P 20Ten (2010)

20Ten (2010)
Is This The Future… Or The Past?

We don’t usually post brand new stuff here. Draws too much heat. But, after reading a comment from Prince about this month’s free release of 20Ten – only available in newspapers and magazines across Europe (Daily Mirror, Daily Record, Rolling Stone, Het Nieuwsblad) – it seems The Purple One is no longer concerned about the music industry… or the effects of downloading on his career. He told The Mirror that releasing 20Ten in this fashion was “the best way to go… no charts, no internet piracy and no stress.” Further, since he has no label to hunt down piracy on his behalf, it seems ludicrous that he’d bother to do it himself, which is a long way from the days he threatened fan sites over the use of his mere visage. As of today, there’s been no mention of legal download availability… or even a North American release (free or otherwise). And, when you think about it, it’s a brilliant approach (2007’s Planet Earth was issued in a similar way). 20Ten is just 40 minutes long, a quantity that Prince can routinely knock out before brunch. So, for the price of a skimpy 10 track disc, he’s getting press in all the aforementioned publications (and more), keeping his name current with the public, and generating more interest in his music (and profitable tours) in one month than in all the years he was battling Warners to release 3 hour sets like Emancipation, only to find it in the cutout bins within a year. Last year’s 3CD exclusive for Target, Lotusflow3r, was originally just $12, but is now discounted to as little as $4.99. So, this model makes sense on different levels.

Regular readers already know that we likes our Prince around these parts. He’s in my personal Top 5. But, I was stunned by the retro simplicity of 20Ten. It stylistically reconnects to his earliest work, mainly because Prince does virtually all the instrumentation himself, but it doesn’t come close in quality. The Mirror called 20Ten on par with 1999 and Purple Rain, and his best since Sign Of The Times. Sadly… that’s just the business relationship talking, not the actual zeros and ones. In reality, 20Ten sounds naked compared to his work of the last few decades, almost like outtakes or even super high quality demos. That’s probably a by-product of his one-man-band approach, or maybe just my own desire to hear Prince pushing the envelope, even when he falls short. The best news is that 20Ten is a short, sweet and consistent listen, sans the many style collisions Prince often indulges in, and I suspect that over the next month it will grow on me (as it already has). But… you be the judge. Just remember… he’s not charging us for it, and it’s never polite to be critical of sincere gift givers. Lots o’ P in the archives.

Compassion (3:57)
Beginning Endlessly (5:27)
Future Soul Song (5:08)
Sticky Like Glue (4:46)
Act Of God (3:14)
Lavaux (3:04)
Walk In Sand (3:30)
Sea Of Everything (3:49)
Everybody Loves Me (4:09)
(Hidden Track) Laydown (3:07)


  • Capt. Willard
    November 1, 2010 - 20:48 | Permalink

    Get it HERE.

  • Gummo
    January 21, 2011 - 21:19 | Permalink

    Late to this post, W, but it sounds pretty good to me.

    And one of the detriments of the CD era was the advent of the 75 minute album by artists who would have been lucky to make a decent 40 minute vinyl LP. (Not saying Prince is one of those; but there are lots of'em out there.)

    I'll take 40 hot funky minutes over 70 slack padded minutes any day.

  • W
    January 21, 2011 - 21:23 | Permalink

    I tend to agree. But, we always seem to want more anyway, don't we?

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