered, but just downright taking it is wrong. And also "textbook Prince" is still more varied and eclectic than other musicians.
    Is it just me that found this album incredibly boring? Normally I like Prince, but I think he let himself down with this album.
    i thought this album was horrendous because of its terrible production!!!
    I don't think it is the production, I think it is the mixing and pressing. It's a bit distorted. Anyone on here saying the album is horrendous or boring, I initially thought so too, BUT KEEP PLAYING IT. It works.