The main important new album this week is Planet Earth from Prince Rogers Nelson. The most interesting thing about this project was the huge giveaway - 3 million free copies of the album with copies of the Sunday, July 15, 2007 edition of English newspaper The Mail. Analysts have suggested that he's making a lot more from giving away 3 million copies than he did by selling 80,000 English copies of his last album.
So not only is this a MUCH more effective way of sticking it to The Man than by writing "slave" on his face, he's managing to make money doing it AND putting his album into millions of hands. That's pretty groovy. Also, despite the big English giveaway, the album is the current #2 seller at Amazon.
Then there's the actual album. Planet Earth is, frankly, mediocre. From most acts, I would consider this maybe halfway decent. There are several pretty good songs here, but there's nothing here demanding space on the next Prince hits album. This is a lot better than the awful 90s symbol albums, such as Emancipation. These are mostly decent songs with competent professional melodies. This is not as good as 3121 though. There is certainly no song as catchy or memorable as "The Word."
This week also marks the release of the long awaited movie of the Simpsons, and an original soundtrack album by Hans Zimmer. I don't know if this music will amount to anything memorable, but I'm certainly substantially entertained by just titles like "Why Does Everything I Whip Leave Me?" I might also have high hopes for a composition called "Release the Hounds."
I've never particularly owned a Hanson album, but I guess I do feel some pangs of sympathy for a band of real musicians working hard at playing and songwriting year after year. They seem to get lumped in with the teen-pop likes of Britney Spears because of one big fluke pop hit. They're back this week with The Walk, and will doubtless be playing a bazillion small clubs to back it up. I've seen pretty good reviews for the album. It might actually be worth a listen.