Prince – The Lotusflow3r three album set

Prince - Lotusflow3r - lotusflow3r.com (princeonlinemuseum.com)

Prince – Lotusflow3r – lotusflow3r.com

Introduction

This article is about Lotusflow3r, MPLSound and Elixer, which were all released on the same day: March 24th, 2009.

Reading guideline

This article is divided into 5 parts:

  1. Way of publishing
  2. Lotusflow3r
  3. MPLSound
  4. Elixer
  5. Conclusion and sequel

N.B.:
The Lotusflow3r album name is officially styled as LOtUSFLOW3R, in this article I will use Lotusflow3r. The MPLSound album name is officially styled as MPLSºUND, in this article I will use MPLSound.

Bria Valente - Another Boy (single) (princevault.com)

Way of publishing

The first hint indicating new material was underway was given on September, 30th, 2008, on the day the live album Indigo Nights was released. That day the song Another Boy was made available on-line. It was a song by Bria Valente, which was a prelude to her upcoming album Elixir.

New songs

In December 2008, 4 songs were made public on the Los Angeles radio station Indie 103: Crimson And Clover, 4ever, Colonized Mind and Wall Of Berlin. That same month the website mplsound.com was launched. Initially it just contained an instrumental version of (There’ll Never B) Another Like Me, later replaced by the full version of the song. However, the site was short-lived: after a month it was already over. But with its demise news broke of the launch of a new interactive website: lotusflow3r.com, through which fans would be able to “listen, watch and buy” new music and videos. Three songs were offered: Crimson And Clover, Here Eye Come and (There’ll Never B) Another Like Me. Some weeks later three 1-minute samples were added to the site: Chocolate Box, Colonized Mind and All This Love.

Prince - One night with Prince (latimes.com)

Prince – One night with Prince

On January 8th, 2009, the article One night with Prince was published by the Los Angeles Times, wherein writer Ann Powers details her ‘interview’ and listening session with Prince. Driving in his car, he lets her listen to his new music and he talks about the report on his controversial conversation with The New Yorker, titled Soup with Prince, which was published on November 24th, 2008, where he supposedly made some questionable remarks on religion and homosexuality. As a result of the interview more song titles were named: Hey Valentina (attributed to Salma Hayek’s daughter), Better With Time (attributed to Under The Cherry Moon actress Kristin Scott Thomas), Love Like Jazz, $ (about “the most popular girl in the whole wide world”) and 77 Beverly Place.

On January 31st, 2009, three more new songs were added to the lotusflow3r.com site: Colonized Mind, Discojellyfish (an instrumental, not placed on one of the new albums) and Another Boy (the previously released Bria Valente song).

Launch of lotusflow3r.com

Prince - Lotusflow3r - The Clock Is Ticking email 21-03-2009 (apoplife.nl)

Prince – Lotusflow3r – The Clock Is Ticking email 21-03-2009

On March 23rd, 2009, a demo of Chocolate Box (without Q-Tip’s rap) was leaked. One day later, on March 24th, 2009 at 7:07 AM (in The Netherlands it was 4:07 PM), lotusflow3r.com was officially opened and users could enlist to an annual $ 77 subscription. Applicants were given access to streaming video (among which the impressive cover of Radiohead’s Creep at the Coachella festival in 2008) and videos of Chocolate Box, Crimson And Clover and Everytime and downloads of the Lotusflow3r box set.

Early appliers were to receive a founding member t-shirt and the possibility of acquiring tickets to Prince shows he was to do in Los Angeles and the planned Tonight Show performances. I enlisted the day after at 1:20 AM (see the screen print at the bottom of this article).

A few days after the launch of the website, the albums were physically released, as a 3cd set. The set could only be bought at Target stores in the US, at the price of $ 11,98 (comparable to the price of single cd). Many of these cd-sets found their way to Europe.

On September 7th, the cd set was published in France by Warner Music (!).

Promotion

To garner attention for the Lotusflow3r set, Prince undertook a number of promotional activities. Marking the release of the physical set a 30 second video commercial was recorded, in which Prince played Dreamer (see the full commercial in the A Pop Life article Prince – Commercial for the Lotusflow3r three album set.

Prince - Tavis Smiley Show - 04/27-28/2009 (usatoday.com)

Prince – Tavis Smiley Show – 04/27-28/2009

On March 11th it was announced that Prince would perform on three consecutive nights on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, from March 25th to 27th, 2009. He played Ol’ Skool Company, Dreamer and Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful. On May 28th Prince returned to the show and played the Planet Earth song Somewhere Here On Earth.

On April 22nd, 2009, he played Crimson And Clover at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. On April 27th and 28th an interview was broadcast that had been recorded a few days before for the Tavis Smiley Show, in which Prince revealed a couple of remarkable facts. One of them was that he suffered from epilepsy as a child and was healed with the help of angels. The other was that he was open to the theory of the so-called ‘chemtrails’…

N.B.: The ‘chemtrails’-theory is a conspiracy theory that states that the condensation tracks left behind by airplanes are filled with more than just water and CO2, like chemicals, purposely aimed at <fill in something negative>.

Prince - Lotusflow3r - Live billboard ad 03/28/2009 (pinterest.com)

Prince – Lotusflow3r – Live billboard ad 03/28/2009

The biggest promotional stunt was done in the night of March 28th and 29th, when Prince played 3 different shows at the LA Live Nokia Center in Los Angeles. Every show/room had a different band. At The Nokia Theater he played with a (selection of) his band as it was around the time of 3121, at The Conga Room with Michael B. and Sonny T. and at Club Nokia with a number of musicians of his One Nite Alone… Tour band.

 

On July 18th, 2009, Prince played two shows at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, followed by three shows in Monaco on August 13th and 16th. On October 11th and 12th Prince did a couple of shows and an interview in Paris, followed by a promotional television performance on October 15th.

Lotusflow3r

Prince - Lotusflow3r (princeestate.com)

Prince – Lotusflow3r

Lotusflow3r is the 33rd studio album by Prince. The download version of the album contained the song The Morning After instead of Crimson And Clover.

It is unfortunate how little information is available about the way the album was developed and constructed. Prince himself said that a number of songs were recorded during the studio sessions that led to the 3121 album, which was released in 2006. The songs Michael B. and Sonny T. play on stem from that period.

Támar Davis can also be heard on the album. She worked with Prince in 2005 and 2006. It’s not entirely clear why, but the cooperation ceased after 2006. All the other songs were probably recorded in 2008.

In June 2006 the song Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful (in another version than the one that ended up on the album) was published to the on-line platform NPG Music Club, combined with a comment that it was a ‘work-in-progress’. 77 Beverly Park was probably slated for release on the MPLSound album, because the song is mentioned on the Ol’ Skool Company song from that album.

Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful was initially part of the MPLSound track list. On the album’s Target release the song is erroneously titled Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful.

On December 2nd, 2009, the song Dreamer was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance”, but didn’t win.

Just like all the other albums within the (cd) set, Lotusflow3r had its own page on the lotusflow3r.com website, which, besides the album itself, also offered the Crimson And Clover video and pictures. No singles were culled from the album.

Songs

All songs written by Prince, except Crimson And Clover written by Tommy James and Peter Lucia, Jr.

  • From The Lotus…
  • Boom
  • Crimson And Clover
  • 4ever
  • Colonized Mind
  • Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful
  • Love Like Jazz
  • 77 Beverly Park
  • Wall Of Berlin
  • $
  • Dreamer
  • …Back 2 The Lotus

The digital lotusflow3r.com release contained The Morning After (a 2006 outtake) instead of Crimson And Clover.

The song Colonized Mind resembles Miriam Makeba’s beautiful Quit It rather strongly (to put it mildly). I don’t understand Makeba isn’t credited for this, especially coming from a man who always pursued his own rights so aggressively.

Musicians

All voices and instruments by Prince, with additional help from:

  • Michael B. – drums on From The Lotus…, Colonized Mind, Love Like Jazz, Wall Of Berlin and …Back 2 The Lotus
  • Sonny T. – bass on From The Lotus…, Colonized Mind, Love Like Jazz, Wall Of Berlin and …Back 2 The Lotus
  • C.C. Dunham – drums on Boom, The Morning After, 4ever, $ and Dreamer
  • Joshua Dunham – bass on Boom, The Morning After, 4ever, $ and Dreamer
  • Mr. Hayes – keyboards on Boom, The Morning After and Colonized Mind
  • Maceo Parker and Mike Phillips – saxophone and voice on $
  • Greg Boyer – trombone and voice on $
  • Lee Hogans – trumpet and voice on $
  • Shelby J., Marva King, Bria Valente and Támar Davis – background vocals on 4ever and Colonized Mind

MPLSound

Prince - MPLSound (princeestate.com)

Prince – MPLSound

MPLSound is the 34th studio album by Prince.

Sadly, not much is known from this album’s origin as well. The song U’re Gonna C Me was recorded as early as 2001 and was published on the 2002 album One Nite Alone…. The MPLSound version was re-recorded in 2008/2009 (after The Dance this marks the second time one song was published in different versions on two Prince studio albums). All other songs were also recorded during 2008/2009.

On August 29th, 2009, Dance 4 Me was released as a (digital) single in France, followed by a release in the US on September 29th. The first physical release of the single was finalized over 2 years later on December 9th, 2011. That release contained a number of new remixes. Early October 2009 a promo cd-single of U’re Gonna See Me was released. The promo was available in France only (and therefore is quite rare).

Just like all the other albums within the (cd) set, MPLSound had its own page on the lotusflow3r.com website, which, besides the album itself, also offered the Chocolate Box video and pictures.

N.B.: The MPLSound title is an obvious reference to the ‘Minneapolis sound’ (MPLS is short for Minneapolis, Prince’s home town), the genre Prince singlehandedly invented in the early 1980’s.

Songs

All songs written by Prince.

  • (There’ll Never B) Another Like Me
  • Chocolate Box
  • Dance 4 Me
  • U’re Gonna C Me
  • Here
  • Valentina
  • Better With Time
  • Ol’ Skool Company
  • No More Candy 4 U

Musicians

All voices and instruments by Prince, with additional help from:

  • Q-Tip – rap on Chocolate Box

Elixer

Bria Valente - Elixer (listen2prince.blogspot.com)

Bria Valente – Elixer

Elixer is the first and last studio album by Bria Valente (real name Brenda Fuentes) and was only available as part of the Lotusflow3r album set. Not much is known from the recording process surrounding this album.

In 2006 Prince started working with Bria Valente who was audible for the first time on the song The Song Of The Heart (which was part of the Happy Feet soundtrack). A number of the Elixersongs were initially intended for use on the planned debut album by Támar Davis, which was titled Milk & Honey. The album was never released. Additional songs were recorded between 2006 and early 2009.

Most of the album was recorded by Valente and Prince.

From the album one single was culled: the download-only Another Boy was made available on September 30th, 2008. A cover was designed for the release, which stated “Another Boy” is taken from Bria Valente’s “Elixir”. It was the first item indicating something new was underway. Prior to this release, Here Eye Come and Home were digitally released, but were not advertised as being a part of an upcoming release.

Valente was planned to perform on The Tonight Show With Jay Lenowith Prince, but it was canceled. She did appear on the Tavis Smiley Show (but didn’t perform).

Just like all the other albums within the (cd) set, Elixer had its own page on the lotusflow3r.com website, which, besides the album itself, also offered the Everytime video and pictures.

N.B.: Elixer represents the wrong spelling for the word “Elixir” (which was the initial album title). According to Princevault, the spelling mistake was meant as a sexual word-play to ‘he licks her’.

Songs

All songs written by Prince and Bria Valente, except Kept Woman written by Prince.

  • Here Eye Come
  • All This Love
  • Home
  • Something U Already Know
  • Everytime
  • 2nite
  • Another Boy
  • Kept Woman
  • Immersion
  • Elixer

Musicians

All instruments by Prince, all vocals by Bria Valente, with additional help from:

  • Prince – background vocals on Elixer
  • C.C. Dunham – drums on All This Love, Something U Already Know and Kept Woman
  • Joshua Dunham – bass on All This Love, Something U Already Know and Kept Woman
Prince - Lotusflow3r set - Ad (amazon.com)

Prince – Lotusflow3r set – Ad

Conclusion

As was the case with the Crystal Ball release, the Lotusflow4r set also contained very much music. However, contrary to Crystal Ball, there was one disc that was clearly the best one.

Subscription form to lotusflow3r.com (paisleyparkprince.wordpress)

Subscription form to lotusflow3r.com

Review Lotusflow3r

This is the disc that sets itself apart with the set. It’s a perfectly constructed selection of top material, in the right order. Lotusflow3r is an essential addition to Prince’s, already impressive, body of work. It stands out in the decade as well, many of the 2000-2009 releases were rather disappointing. Together with The Rainbow Children, Lotusflow3r is the best Prince released in this period.

One song is out of place though: avoid 77 Beverly Park, a nondescript instrumental muzak piece.

Review MPLSound

Overall a fair album, that somewhat caves in the middle. The ‘it was all better in the past’ theme that rears its head at times (and was introduced on the Musicology album) doesn’t fit with (my image of?) someone like Prince (or better yet, shouldn’t fit).

Review Elixer

An unnecessary release. It’s almost unbelievable this was released at all. This album is probably only for Prince completists. The only song worth mentioning is the title track.

It says a lot Elixer was missing from the 2015 Tidal release of Prince’s work. Even now, the album is not available on any streaming service.

Final judgment

Lotusflow3r  
MPLSound  
Elixer  

My average score for the total box-set is .

lotusflow3r.com

Prince - lotusflow3r.com t-shirt (worthpoint.com)

lotusflow3r.com t-shirt

The lotusflow3r.com website and its subscription didn’t live up to the expectations. Much of the material that was offered had been available for quite some time. A lot of the videos that were offered, fans already knew inside out, agreements that weren’t met (the founding member t-shirt was delivered to a handful of people; I’m still waiting for my copy ), inadequate (customer)service and a heavy site, making performance very low on most of the end-user’s internet connections. One year later the site was already off-line. An inglorious ending to a promising initiative.

Sequel?

Rehabilitation
After releasing Musicology, 3121 and particularly Planet Earth, Lotusflow3r was some kind of rehabilitation, even though it’s based on only 1 album (of the 3) in the set. I had lost some of my interest in Prince in the preceding years (from 2004 onwards). I still bought the music, but wasn’t really impressed.

Success
The physical release of Lotusflow3r sold well, making it end up at number 2 in the American The Billboard 200 Albums chart in the first week since the album’s release and number 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums and Billboard Independent Albums charts.

Prince arrives at the Stravinsky Hall in Montreux 2009 (swissinfo.ch)

Prince arrives at the Stravinsky Hall in Montreux 2009

Live
Since 2002 Prince hadn’t toured Europe anymore, and yet I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything essential. His ‘greatest hits’ shows didn’t really appeal to me (although those shows had some definite genius highlights). At the time, I never even considered traveling over to London for his 21 Nights In London shows.

That changed as well. Both of the Montreux shows on July 18th, 2009, were phenomenal and uncannily perfect. His band was utterly professional and good, making those shows to be among the best of his entire career.

Internet
One year after the launch of lotusflow3r.com, the site was shut down on March 23rd, 2010. The domain name was registered until 2012 and was released after that. This time around the on-line adventure backfired, particularly in its execution. Too many promises, agreements that weren’t met, too heavy content (resulting in slow connections and building of the screen layout) and ultimately too little interesting content.

Subscription confirmation 03/25/2009 at 1:20 PM (apoplife.nl)

Subscription confirmation 03/25/2009 at 1:20 PM

Prince seemed to have had it with the internet. In 2010 he declared:

“The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it. The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

© Mirror, 05-07-2010

It lasted up to 4 years before Prince would appear on-line again. On February 1st, 2013, the website 20pr1nc3.com was launched, which was very quickly replaced by a website dedicated to his latest project: 3rdeyegirl.com. In the meantime, during the ‘no internet’ years, messages, and at times music, were made available though other channels, like the stream on Andy Allo’s Facebook page.

Bria Valente
The question is whether or not Bria Valente really wanted to make an album, let alone appear in public. After parting ways with Prince she rarely appeared in public, she has never exploited and/or used her connection to Prince and cannot be found on social media platforms. It seems that Valente’s album was released solely based on her romantic relationship with Prince. The release didn’t have higher artistic goals. Not Valente’s, and surely not Prince’s either. Her whereabouts at this time are unknown (at least to me).

Prince - Crimson And Clover - Video (youtube.com)

Prince – Crimson And Clover – Video

In closing

Lotusflow3r was a very promising project, that disappointed in its execution. If the release had been limited to the first album, it would have been a great addition to his body of work. But, the feeling is a bit mixed, because of the extra music. In fact, Elixer as an album, has done more bad than good.

What do you think of Lotusflow3r? Let me know; it’s highly appreciated!

Thank you
My sincere thanks go out to Bram and Edward for proofreading.

Video/Spotify
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Prince – The Lotusflow3r three album set. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

2 comments

    • Paula C on 07/25/2019 at 3:26 PM

    Thank you Erwin ! 💜 This is a wonderful piece of Purple journalism!! 😊👌🏻

    1. Hi Paula, thank you so much! Really honored by your statement and highly appreciate your trouble to comment! 🙂

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