First and foremost, Wendy and Lisa are on this record. That's a big fucking deal to me. Unfortunately, the liner notes (or lack thereof) do not list who plays on what tracks. So you have to sort of go with your soul when it comes to figuring it out. "The 1 U Wanna C" is a nice enough uptempo rock number that has Wendy doing her guitar thing, which is all right by me. It has a great vibe, but it pales in comparison to "Lion of Judah," which features Wendy and Lisa and I swear to Gawd has that Revolution feeling (by which I mean "Mountains," "Computer Blue," "Teacher Teacher," and "All My Dreams" kind of feeling).
There was a moment, driving to work today, when the sounds of the three of them making music together hit me so hard I almost started tearing up. But this song made me realize two things: 1) I miss The Revolution. And 2) "Lion of Judah" is the best Prince song since "Black Sweat," but the two of them top several years' worth of releases (you'd have to go back to "When U Love Somebody," off the much-maligned Newpowersoul disc, to find something comparable).
Moreso, there's only one track on here that don't work at all, and oddly enough, the first single, "Guitar," is it. It just kinda wanks along, then fades out awkwardly.
"Chelsea Rodgers" is a nice disco-funk thing with co-lead vocals by Prince's new protege Shelby J- it is about a model who likes to have sex, which is good (and throws some love toward The Black Album's "Cindy C") and shows Prince breaking away somewhat from the JW restrictions that have neutered much of his recent output, but she only gives up the lady parts to people who are baptized. I don't even know how to respond to that, but let's say that Prince advises all involved parties to "shake it like a Juicy Juice."
"Somewhere Here On Earth," "All The Midnights In The World," and "Future Baby Mama" are the quiet storm efforts, with FBM being the weirdest and most digable. I've got a lot of love for any song where Prince says to his lady "I know U wanna make your girlfriends hate U." Damn. And that's not even counting those gorgeous Linn drums… "Somewhere Here on Earth" is also quite nice, with subtle horns supporting some delicate falsetto.
"Planet Earth," the song, is eco-friendly and very much for saving the environment, and "Resolution" is very assured and very much for ending the war. They're nice enough bookends for the record, but it's just a relief to have a new Prince record with more than one or two great tracks on it. "Planet Earth," the song, with its dark tone and multitracked Prince voice jazzy breakdown, even has a "Crystal Ball" sort of vibe, without explicitly referencing that track or its sounds.
Simply, this is a good Prince record. Not comparable to anything from the 1978-1988 home run streak, but a more than welcome addition to his catalogue with several great songs and a sense of expansiveness in his palette that has been missed. Recommended.