No stranger to controversy, Prince has been back in the news of late with an unusual plan to distribute his new album, "Planet Earth," in England. The newspaper the Mail on Sunday is giving the disc a

No stranger to controversy, Prince has been back in the news of late with an unusual plan to distribute his new album, "Planet Earth," in England. The newspaper the Mail on Sunday is giving the disc away for free as a "covermount," a move that has retailers up in arms.

The decision also inspired Sony BMG U.K. to back out its plan to release the album in stores, like its branches in the United States (Columbia) and throughout the world will do this week.

Furthermore, the album will be distributed free to thousands of gig-goers. Prior to confirmation of the Columbia deal, Prince in May announced plans to give away copies of the album with tickets to his 21-date the Earth Tour residency at London's new O2 Arena, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, beginning Aug. 1.

And while the album doesn't break new ground, there's plenty to like about its mix of pumping rock and old-school soul. The tight 10-tracker opens and closes with social commentaries (the title cut and "Resolution"). Both showcase Prince's dexterity on the guitar as he effortlessly rolls with intriguing tempo twists and turns. Marva King's delicious vocals set off the rollicking, funky ode to model "Chelsea Rodgers." Then Prince shifts gears to mellow on the smooth-flowing "Somewhere Here on Earth" and "Mr. Goodnight."

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