Album Review: Prince – 20Ten

Posted on July 12, 2010


Release Date: 10th July (UK and Ireland)

Record Label: NPG Records

On the 10th July 2010, Popular music icon Prince released his thirty third studio album, entitled ’20Ten’. Rather than the predictable and often ceremonious release through record stores and download sites, Prince decided that for the second time in his career he would simply distribute his latest record through a popular Sunday newspaper. Charles Fisher provides his verdict on the return of Pop-royalty.

The internet is dead. You heard it here last… Prince has always been a maverick, and to be fair that is understating it, but his latest take on the state of the industry may be his most outlandish yet. As such, deciding he wants nothing to do with media formats that are dead, he creates a CD that is released with a daily newspaper… again.

Smart-arse comments aside, his last venture Planet Earth was positively received, it was never going to be his best work, but it was solid and enjoyable. Now we arrive at 20Ten, the latest in the long line of work from the symbol himself, and how does it measure up?

The Answer you may be surprised to hear, is pretty damn well. The album opens slowly, and with a strong presence of synthesised organs with the track “compassion” a rock based soul ballad.

20Ten starts to pick up around “Sticky like glue” which is when the funk begins to take over and you feel that the squiggle guitar maestro is in his element.

Oddly enough I feel the mid-section of this album (tracks 4 – 7) are the strongest on the record, and are a great collection of prince songs, and better than most of the songs on his previous 2 efforts.

The more soulful ballads return with “walk in sand”, and “sea of everything” before wrapping up (it would seem) with “everybody loves me”… never short of humility is Prince. But then my CD player jumped through tracks 10 – 76. I was as confused as I was mesmerised. Suddenly “Lay down” started on track 77 with it’s dirty sounding rock.

I thought to myself, clearly I underestimated him. Is it the best since (take your pick from Purple Rain, Sign O The Times, The Symbol)? No, maybe not, but it’s the best thing he’s done since 3121, and that counts for something right? 20Ten is everything you would expect from a Prince record in 20…Ten. Funky, Soulful, and Solid. Then it screws up your CD player.


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