Love him or hate him, Prince (or squiggle as some music critics affectionately called him when he changed his name to a symbol in the mid-90s) is undeniably one of the most influential and provocative musicians of the 80s and 90s. Sadly, that influence has failed to transition into the 2000s.

if anything, the Purple Rain legend has failed to embrace the new decade of technology and Facebooking: having spent a large part of the past five years suing everyone from YouTube to eBay for distributing his music and videos online, the singer recently declared that the internet was so yesterday, and oddly decided to release his recent album 20Ten for free with Uk newspaper The Mirror. Reducing your album to newspaper freebie status is a kiss of death in the industry, even for someone as legendary as Prince, yet he reasoned that this was his way of avoiding the charts, stress and internet piracy. Obviously he hasn’t figured out how internet piracy began.

Why is this man legendary? Well, back in the day, he wrote genius hits like ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘1999’, ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,’ and he excelled at exuding a sexuality in his songs that made Michael Jackson look like a tame schoolboy. His influence can still be felt in today’s top performers, including Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.

20ten can be politely described as Prince’s attempted return to his past glory, i.e. the 80s, complete with heavy synthesisers, boring background vocals and retro keyboard tunes.

On the opening track ‘Compassion,’ Prince does his turn for social consciousness with a funky beat, urging us to all be friends and be happy again to an electro-funk melody and a chorus that urges you to get (your compassion) on.

On ‘Beginning Endlessly,’ the sole highlight is the extensive guitar solo, which demonstrates Prince’s much unappreciated talent as a formidable guitarist, while ‘Lavaux’ brings back that funky synthesizer that we had hoped would be forgotten with the rest of bad 80s fads, like oversized shoulderpads and Flock of Seagulls hair.

‘Sticky Like Glue’ has a pleasant funk tune reminiscent of Earth, Wind and Fire, but it sounds like something that Janet Jackson would have sung in the 90s. The vocals and melody don’t develop through the song, so its predictability makes it a rather boring listen.

‘Walk in Sand’ is equally perplexing and equally too close to 90s schmoozey pop for comfort. It makes one question where Prince has been for the past decade of music evolving. Granted, it’s great to return to these retro sounds, but music needs a certain modern edge to make him relevant and competitive against today’s pop players.

While 20Ten isn’t Prince’s worst album, it definitely doesn’t do his repertoire justice. Had it been released post-Purple Rain, he’d have suffered a severe backlash, but sadly today, he’s been off the radar for so long that 20Ten has failed to generate the heat it deserves, whether positive or negative.