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Prince

Planet Earth
Sony

Stevie. The Stones. Sir Paul. They're no longer geniuses, but they keep making music. Since 1995's The Gold Experience, Prince has been in the same boat. Once upon a time, he strutted around, strumming G-chords in a G-string, screaming about blowjobs and incest. But along came the shock and awe of hip-hop, something Prince could never match. As a result, he turned syrupy in the '90s with tunes like "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World." Planet Earth's "Future Baby Mama" comes in that model, an easy-listening ballad passé by anybody's standards, much less his. More successful is "Somewhere Here on Earth," a slow jam with muted trumpet up front while Prince rues the BlackBerry era: "In this digital age/You could just page me/I know it's the rage/But it just don't engage me." Until an '80s nostalgic like the Roots' ?uestlove becomes executive producer (assuming Prince will ever relinquish control), we're going to end up with mixed-to-middling records such as this one.

 
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