Prince – 20Ten: The G Review

Posted by The G on July 9, 2010 under G Reviews | 41 Comments to Read

Photo by G.

As long time readers, fans and friends know, I love Prince!  He’s one of the best live performers to ever have graced the stage and his music, whether released or unreleased, is always in high rotation with me.  I’ve stuck by his side through name changes, religious epiphanies, lawsuits against fans and other WTF moments such as his recent “the internet is completely over” comment.  I’ve even supported his music long after working on one of his greatest hits�CDs where I was hired because the man allegedly wanted nothing to do with the record, then after completing my work on the project, he pissed all over it and made us go back and take off tracks such as “Erotic City,” and I’ve had to live with reading reviews that say “this album would have been great if only it would have included ‘Erotic City.'”  With that being said, I’ve started to enjoy his new music less and less with each new album. Not for any of these reasons, but I truly think that his religious ideologies in the Jehovah’s Witness faith have seeped into his music too much, forcing him to sing lyrics to prove that he’s more spiritual than you or I.  Furthermore, I don’t see how a man who once sang “Sexuality is all you’ll ever need,” could possibly believe his own lyrics such as “Accurate knowledge of Christ and the Father will bring the everlasting now,” and I think it shows in his recent output.  I’m all for spirituality, but since neither of us were around to see Jesus, I’d prefer if he separated religious fiction from funk music.  It doesn’t take a scientist to see that religion needs spirituality and not the other way around.  Case closed.

With that being said, see my comments as I listen to his new album “20Ten” for the first time.

1. Compassion.  It sounds like he’s re-recorded “Let’s Pretend We’re Married,” but instead of lyrics such as “I sincerely wanna fuck the taste out of your mouth,” he’s singing about loving everyone.  So far this track beats the hell out of his most recent 3 free tracks that have been played on the radio this year.

2. Beginning Endlessly.  This song reminds me of what would happen if his songs “Lolita” and “Freaks on this Side” had a baby.  The lyrics are obviously filled with Jehovah jargon, but at least the beat is nice.

3. Future Soul Song.  This song sounds a bit like “When 2 R In Love,” merged with “If Eye Was the Man In Your Life” (but slowed down).  I actually am enjoying this song quite a bit.  I am very happy he is singing about this track being a slow jam for the future and he’s not singing about his “future baby mama” as he has in the past.  There’s more Jehovah jargon in this song.

4. Sticky Like Glue.  He sings certain lines of the verses really fast in this mid-tempo jam, and I like it instantly.  Hooray!  So far, it sounds like the lyrics are free of JW-garbage.  There’s a brief rap in the middle of the song and it’s not annoying.  Thanks Prince, welcome back!

5. Lavaux. Like with all songs on this album so far, it sounds like an older track and as is the pattern on this record, he uses phrases like “paradox” and “unlock the secrets,” which is about as convincing as when Madonna sings about the Kaballah instead of songs about fucking and being a slut.

6. Act of God. This song has a 1980s Prince sound (Blue Limousine meets Baby I’m A Star) and because it’s so late and I’ve seen two bands tonight, my brain is a little overloaded.  Though the word “God” appears in the title, the song is surprisingly not terribly preachy.  He’s once again talking about love 4 one another.

7. Walk in Sand.  A ballad.  A throwaway love song in the vein of “Te Amo Corazon” – pretty, but not worthy of Prince’s greatness.

8. Sea of Everything.  Another slow jam. The music sounds like the demo of Purple Rain from the movie (that Wendy gives Prince a cassette of).

9. Everybody Loves Me.  This sounds a bit like “Ronnie Talk 2 Russia” and “No More Candy 4 U” (which sounds like “Ronnie Talk 2 Russia).  This is a cute little ditty.

10. Laydown.  Prince unleashes the guitar on this hidden track.  He says “purple Yoda.”  Whoa.  I’m speechless.  I like this track a lot though.  The music is sparse and it’s funky.

Overall, I must say (and after first listen), this has been much more enjoyable than the last several Prince releases!  I’m not sure I’d say “Prince is back” since most songs sound like he is doing cover versions of his older songs, but I am not finding myself cringing like I have in the recent past when listening to his new music for the first time.  I also know that I will be listening to this a lot in the coming days.  This is a step in the right direction.

Tell us what u think!

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  • payt said,

    I agree with most of your review.. this album isn’t really an earth shattering new experience, but it’s some good music for us to enjoy nevertheless. I really like the first couple of songs, and the latter half of ther album isn’t too bad either.

    If it were up to me, i think i’d like to see some of the passion return in his music. Where have the songs with the palpable tension gone? Then again.. you can’t really expect a 52 year old guy to bring the same passion to his music like he did when he was half his age, but i still miss it.

    Also, i think some of the synth sounds (important on this album) could benefit from being a bit less thin and glitzy.. bring in those old oberheims and prophets.. we need that pissed-off sound they used to spit out. Hell.. maybe he could buy ine of those prophet08’s and do a fine job with it 🙂

    Anyway.. enjoyable album.. but maybe lacks a bit of angst.

  • Martin said,

    The source of his inspiration (you call seepage? jargon? fiction?)is his, not ours to criticise. Open your mind and enjoy. 20Ten is a progressive masterpiece. The best is yet to come.

  • Marco said,

    Why should religious sentiment be seperated from his music?
    What about gospel music. Do you not think it played an influencial
    role in funk, soul and rock? Would u not agree that’s this might have happened because those gospel singers were inspired to make great music by what moved them?

    And for the record- after listening to Princes songs…. He has made far less of a religious statement in all of his songs than you did in thos two sentances in which you brought it up.

  • Hector said,

    Lotta losers out there I guess…

  • Bo said,

    Thanks for the review buddy.

    Sorry I first have time to comment now. Just a few anyway ;o)

    Didn’t you forget all the less enjoyable music he made around the RaveUn2… and some stuff from NPGMC?

    “Sticky Like Glue” reminds me of anything bad from Rave. Without the choir feeling. At least the lyrics are bearable.

    “Lavaux” … can you say “VaVoom”? Not completely as boring but nothing new for sure.

    “Act of God” sounds indeed as an older track. But the lyrics are obvious recently drafted although somehow mixed with bad references to George Bush and his war. Banker reference is somehow linked to the same theme even though the crash and the Obama bailout (which made it worse) came later. I see this as a natural follower to “Dear Mr. Man”. Lyrics wise criticizing the political establishment which of course is kinda hypocritical as Prince embraces Obama.

    Not a bad album but certainly nothing breathtaking or new. Rehash in between at best of some good stuff from early on. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want Prince to be the 80’s or 90’s Prince. But I want him to better and surprise me again. Or maybe even that’s asking too much?

  • The G said,

    Several days later, I am already bored of this album. It lacks conviction and the intensity of the old Prince. Bo, like you, I am not interested in Prince reliving his glory days, but it’s really sad that there is not one song on this that catches the fire of his older stuff. His live shows appear to be boring now too, which means he is truly over… Well, luckily there’s tons of other great music out there…He’ll continue to make a living off the psychofants that suck his a-hole for every move he makes…. I’ve heard the word “masterpiece” even mentioned in reviews for this album, and all I can say is “please wash your ears out with soap and listen to “Dark Side Of the Moon” by Pink Floyd before throwing such a term around.” But opinions are opinions…

  • Dave G said,

    I think the problem is not Prince, but the fact that we are older and can’t be moved in the same way as when we were younger and listening to Prince in the 80’s. Stop blaming Prince all the time, we are different listeners too. We can’t have the ears we had in the 80’s. He can’t be as young and angry as he was in the 80’s, we can’t be as passionate as we were in the 80’s. We’ve all changed, we’ve all mellowed. On that basis, I think Prince has done very well on this album and it shouldn’t be compared all the time. Take your comparing ears off, stop over analysing and just enjoy the music. Sticky Like Glue is NOTHING like his Rave songs, its fantastic and is probably one of his best tracks for many years. Prince has just got to be where he is in life, not where we want him to be.

  • Bo said,

    @ G: Yeah I was – ahem – listening to the show he just played in Roskilde, Denmark and honestly it sounded boring. But maybe that was the recording as the actual show got rave reviews. Then again so did the new album???!!!???

    @ Dave: I agree that we’re different listeners too. That’s of course why I don’t want to listen to rehash of old material. I didn’t really “mellow” I think. I still like to be surprised by music. I don’t get that from Prince anymore. At best he’s doing bad mainstream pop (with some old days Prince signature beats and a guitar riff thrown in). I’m not saying the new album is bad compared to what else is out there of mainstream pop I’m just not getting the WOW factor anymore. He IS able to do it on stage so why make this mediocre music on album?

    You know I’ve always liked new ways in music. I loved The Beatles (although they were before my time). They broke the rules for music. Rolling Stones did too. Then came the true breathtaking Pink Floyd putting music into new dimensions. (Maybe I should mention others like David Bowie too?). Next in my musical universe was Prince. He blew me away just as sure as the others did before. Maybe even more. And more so he continued to surprise on every single album doing new stuff and setting new standards. All the way up to The Gold Experience he did so. Plus explored other routes too in all the side projects.

    Since then nothing has surprised me – apart from how mainstream he’s become. I mean I don’t need him to cuss and swear and talk about Giving Head or other explicit stuff. (I got Eminem for that stuff!). I agree with Prince when he said he already did that. Right then move on! Give us something new instead of playing the old songs with the “bad” words edited out or substituted.

    I don’t want Prince to be any other place in life than where he wants to be. I would just hope he would show us where that is – unless stand-by is where he is ;o)

  • The G said,

    Obviously acts like the Rolling Stones who made songs like “Satisfaction” can never even come close to that with newer recordings… I get that. But the difference between the Stones and Prince making new music is that the Stones at least sound like they believe what they are singing about. Prince bitched for a decade about “real music by real musicians” and his last few albums are full of electronic instruments! If he’s gonna be a JW, it doesn’t please me (based on his previous lyrics where he allowed the listener to make a choice as opposed to know where he has a narrow view of things), but fine – whatever… a main principle of that religion is not to worship symbols… Not only does Prince still worship them, he wears them proudly… He has no idea what it means to practice what you preach. It’s frankly really sad, and according2g, his music suffers because of it. Since he only knows how to do one thing – make music, it makes it even more tragic.

    Luckily for us, there’s tons of musical acts around today that can fill the void that Prince used to fill for us.

  • Dave G said,

    @ The G. Don’t get you. If you’re filled with so much embitterment and venom for the man, why are you bothering with this forum at all to just bitch. It’s pointless. If you tried to state exactly what you want from Prince, I bet you couldn’t define it. I think the only place for him to go is the “pushing the envelope” place. Apart from that, all he does now is all he did in the 80’s: funk, soul, ballads and rock in summary. The only places where he “pushed the envelope” was on Around The World In A Day and Parade and Lovesexy, because they were departures in sound away from the usual funk, rock, soul, ballads etc. I think the genius with 80’s Prince was also because he had one of those brilliant Lennon/McCartney symbioses going on. To his Lennon, Wendy and Lisa were his McCartney. That has now gone.

  • The G said,

    @ Dave G.

    If you think I am full of bitterness, you don’t know me at all. I am so fortunate to see so much live music and meet so many interesting people, I could care less about the latest goings on with Prince. I’ve been a fan for the majority of my life, so his music is essentially like a family member to me. I’ve been fortunate enough to see him in concert well over 50 times, have danced on stage with him, sung background vocals when he stuck a mic in my face during “play that funky music white boy,” and have had the honor of working on “Ultimate Prince.”

    With that being said, it saddens me to see his creativity go down the drain. And yes, I know EXACTLY what it is I want from Prince. I want Prince to make music that has fire and intensity under it. I want Prince to break the rules, like he is more than capable of, as we all know. I don’t want Purple Rain Part 2. I just want something that’s worthy of his name. Making albums that are pale cover versions of Prince songs, is just lazy and it for those of us who have been around for all these years – it shows. That’s the curse of making so much amazing music, I guess…

    And I agree with you that when he lost Wendy/Lisa/Jill Jones/Eric Leeds and numerous other associates from that era, a lot of his magic left; but I think he produced exciting music until the mid-90s, which is quite an accomplishment in an era of one-album wonders.

  • Martin said,

    a few days on at this just gets even better…moved back to Planet Earth, 3121 now…then back to 20Ten..this is masterpiece continuum

  • The G said,

    Glad you are diggin’ it Martin. For me, I kept “Sticky Like Glue” and “Laydown” in a playlist and the other songs have been removed because they automatically get skipped after a few seconds… I never thought I would see a day where I push Prince music aside for other bands… it’s always been the other way around.

  • Neo said,

    I think Prince is mainly taking revenge on himself AGAIN like he did with several new albums lately; hitting himself due to regrets of his sexy past by releasing bad songs with lyrics that make clear he can not live on the edge anymore. Between the lines he is letting the world know he deserves punnishment by making awful and totally unsexy lyric lines and compositions to reduce every chance that he will gain success again. Ever. God apparently hates sexy compositions and he told prince.

  • A2Z said,

    Love that the album stays pretty even and doesnt have all the different musical styles that past albums have had. He usually puts a lil of everything on his last few albums rock/rnb/pop, etc.. This album is a throwback to his 80’s sounds and has some strong songwriting , especially on the ballads. Laydown is his way of telling blackeyed peas , I can take your style , put my spin on it and sound better than you. Loving this album.
    Prince is mature now , he wont be singing about fucking the taste out of your mouth and if he or any other 50+year old did, Id question their growth. As humans we grow, we mature, we change, we evolve. Clearly G doesnt get that. He is too wrapped up in Prince of the past.
    Prince created Erotic City and if he doesnt want to play it or include it on an album it is his right.
    How exactly did you work on the ultimate compilation?
    I coulda picked those same songs too, not very difficult. And just because you call God by his name it doesnt make u less spiritual, it actually makes you more spiritual. You actually have knowledge of who God is rather than him being some mystery that you wonder about. Bottom line, Prince reigns supreme above any current act, none of them will ever reach his stature in music nor will they experience the longevity that he has. People like G will never be satisfied with anything he puts out. G wants him to ‘break the rules’. huh?
    He’s already done it. What rules have not been broken yet. It’s like telling superman, yeah you fly and I saw you defeat Lex luthor and other villains, but show me something new. Uh, he is superman dammit!! Or in this case he is the purple yoda!

  • The G said,

    Neo – AMEN!!!!

  • The G said,

    A2Z. Opinions are opinions… I’m just stating mine. And as someone who is a huge consumer of music, I can spot a phoned in performance a mile away. 20ten is just that, and with that being said – the album is very even… evenly phoned in.

    Prince can try and save as many souls as he wants, but the main one in question is his own. He has done so many evil things in the past that he’s gonna need a lifetime to repent and putting out G-rated music isn’t gonna mattter to the man upstairs. If you don’t believe me, hang out with almost all of his ex-associates as I have.

    And Purple Yoda? He’s more like the Emperor and we all know how he ended up…

  • Marco said,

    G, you take it too seriously dude, Prince was there,
    he made the music you miss, but the new songs
    are more refined and often more complex.

    Like with anything- the more sophisticated one becomes
    the more refined one becomes.

    The music is a reflection of the artist.
    Why does he need to get rough and sex his
    songs up to be good in your eyes?

    With respect- all your posts have been very prejudice
    and narrow minded. You seem hooked on his religion and
    keep pushing a religious view. That of bitterness and resentment towards an artists spiritual belief which, to
    be very honest- is hardly even mentioned I’m his
    If he was singing about anything else at all other than some of the kore gentle subjects he embracess at the moment- I wonder if you would be so harsh on his inspiration.

    Maybe you should stop poisening your
    mind with this unbridaled prejudice and let go man.

    Listen to the sounds- stop looking for purple rain and stop thinking about sex. Enjoy the music and leave religion out of it.

    I dont know mate- go for a walk or
    something… Clear your head…


  • Martin said,

    G, all…you’ve been spoken for check-it-out, he saw you coming back in 1984 already…. “All the Critics Love U In New York. Nothing left to say….

  • The G said,

    Hey Marco.

    I respect your opinion too, but I don’t agree with it at all!

    My review is far from being lengthy and over-critical. It is first impressions of an album I don’t care much for. I think I’ve spent more time responding to comments than listening to the record. I simply don’t think it’s good, I think it’s lazy, I think the lyrics are terrible and nothing will change my mind on that.

    I’m not asking you to agree.

  • The G said,

    PS. Search the archives on this site and discover some fresh new talent that I’ve written about and you’ll do as I have done and toss this extremely mediocre record aside. There’s lots of “real music by real musicians,” in 20ten.

  • Bo said,

    Lyrics are true sign of a mastermind:

    Rhymes are perfect as on “mile”, “smile”, “denial” ???

    Or “Walking in sand, hand in hand (with you)”

    A great song is also “I love every body, everybody loves me” and continues with another great line: “Ain’t nothing to it but to do it”.

    Sheeesh … Prince was never the most gifted lyricist but these? Give me a break.

    I maintain the man (formerly a brilliant artist) is on complete stand-by – in best case.

  • Jip-sjack Ledraager said,

    Great album, I now bought all back catalogue too CD’s and DVD’s

  • Bo said,

    @ Jip-sjack Ledraager: Thanks for the best laugh in decade!

  • The G said,

    Couldn’t have said it better Bo. I tried, but I got attacked 🙂

  • Bob Bertucci said,

    I think this review is fair. He likes it better than me. I think that while I disagree that one should keep the JW thing out of the music as that is Princes journey and is what inspires him (like sex did back in the day) I do think its worth pointing out. The reason its worthy is because it has caused a dramatic shift in the message and the song writing. It seems to me Princes songs are mostly about religion, politics, his past and love. He doesnt seem capable of crafting lyrics that go beyond this in order to tell a story or a situation. And for someone who really infused sexuality in almost every nook and cranny of his music and lyrics the absence of it is very apparent.

    Over the past decade there has been some really good music coming out of himbut merely in patches. This is not to say that many of the songs performed live would not sound great because just about anything he does live is amazing, but on a CD a lot of it falls flat. It could be the production, I dont know. Personally in the last decade this is the weakest of all of the offerings. While being the most cohesive since and including Musicology, much of it seems dialed in. None of the songs go to places unexpectedly, so for me theres not a lot of fun infused into the music. And I have to wonder about Laydown clearly the best track on the album. Its hidden and doesnt sound like the rest, yet its the best track on the album (Much like Pretty Man was on Rave) and brings the funk similar to songs like S&M Groove.

    As always, fans are divided on the new offering. Whats surprising to me at least is how much people are starting to warm up to Musicology and 3121 now. I gave these two albums a spin after hearing 20ten and am shocked as to how much more I like these albums now. Perhaps I might feel this way about 20ten in 2020. Like a good cheese Princes music sounds better after its aged a bit.

  • Jedisista said,

    Without going into every single note/lyric/song and ripping it apart (time is too precious) I’ll just say this. He was great before, back in the day, because he sang about any and everything, it was sexy, it was provocative, it was ahead of its time. He was daring, he took risks. He was oh so sexual and hella-funky. Lyrics and Music. They went hand in hand. It was perfection. Filled with passion that you felt down to your soul. You could buy into it, you hung on every word, note, melody wanting more. You were at the record store waiting for them to open so you could be first in line for the new Prince album. Everything he sang about had a hidden message for the most part. It was deep, sensual, sexy, prolific and just plain fuckin brilliant. Now? its hella boring and plain, and I cannot buy into it. If I wanted to have a bible study, I’d go to church. I know what i HAD, and I want it back. It’s painful. I’ve longed for an entire Prince album to be driven by the Linn drum machine for 20+ years and I finally get it and what? It sux ass. So sad. And with that said…I just gotta say this….Purple Yoda? Really Prince? Really?

  • The G said,

    Jedisista and Bob – WELL said!

  • Gail said,

    Not as good as the new Nerk Twins CD.

  • Marco said,

    Jedsista- you have proved a point in your ‘confession’.

    You keep looking back. Same as G and B. You all
    keep looking back. I also love dearly his
    old music, it took you to a special place, but like everything
    things move on- the new prince is vibrant and fun- not so sexy and has me crawling on the floor in the half light wishing I could hit the notes like the artist- no, it’s a progression.
    This time, there are wonderful
    grooves and a precious light, optimism and maturity to the music which makes me feel anything is possible and that it feels good to
    be in love, clean and fashionable at the same
    time. This is why I believe this is excellent music.

    It is also an incredibly complex composion musically. If you really listen to it carefully – you might agree that this was deftinately NOT phoned in, it is precision song writing and based on beautiful life experiences and appreciation of the things that matter in life- love, harmony, hope, faith and art.

    The funk has not left Prince at all- he still owns it.
    He is using this now to benefit his listeners.

    Why are so many people so willing to not open thier minds and embrace the future soul song?


  • The G said,


    Are you on Prince’s payroll? I hope not for your sake, because you’ll never be paid. 🙂

    Really not sure why you are so adamant about people liking this album, when people clearly have different view points. I had this same conversation with Prince himself at Paisley Park once… and it went nowhere. He refused to open his ears and hear what I had to say.

    I am happy for you that you are enjoying his new music so much, but I think it’s crap.

  • Marco said,

    Hi G- are you irritated with me? I’m
    sorry I didn’t mean to upset you if you are.

    Not trying to push my view at all, not
    adament- you judge me incorrectly dude.

    I’m expressing my view- just as you have been
    expressing yours with a degree of religion involved.
    Just as the artist has been expressing his, only to be criticized for doing so and his expression also being identified as the subject of blame for his music not meeting your personal satisfaction- with love and respect.


  • Jip-sjack Ledraager said,

    Marco – I’m with u, peace. This is going Round and Round and there’s no Joy In Repetition. They are Thieves In the Temple appreciate nothing but Ol’ Skool Company. The Melody Cool. It Still Would Stand All Time. This is no place but 4 Colonized Mind’s. I aint gonna work up a Black Sweat if they dont wanna Get On The Boat, Computer Blue internet dead now – Goodnight Mr.: time 2 Play In the Sunshine

  • The G said,


    I am not irritated at all. We obviously have different view points and there won’t be a meeting of the minds. That’s the beauty of life. If we all thought the same thing… well that would make us JWs. 🙂

    And Jip-sjack… nice use of song titles. 🙂

  • Koorupshin said,

    G – u iz da main ting – RAPETE…. iz u a butti mun? ai.

  • Constanto said,

    Read all this. New cool vs old cool. Diff strokes diff folks. Leave kE out …Kansas or Prince alone or… not, u choose. Is what it is, am what I am, who gives. Buy it sell it, burn it, rip it roll it. Play it say it, plant it reap it. Up it down it. Prince it now Prince it then. Survive, Boil, Fly, Live, Sink…Sulphur. See the Sea. 5000 Salt MPLs. No more stop the Box…..4ever….sign o timo

  • funk blasta said,

    hear me now G – you mean you had meeting with P face to face in P Park and you tried to flip him?
    whats with you man, you sick?

    u hactually fort you could ave tort him sumfing bout his own tunes?

    you lucky you didnt get bounced man – you say youre a fan, but youre more of a cling on terd on princes butthole.

    expressive enough for you? i really feel sexy when i say stuff like this. its the real me.

    do you like surfing?
    whats your fave beech?

    im bananas about waakiki..

  • The G said,

    Funk Blasta- Literally have no idea what in the world you are trying to say.

    And it’s too bad there is not circulating video of my conversation with Prince. I’m sure he has it in his archives. It was one for the books. Luckily, I have witness for that prosecution. 🙂

  • Mary said,

    Nice Review Mister G.

  • Jip-sjack Ledraager said,

    i got all prince now. his new stuff is sophistibest. seen all the films. the lot. Chaka Khan cool too

    all his lyrics and simple and rhyme throughout his catalogue of creation. Bo GroW – what u xpect fiddy cent?

  • kicoca said,

    Im diggin half of this album. Im just waiting for the edge to return when it comes the music. P doing the raw grooves that make you crazy when you hear it. The kinda stuff that makes me want to get back in the studio.