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Arts and Entertainment

CD Review: Prince - LOtUSFLOW3r / MPLSoUND / Elixer

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For over a decade now, Prince has been straddling the line between the mainstream and the underground. He’s a major star capable of rocking the Super Bowl, who still acts like a 19-year old jamming in the garage and posting the tapes on his MySpace page.

He moves back and forth between quietly producing work sold only to hardcore fans on his old web site, orchestrating mass media blitzes like the one we saw for his gi-normous Musicology tour in 2004 where he earned one of the biggest-selling albums of the year by adding a copy to the price of every ticket, and giving his stuff away for free with the Sunday paper. When he performs live, he may be playing multiple nights at the biggest hall in town (that 2004 trip included six sold-out nights at Staples Center), or might be entertaining a couple of hundred lucky folks at a hotel bar. Since leaving Warner Bros in the mid-1990s, he’s operated without a long-term record label commitment although his last few records have at least had major distribution.

For the release of his current project, he’s avoided the major label system completely: fans will have to get the music directly from him, at his new website starting March 24, or make a trip to Target (or their web site) for a physical copy of the set, priced at a recession-friendly $11.98 for three complete albums. You have to hand it to the guy, with thirty years in the biz behind him, he’s still doing stuff no other artist of his magnitude would even try.